Ministry Leader Code of Conduct Signature
Please read the following information carefully and scroll down to the end of the page to provide your signature.
Code of Conduct
Metropolitan Community Churches is a beloved community of justice, compassion, and reconciliation. We also seek to be a community of accountability and restoration. We call ourselves to the highest level of professional ethics, especially among our ministry leaders. We strive to hold each other in graceful accountability to authentic, integrated, and embodied ministry with one another and with and among God’s people.
The MCC Director of Formation and Leadership Development has the responsibility for extending nurture to and ensuring accountability by all authorized ministry leaders within MCC. All persons authorized for ministry by MCC are expected to cooperate fully with MCC’s accountability and disciplinary policy, processes, and procedures.
It is the policy of Metropolitan Community Churches that all individuals who are authorized by MCC to provide ministry leadership are to abide by and to be held accountable to the Statement of Ethical Guidelines for ministry leaders in MCC and by the MCC Sexual Misconduct Policy.
For the purpose of this policy, those authorized by MCC to provide ministry leadership is defined as those who are:
- Clergy ordained by MCC;
- Ordained clergy from another denomination who have been granted a license to practice by MCC;
- Registered as In Care with MCC;
- Interim Pastoral Leaders;
- Lay people elected by General Conference; and
- Lay people who are appointed to positions by the Governing Board or Council of Elders.
Ethics of Professional Spiritual Leadership in Metropolitan Community Churches
(aka MCC Ministry Leader Code of Conduct)
All ministry leaders authorized by Metropolitan Community Churches use the guidelines that follow to hold ourselves accountable to each other and to a ministry of integrity. When we fall short, MCC provides systems whereby there is room for discipline and grace. We seek to restore, to rehabilitate and to make restitution whenever possible; to help people escape loneliness, despair, and degradation; and to contribute to the wholeness of the body – where we seek to do no harm, but rather to edify.
We recognize that there are certain violations of our covenant of ministry together. Some behaviors are implicitly illegal and/or immoral, which constitute ethical violations and may result in a judiciary process, the end result of which may be suspension, loss of licensure and/or removal from office. Some behaviors and attitudes are unethical by our standards and compromise our ability to perform and provide ministry. Other behaviors and attitudes harm us and interfere with our ministry and our own efforts toward wholeness. We seek to address these violations honestly within the framework of our commitment to restorative, when possible, rather than retributive justice.
Statement of Ethical Guidelines for Ministry Leaders
- Honesty. Ministry leaders strive to operate on the highest level of trust and integrity, which requires that we act honestly and fairly in our dealings with others. We strive to make all of our communication accurate, honest, and clear. We intentionally avoid misrepresenting the truth or misleading others. We strive to give appropriate credit to the originators of ideas or quotations that we utilize in our written or spoken communication, and will not knowingly present the material of others as our own.
- Confidentiality. Ministry leaders respect the integrity and protect the welfare of individuals as well as the communities we serve. We take seriously our obligation to safeguard information entrusted to us as professional ministers. If there is a legitimate reason for the health and well-being of an individual or the community for us to divulge information that has been shared with us in confidence, we will actively seek permission for this disclosure from the person(s) providing us the information before doing so. We also recognize that it may occasionally be appropriate to disclose confidential information, e.g. if that information pertains to the immediate danger of bodily harm/loss of life or when applicable laws mandate reporting.
- Nonviolence. Ministry leaders respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people and actively work to counter the forces of violence that inflict harm to individuals and communities. Such forms of violence include, but are not limited to, bias or discrimination on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, age, class, nationality, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, and any other characteristic of human diversity. We strive to ensure that our words and deeds do not directly lead to physical, psychological, spiritual, or ritual abuse.
- Responsible Fiscal Management. Ministry leaders strive to be faithful stewards of the resources for which we are given responsibility, including financial resources. We conduct our fiscal affairs with appropriate regard to recognized business and accounting procedures, as well as applicable civil laws. We do not condone theft, fraud, or the misappropriation of church funds or property.
- Sexual Responsibility.Ministry leaders affirm sexuality as a gift from God and strive to honor this gift by conducting our own lives in accordance with responsible, positive sexual ethics and in accordance with the MCC Sexual Misconduct Policy. A positive sexual ethic balances desire within the embodied framework of our emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual selves, while preserving and honoring mutuality and consent.
- Responsible Use of Authority. Ministry leaders strive to use our authority responsibly. We use our professional training, relationships, and practices for the benefit of the people we serve and not to secure unfair personal advantage. We are mindful of the power differential that exists in our relationships with those we serve and supervise, and strive to structure these relationships in mutually respectful, mutually empowering, and non-exploitative ways.
