The Congregation for Sacred Practices believes that at the core of our work lies ethical and caring relationships. This is why every Minister who has gone through our extensive training program and is listed on our Minister Directory, be deeply steeped in ethics and be required to read and sign our code of ethics. We take ethics violations very seriously and have devised a committee that handles any cases that might need review. Below you will find the code of ethics and explanation of our process.
Read our Code of Ethics
Table of Contents
Part One: The Code
2. Responsibility to Members
4. Competence, Integrity & Self-Awareness
5. Responsibility to Colleagues, the Congregation, and the Community
6. Financial Arrangements
7. Handling of the Sacramental Materials
Part Two: The Grievance Process
1. Statement of Purpose
2. Ethics Council
3. Description of the Grievance Process
Part One: The Code
Ethics protect and support relationships. Ethical practice begins with a minister’s awareness and understanding of social, cultural, historical, and psychological influences and requires relational intelligence, sensitivity, and respect. While this Code cannot guide the more nuanced, qualitative aspects of ministerial relationships, it can provide a foundation for the cultivation of shared values and principles and standards of practice for facilitating ceremonial work and spiritual practice. In the face of uncertainty and complexity, an ethical code helps us make more sound and wise choices, supported by self-reflection and dialogue.
This Code seeks to be both inspirational and proscriptive in support of formal Minister-Member relationships. The code is inspirational in the support of your own maturation of your own ethical process. Proscriptive by stating clearly what behaviors are beyond the boundaries of the ethical conduct of Ministers.
A ministerial relationship exists when a member of the Congregation approaches a minister, the minister offers spiritual direction/pastoral counseling sessions, the member signs a Membership Agreement and Release of Liability, and the member offers a donation to the minister or the Congregation for the minister’s services. A ministerial relationship does not have to include ceremonial work or practices that access non-ordinary consciousness.
A ceremonial relationship exists when the member, having signed a Membership Agreement and Release of Liability, requests the minister to guide and support practices that access non-ordinary consciousness. Ceremonial practices are both an art and a science. They are varied in their traditions, approaches, techniques, modalities, and methods of delivery.
The Ministers role in working with a member is to support the member in their own path toward Awakening. Awakening, for purposes of this document, is defined as a movement toward present awareness, higher consciousness, deeper internal sensitivity, transcendence, or spiritual expansion.
These ethical standards are to be read, understood, and utilized as a guide for ethical behavior for all ministerial and ceremonial relationships. Informal relationships, such as ministers supporting friends and family or practicing with other ministers are special relationships that the minister will have to support by adapting the relevant ethical guidelines.
The general principles contained in this code of conduct are also used as a basis for the resolution of ethical issues and/or complaints that may arise. Ethical behavior must satisfy not only the judgment of individual ministers, but also the judgment of their peers, based upon a set of recognized norms.
This code recognizes that the development of standards is an ongoing process, and that every conceivable situation that may occur cannot be expressly covered by any set of standards. The absence of a specific prohibition against a particular kind of conduct does not mean that such conduct is either ethical or unethical. While the specific wording of these standards is important, the spirit and intent of the principles should be taken into consideration by those utilizing or interpreting this code.
This Code has been developed with the individual Minister, individual Member, and the Congregation for Sacred Practices in mind. In this Code, the Congregation for Sacred Practices includes the following roles: Ministers, Associate Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Faculty, Mentors, Ceremony Assistants, Ceremonial Members, and Community Members of the Congregation. Given the range of activities that Ministers can be engaged with, it seeks to not only support the ethical maturation of the individual Minister but also the safety of the Congregation as a whole. It is important for all Ministers to remember that the unethical behavior not only has an impact on the member and the minister but also on the Congregation for Sacred Practices and the wider entheogenic community.
Potentially unethical behavior as defined by these standards may be brought to the attention of the Ethics Council by ministers or members, in writing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Responsibility to Members
Ministers, as stewards of Awakening, first and foremost act in the best interest of the Congregation’s members. Ministers respect the autonomy and dignity of each person seeking their assistance, and make reasonable efforts to ensure that their knowledge and services are used appropriately. During practices with non-ordinary states of consciousness, members may be especially open to suggestion, manipulation, and exploitation; therefore, Ministers pledge to protect members and not to allow anyone to use that vulnerability in ways that harm members or others. Ministers practice openness and respect towards people whose beliefs are in apparent contradiction to their own, and strive to be aware of how their own belief systems, values, needs, education, culturally conditioned position, and limitations affect their work.
