On June 27, the assembly confirmed updates to the child/youth/vulnerable adult protection policy for the General Assembly agencies and entities (item 00-05).
The original policy, which applies to national church meetings, events and conferences, fulfills the Book of Order mandate to have such a policy. It was adopted at the 222nd General Assembly.
A series of amendments were adopted. (These changes that likely would have been made in committee. However, given the constraints of the virtual meeting, they were made by the entire body of the assembly). These amendments altered the ablest language of “crippled” (in reference to the church being impeded to do the work of Christ as result of the damage of abuse) and added “vulnerable adults” to a list of those to be included in the social media protections of the policy.
Additionally, reflective of the current reality, an amendment was made to make sure the policy that mandates two non-related adults must always be present in groups with minors, young adults and vulnerable adults be applied to online gatherings as well as in-person ones.
There was little opposition to the policy as amended. However, ruling elder commissioner Ariel Gloor of Chicago Presbytery expressed concern that the policy did not go far enough. Gloor noted that youth, particularly youth of color, are vulnerable to all manner of abuse, not limited to sexual abuse.