In light of the recent news at another church in Charleston, I want to share with you what we are currently doing on Sunday mornings at Coastal to ensure the safety and protection of our children and what we are changing.

First of all, no volunteer ever serves alone, and a background check is run on all Coastal Kidz volunteers ages 18 or older.  We also have a Security Team member and a City of Charleston Police Officer monitoring all classrooms and hallways during each service.

We’ve tried to not take a child to the restroom alone, but at times in the past, it has happened.  However, from now on, it is now the policy of our church that you CAN NOT be in the restroom with a child alone without another volunteer being with you.  It is NEVER allowed under any circumstances.  There are ALWAYS other options.

For most classes, this is not a problem.  Nursery and 2 year olds use the restroom in the nursery. Keep the door open or have a nursery volunteer assist.  4-Kindergarten use the restroom in the classroom. Most children will not need any assistance. If they do, take another volunteer with you. 1st-5th Graders should not need anyone in the restroom with them. Escort the children to the restroom, but wait in the hall for them.  This leaves the 3 year old class which typically has children who are potty training or possibly need assistance with zippers, snaps, buttons, etc. Do not take a child to the restroom alone.  Other options include calling Janet, our Children’s Director (she will have a radio with her – all classrooms have a radio);  contacting the Security Team Member; or paging the parent (we would rather inconvenience the parent, than to sacrifice the safety of a child).

Our first priority must be the safety of our children. This is important: Parents & Volunteers, if you ever see something that bothers you, seems strange, or suspect ANY inappropriate behavior, YOU MUST SPEAK UP!  Contact Janet, our Children’s Director or another staff member immediately.  Again, we have a police officer on campus every Sunday.  We would rather have to apologize to an adult than to sacrifice the safety of a child.

On Monday of this week, we met with our current Alarm/Security company for an estimate to go ahead and install cameras in all of our classrooms and to integrate those cameras with our current cameras in a monitoring room.  However, it does no good to have cameras and a monitoring room unless those cameras are actually monitored.  I have spoken with Bryan Miller, our Security Team Leader, and once this project is completed, this position will become a priority.  It will be more important to have a Security Team Member assigned to the Monitoring Station than assigned to me.

We have decided that part of our Christmas Offering will go towards this project.  So, I make no apologies in asking you to please give generously to our Christmas Offering.  In fact, I’ll just put it bluntly, if you really care about the protection of our children, put your money where your mouth is and give.  In fact, if you haven’t given yet, why not go ahead and open the door of generosity in your life and do it right now.  You can give through TEXTing any amount to 843-277-8337.  You can go to our website and give there.  However you choose to give, simply use the keyword, “Christmas.”

I also make no apologies in encouraging you to get involved and serve in our Coastal Kidz Children’s Ministry and on our Security Team.  We have an awesome Team of Volunteers!  Help us make those Teams even better!  If you are interested in volunteering, simply respond to this email and we will follow up with you.  We are also looking into scheduling “From Darkness to Light” & Infant/Child CPR training for our volunteers.  And finally, if you ever have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please reach out.  TOGETHER, we all help create a safe, nurturing environment for our children to learn about the life changing love of Jesus!

Pastor Chris