Member AUTONOMY: Ministers respect the right of members to make decisions and help them to understand and clarify the consequences of their decisions. Ministers refrain from cultivating dependency on their knowledge and services and serve the member in the member’s explorations of Awakening.
INFORMED CONSENT: Before any practice, Ministers require informed consent from member(s). The informed consent of the member(s) must be voluntary and given individually by member(s) while in an ordinary state of consciousness. Disclosure shall include, at a minimum, discussion of any elements of the practice that could reasonably be seen as presenting physical, psychological, or spiritual risks. In particular, a member must understand that expanded states of consciousness can be challenging and dramatically transformative. Before offering to offer sacraments to a member, Ministers perform a thorough intake including coming to a sufficient understanding of a Member’s psychological and medical condition. Ministers receive consent to the most important aspects of working in expanded states in writing either through the Congregation’s electronic platform or some other written means. Ministers do not offer medicine sacraments to Members unless and until they have signed the Membership Agreement and Release of Liability as well as completed the Congregation’s Intake Form.
Member SUPPORT: Ministers do not offer ceremonial services to members who do not have adequate social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual support. Ministers are responsible for assessing the support structures of a member before offering to guide any sacramental work.
NON-DISCRIMINATION: Ministers are committed to encouraging inclusion, and respecting diversity as it is expressed within a member’s background, and unique ways of healing. Ministers do not refuse their service to anyone on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, diagnosis, socioeconomic, or marital status unless a member’s identity or diagnosis is outside the scope of competence of the Minister. Ministers make reasonable efforts to accommodate members who have physical disabilities. If a Minister is not equipped, trained, or competent to work with a specific member, the Minister seeks supervision to determine the best course of action for the member.
CULTURAL SENSITIVITY: Ministers actively strive to identify and understand the cultural backgrounds, historical and social contexts of a member by gaining knowledge, personal awareness, and developing sensitivity and skills pertinent to working with a diverse population. Ministers strive to identify and understand their own potential cultural biases and how their own culturally conditioned positioning might affect the relationship with a member. Ministers acknowledge the limits of their cultural understanding and refer out to other ministers or providers where appropriate. Ministers aim to collaborate with a diverse range of practitioners.
DUAL/MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIPS-DEFINITION: A dual relationship occurs when a Minister and a member engage in a separate and distinct relationship either simultaneously with the ministerial relationship, or during a reasonable period of time following the termination of the ministerial relationship.
DUAL/MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIPS: Ministers privilege the relationship with the member at all times. Ministers are aware of their influential position with respect to a member, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of the member. Not all dual/multiple relationships are unethical, and some dual/multiple relationships cannot be avoided. When a concurrent or subsequent dual/multiple relationship occurs, Ministers take appropriate precautions to ensure that judgment is not impaired and that no exploitation occurs. Ministers, at a minimum, inform their mentor or faculty of the existence of a dual relationship and seek support on planning for possible challenges.
FAMILY UNIT/CONFLICTS: When supporting couples and/or a family unit(s), Ministers carefully consider the potential conflict that may arise between the family unit(s) and each individual. Ministers clarify, at the commencement, which person or persons are a Member and the nature of the relationship(s) the Minister will have with each person involved in the work.
UNETHICAL DUAL/MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIPS: Ministers avoid dual relationships with Members that are reasonably likely to impair their judgment or lead to exploitation. Acts that would result in unethical dual relationships include, but are not limited to, borrowing money from a Member, lending money to a Member, hiring a Member for personal work, or engaging in a close personal relationship with a Member. Such acts with a Member’s spouse, partner, or family member may also be considered unethical dual relationships.
TOUCH: Touch can be a very important modality for healing. Ministers only touch a member after they have received affirmative verbal consent in ordinary consciousness in advance of expanded consciousness, when it is in the best interest of the member, and when touch is within their scope of competence.
SEXUAL CONTACT: Sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or sexual intimacy with a Member during ordinary or non-ordinary consciousness is unethical.
SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP: Ministers do not engage in sexual intercourse, sexual contact or sexual intimacy with a member, or a member’s spouse or partner, or immediate family member, during the congregational membership or at any point after termination.
PRIOR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP: Ministers will seek initial ongoing supervision if they are considering starting a ministerial relationship with a person with whom they have had a sexual relationship or with a partner or the immediate family member of a person with whom they have had a sexual relationship.
DISRUPTION: Ministers are aware of their professional, clinical, and spiritual responsibilities to provide consistent care to members and maintain practices and procedures that assure undisrupted care. Such practices and procedures may include, but are not limited to, providing contact information and specified processes in case of emergency or minister absence, conducting appropriate terminations, and providing for a professional will.
TERMINATION: Ministers use sound judgment when terminating ministerial and/or ceremonial relationships and do so in an appropriate manner. Reasons for termination may include, but are not limited to, a member is not benefiting; continuing work is not appropriate; the Minister is unable to provide treatment due to the Minister’s incapacity or extended absence, a member has medical issues that preclude working with a Minister’s specific practices, or in order to avoid an ethical conflict or problem. Ministers shall document reasons for termination as well as any observations during discussion of termination of a specific ministerial relationship.
ABANDONMENT: Ministers do not abandon or neglect members with whom they have a ministerial and/or ceremonial relationship. If a Minister is unable or unwilling to continue to provide services, the Minister will assist a member in making appropriate arrangements for continuity of support.
FINANCIAL GAIN: Ministers do not maintain ministerial or ceremonial relationships solely for financial gain.
NON-PAYMENT OF PLEDGES AND DONATIONS: Ministers do not terminate Member relationships for non-payment of pledges or donations except where the termination is handled in an appropriate way.
Member CHOICES: Ministers respect a member’s choices and work jointly with members to develop and review plans that are consistent with a member’s goals and that offer a reasonable likelihood of Member benefit. Where appropriate, Ministers refer Members to other ministers or practitioners that may benefit a member’s process. Ministers do not foster dependency through neglecting to inform members of other possibly beneficial practices or practitioners.
ELECTRONIC THERAPY: When members are not physically present (e.g., sessions by telephone or Internet) during the provision of ministerial services, Ministers take extra precautions to meet their responsibilities to the Member. Prior to utilizing electronic communication, Ministers consider the appropriateness and suitability of this modality to the Member’s needs. When ministerial care occurs by electronic means, Ministers inform members of the potential risks, consequences, and benefits, including but not limited to, issues of confidentiality, transmission difficulties, and ability to respond to emergencies.
PRACTICE AGREEMENT: Ministers provide adequate information to members about their practice policies and procedures in clear and understandable language so that Member can make meaningful decisions. Ministers respect the right of the member to choose whether to enter into or remain in a ministerial or ceremonial relationship. Practice Agreements are presented in writing either through the Congregation’s electronic platform or some other means.
EMERGENCIES/CONTACT BETWEEN SESSIONS AND CEREMONIES: Ministers inform members of the extent of their availability for emergencies and for other contacts between sessions. When Ministers are not located in the same geographic area as the Member, they shall provide the Member with appropriate resources in the Member’s locale for contact in case of emergency.
DISCLOSURE: Where a Minister’s personal values, attitudes, and/or beliefs are a determinative factor in diagnosing or limiting practices provided to a member, the Minister shall disclose such information to the member.
RISKS AND BENEFITS: To the best of their ability, Ministers inform members of the potential risks and benefits of a ceremonial practices when utilizing novel or experimental or primary spiritual techniques to access non-ordinary consciousness or when there is a risk of harm that could result from the utilization of any practice.
CONSENT FOR RECORDING/OBSERVATION: Ministers obtain informed consent, ideally in writing, from a member before videotaping, audio recording, or permitting third party observation. Informed consent depends on the member’s agreeing with the purpose of the recording or observation, and the later disposition of any recordings.
LIMITS OF CONFIDENTIALITY: Ministers inform members as to certain exceptions to confidentiality. In the event that a Minister becomes aware of issues such as child abuse, elder and dependent adult abuse, or if the Member is dangerous to themselves or others, they are encouraged to seek immediate consultation/supervision. If a minister is licensed by another accrediting body with must report requirements, that body’s ethical guidelines must be adhered to.
