Posted on Tue, Nov 8, 2011
Adopted November 6, 2011
TRINITY METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are guiding documents for the management of Trinity Metropolitan Community Church of Gainesville, Inc.
II. Changes and Additions
Amendments to the SOPs can only be made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
III. Church Membership
The rite of membership shall be conducted by the pastoral leader before the congregation at any regular worship service. The interim, provisional, or senior pastor or a person of his/her designation would choose the contents of the membership class, but it should contain member rights and responsibilities as outlined in Trinity MCC bylaws.
IV. Conduct of Congregational Meetings
A. Business shall be conducted in accordance with UFMCC Bylaws, Trinity Metropolitan Community Church Bylaws and Standard Operating Procedures and Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
B. Prior to the meeting, the moderator shall appoint a parliamentarian.
C. Voting will be by written ballot for every elected office. At the discretion of the Moderator, other votes may be taken by voice or show of hands. Only members present and in good standing may vote, but everyone in attendance may speak to the motion.
D. The names of candidates elected will be announced prior to adjournment of the meeting. The count will remain confidential.
Ballots will be retained for the duration of the office held. A recount of the ballots may be requested by a majority vote of the congregation.
E. Written reports from all standing and ad hoc teams (at the discretion of the Board of Directors) shall be turned into the Church Clerk at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. These reports shall be copied and distributed to members at the worship service prior to the congregational meeting.
V. Team Guidelines
A. Nominating Team
1. Posting positions to be filled by an election - At least two (2) months prior to the congregational meeting, the Chairperson of the Nominating Team shall obtain a list of positions to be filled by election from the Clerk of the Board of Directors. It is the responsibility of the Nominating Team to approach and encourage qualified candidates to run for these offices.
The Chairperson shall convene a meeting of team members for the purpose of informing them of the positions to be filled. At this meeting, the chairperson shall appoint a recorder. Following the meeting, notice of the positions to be filled together with an open invitation to those interested in filling positions, shall be posted in the church and church offices and published in the Sunday bulletin.
Team members shall provide a description of qualifications and duties for the position to be filled to each potential candidate for that position. When at least one (1) month has elapsed for persons to indicate their interest in being a candidate, the Chairperson shall convene a meeting of team members for the purpose of nominating candidates for each position to be filled by election.
2. Questionnaire/Resume for church positions - A Questionnaire/Resumé for Church Positions form must be completed by each candidate by a designated date, to be considered by the Nominating Team. The Nominating Team is responsible for the Questionnaire/Resume forms.
3. Elections - The nominating team recorder shall prepare a written ballot and shall be responsible for seeing that adequate ballots are available for the congregational vote. The Chairperson shall report the nominations of the Team to the Congregational Meeting. Nominations from the floor are considered write-in candidates and shall be added to the ballot. Elected write-in candidates are subject to standard administrative processing, including back ground checks and must meet the qualifications for the office as stated in the By-laws.
B. Pastoral Search Team
1. In the event of a vacancy in the pulpit, the Nominating Team shall appoint two (2) lay members in good standing to join the Board of Directors to constitute a Pastoral Search Team. Members of the same household, their spouses or signification other, shall not serve simultaneously on the Pastoral Search Team.
2. The role of the Pastoral Search Team - The Pastoral Search Team shall be responsible for seeking and interviewing potential candidates to fill a vacancy of the church’s Senior Pastor. The following shall be taken into consideration during the process:
(a) The Elder serving the Region shall be contacted for advice and guidance. The Elder will also provide guidance as to whether an Interim Pastor might be engaged.
(b) A survey of the congregation shall be undertaken to ascertain the qualities needed to lead the congregation at this stage of the Church’s life and growth.
(c) When the Search Team has identified the scope of its pastoral need, a letter shall be drafted and forwarded to the Director of Leadership Development at UFMCC, UFMCC clergy, and clergy candidates.
(d) The Team shall prepare an information packet containing details on the Church and its ministry, the city and community, as well as a list of information sought from the applicants.
(e) All responses shall be kept in the strictest confidence.
(f) The Team shall present a budget to the Board detailing the cost of bringing the candidate along with spouse or significant other to visit the church. This shall include travel, hotel accommodations, car rental and out of pocket expenses. The budget shall also include relocation costs for the successful candidate and family.
(g) The Team shall prepare a short list of applicants, view videos of preaching and conduct phone interviews.
(h) One candidate shall be selected and announced to the congregation. The candidate’s resumé and statement of faith shall be made available to the congregation. Arrangements shall be made for the congregation to view the candidate’s video prior to the candidate’s visit.
(i) Arrangements will be made with the candidate to visit the church for a period of at least 8 consecutive days including two (2) Sundays. A special congregational meeting to elect the candidate as Pastor shall be scheduled at the end of the visit or shortly thereafter.
(j) If a candidate fails to get sufficient votes, or declines the invitation, a second choice shall be selected and the invitation process repeated.
(k) The search process normally takes 6-12 months
C. SOP Committee
The SOP Committee shall consist of at least three (3) members appointed by the Board of Directors. The committee shall meet at least annually and receive and initiate proposed amendments to the Standard Operating Procedures of Trinity MCC and submit them for action by the Board of Directors.
