March 28, 2022
We are assuming that most of you have heard about recent events that have taken place at Northridge Church in Owatonna, specifically the charges of criminal sexual conduct by a staff member, and their leadership and the denomination’s mishandling of the situation. It is a tragic situation, and our heart breaks for those who have been hurt by the actions of an individual, and how the church’s leadership responded. They, and the members of that church, are within our prayers.
This has prompted the Trinity congregational council to highlight the policies and procedures that we have in place to avoid these potential issues from occurring at Trinity. While we are very different in structure and administration from Northridge Church, we want our congregation to know and understand the steps we take to ensure that something like this does not happen here.
At Trinity, all staff and anyone who works with children, youth and vulnerable adults are required to complete a background check, processed by a third party. This is our policy. The background checks of volunteers are repeated every 3 years. All of Trinity’s rostered leaders (pastors and deacons) are also required to participate in a boundary training every 3 years by the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA as well. And all rostered leaders in calls in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), including Trinity’s pastoral team, have gone through a more rigorous criminal and work history background check. We also do training with the rest of our staff as to appropriate relationships and boundaries.
In addition, it is our practice that there are always at least two adult leaders present whenever they are with our young people.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for any type of abuse by pastors in the ELCA and staff of congregations. If there is any proven abuse in a person’s history, they are not allowed to work in an ELCA congregation. We take every good and feasible step that we can to guard against abuse of any person within Trinity’s congregation and ministries.
If you have any questions or need support, please reach out to any of the pastors, staff or congregational council members. As an alternative, you can always call our Bishop, Regina Hassanally, at 507.280.9457 if you would rather speak with someone from outside of the Trinity community.
We are committed to the safety and well-being and faith of all we come in to contact with. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact Pastor Todd at 507.451.4520.
Trinity’s Congregational Council
- Gwen Lysne, President
- Doug Wanous, Vice President
- Kim Wencl, Secretary
- Laura Blahoslky
- John Eickhoff
- Cathy Harris
- Marla Holt
- Wes McMains
- Carter Strawmatt
Trinity’s Pastoral Team
- Pastor Todd
- Pastor Amanda
- Deacon Kris
And the rest of the Trinity staff