Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

Educational Programs

Safe Church Training

cathy-teachingIt is the charge of every Christian to respect the dignity of every human being, to that end we offer Safe Church Training.

Safe Church Training protects not only volunteers and employees, but also those under their charge. By raising the awareness of leaders, everyone is safer.

Safe Church consists of two courses: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Adult Sexual Harassment & Exploitation Prevention. Volunteers such as Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, and youth camp staff are required to take “A Safe Place for Children.” All clergy and employees of the diocese and its congregations are required to take both courses.

The courses are offered at least twice yearly, usually in the late spring and in the early fall.  The next class is scheduled for:

  • Saturday, September 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 4 Cathedral Park, Buffalo.  Child Sexual Abuse Prevention will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon and Adult Sexual Harassment & Exploitation Prevention will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Register now!!
  • Saturday, November 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church, 1182 Seneca St., Buffalo.  Child Sexual Abuse Prevention will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon and Adult Sexual Harassment & Exploitation Prevention will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Register now!!

Safe church is now easy to do online. Register with the diocesan office, and then finish the short modules assigned to you on your own time, in your pajamas. Each module, shorter and more specific than our current face-to-face classes, is intensely interactive in nature, has study guides to print out that will enable you to really cement your learning, and has a quiz at the end to ensure that you’ve absorbed the main points. Once you’ve registered the first time, you don’t need to do so to refresh your learning in future years, or take new or different modules. The diocese can see which modules you’ve done and when, and so it is more convenient than ever. And it’s free!

Safe Church Policy


Seeing the Face of God in Each Other: Anti-Racism and Diversity Training

As this training is scheduled, it will be announced here.  At this time, the next training dates have not been set.


Lay Education Training

As explained at the Clergy-in-Charge/Warden Day on June 16 there is a leaner lay education/lay licensing program beginning. As of June 1, 2018 the Diocese will offer licensing in the following areas:

Parish Treasurer – one doesn’t need to take this training to be a treasurer, we are just offering it for those who would like to have some tips from current treasurers. One Saturday, August 11.

Parish Administrator – a parish secretary (someone who prepares the bulletin, answers the phone, and does filing) does not need this license. Neither do Parish secretaries who also manage pledges, inputs gifts into Quick Books, etc. But we do have a number of parishes that do not operate with an incumbent clergy person. These parishes need to have a parish administrator who can keep the parish records in order, can oversee the use of the buildings and basically save the wardens from having to do everything in the absence of a Rector/Priest-in-Charge. These people need to be licensed.  One Saturday, August 18 with follow up sessions scheduled at participant’s convenience.

Worship Leader – as stated above we have a lot of parishes without incumbent clergy and we have a lack of available supply clergy available, making it more common that a parish will periodically utilize Morning Prayer for principal Sunday worship. It has generally fell on one or maybe two people in a congregation to lead these services. This training will license more people to lead worship. Also, for the congregations without incumbent clergy, this training /license will provide necessary skill set to plan liturgies.  Two consecutive Saturdays August 11 and August 18.

Audit Team Member – we have many parishes who utilize an audit team. For years there were a cadre of folks across the diocese who were able to fill the “one member of the team must be someone outside of the congregation” role. With the passage of time, this group has shrunk and we need to train more people eligible for audit team work. This training will also serve to help those congregations who are unsure of what an audit should look like!  Two consecutive Saturdays, August 11 and 18.

Registration is required and is now open. Click Here to Register

Those interested in a preaching license must email Canon Dempesy-Sims to receive an application for the classes to be led by The Very Rev. Canon Earle King.