MINISTER BACKGROUND: Ministers are encouraged to inform Member at an appropriate time and within the context of the ministerial relationship of their experience, education, training, specialties, spiritual orientation, theoretical orientation, and any other information deemed appropriate by the Minister.
EXPLOITATION: Ministers do not use their working relationships with members to further their own interests and, aware of their power position, do not exert undue influence on members.
EMPLOYMENT AND CONTRACTUAL TERMINATIONS: When terminating employment or contractual relationships, Ministers primarily consider the best interests of the employee or contractor when resolving issues of continued responsibility for employee or contractor care.
CONSULTATION: When appropriate, Ministers consult, collaborate with, and refer to physicians, psychologists, other health care professionals, and community resources in order to improve and protect the health and welfare of the Member.
ALTERNATIVES: Ministers discuss appropriate alternatives with members. Ministers do not limit their discussions of alternatives to what the Minister is able to provide. Ministers will refer members to alternatives when they believe that those alternatives are more appropriate.
SAFETY: Ministers make reasonable preparations to protect each member’s health and safety during practices that access non-ordinary consciousness and in the periods of vulnerability that may follow. Limits on the behaviors of Members and Ministers are to be made clear and agreed upon in advance of any session. At a minimum, all Ministers must ask for and receive consent on the three agreements regarding staying in the location of the practice, not harming, and sexuality.
CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGES IN MINISTER ROLES: Ministers inform the Members of any potential consequences of Minister-Member role changes. Such role changes include, but are not limited to, child’s Minister, family’s Minister, couple’s Minister, individual’s Minister, mediator, or evaluator.
Ministers have unique confidentiality responsibilities because the “Member” in a ministerial relationship may be more than one person. The overriding principle is that Ministers respect the confidences of their Member(s).
DISCLOSURES OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: Ministers seek a member’s verbal or written consent to share information with a member’s treating clinician, if there is one. Ministers do not disclose Member confidences, including the names or identities of their Member, to anyone except
1. as mandated by law
2. as permitted by law
3. when the Minister is a defendant in a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from the practices (in which case Member confidences may only be disclosed in the course of that action), or
4. if there is an authorization previously obtained in writing, and then such information may only be revealed in accordance with the terms of the authorization.
SIGNED AUTHORIZATIONS—RELEASE OF INFORMATION: When there is a request for information related to any aspect of practice each member of the unit receiving ministerial services must sign an authorization before a Minister will disclose information received from any member of the treatment unit.
ELECTRONIC MEDIA: Ministers are aware of the possible adverse effects of technological changes with respect to the dissemination of Member information, and take care when disclosing such information. Ministers are also aware of the limitations regarding confidential transmission by Internet or electronic media and take care when transmitting or receiving such information via these media.
MAINTENANCE OF MEMBER RECORDS—CONFIDENTIALITY: Ministers store, transfer, transmit, and/or dispose of Member records in ways that protect confidentiality.
CONFIDENTIALITY: Ministers take appropriate steps to ensure, insofar as possible, that the confidentiality of Member is maintained by any employees, Associate Ministers, Supervisees, Mentees, Assistants, and volunteers.
USE OF COUNSELING MATERIALS—CONFIDENTIALITY: Ministers use case studies in teaching, writing, and public presentations only if a written authorization has been previously obtained in accordance with CONSENT FOR RECORDING, or when appropriate steps have been taken to protect Member identity.
GROUPS—CONFIDENTIALITY: Ministers, when working with a group, educate the group regarding the importance of maintaining confidentiality, and are encouraged to obtain agreement from group participants to respect the confidentiality of other members of the group.
4 Competence, Integrity, & Self Awareness
Ministers maintain high standards of competence and integrity. Ministers shall assist with only those practices for which they are qualified both by personal experience and by training or education.
Ministers take care to provide proper assessment of mental and emotional disorders or conditions and do not assess, test, diagnose, treat, or advise on problems beyond the level of their competence as determined by their education, training, and experience. While developing new areas of practice, Ministers take steps to ensure the competence of their work through education, training, consultation, and/or supervision.
Ministers seek professional assistance for their own personal challenges, especially when they affect their practice. Ministers are committed to their own continuing education and training, personal growth, and to developing ethical competencies.
MEMBER RECORDS: Ministers create and maintain Member records, whether written, taped, computerized, or stored in any other medium.
CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT: Ministers remain abreast of developments in their fields of practice through educational activities or trainings. Ministers, when acting as Faculty, Supervisors, and researchers, stay abreast of changes in the field, maintain relevant standards of scholarship, and present accurate information.
CULTURAL SENSITIVITY: Ministers actively strive to identify and understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of their Member by gaining knowledge, personal awareness, and developing sensitivity and skills pertinent to working with a diverse Member population.
MINISTER VALUES: Ministers make continuous efforts to be aware of how their cultural/racial/ethnic identities, values, and beliefs affect the process of therapy. Ministers do not exert undue influence on the choice of treatment or outcomes based on such identities, values, and beliefs.
HARASSMENT OR EXPLOITATION: Ministers do not engage in sexual or other harassment or exploitation of any member of the community such as Member, Students, Supervisees, Mentees, employees, colleagues, etc.
MEMBER SEEING TWO MINISTERS: Ministers do not generally provide services to a person receiving ceremonial work from another Minister, except by agreement with such other Ministers or after the termination of the Member’s relationship with the other Minister.
ADVICE TO MEMBER NOT THEIR OWN: Ministers do not offer advice to members who are working with other Ministers even if this advice is solicited by the Member unless they consult in advance with the Member’s initial Minister.
PUBLIC STATEMENTS: Ministers, because of their ability to influence and alter the lives of others, exercise care when making public their recommendations as Ministers, and opinions through public, verbal or written statements.
5 Responsibility to Colleagues, the Congregation, and the Community
Ministers treat and communicate with and about colleagues in a respectful manner, and with courtesy, fairness, and good faith, and cooperate with colleagues in order to promote the welfare and best interests of Member. When faced with a challenging ethical situation, Ministers prioritize the well-being of the Congregation for Sacred Practices and the Member before their own needs and desires.
Spiritual practices are to be designed and conducted in ways that respect the common good, with due regard for public safety, health, and order. Because the increased awareness gained from spiritual practices can catalyze desire for personal and social change, Ministers shall use special care to help direct the energies of those they serve, as well as their own, in responsible ways that reflect a loving regard for all life.
Ministers respect the rights and responsibilities of colleagues and participate in activities that advance the goals of the broader community of ministers.
Ministers do not exploit the trust and dependency of Mentees, Assistant Ministers, or Students (below referred to as supervisees).
DUAL RELATIONSHIPS Ministers are aware of their influential position with respect to supervisees and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Ministers therefore avoid dual relationships that are reasonably likely to impair judgment or lead to exploitation. Faculty and Mentors guiding Students or Mentees for training purposes bear an extra ethical burden of care for the complexity of the relationship. Sexual intercourse, sexual contact or sexual intimacy and/or harassment of any kind with supervisees is unethical. Other acts which could result in unethical dual relationships include, but are not limited to, borrowing money from a supervisee, lending money to a supervisee, engaging in a business venture with a supervisee, or engaging in a close personal relationship with a supervisee. Such acts with a supervisee’s spouse, partner or family member may also be considered unethical dual relationships. In the event that a dual relationship is unavoidable, the Minister will seek supervision to determine the boundaries and approach to the relationship.
COMPETENCE OF SUPERVISEES: Ministers, Supervisors, Mentors, and Faculty do not permit supervisees to perform or to hold themselves out as competent to perform services beyond their training, level of experience, or competence.
MAINTAINING SKILLS OF SUPERVISORS: Ministers who act as Supervisors, Mentors, or Faculty are responsible for maintaining the quality of their supervision skills and obtaining consultation or supervision for their work as Supervisors whenever appropriate.
KNOWLEDGE OF SUPERVISORS: Ministers who act as Supervisors, Mentors, and Faculty are knowledgeable about supervision. Supervisors, Mentors, and Trainers are knowledgeable about and abide by the laws and regulations governing the conduct of supervisors and supervisees.
