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Ethics Events and Resources

Keeping our churches and communities safe is our responsibility 

The Virginia Conference lifts up two required training events for all first-time appointed clergy and lay professionals. Additionally, clergy are required to attend one ethics training each quadrennium of their appointment. Please also refer to the many Resources available at the bottom of this page.

Quadrennial Clergy Ethics Training

Ethics 101: Understanding Clergy Sexual Ethics
Understanding Clergy Sexual Ethics is an online program available from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. The course focuses on the unique needs of clergy and religious professionals engaged in ministry by exploring concepts of maintaining healthy boundaries along with issues of access, power and control, vulnerability, and transference.
Download the instructions to register for this training – taken at your own pace – available from August to October. The Board of Ordained Ministry is subsidizing half of the registration fee and so the cost to the participant is $25.00, payable when you register.

Ethics 102: Clergy Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
Training for Clergy Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect is an online program available from the Virginia Department of Social Services. The course is in three modules and the total completion time is about 70 minutes. While all of the examples in this online component relate to classroom issues, the Ethics Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry felt that this was the best online course available and are confident that connections can be made to ministry settings. Please save a copy of the certificate of completion offered at the conclusion of the training and email the certificate to ClergyExcellence@vaumc.org.
This training, when incorporated as part of Licensing School, also includes resources for Safe Sanctuaries, which relates to the requirement of all Virginia Conference churches to have a current policy with procedures to reduce the risk of child abuse in the church. For more information about Safe Sanctuaries, contact the Conference Office of Ministries with Young People (804-521-1100, ext. 139).

Quadrennial Clergy Ethics Training
Appointed clergy are required to attend one advanced ethics training each quadrennium of their appointment. If you received your first appointment in this quadrennium – and attended the above two basic courses – then you have fulfilled your quadrennial requirement and do not need to attend a third course. Training opportunities are spread across the conference over these years.

Registration is open for 2017-2021 – Click here to register for available training dates
Dr. Sondra Wheeler, longtime professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary and an outstanding presenter, leads us this quadrennium in considering the role of “The Minister as Moral Theologian.” Going beyond the mere “good behavior” of clergy, we’ll look together at the deeper ethical aspects of being a ministry leader in a changing world. You won’t want to miss the opportunity for meaningful reflection with a such a world-class scholar.

Due to the concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the training events will be a combination of asynchronous video segments to watch before attending a live video conference. The live training will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 12:30 p.m. Participants are awarded 0.5 CEU. More information is available from the registration website above.

Guidelines and Policies
Clergy Reporting of Child Abuse & Neglect (pdf) 
Copyright and Fair Use Resources   (pdf)
Counseling by Clergy of the Virginia Annual Conference, Guidelines For (pdf) 
Sexual Ethics  
Social Media, Guidelines for the Responsible Use of (pdf)