VI. Pastoral Staff
1. Qualifications. The Pastor shall be an ordained UFMCC clergy person with a current License to Practice issued by UFMCC.
2. A Pastor with the minimum of a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent is highly desired.
3. Terms of Contract. The Pastor will be provided a written contract. It is recommended that the following elements be included:
(a) Legal names of both parties
(b) Signatures of each party
(c) Designation of the clergy person as either employed or self-employed
(d) Job description
(e) Terms of employment and conditions for renewal
(f) Grounds for discipline or dismissal, and any procedure that must be followed
(g) An arbitration clause committing the clergy person and the church to utilize arbitration to resolve disputes rather than civil courts
(h) Terms of compensation for the clergy person
(i) Schedule for performance review
Additionally, a provision shall be included that makes the contract “subordinate to the policies of UFMCC.” It is also important to be aware of provisions in UFMCC Bylaws which state that “Unilateral failure to renew a pastoral contract does not constitute removal of the Pastor from office.”
B. Interim Pastor
In the event of a pastoral vacancy the congregation may elect an Interim Pastor while the pastoral search is in process. The person elected shall meet UFMCC guidelines for Interim Pastors and would not be eligible to apply for the position of Pastor. The Interim Pastor shall not be a member of the Board of Directors nor act as its moderator; however they may attend in an advisory capacity. They shall not serve on the Pastoral Search Committee.
When a Provisional Pastor is in place these SOPs defer to The UFMCC Transitional Ministry Manual.
C. Pastor as Personnel Director
The Pastor shall act as personnel director of the church staff and shall have the authority to delegate responsibilities and duties as seem wise. The Pastor shall present a budget request for staff support to the board of directors. The Pastor will determine vacation periods and titles and responsibilities of the church staff. An Associate Pastor, compensated or uncompensated, may be appointed by the Pastor under these guidelines.
1. Definition: Within the UFMCC By-laws (IV.A.2), Deacons are affirmed as a lay ministry within the local church.
(a) A Deacon Candidate shall serve a minimum period of six months training under the supervision of the Pastor, or someone appointed by the Pastor or having served a minimum of one year as a Deacon in another MCC congregation within the past five years. The Pastor may require persons with previous Deacon experience to receive training specific to Trinity MCC’s needs.
(b) Deacon candidates will be trained in the following areas:
(i) Celebration of Holy Communion
(ii) UFMCC Rites and Sacraments
(iii) Basic Pastoral Care Skills
(iv) Hospital Visitation
(v) Bereavement Support
(vi) Inclusiveness & Diversity
(vii) Deacon’s Pantry & Benevolence Fund
(a) Participation in Worship Service, including the consecration of Holy
Communion, administering of Baptism, the rite of Laying on of Hands, the Anointing with Oil and the rite of Blessing (as set out in UFMCC bylaws Article IIIB & C).
(b) Hospital Visitation to those who are ill, providing communion if requested.
(c) Providing on call pastoral care.
(d) Assist in or direct specific pastoral programs as requested by the Pastor.
(e) Be available before and after worship to greet members and visitors.
(f) Assist or officiate at funerals or memorial services as requested by the Pastor.
4. Dress Code. Deacons and Deacon Candidates, while assisting in the worship service and when representing the church, shall be neatly and appropriately attired.
5. Conduct and Discipline
(a) Deacons are expected to model loyalty and commitment as members the Church. Unbecoming conduct or disloyalty as defined in the UFMCC Code of Conduct shall be cause for removal.
(b) Attendance at weekly worship service and church events is strongly encouraged. The Pastor shall be notified of anticipated absences.
(c) The ministry and responsibility of Deacons to Trinity MCC extend only to the area specific to Trinity MCC. Ministry beyond this requires approval of the Pastor.
E. Clergy Candidates
Persons wishing to pursue professional ministry within UFMCC or another denomination, and who have enrolled in an appropriate course of education may participate in the ministry of Trinity Metropolitan Community Church with the designation of Clergy Candidate, under the supervision of the Pastor, and with the endorsement of the Board of Directors. Specifics for clergy training in UFMCC are published in the Clergy Manual, available from the UFMCC website
F. Guest Ministry
The Pastor may invite guest ministry in line with Board and budgetary guidelines. The Board of Directors shall determine the level of reimbursement within the overall church budget.
VII. Non Board Administrative Positions
A. Assistant Treasurer
The members shall elect an Assistant Treasurer. The election shall take place at the Congregational Meeting opposite to which the Treasurer is elected. The Nominations Committee shall seek nominations for this position. The Assistant Treasurer shall not serve on the Board of Directors but may seek election as Treasurer, or may be appointed to the position in case of the Treasurer’s position being vacant. The Assistant Treasurer serves a two year term and may be re-elected.
The duties of the Assistant Treasurer shall include, but not be limited to, the counting and banking of money in the Treasurer’s absence and serving on the Finance and Budget committee. They shall not be a signatory of the church’s checkbook or other legal documents.
VIII. Risk Management
A. Insurance and Liability
1. Annual Review - As part of the Board’s fiduciary responsibility for the church’s assets, insurance shall be reviewed annually to insure that there is adequate insurance to cover losses.
