Code of Professional Practices

Revised June 2016

 

Preamble

We, the members of the Liberal Religious Educators Association affirm this Code of Professional Practices. LREDA members who are professional religious educators pledge to hold themselves ethically accountable to the code. 

I. Individual Member

I will be familiar with and advocate for LREDA's Code of Professional Practices. I will stay informed of any rule or policy changes. I have the responsibility to read and understand this Code and to live in accordance with its contents.

I will advocate for fair compensation and working conditions that support my work as a professional religious educator and the religious education professionals that follow me. 

I will keep current in my knowledge of faith development by maintaining collegial contacts and participating in continuing education opportunities.  

I will maintain healthy boundaries, especially keeping aware of my rights and limits, and those of my family. 

I will seek personal assistance and counseling, when needed, from a professional outside of my congregation.  

I will be aware of and observe the legal requirements of my State or Province regarding reporting of physical or sexual misconduct. 

I will not engage in sexual contact, sexualized behavior, or a sexual relationship with any person I serve as a religious professional. 

When I am concerned about a colleague’s adherence to the Code of Professional Practices, I will follow Section V “Accountability Guidelines” or contact a LREDA Good Officer.

II. Colleagues

I will stand in support of my professional colleagues in religious education, ministry, music, administration, and membership. 

I will respect confidences given me by colleagues.
                                                                      
I will speak respectfully of any colleague in public or private.  

Should I become aware that a LREDA colleague is or might be engaged in practices that violate the Code of Professional Practice, I will speak directly to them and endeavor to be of help. If necessary, I will bring such matters to the attention of a Good Officer or the LREDA Board Trustee for Professional Support or President. See Section V. 

It is important to the well-being of any congregation, agency or enterprise, that the staff are in healthy relationship. I will seek to be part of mutually cooperative and consultative relationships as we carry out our shared and separate responsibilities. When difficulties arise, I will seek help judiciously and express my concerns professionally, keeping in mind the worth and dignity of all parties involved.

I will share leadership opportunities and responsibilities with my colleagues openly, honestly, and ethically. In particular, I will consult with colleagues in advance of any professional or public engagements that I may be asked to undertake in their communities or congregations.

When leaving a position of religious education leadership for any reason, I will refrain from being involved in the process of selecting my successor. I will support my successor by leaving room for them to establish their own identity and leadership in the congregation. I will refrain from accepting positions on policy-making bodies in the congregation or community (such as the Board, Religious Education Committee, Finance Committee, or Personnel Committee) for two years after my professional leadership has been concluded in that congregation. For two years, I will not accept or volunteer for roles in the religious education program, and will encourage members of the congregation to speak to the current religious educator or other appropriate persons for answers to all current religious education issues or concerns. I will refrain from discussing any church/congregational matters on social media with congregants from a former church for a period of two years.

III. Congregation/Organization

I will uphold and honor the practice of congregational polity. I will respect the traditions of the congregation or community I serve.  

I will demonstrate respect and compassion to each individual without regard to age, race/ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, physical/mental ability, and sexual orientation. I will work to confront attitudes and practices of unjust discrimination and to challenge them within myself and individuals, congregations, and groups I serve. 

Within the limitations of law and collegial covenant, I will honor the confidences shared with me by members of the congregation or place of employment, keeping in mind that such confidentiality should not contribute to personal or professional misuse of power.

In the case of planned or forced resignation or significant change in role or responsibility, I understand that best practices are to consult with a LREDA Good Officer for counsel and assistance in executing a well-managed departure or change. I will refrain from actions or public statements that intentionally initiate or foster divisiveness.

I will be a good steward of the resources allocated to my position and program. I will act with integrity in all instances of professional spending and will not misappropriate the money or property of the congregation(s) or organization(s) I serve.

IV. Movement and Association

As a LREDA member, I understand my responsibility to educate lay and professional colleagues about the qualifications for and dimensions of religious education and faith development leadership.

I will support and participate in activities and programs of the Unitarian Universalist Association and/or the Canadian Unitarian Council and encourage the participation of others in such events.

As a professional religious educator, I understand that whenever I participate in the wider Unitarian Universalist community, I represent LREDA and should provide a living model of ethical and religious leadership.

V. Accountability Guidelines

The LREDA Code of Professional Practices identifies standards of behavior for members of LREDA. Violation of these standards by any member is a matter of concern to other members and may result in disciplinary actions. 

The following procedure is to be followed when a member of LREDA becomes concerned about a colleague’s adherence to the Code of Professional Practices. 

In most instances, a member who believes a colleague's behavior to be inconsistent with the Code should express their concern directly. Should the direct approach not achieve the desired result, a LREDA Good Officer (GO) should be consulted. A GO is initially neutral, advising the member, and exploring the possibility of an informal resolution of the concern. In the event that a GO cannot settle a concern between members, the religious educator or the GO will seek advice or intercession with the LREDA Board Member holding the Good Offices portfolio. If the concern is still unresolved, the concerned religious educator should write a letter of complaint to the LREDA Board of Trustees, fully specifying the nature of the concern making it a formal complaint. See LREDA by-laws, Article 2, Section D.