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Equal Opportunity & Anti-Harassment Policy 

Discriminatory Behavior

It is the policy of The Dwelling to maintain a work environment free of all forms of discriminatory behavior,

including all forms of harassment directed toward individuals because of race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin,

veteran status, handicap/disability, or status in any other group protected by federal/state/local law.


Therefore, the use of disparaging terms, derogatory remarks, and displays of insensitive treatment, directly or indirectly related to individuals because of race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, veteran status, handicap/disability, or status in any other protected federal/state/local law will not be tolerated.


Sexual Harassment

It is also the policy of The Dwelling to maintain a work place free of any form of sexual harassment or sexual intimidation. Any form of sexual harassment within the work place is unacceptable behavior and is subject to appropriate disciplinary action.


Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to: unwelcome and unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, discriminatory tormenting based on gender and other undesired verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. In particular, sexual harassment occurs if there is: 

  • Submission to any kind of sexual harassment as an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment;

  • Submission to, or rejection of, sexually harassing behavior if used as a basis for employment or other personnel decisions affecting the recipient of the behavior;

  • Purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the recipient’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.


Child & Community Safety Policy 

The Dwelling by default of who we center our identity around and with is a community that has an inherently higher risk. We understand that for some in our community, their life choices and histories mean that we are knowingly welcoming vulnerabilities into our community. However, creating a place for all people regardless of their past indiscretions is who we are, and because of this, we remain diligent in order to safeguard our programs and those in our community that remain the most vulnerable or at risk for abuse. 



Worship is central to our identity as a gathered community. 

Anyone, regardless of their substance use, mental health, housing status, incarceration record, etc., is welcome to gather with us for worship. 


However, we do feel an obligation to protect the peace of the whole community. Because of this, should someone be disruptive to the wider community, they will be asked to leave for the day. We will take all measures necessary to ensure that the individual has the resources and support they need as we are temporarily dismissing them from the community. Should their behavior continue in subsequent weeks, we will work with them to build a better coping plan for participating in community or set boundaries around what healthy relationship and engagement looks like at The Dwelling. We also know, like with any congregation, it is impossible to know the complete history of any person. Because of this, our Sunday safety and leadership team (Stewards of the Church) have been trained with de-escalation tools as well as trauma-informed care techniques to safeguard the people and building of The Dwelling. In addition, the Stewards and the Pastor/Deacon leadership are committed to maintaining a strong presence in communal spaces, with special attention being given to children and teens in the space. 



A critical piece of Spark’Dwell is the leadership of our Dwelling Counselors. Each of these leaders go through training that includes child safety, boundaries, appropriate relationships, substance use policy, program details, and more. As part of program participation, each leader agrees to a background check which ensures that though there may be some interesting reports, they are safe to work with children. Throughout the summer, Dwelling Counselors are never alone with a student or a participating adult, never ride in the back of vehicles, and do not exchange phone numbers or social media with youth participants. These expectations are clearly articulated throughout the training and the duration of the program and a signed document agreeing to these expectations is on file for each Dwelling Counselor. Should these boundaries or expectations be crossed, appropriate consequences, including legal action, will be enforced. 


All Spark’Dwell participants, youth and adults, complete a release of liability for the program. SPARK and The Dwelling both hold general liability insurance. 


Sunday School

Because Sunday School combines the unpredictability of our community with the most vulnerable in it, extra precautions are taken to ensure the safety of this program for our participants. 


Sunday school is led by one of the staff members, all of whom have extensive training in boundaries and have been fully checked and approved for interaction with children and youth. In addition to the staff, community volunteers have been identified and trained to support this ministry. These volunteers have all completed a Child Protection Training as well as undergone a background check. Staff and community volunteers should never be alone with children or youth participants. Programming will only happen if there are at least two adults present. In addition, programming happens only in rooms and spaces with clear and open site lines. 



We encourage volunteers of every age to participate in life at The Dwelling. For organized volunteer days, we may ask for all participants/volunteers to fill out a Release of Liability. We do ask that any youth volunteers be accompanied by an adult and work to ensure that any volunteer is never alone in a private or secluded space. For organized volunteer opportunities, we provide ample staff and project oversight. 