- Professional Services. Ministry leaders respect the various educational and vocational standards, as well as the systems of accreditation, affiliation, and mutual accountability that exist for our own and other professions. Therefore, as ministry leaders, we truthfully represent the facts of our professional qualifications and affiliations, and we limit our own professional practices to those for which we are equipped, authorized, and licensed. Regardless of our professional qualifications, ministry leaders, when acting in the course and scope of their functions and duties for MCC, must limit their activities to Biblically-based counseling or guidance. MCC is not authorized as a provider of psychological, psychiatric or other physical or mental healthcare services. UFMCC clergy allows ministry leaders to provide religiously-based counseling or guidance, not secular services.
- Exercise of Professional Etiquette in Collegial Relationships. Ministry leaders recognize that we do not do ministry on our own and we strive to honor and respect our network of colleagues in MCC. We mutually support our shared ministry by doing no harm through word or deed to the ministries or reputations of other colleagues or churches. We value the highest good of local churches over our own personal ambition or advantage. We commit ourselves to practicing professional courtesy with our colleagues and maintaining clear boundaries with former churches and parishioners. For example, we return to churches we have formerly served only with the invitation/agreement of the current pastor. Additionally, we honor the role of the current pastor in performing rites and sacraments and perform or participate in sacramental functions only with the invitation/agreement of the current pastor.
- Ethical and Responsible Use of Social Media. Understanding that we live in a world that is highly connected by social media and virtual technology, Ministry Leaders seek to maintain appropriate boundaries and behavior in the virtual world as in the physical world. We adhere to safe church practices in our use of digital communication as well as social media and networking sites. We maintain an awareness of best practices for social media as outlined in MCC’s Social Media Guidelines for Clergy and Congregations. We observe the same ethical boundaries and behaviors with regard to former churches or church members as we do in the physical world.
- Commitment to Addiction Recovery. Ministry leaders understand that addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other substances/practices can do us harm, impair our judgment, and seriously interfere with our ability to effectively minister in our communities. We strive for appropriate and responsible use of substances and affirm our intention to seek treatment and recovery for ourselves when necessary.
- Covenant with MCC. Ministry leaders recognize the MCC Bylaws as a reflection of the covenantal relationship that exists between MCC and its members, friends, groups, and affiliated churches. We will honor the Bylaws and will participate and encourage our churches to participate regularly in MCC Network Gatherings and General Conferences as primary avenues for our shared discernment, continuing education/formation, mutual edification, and relationship building.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
Since its founding, UFMCC has offered a counter voice to the sex negativity of Judeo Christian culture. Therefore, the UFMCC Sexual Misconduct Policy must, on the one hand, acknowledge the risk of sexual misconduct, while on the other hand avoid the risk of the disembodiment of leaders who are called to model health and wholeness, including sexual wholeness.
Let it be affirmed that sex is a gift from God. The divine value of sex includes but is not limited to pleasure, procreation, intimate communications, grace, and love. God’s gift of sexuality is to be responsibly embraced by all people, whether partnered or single, lay or clergy. A complete and responsible sexual ethic embraces the beauty of relationships among people of many sexual orientations and gender identities.
A positive sexual ethic balances desire within the embodied framework of our emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual selves, while preserving and honoring mutuality and consent.
Following are some examples of certain behaviors that constitute a sexual misconduct:
- Sexual contact with a minor is sexual misconduct; or
- Sexual abuse or sexual molestation of any person, including but not limited to any sexual involvement or sexual contact with a person who is legally incompetent or in any other way a vulnerable adult; or
- Sexual harassment of any person, including those in relationships in which there is an employment, mentor, or colleague relationship between the persons involved, including but not limited to sexually oriented humor or language; questions or comments about sexual behavior or preference unrelated to employment qualifications; undesired physical contact; inappropriate comments about clothing or physical appearance; or repeated requests for social engagements; or
- Whether clergy or lay, using one’s position of privilege for sexual exploitation is sexual misconduct. A perpetrator who induces another person to undertake or endure a sexual act by serious abuse of that person’s position of dependency on the perpetrator, shall be guilty of sexual exploitation.
- The attempt to develop a sexual relationship with a person with whom s/he has a pastoral or supervisory relationshi
A “pastoral relationship” is defined as a relationship between a clergy person, employee or volunteer and person receiving direct supervision, individual spiritual and/or pastoral counseling and providing confidential and/or privileged information to the clergy person, employee or volunteer.
At times, a clergy person, employee, or pastoral leader may develop an appropriate sexual relationship within the context of UFMCC ministry, including the congregation in which a person is serving, if there has been no direct supervision or individual spiritual counseling. Such relationships are to be entered into with extreme caution and a spirit of discernment.
Clergy in Metropolitan Community Churches are required to affirm this code of conduct with a signature. The following form is offered to clergy as an online option to sign their name electronically.
By completing the form below, you are stating an intent to make the following statement: “With my signature I pledge to uphold the UFMCC Code of Conduct, Sexual Misconduct Policy as printed above on this page.”