2. Documentation - Documentation must be kept in the following areas:
(a) Annual Board approval of the insurance coverage must be documented in Board minutes and any action taken to decrease/increase insurance coverage must be reflected.
(b) A video inventory of all church assets shall be prepared annually and at least one copy kept in the church’s safe deposit box. Back up files of all computer data shall also be kept off-site. Records showing costs and/or appraisals of hard-to-value assets shall be maintained.
(c) Permanent legal documents such as title to real estate, wills or bequests, insurance policies, etc shall be copied and the originals shall be kept off the church premises in the safe deposit box. Copies shall be kept on file at the church office.
3. Contact with the Insurance Company - As soon as a loss is discovered or an allegation of misconduct or a liability issue is raised, the insurance company shall be contacted.
One Board member shall be appointed as liaison with the insurance company.
4. Types of Insurance - In appraising the Church’s insurance coverage, the following areas shall be considered.
(a) General Liability (Multi-Peril). This policy responds to lawsuits, which may involve personal or property injury, bodily injury, damage and sexual misconduct or molestation. This insurance shall apply whether or not the injury or damage occurs at or away from the church and is caused by an employee, volunteer, church or board member or virtually anyone else while acting on the behalf of the church.
(b) Professional Liability. A special concern of churches is the exposure which the clergy has from counseling.
(c) Director’s & Officers (D&O). Available either as an option in a multi-peril policy or as a separate liability policy. The coverage may be referred to as “errors and omissions,” “directors and officers,” or “directors, officers and trustees” insurance.
(d) Property Insurance. Property insurance covers the main church buildings and their contents. The amount shall cover rebuilding and contents replacement costs in the event of total destruction.
[Per the suggestion of the 2008 SOPs review committee, Article VIII. Risk Management: Section B. Confidentiality, has been removed from the SOPs as it duplicates Article X of the bylaws]
C. Background Checks
The Board of Directors shall undertake background checks for all officers, employees and Deacons of the church other than licensed UFMCC clergy. The Board shall also request background checks on volunteers working in areas where the church could be liable, such as working with children and seniors, and the handling of money. These background checks will be marked “confidential” and maintained in confidential personnel files of the church.
D. Activities for Children, Youth and Seniors
1. Selection of Workers - All workers, whether paid or volunteer, who work with children, youth or seniors shall be screened through the following process:
(a) Completion of a screening form;
(b) Completion of a criminal records check authorization form;
(c) Reference checks with a written record of responses;
(d) A criminal records check initiated and paid for by the church
(e) A personal interview
All of the above information shall be marked “confidential” and maintained in confidential personnel files of the church. Applicants who have been convicted or have plead guilty to criminal charges of sexual abuse or molestation shall not be placed in positions working with children or youth.
Volunteers seeking to work with children shall have been members of the church for at least six months prior to applying for a position.
2. Supervision of Children’s Workers. For activities outside of regular Sunday worship, the church shall adopt a “two adult” rule: two adult supervisors, from separate households, shall be present at all church sponsored activities for children or youth. Where parents are not present, written parental permission shall be required for the participation of children or minors in any church sponsored activity. Special attention shall be given to overnight activities for youth to assure that such activities are carefully planned in writing, approved by church leaders and have an adequate number of approved adult supervisors.
The church shall also maintain a written statement of all applicable policies concerning its programs and activities for children and youth, and all workers shall have read and signed copies of this statement.
3. Reporting Abuse. The church shall be aware of the State of Florida’s mandatory reporting law governing the reporting of abuse. See Addendum #1.
4. UFMCC Directive issued in March, 1985:
“While the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches strongly endorses the concept that control over our own bodies is a God-given right as well as a major issue in the foundation of our Fellowship; we equally recognize that our relationships with others must be based on mutual, informed consent. In light of the position, the Board of Elders issues the following Pastoral Directive to all of our member churches:
All coercive sexual activity with persons who are helpless in the situation by virtue of age, abilities, dependency, or any other circumstance cannot be approved or condoned.
Further, sexual activity between adults and children can never be condoned by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches under any circumstance. Such activity is always inherently coercive even when it appears on the surface to be voluntary and the product of mutual consent. The disenfranchisement and the dependency of children in all cultures in the world underscores the reality that adults hold both overt and covert power over children to the degree that informed consent is not possible.”
A. Direct Dealing and Conflict Management
It is the policy of Trinity MCC and its administrative bodies to directly deal with people regarding issues of the church and to teach all members, staff and friends in proper methods of direct dealing. Administrative bodies will refuse to deal with proposals or concerns where the proponents are not willing to identify, by name, the individuals involved. Those named, as well as the person said to represent them, must be present or in writing before the concern or proposal will be considered. If the individuals are not willing to represent themselves, the administrative body will not consider nor address the issue.
If resolution cannot be accomplished, following scriptural guidelines, persons with a grievance or concern are instructed to take their concern directly to the person or ministry group involved in the matter. Parties involved may request that someone serve as a facilitator to help the parties resolve their conflict. This meeting will require all parties present. If the conflict still cannot be resolved, the parties may request that the Board of Directors assist in seeking resolution to the conflict.
