Accountability and Ethics

"Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” Albert Schweitzer

Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) holds its members–both ministers and ministries–to high ethical standards which are outlined in our Code of Ethics. When an ethical concern arises, it is addressed through our Ethics Review System (ERS) which is committed to a compassionate peer review process that explores what occurred, if there was a breach of ethics, and the path forward to address ethical breaches when they occur.

 

Ethics Review System (ERS)

What is the Ethics Review System?

  • The Ethics Review System is a compassionate and supportive peer review process that explores allegations of ethical violations, including sexual misconduct. 
  • It is comprised of a team of highly skilled and trained Credentialed Leaders.  
  • Members of the UWM staff do not serve on review teams. UWM's Ministry Leadership Coordinator provides oversight and guidance to ERS. 
  • Ministers, Ministerial Candidates, LUTs and Ministries can be reviewed.
  • This system only addresses ethical concerns. Concerns about competency are handled through Member Services. 

What happens when a concern is received?

Is my concern of an ethical nature? How do I know? We all navigate challenges and disagreements differently, not every concern that gives us a challenge is of an ethical nature as described in UWM’s Ethics Policy (Code of Ethics) Education will often assist in creating harmony for the mind. Ethics and values we hold dear remind the heart about how we function together in community relationships. Ethical policy and accountability are necessary functions for organizations and professional communities. It’s about accountability to the highest standard for each other.

  • Ethical concerns should be directed to the Ministry Leadership Coordinator (DDuerr@unity.org) or the Executive Director of Member Services (CFoster@unity.org). Collectively, they review the concern in the context of Unity’s policies and Code of Ethics to determine if the concern is ethical in nature. A copy of the policy can be found here (Code of Ethics for Unity Leaders) It is a good idea to review the policy and what areas are covered as it relates to each potential concern. Not all challenges we experience in communities and with individuals are of an ethical nature. 

Procedure

  • If it is determined that an issue is of an ethical nature and it is covered by the Code of Ethics policy, a signed release of information form from the individual expressing the concern.
  • When signed release is received, the Ministry Leadership Coordinator sends a letter of notification to the reviewee (the person(s) or group that is being reviewed) indicating:
    • Review has been initiated
    • The nature of the concern–including a copy of the statement of concern
    • The original written complaint from the complainant
    • The initiation of a review does not indicate determination has been made. ERS team is simply exploring the allegation.
    • The name of the reviewee’s Advocate
  • Advocate calls reviewee within 48 hours after notification has been sent.
  • The complaint is assessed by an ERS team consisting of the Advocate, Case Manager and additional team members as required.
  • Decisions of review can include:
    • Clearance
    • Ethics violation has occurred and a Plan of Action (MPoA) is created to address the behavior/s that created an ethical violation.
    • Suspension

For more information, please contact Ministry Leadership Coordinator, Rev. Doug Duerr (DDuerr@unity.org) or Executive Director of Member Services, Rev Cynthia Vermillion-Foster (CFoster@unity.org).

 

Sexual Conduct Policy

This policy addresses the issue of sexual misconduct including, but not limited to, sexual molestation, sexual abuse/harassment, and sexual exploitation by Unity Credentialed Leadership. The policy also specifies procedures by which a Unity Credentialed Leader can ethically transition a pastoral relationship into a personal or romantic relationship.

All Unity Credentialed Leaders are mandatory reporters and must contact their state officials regarding any allegations of child abuse, elder abuse, or abuse of those who are differently abled.

 

Ethics Resources

Codes of Ethics for Unity Leaders

Ethics Review System Policy

List of suspended Unity ministers

Agreement between licensed Unity teachers and ministers Download an rtf document that you can customize.

Agreement between a presenter and a Unity ministry