Close X
  • Home
  • About
  • Ministries
  • Mission
  • Events
  • News
  • Resources
  • X

    Translate

    Close

    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Celebrating Carol Barnes for over 20 years of work with Safe Sanctuaries

    December 16, 2019 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    When Carol Barnes retired from teaching in 2006, she turned to God, pondering and praying about what she was to do next. The answer was Safe Sanctuaries®, primarily trainings. At the time, Carol was in the former Wyoming Conference. When the Wyoming Conference was transitioning to become part of the Upper New York (UNY) Conference in 2010-2011, Carol was selected as the Training Coordinator and Manager of Safe Sanctuaries for the UNY Conference.

    Carol’s work with Safe Sanctuaries began long before she retired from teaching. She had begun Safe-Sanctuaries-related work in 1997, one year after the United Methodist General Conference in Denver, CO, where a resolution was adopted aiming to reduce the risk of child abuse in the Church.

    Carol worked closely with Matt Williams, Director of Sky Lake Camp and Retreat Center, on developing the curriculum for Safe Sanctuaries. Carol said, “Matt Williams and I worked together on former Wyoming Conference Safe Sanctuaries and we chose to continue to work together as the ‘training team’ in Upper New York. I think about the times I traveled East on Route 17 to Sky Lake and we would work together brainstorming and planning what would become Upper New York’s Safe Sanctuaries training program. My role as training coordinator and manager evolved from that initial work. For me this was the natural progression and a ‘calling.’ Matt and I continue to work together and have co-facilitated most of the Training of Trainers opportunities that have been provided since the fall of 2012.”

    The Safe Sanctuaries Team establishes minimum standards and procedures, provides training programs, and assists local churches and Conference ministry programs in reducing the risk of abuse to children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Click here for more information on Safe Sanctuaries.

    Hundreds of individuals in UNY have taken the Safe Sanctuaries training and well over 150 people have become Safe Sanctuaries trainers through a Training for Trainers that Carol and Matt have developed.

    Carol explained that UNY’s Safe Sanctuaries training is rather unique; the attendees in the three-hour training break into small groups and complete activities at six learning stations. Carol said, “Matt and I have developed a training that is low-technology and high-interaction based. The individuals in each training learn from each other.”

    Carol’s style of training has been commended by those who have participated.

    Betsy Schuessler, the UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries Executive Assistant, has taken the Safe Sanctuaries training and has also been trained as a trainer.

    She said, “Carol is a dedicated servant who possesses a breadth of knowledge about Safe Sanctuaries issues. She has been diligent and creative in leading and working with the Safe Sanctuaries team to create the hands-on training that is now available.  When I went through the Safe Sanctuaries initial training and The Training of Trainers, I took note of how Carol cares enough to ensure that those participating understood the level of responsibility given by our churches and the level of trust given by parents and guardians. She cares that all, especially those who are vulnerable within our ministries, their families, and those volunteering and working with those populations are assured a safe place to experience, learn about, and grow in the love of God and their relationship with God.”

    Safe Sanctuaries trainer Brandilynne Craver said, “Adjectives that immediately come to mind when I consider Carol Barnes are: committed, Christ-centered, courageous, creative, thorough, thoughtful, encouraging, innovative, gracious, and selfless. I am truly grateful for Carol who has been both a mentor and friend.”

    Safe Sanctuaries trainer Bonnie LeValley said, “Carol Barnes has given herself tirelessly over these many years to ensure a safe and holy environment within the churches of the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  As we have worked together in District events, Carol has listened to concerns from individuals and trained a team of disciples to care for the children, youth, and vulnerable adults in our Annual Conference. Her passion has been a shining light that others must carry forth as we seek to expand God’s kingdom protecting all God’s children.”

    In addition to managing the trainers and teaching the trainings, Carol has led the Safe Sanctuaries team for eight years. Judy Campany, the UNY Connectional Ministries Administrative Assistant, has worked closely with Carol over the past few years. Judy said, “To manage a team and all the trainers is a multiple-person task that Carol Barnes has done on her own. She is a one-person phenomenon.”

    Speaking of Carol’s dedication, Judy continued, “Carol is consistently pleasant, knowledgeable, and attentive. Her devotion and her passion to Safe Sanctuaries is absolutely incredible.”              

    Carol’s term on Safe Sanctuaries ends at the end of June 2020 after which Carol hopes to still be leading some of the trainings of trainers in addition to whatever else God calls her to do. She said, “This gives me a wonderful opportunity and time to ponder and pray about what’s next.”

    We celebrate Carol’s many years leading Safe Sanctuaries.

    Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, UNY’s Assistant to the Bishop and the Director of Connectional Ministries, said, “Carol is an amazing Christ-following servant; she has been since the first days of the Conference. She has been the brains, the voice, and the heart of our Safe Sanctuaries ministry. I’m so grateful for her.”


    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."