Any meeting of the Board of Directors that shall involve discussion of the personal affairs, membership status, or grievance of any named individual may be conducted in closed or open session at the request of the individual involved. In cases of grievances all parties concerned shall be present. Closed session means that only duly elected or appointed members of the Board shall be present and where called for, the persons concerned.
The Board of Directors will address conflict with individuals, staff or friend, and clearly specify how their behavior is unhealthy and causing disruption in the congregation and request that a change in their behavior occur. Unwillingness to change their behavior may cause the Board to move for this member, staff or friends removal from the church.
When there are conflicts or difficulty within a local church, including apparent irreconcilable differences between the Pastor and congregation, the Elder serving the Region shall have the authority to interface with that church, to take appropriate measures, to provide resources and support, and to attend and voice at any meeting of the local church administrative body or Congregations Meeting. (UFMCC Bylaws Article V4b&C)
X. Financial Management
A. Counting Money
All collected income including tithes, fundraising proceeds, and freewill donations, shall be counted by two members of the congregation, not from the same household, of whom at least one must be a member of the Board of Directors. For security purpose, the money will be counted privately immediately after the service or event. Church funds will then immediately be deposited in the bank holding the church accounts.
Except for recurring operational expenses and emergencies, bids from three vendors shall be submitted to the Board of Directors prior to purchase of single items costing $200 or more
With the exception of sales taxes for hotels and meals, sale tax is not a reimbursable expense. Members making purchases on behalf of the church shall furnish the church tax number to the vendor and request tax exemption. These reimbursable expenditures need to be approved by the Pastor and two (2) Board members.
Receipts for authorized purchases on behalf of the church must be presented to the Treasurer no later than thirty days following the date of purchase. All requests for reimbursement must be accompanied by an itemized vendor receipt.
Travel reimbursement requires prior approval of the Board of Directors and is limited to per diem expenses and allowable travel expenses as established by the Board.
A petty cash fund may be maintained for special operational expenses for the church and/or office. Approval of all disbursement from petty cash must be obtained from the Treasurer prior to disbursement. Original receipts must be submitted to the Treasurer to account for disbursement from petty cash and must be signed and dated by the purchaser. The Treasurer’s report to the Board of Directors will include petty cash disbursements.
1. The Board of Directors will consider donations of major equipment, furniture, or articles and will make a decision whether to accept or reject the offer of each item.
2. If an item is accepted by the Board of Directors, a letter or memo will be entered into the church files indicating the disposition of the article. The letter or memo shall include the name of the person making the denotation and the date it was received. A letter of appreciation shall also be sent to the benefactor.
The Board of Directors shall seek an audit or review of the church finances at least every two years. The audit may be conducted internally by members or friends of the church with necessary skill. The Pastor shall not be part of the audit team.
XI. Benevolence Fund
The Benevolence Fund is designed to meet the immediate needs of persons in distress and shall be used to cover direct services, i.e., services without which the recipient would be destitute or in personal danger, but is not limited to emergency food, clothing, and shelter. Expenses over the amount of $100 shall require the approval of the Pastor and two (2) Board members. All requests for money from the Benevolence Fund shall be in writing. All checks will be made payable for the service received, never to the recipient.
XII. Global Fund
A Global Fund shall be set up to provide financial assistance for developing MCC congregations or MCC congregations who have suffered disaster. This fund shall be separate from the General Fund and not be subject to tithes. The Board of Directors shall determine distribution of these funds, on the recommendations of the Pastor. The Pastor shall make recommendations to the Board of Directors who shall determine how these funds are disbursed.
[Per the suggestion of the 2008 SOPs review committee and the 2010 SOPs review committee, the endowment fund, formerly XIII, has been removed from the SOPs. See appendix 1 for endowment information]
XIV. Administrative Procedures
A. Document Retention
1. A copy of Board Meeting minutes, Congregational Meeting minutes, Membership Roll and Endowment Fund quarterly reports shall be retained in the church office as a permanent record.
2. Original copies of financial records shall be kept for a minimum of seven (7) years onsite. Back-up copies of all records should also be kept off-site.
3. Non-financial support documentation, attendance records, ballots and board reports may be destroyed after three (3) years.
B. Safe Deposit Box
Permanent legal documents such as title to real estate, wills or bequests, insurance policies, etc. shall be copied and copies or originals kept off the church premises in a safe deposit box or another secure location. The Pastor and the Treasurer shall make an annual inventory.
XV. Buildings and Grounds
A. Building Use
1. Rental fees will be determined by the Board of Directors. The Board shall set rental fees at the beginning of each fiscal year.
2. All requests for use of the building(s) must be submitted on the approved Rental Agreement Form to the Pastor or Board of Directors. See Addendum #2.
3. The Church shall be reimbursed at fair market value for all damages to the property. A security deposit may be required before rental of the church property.
4. The Pastor and the Board of Directors shall determine which types of events or activities will be acceptable.
5. No illegal drugs or substances shall be permitted on the church premises.
6. Smoking is permitted only in the designated smoking area.
7. Alcohol may only be consumed on church grounds for specific events pre-approved by the Pastor and the Board of Directors.
