Safe Sanctuary with Safe Gatherings

Background Screening and Online Abuse Prevention


The California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church is committed to ensuring that we provide safe places of worship and fellowship to everyone we serve.

Safe Gatherings is an online abuse prevention program that screens and educates staff and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth, and vulnerable adults in group settings. When employees and volunteers are trained to identify potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse, and know how to handle reporting, they are better equipped to prevent abuse.

The California-Nevada Conference and our congregations utilize Safe Gatherings to enable our churches, camps, and affiliated groups to meet their screening and training responsibilities for those who work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

Staff and volunteers who serve in ministry to these groups complete the approval process every 3 years to maintain their approval status. Individuals who complete an application, background check, and the online training may be approved and authorized to work with those groups in any church-related setting.

Screening includes obtaining background checks and professional references. The training is comprehensive and customized for our organization. Applicants may complete the online training modules at their own pace. The training typically takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Get Started

Click here to start the Safe Gatherings process

Click here to log in to your Safe Gatherings application


Application: Click here to access the Safe Gatherings system and complete the online application. Individuals can login to their account at any time to check the status of their application.

Payment:  The application process fee is $41per applicant.  The price includes the reference checks, background checks, and training required to be Safe Gatherings-approved. Applicants are responsible for payment by credit card at the time of application unless your church has decided to pay the application fee for approvals for those serving your congregation. If your church is covering this cost, it will be indicated when you complete your online application.

All churches in the conference are set up in Safe Gatherings. Applicants must correctly choose the denomination, state and city where your church is located, and the church will display in a drop-down menu as you begin the application process.

References: The approval process requires one professional and one clergy reference to assist in qualifying all applicants. Reference requests are submitted and received electronically. It may be helpful to notify your chosen references so that they can anticipate receiving the request.

Training:  Training may be completed online at your convenience once your application has been completely filled out and payment has been made. If you prefer not to complete the training in one sitting, you may log out and complete it later. Safe Gatherings allows you to either restart the training where you left off, or begin again from the beginning. Once you have successfully passed the quiz, you will continue to have access to the training course for one year from your date of application so that you may use the training as a reference.

Approval: Upon satisfactory completion of all components of the Safe Gatherings process, applicants and their church administrator will be notified by email. Approval is valid for 3 years.


Any questions regarding Safe Sanctuary and Background checks, please contact the Safe Gatherings team at or (888) 241-8258 for additional information or with questions about the program.







  • Better Safe Than Sued, by Jack Crabtree. Group Publishing, Inc. 1998
  • Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church, by Joy Thornburg Melton. Discipleship Resources, 1998.
  • Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in Youth Ministries, by Joy Thornburg Melton. Discipleship Resources, 2003.


  • National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information 800-394-3366 
  • National Safe Kids Campaign
  • Christian Ministry Resources 704-821-6871
  • DRU Sjodin national Sex Offender Public Website
  • You Have The Power
  • Kyros - Posted guidelines, policies and samples for safe congregational ministry
  • Sample forms, guidelines, policies for Youth Ministry/Cyber Safety -

Steve Elliott
Conference Disaster Response & UMVIM Coordinator (Director)
(925) 640-9797

Jessie Conklin
Young People’s and Camping/Retreat Ministries and Disaster Response/Volunteers in Mission
(916) 374-1528