CHANGES IN LAWS AND ETHICS: Ministers, Faculty, Supervisors, Mentors, and Supervisees are aware of and stay abreast of changes in community, Congregational, and ethical standards. Supervisors ensure that their Supervisees are aware of community and ethical standards and legal responsibilities. Annually, all Ministers read and agree to this Code of Ethics and its revisions.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY: Ministers who act as Supervisors, Mentors and Faculty are aware of and address the role that culture and diversity issues play in the supervisory relationship, including, but not limited to, evaluating, terminating, disciplining, or making decisions regarding supervisees or students.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: Supervisors, Mentors, and Faculty create policies and procedures that are clear and that are disclosed to Supervisees, Mentees, and Students at the commencement of supervision or training.
PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS: Supervisors, Mentors, and Faculty provide supervisees with periodic performance appraisals and evaluative feedback throughout the supervisory relationship and identify and address the limitations of supervisees that might impede their performance.
BUSINESS PRACTICES: Supervisors, Mentors, and Faculty follow lawful business practices and employer policies when employing and/or supervising interns, trainees, applicants, and associates.
PERFORMANCE ASSISTANCE: Supervisors, Mentors, and Faculty support supervisees and students in securing assistance when needed for the supervisee to maintain or improve performance, such as personal psychotherapy, additional education, training, or consultation.
TERMINATION: Supervisors, Mentors and Faculty document their decisions to terminate a relationship with a Supervisee.
RESPECT CONFIDENCE OF COLLEAGUES: Ministers respect the confidences of colleagues that are shared in the course of their collegial relationships.
IMPAIRED COLLEAGUES: Ministers are encouraged to assist colleagues who are facing challenges in their personal or professional lives.
FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS: Ministers do not file or encourage the filing of ethics or other complaints that they know, or reasonably should know, are frivolous.
SOLICITING OTHER MINISTERS’ MEMBERS OR MENTEES: Ministers do not agree to see or solicit the Member of other Ministers or encourage Members to leave other Ministers, except in consultation and agreement with the Member’s primary Minister.
REFERRALS: Ministers do not reveal the names of other Ministers. Initiating Ministers reach out to Receiving Ministers to initiate a referral. Initiating Ministers will check availability, willingness, specialties and the preferred way to connect. When given verbal or written permission from the Receiving Minister, the Initiating Minister shall offer the name and contact information of the Receiving Minister to the Member.
PROVIDING ONLY MINISTERIAL SERVICES: Ministers only provide services to their Member as defined by the traditions of the community: they do not sell or distribute materials for Member to use outside of a face to face ministerial or ceremonial session. Ministers do not sell sacramental materials to members for recreational purposes.
ACCOUNTABLE TO STANDARDS OF THE COMMUNITY: Ministers remain accountable to the standards of the Congregation for Sacred Practices even when acting as members or employees of other organizations.
DEVELOPING PUBLIC POLICY: Ministers are concerned with developing laws and regulations pertaining to Ministers that serve the public interest, and with altering such laws and regulations that are not in the public interest.
FAILURE TO COOPERATE WITH THE ETHICS COUNCIL: Ministers cooperate with the Ethics Council and truthfully represent facts to the Council. Failure to cooperate with the Ethics Council is itself a violation of these standards.
6 Financial Arrangements
Ministers make financial arrangements with members and supervisees that are understandable, and conform to accepted community practices. Religious and Spiritual practices are to be conducted in the spirit of service. Ministers shall strive to accommodate members without regard to their ability to make donations. Ministers are encouraged to participate in activities that contribute to a better community and society, including devoting a portion of their activity as Ministers to services for which there is little or no financial return.
DISCLOSURE OF SUGGESTED DONATIONS: Ministers disclose, in advance, their suggested donations and the basis upon which they are computed, including, but not limited to, expectations for canceled or missed sessions and how they manage unpaid pledges, at the beginning of treatment and give reasonable notice of any changes.
PAYMENT FOR REFERRALS: Ministers do not offer or accept payment for referrals, whether in the form of money or otherwise.
FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION: Ministers do not financially exploit members or other ministers.
BARTER: Ministers do not accept services or other non-monetary remuneration from members in return for their services. Such arrangements often create conflicts and may lead to exploitation or distortion of the ministerial or ceremonial relationship. Ministers may receive goods with a clear value or standard.
7 Handling of Sacramental Materials
PUBLIC SAFETY: Ministers maintain control and log usage of all sacramental materials. All ministers have a locking safe in which they store sacramental materials.
TRANSPORTATION: If Ministers need to transport sacramental materials, they do not leave the materials unattended.