B. Maintenance and Security
1. The Board of Directors shall establish a method to review the church building upkeep needs and to make needed repairs as quickly as possible.
2. All major construction in and to buildings or structural changes shall be approved by the Board of Directors prior to buying or soliciting supplies for the completion of work.
3. The Board of Directors shall appoint a security person who will be responsible for key control and building security during all rentals.
4. The Board of Directors shall ensure that an inventory of all non-expendable church property is conducted on an annual basis.
C. Interment of Ashes
1. It is the preferred practice that ashes be scattered along the Memorial Trail in the area between the AIDS ribbon and the amphitheater.
2. No coffins may be buried on the premises at any time.
3. Ashes may be interred only at the discretion of the Board of Directors and then only along the area around the Memorial Stone. All plots shall be marked. The means of marking must first be approved by the Board of Directors.
4. Trinity Metropolitan Community Church shall, within its resources, keep the pathways clear and maintained. The church is not responsible for maintaining individual plots, but at the discretion of the Board of Directors may remove dead flowers and old tributes.
5. Memorial plaques shall be of uniform size and shall be at the cost of the loved ones of the deceased. All memorial plaques shall be affixed in the allocated location.
6. The Board of Directors may appoint a Memorial Trail committee to act on their behalf on matters pertaining to the Memorial Trail.
7. Future growth of the church will respect areas described in the policy.
8. The Board of Directors reserve the right to amend this policy whenever and in whatever manner deemed necessary.
XVI. Sacraments and Rites
A. Communion Supplies
1. The Pastor is authorized to establish an account with a vendor of church supplies for the provision of communion elements.
2. It is the general practice of MCC congregations to use “intinction” as the preferred form of communion.
MCC congregations accept baptism in other Christian traditions and do not require baptism unless a member requests it. The mode of baptism is at the discretion of the Pastor who shall take the physical and emotional needs of the candidate into consideration.
C. Holy Union and Holy Matrimony Fees
The Pastor may set his/her own fees for conducting services of Holy Union and marriage. Additional fees may be set by the board of directors for the use of the church building and facilities.
D. Funeral and Memorial Services Fees
Fees for Funeral and Memorial services may be set at the Pastor’s discretion. Additional fees may be set by the board of directors for the use of the church building and facilities.
Board of Directors
Trinity Metropolitan Community Church
Adopted April 30, 1989
RevisedMay 6, 1990
May 11, 1991
October 20, 1991
November 1, 1992
November 5, 1993
November 4, 1994
November 5, 1995
December 5, 1995
April 28, 1996
November 8, 1998
May 2, 2003
November 8, 2005
October 29, 2006
February 28, 2010
November 6, 2011
ADDENDUM #1 – Florida Child Abuse Reporting
The 2006 Florida Statutes
REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
39.201Mandatory reports of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; mandatory reports of death; central abuse hotline.--
(1)(a)Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare, as defined in this chapter, or that a child is in need of supervision and care and has no parent, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative immediately known and available to provide supervision and care shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department in the manner prescribed in subsection (2).
(b)Reporters in the following occupation categories are required to provide their names to the hotline staff:
1.Physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractic physician, nurse, or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of persons;
2.Health or mental health professional other than one listed in subparagraph 1.;
3.Practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing;
4.School teacher or other school official or personnel;
5.Social worker, day care center worker, or other professional child care, foster care, residential, or institutional worker;
6.Law enforcement officer; or
The names of reporters shall be entered into the record of the report, but shall be held confidential and exempt as provided in s. 39.202.
(c)A professional who is hired by or enters into a contract with the department for the purpose of treating or counseling any person, as a result of a report of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, is not required to again report to the central abuse hotline the abuse, abandonment, or neglect that was the subject of the referral for treatment.
(d)An officer or employee of the judicial branch is not required to again provide notice of reasonable cause to suspect child abuse, abandonment, or neglect when that child is currently being investigated by the department, there is an existing dependency case, or the matter has previously been reported to the department, provided there is reasonable cause to believe the information is already known to the department. This paragraph applies only when the information has been provided to the officer or employee in the course of carrying out his or her official duties.
(e)Nothing in this chapter or in the contracting with community-based care providers for foster care and related services as specified in s. 409.1671 shall be construed to remove or reduce the duty and responsibility of any person, including any employee of the community-based care provider, to report a suspected or actual case of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect or the sexual abuse of a child to the department's central abuse hotline.
(2)(a)Each report of known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare as defined in this chapter, except those solely under s. 827.04(3), and each report that a child is in need of supervision and care and has no parent, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative immediately known and available to provide supervision and care shall be made immediately to the department's central abuse hotline on the single statewide toll-free telephone number. Personnel at the department's central abuse hotline shall determine if the report received meets the statutory definition of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Any report meeting one of these definitions shall be accepted for the protective investigation pursuant to part III of this chapter.
(b)If the report is of an instance of known or suspected child abuse by someone other than a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare as defined in this chapter, the call shall be immediately electronically transferred to the appropriate county sheriff's office by the central abuse hotline.
