"Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
Ethics and values remind our hearts of the sacredness of our relationships and provide guidelines for navigating relationships with deep integrity and intentionality.
Ethical policy and accountability are essential functions for all organizations and spiritual communities.
Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) holds its leaders and ministries members to high ethical standards which are outlined in our Code of Ethics. We take allegations of ethical violations seriously and prayerfully review all concerns that are brought to our attention.
Complaints of allegations are usually handled through UWM’s Ethics Review System (ERS). Occasionally, a different process is utilized due to circumstances that fall outside of our ERS policy or procedure.
When circumstances pertaining to privacy, individual rights and possible organizational harm in our ministries come into question, UWM reserves the right to seek expertise and or legal counsel for support.
The Unity Code of Ethics Policy applies to the following individuals/organizations:
- Licensed or ordained Unity ministers
- Licensed Unity teachers
- Other credentialed leaders
- Non-credentialed leaders serving in the capacity of a credentialed Unity leader
- Ministerial candidates from all affiliated Unity schools
- Individuals certified to serve as consultants to our ministries
- Member ministries and expansion ministries
- Members of the UWM Board of Trustees and UWM Ministry Teams
- UWM staff members
Ethics Review System (ERS)
- 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 Chief Operating Officer provides oversight and guidance to ERS.
- Ministers, Ministerial Candidates, LUTs, UWM Staff Members, UWM Board Members, and Ministries can be reviewed.
- This system only addresses ethical concerns. Concerns about competency are handled by the Ethics Review Team and Member Support staff.
Is my concern of an ethical nature? How do I know?
Challenges and disagreements occur in all organizations, including ministries. Not every challenge, disagreement or concern is ethical in nature as defined by UWM’s Code of Ethics. Most interpersonal challenges can be addressed through facilitated dialogue, or education and do not require a review.
Ethical concerns should be directed to ERS@unity.org. The concern will be reviewed 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. It is a good idea to review the policy and what areas are covered as it relates to each potential concern.
- 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 must be received to begin a review.
- When signed release is received, the ERS 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
- 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 a Case Manager, an Advocate for the Reviewee, and an Advocat for the Complainant.
- Decisions of review can include:
- Ethics violation has occurred and a Plan of Action (MPoA) is created to address the behavior/s that created an ethical violation.
- License or Ordination is Rescinded
For more information, please contact ERS@unity.org.
The UWM Sexual Conduct 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.
Codes of Ethics for Unity Leaders
Agreement between licensed Unity teachers and ministers, used to clarify responsibilities in the working relationship between LUTs and ministers. Download this sample rtf document that you can customize.
Agreement between a presenter and a Unity ministry. Download this sample rtf document that you can customize. Note: If you choose to use the Presenter Agreement in your ministry, make sure you have every presenter fill one out. Every presenter means any and all presenters from outside your ministry and any and all presenters who are part of your congregation. Failure to do so could open your ministry to an allegation of discrimination.