Background Checks


Safe Gatherings team  
Questions about NEAC policy?
Contact the Episcopal Office

New England Conference policy requires that pastors serving  in all categories of conference relationship — including Certified Lay Ministers and Lay Supply Pastors —  successfully complete a national criminal background check. Failure to complete the background check will jeopardize an appointment.  

As part of our Conference's commitment to the safety and wellbeing of everyone we serve, we are providing information on Safe Gatherings as a resource for pastors.

Safe Gatherings is an online abuse-prevention program that screens and educates pastors, staff, and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth, and vulnerable adults in group settings. When individuals are screened and trained, they are able to identify potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse, and know how to handle reporting. They are also better equipped to prevent abuse. 


Upon successful completion of the Safe Gatherings application, background and reference checks, and online training program, each applicant will receive documentation of Safe Gatherings approval for 3 years.  

New England Conference policy requires an updated criminal background check every 7 years. Your Safe Gatherings approval expires after 3 years. At that time, you will receive an email reminder with the option to maintain the continuity of your Safe Gatherings approval or wait until the 7-year anniversary of your background check. In that reminder, there will be a link for you to access the online process.


The price per applicant  is $47* for clergy; $39* for laity

NOTE: *Some counties in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will have a higher cost based on those counties' background check costs.
Contact Safe Gatherings for more information about rates.

The cost includes:

  • processing of two electronic references
  • a national and multi-county-of-residence 7-year background check
  • national and state-of-residence Sex Offender Registry check
  • 1.5-hour online abuse prevention and boundary awareness training 

Background Check

When you follow the link to get started, you will need to select the following.

*NOTE: Other than the language preference, you should complete the information exactly as shown here — regardless of your denomination or where you serve.

  • Language Preference (English or Spanish)
  • Type of Organization* Enter: Church or faith-based organization  (Do NOT enter your church/organization)
  • Denomination* Enter: Methodist (Everyone should enter Methodist, regardless of your denomination)
  • State* Enter: Massachusetts (Everyone should enter Massachusetts, regardless of where you live or serve)
  • Unique organization name* Enter: Clergy

See an example of how to complete this portion

 Click here to start the Safe Gatherings process


You can login to your account at any time to check the status of your application.
Click here to login to your Safe Gatherings application (after you have completed your registration)