(c)If the report is of an instance of known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect that occurred out of state and the alleged perpetrator and the child alleged to be a victim live out of state, the central abuse hotline shall not accept the call for investigation, but shall transfer the information on the report to the appropriate state.
(d)If the report is of an instance of known or suspected child abuse involving impregnation of a child under 16 years of age by a person 21 years of age or older solely under s. 827.04(3), the report shall be made immediately to the appropriate county sheriff's office or other appropriate law enforcement agency. If the report is of an instance of known or suspected child abuse solely under s. 827.04(3), the reporting provisions of this subsection do not apply to health care professionals or other persons who provide medical or counseling services to pregnant children when such reporting would interfere with the provision of medical services.
(e)Reports involving known or suspected institutional child abuse or neglect shall be made and received in the same manner as all other reports made pursuant to this section.
(f)Reports involving a known or suspected juvenile sexual offender shall be made and received by the department.
1.The department shall determine the age of the alleged juvenile sexual offender if known.
2.When the alleged juvenile sexual offender is 12 years of age or younger, the central abuse hotline shall immediately electronically transfer the call to the appropriate law enforcement agency office. The department shall conduct an assessment and assist the family in receiving appropriate services pursuant to s. 39.307, and send a written report of the allegation to the appropriate county sheriff's office within 48 hours after the initial report is made to the central abuse hotline.
3.When the alleged juvenile sexual offender is 13 years of age or older, the department shall immediately electronically transfer the call to the appropriate county sheriff's office by the central abuse hotline, and send a written report to the appropriate county sheriff's office within 48 hours after the initial report to the central abuse hotline.
(g)Reports involving abandoned newborn infants as described in s. 383.50 shall be made and received by the department.
1.If the report is of an abandoned newborn infant as described in s. 383.50 and there is no indication of abuse, neglect, or abandonment other than that necessarily entailed in the infant having been left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station, the department shall provide to the caller the name of a licensed child-placing agency on a rotating basis from a list of licensed child-placing agencies eligible and required to accept physical custody of and to place newborn infants left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station. The report shall not be considered a report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment solely because the infant has been left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station pursuant to s. 383.50.
2.If the caller reports indications of abuse or neglect beyond that necessarily entailed in the infant having been left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station, the report shall be considered as a report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment and shall be subject to the requirements of s. 39.395 and all other relevant provisions of this chapter, notwithstanding any provisions of chapter 383.
(h)Hotline counselors shall receive periodic training in encouraging reporters to provide their names when reporting abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Callers shall be advised of the confidentiality provisions of s. 39.202. The department shall secure and install electronic equipment that automatically provides to the hotline the number from which the call is placed. This number shall be entered into the report of abuse, abandonment, or neglect and become a part of the record of the report, but shall enjoy the same confidentiality as provided to the identity of the caller pursuant to s. 39.202.
(i)The department shall voice-record all incoming or outgoing calls that are received or placed by the central abuse hotline which relate to suspected or known child abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The recording shall become a part of the record of the report but, notwithstanding s. 39.202, shall be released in full only to law enforcement agencies and state attorneys for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting criminal charges pursuant to s. 39.205, or to employees of the department for the purpose of investigating and seeking administrative penalties pursuant to s. 39.206. Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the use of the recordings by hotline staff for quality assurance and training.
(3)Any person required to report or investigate cases of suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child died as a result of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect shall report his or her suspicion to the appropriate medical examiner. The medical examiner shall accept the report for investigation and shall report his or her findings, in writing, to the local law enforcement agency, the appropriate state attorney, and the department. Autopsy reports maintained by the medical examiner are not subject to the confidentiality requirements provided for in s. 39.202.
(4)The department shall establish and maintain a central abuse hotline to receive all reports made pursuant to this section in writing or through a single statewide toll-free telephone number, which any person may use to report known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect at any hour of the day or night, any day of the week. The central abuse hotline shall be operated in such a manner as to enable the department to:
(a)Immediately identify and locate prior reports or cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect through utilization of the department's automated tracking system.
(b)Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the department's program for reporting and investigating suspected abuse, abandonment, or neglect of children through the development and analysis of statistical and other information.
(c)Track critical steps in the investigative process to ensure compliance with all requirements for any report of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
(d)Maintain and produce aggregate statistical reports monitoring patterns of child abuse, child abandonment, and child neglect. The department shall collect and analyze child-on-child sexual abuse reports and include the information in aggregate statistical reports.
(e)Serve as a resource for the evaluation, management, and planning of preventive and remedial services for children who have been subject to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
(f)Initiate and enter into agreements with other states for the purpose of gathering and sharing information contained in reports on child maltreatment to further enhance programs for the protection of children.
