Safe Gatherings

Now Available for Clergy and Volunteers

Important Notice Regarding Payment for Safe Gatherings

The Safe Gatherings abuse prevention, background screening and training program has been underway in the California-Pacific Conference for approximately two years. For the first year of the program, both the cost of the background check ($23 per person) and the administrative costs ($20 per person) were fully subsidized, thanks to a generous grant from Hub International. When those funds were exhausted, the Conference continued to subsidize the cost of administration using apportioned funds, but the cost of the background check reverted to the church or other salary-paying unit or agency.

Beginning July 1, 2017, the conference will no longer be able to subsidize the administrative cost. The full $43 will be charged to the church, salary-paying unit or agency for Safe Gatherings background checks and training initiated on or after July 1, 2017.

As a reminder, here is a breakdown of what is included in the costs:

The $20 covers:

  • Online application
  • Two electronic reference checks
  • A self-paced, comprehensive training course that addresses responsibilities and best practices related to abuse prevention and boundary awareness.
  • Course test
  • Administrative access for the organization – which includes applicants, status, date of approval, approval expiration, email address, and phone number
  • Administrative and applicant notification
  • Telephone support 8 am to 5 pm Central time
  • Safe Gatherings review of all information
  • Copies of background check reports sent to applicant upon their request, in compliance with California requirements
  • Adverse actions notices sent to applicant when applicant not hired due to background check results
  • Ability to pay by applicant at the time of application
  • Ability to set up the organization so applications are paid by the organization
  • Documentation of approval valid for three years and continued access to online training program for an entire year

The $23 covers:

  • Background checks: National and State Criminal Check, National and State Sex offender list and 7 year county search for all US addresses where applicant has lived during past seven years.

Important Note Regarding Volunteer Certification:

Safe Gatherings certification for volunteers is transferrable from one Conference entity to another, provided the volunteer is within the three-year certification period. In other words, if a volunteer has been certified under one Conference entity and volunteers for another Conference entity within three years of the original certification date, completion can be verified within the Safe Gatherings system. The volunteer does not need to go through Safe Gatherings again until their three-year certification has expired.

Safe Gatherings Billing Process Effective July 1, 2017

  • Clergy: Safe Gatherings bills Conference > Conference pays bill > Conference bills church
  • Declared Candidates: “Self-pay” Candidate pays upon application
  • Volunteers and Lay Staff at Churches: Church sets up “Church-pay” or “Self-pay.” Safe Gatherings bills church if “church-pay.”
  • Volunteers who serve with children, youth and/or vulnerable populations at Conference-sponsored events, ie: Spanglish, ERT, LMA: Safe Gatherings bills Sponsoring Agency > Sponsoring Agency pays Safe Gatherings directly
  • All employees, and volunteers who serve with children, youth and/or vulnerable populations at Conference-sponsored camps: Safe Gatherings bills the Camp > Camp pays Safe Gatherings directly

For questions or further information, please contact:

Jan Hanson
Director of Human Resources
(626) 568-7317


The California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church is committed to ensuring safe places of worship and fellowship for all.

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-Pacific Conference and our congregations utilize Safe Gatherings to enable our churches, camps, clergy, staff, 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 1.5 hours to complete.



References: The approval process requires one professional and one clergy reference to assist in qualifying all applicants. Reference requests are submitted and received electronically.

Training: Training may be completed online once the application has been completed and payment has been made. After successful completion of the training course, it will continue to be available for review.

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

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Sample Abuse Prevention Policy


For setting up or accessing account, contact // (888) 241-8258

For all other questions, Jan Hanson ( // (626) 568-7317), Director of Human Resources


News and information on abuse prevention, child safety, and other topics from Safe Gatherings.