Living the Sacred Trust: Clergy Sexual Ethics
This manual has been developed and revised as a tool and resource to assist bishops, cabinets, and boards of ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church in their work of maintaining order and trust within our denomination.
Our church, the body of Christ, exists for worship, for training of individuals in the faith, and as a launching point to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to a hurting world. It is therefore a place in which people are invited to open their hearts and souls to growth and vulnerability. All adults in our churches, and especially our clergy, are bound by a sacred trust to care for, respect, and protect all who come to be part of our holy work. How tragic it is when someone entrusted with such a holy privilege violates another human being and robs him or her of that trust. The tragedy is greater when the church and its leadership fail to protect the helpless, or to make a just and timely response to that offense. Without such a response those who have been so wounded cannot begin to heal.
This manual is meant to provide insights, recommendations, and other material that is both practical and theoretical. It is not meant to serve as a legal document, or as a legal interpretation of the law. Please refer to the General Counsel of the General Council on Finance and Administration for legal opinions and advice for our church.
These files are PDFs and can be opened with Acrobat Reader. As sections are reviewed and updated, they will be available on this page.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Guidelines for conference policies, educational procedures, care for victims of clergy misconduct in particular, and sexual misconduct by any adult in general
Material about the theory concerning sexual theology, and ways to create a healthier “ethos” for the church surrounding sexuality
Material regarding experiential dimensions of clergy misconduct