Ethics in Congregational Life Program
Welcome to the web pages for the Office of Congregational Ethics and Safety. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for resources and information about safe congregations, covenants, disruptive behavior, right relations, professional misconduct (ministers as well as other religious professionals) including information about complaint procedures, disaster trauma response, and other concerns regarding ethics and safety. Below are links to resources, followed by additional important information about safe congregations.
- Process for handling Complaints of Professional Misconduct
- Addictions Ministry
- Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sexual Ethics Closing Words
- General Assembly 2008 Workshop: Boundaries and Healthy Congregational Work Environments
- Consider creating a Covenant of Right Relations
- Dealing with Disruptive Behaviors
- Trauma Response Resources for Families and Congregations
- Handling Trauma in the Aftermath of Disaster
- Our Whole Lives: sexuality education
- When hiring or recruiting volunteers and staff, don't forget Responsible Staffing practices
- Restorative Justice: a response and ministry to victims/survivors of clergy sexual misconduct—only we can make justice, only we can transform our faith
- Anti-racism and Anti-oppression work is integral to living in right relations in your community
- Beyond the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA): connections to other organizations regarding safety and ethics in the congregational setting
- Church Mutual Insurance Company has an extensive section on church Safety.
- Additional Safety Resources and Reports
District staff are available to consult with congregational leaders, ministers, religious educators about issues of sexual misconduct and boundary violations. Many districts have Safe Congregations Teams to help Unitarian Universalist congregations build safer communities by addressing issues of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Some teams conduct workshops for district meetings and annual religious education conferences. Contact your district office for further information.
The Safe Congregation Handbook: Nurturing Healthy Boundaries in our Faith Communities
Newly online effective November 2010, the Safe Congregation Handbook is an excellent resource for nurturing healthy boundaries in faith communities, with clear guidelines, principles, policies, tools and workshops to help congregations create an environment that is safer and more secure for both children and adults
Balancing Acts: Interactive Online Safe Congregations Resource
Balancing Acts, the interactive online resource educates congregational leaders on developing a safe congregation policy with a focus on the safety of children and how to prepare for the possibility of a sexual offender in the congregational community. The 2½-hour, free course of study is based on Balancing Acts—Keeping Children Safe in Congregations, a resource written for the UUA and available as an online resource since 2005. It is fair to say that the feedback from those taking this UUA online course has been overwhelmingly positive. Of those who took the post test, the average grade was 86%, indicating that the self-paced course is well-organized and communicating the essential points of creating safe congregations policies.
About the The Office of Ethics and Safety
The Office of Ethics and Safety develops and makes available to congregational leaders education, training, and other resources and services. The goals of this program are to support leaders in creating safer space within their congregations, encourage right relations among persons who are part of the congregation, and endorse just relations between the congregation and the larger community of which it is a part. The conflict management component of this program will provide additional support and resources to our districts in their support of congregations and find an appropriate role for the UUA in direct service, developing resources and delivery systems as needed.
For more information contact safecongregations @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Friday, April 22, 2011.
- Keeping Children Safe
- Professional Misconduct
- Safe Congregation Handbook
- Responsible Staffing
- Crisis Planning
- Trauma Response
- Building Security
- Conflict Management
- Covenant of Right Relations
- Ethics in Congregational Life Program
- Sexually Healthy Faith Communities
- Disruptive Behavior Policies
- Resources and Reports
- Beyond the UUA
- Closing Words