Volunteers are supervised by the program lead, typically the Lead Pastor or Associate Pastor/Deacon. Any incident involving a volunteer should be reported to the designated staff lead and an Incident Report should be completed. Appropriate action will follow in accordance with the established reporting process. 


Volunteers who are engaging in one-time episodic service will receive an orientation for volunteering that includes a brief program description, best practices for engaging in community, and guidelines for healthy and safe service. 


Volunteers who are engaging in on-going service may have the opportunity to attend more in-depth training, including trauma informed care, substance use and narcan training, and de-escalation training. The invitation to additional training will be at the discretion of the lead pastor and/or deacon/associate pastor. 


A volunteer who violates community guidelines and expectations, neglects safety procedures, or acts against The Dwelling Core Values and Guiding Principles may be asked to leave either temporarily or indefinitely.  Any volunteer wishing to continue service who has been asked to disengage will be required to meet with the lead pastor and/or program lead to determine an appropriate engagement agreement that holds boundaries for healthy service for both the volunteer and The Dwelling community. 



The Dwelling is filled with beautiful humans that come with a high capacity for unpredictability. We also put great emphasis on empowering leaders to serve from their lived experience. Doing community and life together this way can be messy and means that we are at a higher risk for unintentional conflict, blurry boundaries, and overall uncommon rhythms. 


Because of this, it is essential that we have a high level of accountability and transparency for the life and good of the ministry as well as the care for staff, volunteers, and community members. 


Incident Reporting & Follow-Up

For any mid-major incident, we require a completed Incident Report to be filed within 48 hours of the event. This may not result in any sort of disciplinary action. However, it allows us to keep good records should we need to establish a pattern of behavior or recall events of an incident. The Incident Report is sent to both the Lead Pastor and the Deacon/Associate Pastor and when necessary, to the Director of Evangelical Mission and/or The Mission Fund. Should the incident require further attention, a plan will be formulated within the pastoral team, including The Dwelling Steering Team and/or Synod staff.


For any major incident that includes unlawful behavior, an Incident Report will be filed as well as contact made with the police. 


Should the incident be sexual and/or predatory in nature, specifically related to minors, we will follow strict legal protocol and prosecute to the full extent of the law. 


Sexual harassment or sexual intimidation in the work place is unacceptable behavior and is subject to appropriate disciplinary action. 


Any victim regardless of the severity of the situation, will receive pastoral care and when necessary additional professional services/care will be identified and provided. 


Information about resolution and disciplinary action will be shared with the victim as appropriate while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with personnel policies.


Grievance Reporting & Follow-Up

An employee who feels that any of the following conditions exist may follow the procedure for grievance:

  • Unfair or undocumented evaluation or discipline;

  • Unfair or undocumented violation of policies and procedures; 

  • Harassment because of race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, veteran status, handicap/disability, or status in any other group protected by federal/state/local law;

  • Rights and privileges delineated in these policies denied without cause;

  • Restriction of the ability to perform required act.


Reporting & Procedure

  • Complete a Grievance Report and discuss the matter with appropriate supervisor;

  • If settlement is not reached, the employee may take the dispute to the Personnel Team of the Steering Team, who will make a written disposition of the grievance within ten days; which will meet with the employee within ten days and render a decision within ten additional days;

  • If the employee is still unsatisfied, he or she may appeal in writing to the Board of Directors of The Mission Fund. The request must be received by the Board of Directors no less than one working day prior to the next meeting of the Board; the Board of Directors may, in its discretion, approve or deny the grievance, request additional facts, or conduct a hearing. The decision(s) of the Board of Directors with respect to the processing or resolution of a grievance is (are) final.


Important Contact Information

We are a fully Federated Mission Community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Moravian Church in America. We believe that all are welcome at God's table. We practice open communion where anyone who wants to receive the gift of Christ's body and blood is invited to do so.


We know God's love to be fully inclusive and consider all variants of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, housing status, socio-economic status, country of origin, preference of language, addiction history and more, to be part of a persons unique and beloved identity as a Child of God. 

This community is for you. 

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