To help safeguard against the harmful consequences of personal and organizational ambition, Congregational communities are usually better allowed to grow through attraction rather than active promotion. The Congregation maintains a public ministerial directory. Ministers who advertise do so appropriately. Their advertising enables members to choose services based upon accurate information. Ministers do not publish in writing or on the internet any practices that may bring unnecessary scrutiny on themselves, others in the community, or the Congregation as a whole.
ACCURACY REGARDING QUALIFICATIONS: Ministers accurately represent their competence, education, training, and experience relevant to their practice to members and others.
FICTITIOUS/OTHER NAMES: Ministers do not use a name that could mislead the public concerning the identity, responsibility, source, and status of those practicing under that name.
FALSE, MISLEADING, OR DECEPTIVE: Ministers do not use any professional identification, including but not limited to: a business card, office sign, letterhead, telephone, or association directory listing, Internet, or any other media, if it includes a statement or claim that is false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive.
A statement is false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive if it
1. contains a material misrepresentation of fact
2. fails to state any material fact necessary to make the statement, in light of all circumstances, not misleading; or
3. is intended to or is likely to create an unjustified expectation
CORRECTIONS: Ministers correct, wherever possible, false, misleading, or inaccurate information and representations made by others concerning the Minister’s qualifications, services, or products.
SOLICITATION OF TESTIMONIALS: Ministers do not publish testimonials from named members unless the member has agreed in writing.
SPECIALIZATIONS: Ministers may represent themselves as either specializing or having expertise within a limited scope of practice, but only if they have the education, training, and experience that meets recognized professional or community standards to practice in that specialty area.
Part Two: The Grievance Process 1 Statement of Purpose
We, as members of the Congregation for Sacred Practices, take behaving with ethical integrity very seriously and desire to hold ourselves accountable in our response when an ethical complaint is brought against a Minister, Faculty, Mentor, Supervisor, Assistant, Supervisee, Member or Student (herein referred to as Members).
With a focus on resolution, remediation, and restoration versus blame or punishment, the Ethics Council recognizes that the most satisfying results will come from honesty, truthfulness, transparency, and compassion on the part of both Claimant and Respondent. We consider ethical behavior to be the right use of power and influence, and as such, to be a lifelong process of engagement in learning about and taking responsibility for one’s impact in all relationships, especially those involving different degrees of power such as Teacher/Student, or Minister/Member. The person with greater role power (e.g. Teacher, Mentor, Assistant, Minister, Supervisor) has greater responsibility for the health of the relationship. Yet there is an opportunity for learning and growth for both parties.
The mission of the Ethics Council (Council) is to use a healthy and non-punitive process to review situations of possible unethical behavior. We want to support Members of the Congregation for Sacred Practices to come forth with concerns so that complaints can be spoken about honestly and with the intention of resolution, repair, restoration, learning, and self-mastery. Although members of the Council are humbly aware that it is impossible to resolve all problems that may arise in the course of our ministerial, teaching and mentoring relationships, we make this ethical review process available in the hope that it can be well-used.
The goals for Ethics Council (Council) are:
1. To maintain integrity in relationships among all Members of the Congregation for Sacred Practices
2. To enhance the professionalism of our colleagues by encouraging a high standard of ethical behavior among Members that:
1. encourages the bringing of complaints to the Council by those who believe there are grounds for such;
2. protects the confidentiality of all parties;
3. to ensure that complaints are followed to completion; and
4. when valuable to the community, reports on the results of the process (while preserving confidentiality as to the identities of participants) to the Congregation for Sacred Practices
3. To provide a process for responding to and resolving ethical complaints
4. To provide education, guidance, advice, counsel and recommendations for further training to Respondents so that unethical behaviors are not repeated
5. To stay alert to current developments in the field of ethics and pass this information on to Members
6. To maintain the Code of Conduct and Ethics, making changes due to developments in the field, as experience is gained, and as the committee determines regarding requests and suggestions from Ministers
2 Ethics Council
The Ethics Council of the Congregation for Sacred Practices is empowered to respond to ethical conflicts and complaints brought to its attention. Responses focus on compassionate listening, facilitating, and supporting a clarifying information exchange between the parties, encouraging resolution through personal discussion and/or mediation, and furthering the ethical education and sensitivity of Ministers and Members of the Congregation for Sacred Practices to the right and skillful use of power and influence.
