Because the United Methodist Church takes so seriously Jesus’s call to welcome the children, many local congregations have become “Safe Sanctuaries” certified. This designation requires buddy systems, volunteer screenings, and other comprehensive measures intended to reduce risk and protect children.
For congregations committed to nurseries and youth groups and the overall Christian formation of minors, certification is appropriate. Haywood Street, however, is a mission primarily among mentally ill, addicted, and unhoused adults. Many of our street sisters and brothers have been incarcerated, carry lengthy criminal records, and survive with limited freedoms. It is our deepest calling to be a Church on the furthest edges of the kingdom.
For all of these reasons, we are not a Safe Sanctuaries ministry.
Many parents, after prayer and discernment, after conversation and consultation, have chosen to involve their children at Haywood Street – to safely expose daughter and son to discipleship in the raw, to subvert a society of fear, to embrace the fullest expression of the beloved community. They are able to do so by practicing parental supervision and diligence.
If you feel called to include your child in what God is doing at Haywood Street, then we welcome and invite you to do the same.