(5)The department shall be capable of receiving and investigating, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reports of known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect and reports that a child is in need of supervision and care and has no parent, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative immediately known and available to provide supervision and care. If it appears that the immediate safety or well-being of a child is endangered, that the family may flee or the child will be unavailable for purposes of conducting a child protective investigation, or that the facts otherwise so warrant, the department shall commence an investigation immediately, regardless of the time of day or night. In all other child abuse, abandonment, or neglect cases, a child protective investigation shall be commenced within 24 hours after receipt of the report. In an institutional investigation, the alleged perpetrator may be represented by an attorney, at his or her own expense, or accompanied by another person, if the person or the attorney executes an affidavit of understanding with the department and agrees to comply with the confidentiality provisions of s. 39.202. The absence of an attorney or other person does not prevent the department from proceeding with other aspects of the investigation, including interviews with other persons. In institutional child abuse cases when the institution is not operating and the child cannot otherwise be located, the investigation shall commence immediately upon the resumption of operation. If requested by a state attorney or local law enforcement agency, the department shall furnish all investigative reports to that agency.
(6)Information in the central abuse hotline may not be used for employment screening, except as provided in s. 39.202(2)(a) and (h). Information in the central abuse hotline and the department's automated abuse information system may be used by the department, its authorized agents or contract providers, the Department of Health, or county agencies as part of the licensure or registration process pursuant to ss. 402.301-402.319 and ss. 409.175-409.176.
(7)On an ongoing basis, the department's quality assurance program shall review calls to the hotline involving three or more unaccepted reports on a single child, where jurisdiction applies, in order to detect such things as harassment and situations that warrant an investigation because of the frequency or variety of the source of the reports. The Program Director for Family Safety may refer a case for investigation when it is determined, as a result of this review, that an investigation may be warranted.
History.--ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ch. 63-24; s. 941, ch. 71-136; ss. 1, 1A, ch. 71-97; s. 32, ch. 73-334; s. 65, ch. 74-383; s. 1, ch. 75-101; s. 1, ch. 75-185; s. 4, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 3, ch. 77-429; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-322; s. 3, ch. 78-326; s. 22, ch. 78-361; s. 1, ch. 78-379; s. 181, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 79-203; s. 7, ch. 84-226; s. 37, ch. 85-54; s. 68, ch. 86-163; s. 34, ch. 87-238; s. 21, ch. 88-337; s. 33, ch. 89-294; s. 6, ch. 90-50; s. 51, ch. 90-306; s. 7, ch. 91-57; s. 17, ch. 91-71; s. 6, ch. 93-25; s. 59, ch. 94-164; ss. 22, 44, ch. 95-228; s. 9, ch. 95-266; s. 51, ch. 95-267; s. 133, ch. 95-418; s. 1, ch. 96-215; s. 14, ch. 96-268; s. 14, ch. 96-402; s. 271, ch. 96-406; s. 1041, ch. 97-103; s. 43, ch. 97-264; s. 257, ch. 98-166; s. 31, ch. 98-403; s. 4, ch. 99-168; s. 10, ch. 99-193; s. 41, ch. 2000-139; s. 3, ch. 2000-188; s. 1, ch. 2000-217; s. 1, ch. 2001-53; s. 1, ch. 2003-127; s. 7, ch. 2006-86.
Note.--Former ss. 828.041, 827.07(3), (4), (9), (13); s. 415.504.
39.203Immunity from liability in cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.--
(1)(a)Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by this chapter, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action.
(b)Except as provided in this chapter, nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to grant immunity, civil or criminal, to any person suspected of having abused, abandoned, or neglected a child, or committed any illegal act upon or against a child.
(2)(a)No resident or employee of a facility serving children may be subjected to reprisal or discharge because of his or her actions in reporting abuse, abandonment, or neglect pursuant to the requirements of this section.
(b)Any person making a report under this section shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of such reporting party by reason of his or her making such report. Any detrimental change made in the residency or employment status of such person, including, but not limited to, discharge, termination, demotion, transfer, or reduction in pay or benefits or work privileges, or negative evaluations within a prescribed period of time shall establish a rebuttable presumption that such action was retaliatory.
History.--ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ch. 63-24; s. 941, ch. 71-136; ss. 1, 1A, ch. 71-97; s. 32, ch. 73-334; s. 65, ch. 74-383; s. 1, ch. 75-101; s. 1, ch. 75-185; s. 4, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 3, ch. 77-429; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-322; s. 3, ch. 78-326; s. 22, ch. 78-361; s. 1, ch. 78-379; s. 181, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 79-203; s. 27, ch. 88-337; s. 55, ch. 90-306; s. 63, ch. 94-164; s. 73, ch. 97-103; s. 33, ch. 98-403; s. 12, ch. 99-193.
Note.--Former ss. 828.041, 827.07(7); s. 415.511.
39.205Penalties relating to reporting of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.--
(1)A person who is required to report known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect and who knowingly and willfully fails to do so, or who knowingly and willfully prevents another person from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A judge subject to discipline pursuant to s. 12, Art. V of the Florida Constitution shall not be subject to criminal prosecution when the information was received in the course of official duties.
(2)Unless the court finds that the person is a victim of domestic violence or that other mitigating circumstances exist, a person who is 18 years of age or older and lives in the same house or living unit as a child who is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse, neglect of a child, or aggravated child abuse, and knowingly and willfully fails to report the child abuse commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(3)A person who knowingly and willfully makes public or discloses any confidential information contained in the central abuse hotline or in the records of any child abuse, abandonment, or neglect case, except as provided in this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(4)The department shall establish procedures for determining whether a false report of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect has been made and for submitting all identifying information relating to such a report to the appropriate law enforcement agency and shall report annually to the Legislature the number of reports referred.
