Sexual Ethics for Clergy and Lay Pastoral Leaders


BACKGROUND: In 2008, the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference adopted the Sexual Ethics Policy for Clergy. The 2022 Annual Conference passed a set of changes for the annual ethics requirements related to this policy. There are now two biennial requirements (a signed disclosure form and a criminal background check), occurring every odd-numbered year. The third requirement (participation in a Healthy Boundaries Workshop) also happens every two years; the single, quadrennial training will be cut in two, with a different half offered every other year. The Board of Ordained Ministry is assigned responsibility for these requirements, working with the district offices.

THE POLICY: The Sexual Ethics Policy for Clergy and Lay Pastoral Leaders is printed annually (2022 Conference Journal, pages 42-47--Chapter 3 in the digital version; find the 2021 Policy in Spanish here: Código de Ética Sexual del Clero en Español aquí.

THE REQUIREMENTS: To be in full compliance with the policy, the following three tasks must be completed:

  • Complete the Biennial Disclosure Form in May of 2023 (and every two years following).
  • Undergo a criminal background and records check in May of 2023 (and every two years following).
  • Attend a Healthy Boundary Workshop once per quadrennium (before Dec. 31, 2024)
  • Rellenar el formulario de divulgación bienal en mayo de 2023 (y cada dos años siguientes).
  • Someterse a una comprobación de antecedentes penales y registros en mayo de 2023 (y cada dos años siguientes).
  • Asistir a un taller de límites saludables una vez por cuatrienio (antes del 31 de diciembre de 2024)

Because the ethics policy was amended in the middle of the quadrennium, the quadrennial Healthy Boundaries requirement will not change until 2025. The current Healthy Boundaries requirement is still in effect. 

WHO:

  • All clergy members (as defined by the current Book of Discipline) of the Oregon-Idaho Conference
  • All Honorably Located clergy listed on Oregon-Idaho's current Business of the Annual Conference Report under questions 39 and 40.
  • Any non-member clergy person currently serving under appointment by the Oregon-Idaho bishop
  • All Certified Lay Ministers
  • All Oregon-Idaho Diaconal Ministers and Deaconesses/Home Missioners
  • Any layperson assigned by the district superintendent to a pastoral role

  •  

Clergy on medical leave have the option of delaying completion the workshop until their leave is over. However, all tasks will need to be completed before return to any other conference status.

If a person residing in Oregon-Idaho is in a ministerial leadership role but is not covered in any category above, at the discretion of the district superintendent, that person may be included in these requirements.


HEALTHY BOUNDARY WORKSHOP INFORMATION

OR-ID Healthy Boundaries Workshops. The challenges of the covid-19 pandemic, including timing issues impacting the definition of the current quadrennium, have led the Board of Ordained Ministry to authorize online courses to meet the Healthy Boundaries requirements for 2021-2024. The Board's primary recommendation is the online course offered by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, “Understanding Clergy Sexual Ethics.” If you have already taken this course, you may take Maintaining Boundaries in a Digital Age.” Upon completion of either course, you will be given a certificate of completion to submit. Cost of each course is $49. Both of these courses are completely online, and can be taken any time, based on your own schedule.

We are continuing to search for a Healthy Boundaries course in Spanish but currently the only trainings we have found are in English. | Seguimos buscando un curso de Límites Saludables en español, pero actualmente las únicas formaciones que hemos encontrado son en inglés.

Additional options available:

  • If you live outside of the OR-ID Annual Conference, you may seek out and take a Healthy Boundaries workshop or the equivalent offered by the UM Annual Conference where you live. You will need to submit documentation to the BOM which shows you attended this workshop and an outline of the course.

  • If you prefer a more in-depth study, you may take Healthy Boundaries 101, a 5-week, online class from the FaithTrust Institute founded by Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune.

  • We will keep this site updated with other options as they are available.

All workshops and classes are eligible for reimbursement through the Ministerial Education Fund.   


Deferment or Exemption

Exemptions will only be granted to clergy who are no longer performing any ministerial duties. If your status is medical leave, honorable location, or retired, you may request deferment or exemption from the Bishop and your District Superintendent using the forms below. You can also contact your District office or Bishop’s office to obtain an application by mail. 

This is a significant decision because you will agree to “not perform any functions of the ministerial office” while under the deferment or exemption. Carefully read the request and agreement before you exercise this option.


Looking for the 2021 ethics requirements? For those who are new to the annual conference or are not yet in compliance with the sexual ethics requirements, see this page for information and links.


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