Authored by: Tracey Robinson-Harris, Director, Congregational Services Staff Group; Harlan Limpert, Director, District Services Staff Group; Beth Miller,
Director, Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group; John Weston,
What is the challenge? In the absence of Unitarian Universalist
Association recommended guidelines to follow when calling ministers, hiring
professional leaders and church staff, and recruiting volunteers, congregations
and other UUA organizations may be reluctant to conduct warranted screening of
ministers, employees, and volunteers.
Why is the lack of screening a problem? Failure to institute uniform
screening procedures can result in unnecessary risks for vulnerable members of
the UUA community as well as an unnecessary risk of legal liability for
congregations and other UU organizations. Legal liability turns on whether or
not, when a congregation or organization gives a person access to vulnerable
members, it took appropriate steps to protect those members from harm.
How can this problem be addressed? Only by adopting appropriate
screening guidelines and following the procedures they call for will these risks
Who ought to take responsibility for implementing this effort? The
decision to adopt guidelines and the responsibility for implementing them will
be up to the governing board of each congregation, associate member
organization, independent affiliate organization, and related organization, to
each District board, and to the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of
Trustees on behalf of the Association, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the
Religious Education Credentialing Committee, and the Sponsored Organizations.
Although each congregation or organization retains the discretion to adopt or
reject this policy, we urge you to consider the potential ramifications of your
When should this problem be addressed? Before it is time to regret the
failure to act in time.
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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