Clergy background checks are conducted through Oxford Document Management Company by the diocese when there is a new priest called to serve a congregation.The results are sent to the diocese for the bishop’s review. The diocese pays the bill up front and invoices the congregation for which the background check was conducted.

For lay employees, Oxfords are not traditionally ordered unless there’s a specific reason: think high-level risk groups here like Executive Director of a daycare or preschool. For the rest, we advise the checks be done locally, that is not through Oxford, but by using vendors such as Secure Search or Praesidium. Additional options for checking backgrounds: Maine Sex Offender Registry (free), Maine Driver Record Check ($7), Maine Criminal Background Check ($31) and the National Sex Offender Registry (free). The congregation pays for any lay employee background screening conducted. In addition to the search, you can also ask your lay employee for a letter or two of recommendation from a substantial source.

If you turn up any red flags, priests or wardens can be in touch with the diocesan office (Cn. Tina Pickering) to strategize about next steps.

As the information may come in at different times, it is prudent to tell the new hire (including clergy) that employment is contingent upon the successful completion of the background check process.