Central Circuit in Allendale Safe Sanctuaries training spreads awareness

By Cheryl Banks-Murdock

KLINE—Central Circuit Charge (Simpson, New Hope and Union United Methodist churches) hosted a Safe Sanctuary Training in the Walterboro District on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Union UMC.

Pastor Lisa Way was the facilitator of this event, and Way joined Lt. Eric Kirkland, Cheryl Murdock and Hilary Hindman with presentations at the event.

Kirkland is employed with the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office, and his main job is to speak to faith-based institutions. He provided the charge with active shooter training and information on best practices for protecting themselves and each other, what persons counting money should do to protect themselves, the importance of having a plan in place, what to do in a hostage situation and what the sheriff’s office will do when they enter the scene to ensure they protect and serve all.

Kirkland will return at a later date to do the second part of this training.

Murdock, from the Axis 1 Center in Barnwell County, was the Darkness to Light facilitator. She began her presentation with an impactful and eye-opening short video on people sharing their stories of molestation and rape while growing up and how it affected their lives. The video showed the congregation how children could be affected by such events without their knowledge because we sometimes do not communicate. These survivors detailed how they attempted to share their stories but never felt heard by those they attempted to share them with. The survivors were of diverse ages, gender and ethnicity. Murdock discussed the importance of keeping the lines of communication open with children. She also shared the current data on child abuse cases in Barnwell County.

Hindman, from the Axis 1 Center in Barnwell, gave an insightful presentation on vaping, edibles, alcohol and drugs. Her presentation highlighted the effects of alcohol and drugs on the brain and the damage it causes to the body. She showed different vapes and edibles to the participants and how these items are made in brightly colored packaging and look like everyday candy we buy for our children. She showed how these items are made to target our children. The vapes look like jump drives or pens, and the edibles come in packaging like popular children’s candy. Many participants said they had little to no knowledge of vapes or edibles, and if they saw them in their children’s room, they would not suspect anything.

Way is a Safe Sanctuary trainer in the Walterboro District and conducted the training requirements outlined by the South Carolina Annual Conference for best practices in keeping a sanctuary safe when working with youth and vulnerable adults. She expressed the importance of having policies to prevent the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and having a plan in place when an allegation occurs to handle the incident without further harm safely.

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