New address: 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409.
We recommend that all Unitarian Universalist institutions—congregations,
Districts, Sponsored Organizations, and the UUA itself—adopt the following
guidelines when calling ministers, hiring professional religious leaders and
staff, and recruiting volunteers whose work will put them in close contact with
children and persons in vulnerable circumstances. We further recommend that the
governing board of each institution hold its search, nominating, recommending,
credentialing, and hiring bodies (hereafter “committees”), including the UUA
Ministerial Fellowship Committee and the Religious Educator Credentialing
Committee (hereafter “committees”), accountable for installing procedures in
accordance with these policies:
We recommend the following agencies from which to obtain
The following agencies provide extensive information on their
services on line, including the ability to order services online:
There will be occasions—may they be rare!—when the
results of the criminal conviction check rule the person out of consideration.
The temptation at this point may be to tell a “white lie,” so as to avoid the
difficult conversation that must take place. Don’t succumb! As theologian
Langdon Gilkey was fond of saying, “Religion is where we deal with the
negativities.” In dealing with the negativities sensitively, even tenderly,
while no less firmly, we affirm ourselves and our faith communities as both compassionate and responsible. Living, as we must, in the
world as we find it, sometimes the best we can hope for is an environment in
which misbehavior is named, consequences exacted, rehabilitation encouraged, and
recovery respected, and in which covenants are authentic compounds of realism,
respect, and redemption.
We recommend that the UUA negotiate with a provider a variety of “UUA
background check packages” for the various congregational positions, and that it
maintain online links to the recommended agencies on UUA.org. The intent is to
make the background check relatively easy to carry out and reasonable in price
to help congregations ensure they are taking appropriate steps to protect
children, youth, and vulnerable adults in their congregation and ensure
the healthy functioning of the congregation at large. It is important to
remember that these recommendations are not intended to serve as the maximum
level of screening or review for potential employees or volunteers. Each
organization must take responsibility for determining appropriate screening and
hiring practices according to their unique circumstances in support of their UU
mission. Once a hiring decision is made it is also important that appropriate
policies be adopted to minimize the potential for harm and that appropriate
supervision and oversight of all operations and individuals in ongoing.
For more information contact web @ 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.
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