(5)If the department or its authorized agent has determined after its investigation that a report is false, the department shall, with the consent of the alleged perpetrator, refer the report to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction for an investigation to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to refer the case for prosecution for filing a false report as defined in s. 39.01(28). During the pendency of the investigation by the local law enforcement agency, the department must notify the local law enforcement agency of, and the local law enforcement agency must respond to, all subsequent reports concerning children in that same family in accordance with s. 39.301. If the law enforcement agency believes that there are indicators of abuse, abandonment, or neglect, it must immediately notify the department, which must assure the safety of the children. If the law enforcement agency finds sufficient evidence for prosecution for filing a false report, it must refer the case to the appropriate state attorney for prosecution.
(6)A person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or who advises another to make a false report, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Anyone making a report who is acting in good faith is immune from any liability under this subsection.
History.--ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ch. 63-24; s. 941, ch. 71-136; ss. 1, 1A, ch. 71-97; s. 32, ch. 73-334; s. 65, ch. 74-383; s. 1, ch. 75-101; s. 1, ch. 75-185; s. 4, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 3, ch. 77-429; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-322; s. 3, ch. 78-326; s. 22, ch. 78-361; s. 1, ch. 78-379; s. 181, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 79-203; s. 28, ch. 88-337; s. 56, ch. 90-306; s. 10, ch. 91-57; s. 21, ch. 91-71; s. 251, ch. 91-224; s. 10, ch. 93-25; s. 276, ch. 96-406; s. 4, ch. 98-111; s. 35, ch. 98-403; s. 6, ch. 99-168; s. 3, ch. 2000-217; s. 4, ch. 2002-70; s. 29, ch. 2006-86.
Note.--Former ss. 828.041, 827.07(18); s. 415.513.
ADDENDUM #2 – Meeting Area Agreement
Trinity Metropolitan Community Church
MEETING AREA AGREEMENT
Meeting Area: _____Sanctuary_____Social Hall _____ Amphitheater
Please provide a brief statement or description about your group or organization.This information may be used by the Trinity MCC in newsletter publications or on our website with advance permission from the group administrator.
Trinity MCC reserves the right to edit text for inclusion in Trinity MCC publications
Trinity MCC member: Yes:____ No:_____ If yes, name on Membership:__________
Number of expected attendees: ________Food:(Y/N)_____ Beverage:(Y/N)_________
One time event: Date of event: ________________ Meeting time: from______ to_______
Recurring event: weekly_____ monthly _____ other ___________________________
Meeting day: (circle) M T W TH F SA SUMeeting time from_________ to_________
Contact Person: _______________________________________________________________
Phone: (H)________________________(B) ___________________ (C) ________________
E-mail Address: ________________________________ Trinity MCC Member Yes___ No ___
Basic Usage: ________ Payment Method:
Room Deposit ________ Cash _______
Cleaning Deposit ________
Security Service ________ Check#______
Total: ________ Date Paid: ___/____/___
MEETING AREA POLICIES
Meetings held other than normal working hours must be authorized and may require
Trinity MCC welcomes non-profit community services and support organizations to use the meeting areas for weekly or monthly meetings.Trinity MCC also welcomes business, commercial, non-members, and not for profit corporations.
Scheduling of the meeting areas is on a first-come basis with an emphasis on our membership.Meeting area use is assessed periodically with members and groups in good standing having first priority for days and times.One time events must be canceled 48 hours prior to the event or the deposit will be forfeited.
Support:Trinity MCC’s operations and up-keep are dependent primarily on community support and dedicated volunteers.With the exception of fundraising events to benefit Trinity MCC, we cannot provide support services such as crew, technical setup, box office services, special publicity and public relations to those using our facility
Responsibility:All individuals and groups using the Meeting Areas must leave the area in the same condition they found it.This includes folding tables; stacking chairs and placing them back where they were found, as well as discarding all trash.Failure to comply with this policy will result in loss of Cleaning Deposit and/or use privileges.
Hold Harmless:Execution of this agreement is also an agreement from the individual or group to hold Trinity MCC harmless from all liability from injury and/or loss for personal property.
Note:By signing below, the Contact Person represents that they are authorized to make and will be responsible for these arrangements.
Authorized Signature Date
For Trinity MCC use only
Approved by:________________________________Date: _________________________
Comments:___________________________________Entered on calendar(initial)______
Appendix 1 – Endowment Fund
An Endowment Fund may be set up to benefit specific projects of the church. The congregation shall elect a governing board to manage the fund. The Senior Pastor shall also serve on the Board of the Endowment Fund for the duration of her/his tenure with the church. The quarterly report from the Endowment Fund Trustees shall be added to the BOD minutes and poster on the bulletin board in the church foyer.
WHEREAS, stewardship involves the faithful management of all the gifts such as time,talent, and resources, including accumulated assets; and
WHEREAS, Trinity MCC members and friends can give to the work of the church through bequests in wills, trusts, charitable gift annuities, assignment of life insur
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