The vehicle created for the purpose of managing ethical complaints is the Ethics Council. This Council is comprised of an Ethics Coordinator and members who have 1) volunteered to serve in this capacity, 2) have sufficient seniority to command the respect of Claimants and Respondents, 3) have the proven temperament to successfully bring challenging situations to resolution.
The Ethics Coordinator is selected from among the members of the Council. The Ethics Coordinator receives ethical complaints, coordinates the action of the council, and monitors the grievance and conflict resolution process.
The process for becoming a member of the Council is to reach out to email@example.com. All inquires are welcome.
Council members will, to their fullest ability, advocate for ethical accountability, communication, resolution, and on-going education in ethics within the Congregation for Sacred Practices.
3 Description of the Grievance Process
Like most small organizations, the Congregation for Sacred Practices does not have the staff or financial resources to undertake the kind of formal grievance investigation that is the mandate of state mental health governing bodies. Nothing in the Congregation for Sacred Practices complaint resolution process prohibits individuals from filing a grievance elsewhere, or taking legal action, or seeking other means of mediation and resolution. And since there are conflicting differences in approach between mediation and litigation, we ask that those who approach the Council agree to complete this process before filing a state grievance, where appropriate, or taking legal action. Seeking other means of mediation or resolution interrupts the grievance process outlined here. The time for completion of a review can take one to six months, during which time all parties, including the Council, agree to respond to each step in a timely manner.
If you (referred to hereafter as Claimant) feel you have been injured by the unethical behavior of a Member of the Congregation for Sacred Practices and have not been able to resolve the issue directly with the person you believe has caused you harm (referred to as Respondent), please follow the procedure outlined here:
1. Contact the Ethics Coordinator at email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ethics Coordinator may not initially seek information about the nature of your complaint, and will give you the email address and/or telephone number of the Council member who will be assigned to your claim. If you contact others on the Council with your complaint, they will refer you to the Ethics Coordinator. Please consider when discussing your situation with others in your community that complaints can be damaging to others and can undermine the spirit of reconciliation and resolution as well as the efficacy of the process.
2. When you contact this assigned Council member directly, they will listen to your complaint and discuss options with you. Your information will be kept confidential within the Council.
3. Through a personal interview process, that may require taking statements from all involved parties, the Council will make a determination about how to proceed. The Council may decide to:
1. take no action (if the Council feels that the issue is not appropriate for an ethics review)
2. suggest other avenues (if the Council feels that the two parties could be successful by processing more on their own or with the help of others)
3. recommendation supervision, counsel or further training for the Respondent (if the Council determines that an ethical violation has occurred)
4. revocation of licensure (if the Council determines that a grave ethical violation has occurred or multiple violations have occurred and not been appropriately addressed).
5. recommend further action (if, for instance, the Council determines that the safety of the community at large is at risk)
4. If the Council determines that an ethical review is appropriate and if the Claimant wishes to enter into a full ethical review process, we will require that the Respondent be informed of the nature and details of the complaint, and thus confidentiality will include the Respondent from this point on. Claimant will sign a release of information form to authorize an exchange of information related to the situation. (Our intention is to maintain confidentiality, but you will understand that if we perceive a threat from either party, we may need to waive confidentiality and may need to disclose information to relevant parties). This exchange may, as an example, come through a letter you write to the Respondent stating the nature of your complaint or conflict, the context in which it occurred, actions taken thus far to address this issue, what feels unresolved, and your desired outcome. In this information exchange, the Council member will serve as intermediary between you and the Respondent.
5. Possible outcomes of the ethical grievance process for the Respondent include offering an authentic apology to the Claimant, supervision around the issues, and/or ethics education. The Council may also recommend mediation or another restorative process. When circumstances warrant, other possible actions can be taken by the Council. The Claimant will be informed of the recommendations of the Council.
6. At the conclusion of the ethical review process, the case is officially closed and all the records of the case are stored in a confidential place.
7. Each situation brought to the Council contains valuable insights. To make these lessons available on a wider scale, and to facilitate self-correction, the Council reports occasionally to the Congregation for Sacred Practices, and includes the nature of complaints and conflicts received (without names and/or identifying features) for the purpose of the ongoing ethics education.