Creating Sexually Safer Congregations
A sexually healthy and responsible congregation is free from sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. Congregations need explicit policies and procedures to keep children, youth, and vulnerable adults safe from abuse and harassment; strong codes of conduct for religious professionals, and safeguards for congregants who have been accused or convicted of sexual offenses.
A safer congregation policy is the work of the entire congregation and touches on all aspects of congregational life. The resources below are meant to help guide your congregation through the process of evaluating and/or updating a current policy and creating a policy if none exists currently.
The Religious Institute has partnered with the Unitarian Universalist Association in offering these resources.
- Sexually Safer Best Practice Initiative The UUA is partnering with the Religious Institute to help Unitarian Universalist congregations adopt and implement policies and procedures for sexual safety. The Religious Institute has created a list of the most the most important policies and practices that every congregation –regardless of size, theology, location, or demographic composition – – should have in place. Congregations that achieve at least three quarters of the policies and practices can be publicly designated as Sexually Safer Best Practice Congregations and display the seal. Watch the short videos to learn how your congregation can become a Sexually Safer Best Practice Congregation.
- Assessing Sexual Health: An Online Guide for UUA Congregations
Developed by the Rev. Debra Haffner of the Religious Institute, and an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, this new online congregational tool developed specifically for Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith communities identifies 9 building blocks of a sexually healthy congregation. Any congregation can use this new guide to discern ways to better promote the integration of sexuality and spirituality in worship, preaching, pastoral care, children, youth, and adult religious education, and social action programs in the community. Specific checklists also address safe congregations and welcoming policies and programs. This tool can be used by the ministerial and/or lay leadership of the congregation to identify both the strengths and areas where there is a need for improvement on sexuality issues and to develop a plan for improving the sexual health of our congregations.