Circle of Grace
Safe Environment Faith-Based Program
Kindergarten through Grade 12Dear Parents, Faith Mennonite Church, out of concern for all God’s people, has agreed to implement a program for the safe environment and education of children and young people. The program is called Circle of Grace. It is meant to supplement and be integrated into our current faith-based curricula. This year, it will be used during the first four weeks of the Sunday School year, followed by the regular Bible-story based curriculum, “Shine”. Circle of Grace aims to equip our children and young people by arming them with essential knowledge and skills grounded into the richness of our Christian faith. This program helps children and young people to understand their own (and other’s) dignity in mind, body and spirit. What is Circle of Grace? The Christian faith teaches that God has created each of us as unique and special. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are created “male and female in God’s image” and that God saw this as “very good” In that goodness we are meant to respect ourselves and everyone else as persons created and loved by God. Adults assist children and young people to recognize God’s love by helping them to understand that each of us lives and moves in a circle of grace. You can imagine your own circle of grace by putting your arms above your head then circle down in front of your body including side to side. This circle, front to back, holds who you are in your body and through your senses. It holds your very essence in mind, heart, soul and sexuality. Why is it important to help our children understand the Circle of Grace? God intends our relationships in life to be experiences of divine love. Respectful, nurturing, loving relationships increase our understanding of our own value and help us to love others. It is never too early to help children and young people understand how very special they are and how relationships in live are called to be sacred. Understanding this can help them to protect the special person they are and to be respectful of others. Adults, especially parents, as they strive to provide a save and protective environment, hold the responsibility to help children and young people understand and respect their own dignity and that of others. A truly safe and protective environment is one where children and young people recognize when they are safe or unsafe and know how to bring their concerns, fears, and uncertainties to the trusted adults in their lives. How is the Circle of Grace Program different from other protection programs? According to research, one in four girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused by age eighteen. 1 Many protection programs focus on “stranger danger”, however, up to ninety percent (90%) of the time the perpetrator of abuse is known to the child or young person such as a relative or family friend. Circle of Grace goes beyond just protection by helping children and young people understand the sacredness of who they are and how to seek help through their relationships with trusted adults. Please feel free to contact Ruth Boehm at the church, 519-326-6391, if you have questions or want more information.