Ethics? In the COG? LOL. But UCG does have a form for it, as shared by Banned by HWA! All of the defecting ministers in COGWA signed a form like this and quickly disregarded it. In fact, there are many provisions in this form that are frequently ignored by ministers in UCG and the greater COG.
A lot of this is aimed at eliminating ministerial scandals and the appearance in impropriety to protect the organization from embarrassment and has very little to do with might be morally right.
The rules most frequently broken have been highlighted in blue.
As a minister of Jesus Christ, I accept the duty bestowed on me through ordination, by prayer and the laying on of hands. I am dedicated first and foremost to preserving my personal relationship with God, therefore I am committed to basing my life upon the foundation of the Word of God. I am resolved to conduct myself in the ministry according to the ethical standards set forth in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and as amplified in this Code of Ethics so that my service in the ministry will be acceptable to God and beneficial to the Church, and my life will be a godly example to the Church, the community and the world.
Serving as a minister of Jesus Christ and as an elder in the United Church of God, an International Association (“Church, or “UCGIA”), I fully accept and agree to abide by the following goals, guidelines, commitments and ethical principles:
1) I will strive to maintain my relationship with God through prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting.
2) I will endeavor to maintain my physical, mental and emotional health.
3) I will strive to manage my life by maintaining a balance in family matters, church duties and personal needs.
4) I will not use the office of the ministry to take advantage of any relationship or activity that may lead to a conflict of interest, the exploitation or manipulation of any member, or any unethical personal or material gain.
5) If I become a substance abuser, acquire a harmful addiction or have a diagnosable mental disorder, I agree to seek professional counseling and care in order to recover. I understand that if necessary, I may be relieved of my ministerial duties while undergoing treatment for the same.
1) If married, I will place my marriage and family as the highest priority in my life after my personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
2) If married, I will respect the unique role of my wife, to love, honor and recognize her as a partner in marriage and the family, and will seek to meet her physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs.
3) If blessed with children, I will regard them as a gift from God and seek to love them and meet their individual mental, physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
Church and Congregational Responsibilities:
1) I will strive to faithfully shepherd the congregation(s) I serve by following the example of Jesus Christ in love, service, humility, respect, patience, wisdom and integrity.
2) I will strive to faithfully use my time and energies in ministering to God’s people through proper work habits and schedules.
3) In my preaching and teaching responsibilities I will give priority to adequate prayer, planning, preparation and spiritual growth through conscientious study so my presentations will be biblically based, historically and doctrinally sound, interesting and clearly communicated.
4) I will keep confidential all matters discussed in a counseling setting, unless the person being counseled gives the indication of being a danger to themselves or another person, such as a revelation of child sexual abuse or other disclosures required by law.
5) In my ministerial counseling I will limit my advice and counsel to my areas of expertise or formal training and will refer members to other ministers and professionals for any matter for which I am not qualified.
6) I recognize the influence I hold over those I counsel and will never take advantage of their vulnerability, such as becoming sexually or romantically involved with them. I will arrange visits in order to avoid being isolated with a woman who is not my spouse or with another’s child unless accompanied by another person.
7) I acknowledge that all local congregations of UCGIA are, under our Rules of Association, a part of UCGIA. I further recognize that any and all physical assets, including local bank accounts used by or for those local congregations, belong to UCGIA for use as directed by the UCGIA administration. Consequently, I agree that should I leave a congregation(s) or not remain as an elder in UCGIA, that I am not entitled to take, and must return, any assets of UCGIA and/or of a local congregation of UCGIAor its affiliates around the world.
Responsibility within the Ministry:
1) If married, I will endeavor to honor and respect my wife as part of my ministry, so that my ministry may be more effective.
2) I will endeavor to honor and relate to all ministers, especially those with whom I directly serve as coworkers in the work of God, respecting their roles and cooperating with them.
3) I will strive to serve my ministerial colleagues and their families with counsel, support and personal assistance when needed.
4) I will seek to promote an atmosphere of openness and unity within the body by supporting and appropriately communicating with the home office staff or the international equivalent.
5) I will endeavor to promote respect for Church leadership and unity within UCGIA. I will seek to eliminate destructive gossip or hearsay by going directly to the individual involved. I will communicate directly with the responsible person(s) to obtain clarity or to clear up any questions or accusations that are causing division.
Responsibility Within the Community:
1) As defined by Scripture, I will accept my duty to be a godly example and light in the world.
2) I will practice responsible citizenship and not engage in activities that are illegal, unethical or unbiblical.
Responsibility Toward the Governance of UCGIA
As a minister serving in the United Church of God, an International Association, I affirm my commitment to uphold:
• The Fundamental Beliefs as stated in the Constitution of the United Church of God, an International Association.
• The purpose, mission, goals and values of the Church.
• The Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Association of the Church and the governing structure described by them.
• The decisions of the General Conference of Elders (“GCE”), the Council of Elders (“COE”), the UCGIA administration and international equivalents. If I disagree, I reserve the right to respectfully seek change in any decision of the Church’s governing and administrative bodies in accordance with the governing documents of UCGIA, procedures and precedents.
I further agree to:
• Denounce divisions and schisms as a means of resolving differences.
• Support and assist the GCE, the COE and the administration or international equivalent in denouncing and curtailing divisive behavior on the part of anyone in the ministry or membership by word or deed.
• Encourage all to follow, and to work within, established procedures and processes of the Church for any grievances or for any desired change in either governance or leadership in the Church.
• Should I ever leave or otherwise not remain as an elder of the Church, I will not proselytize members of UCGIA in order to draw them away or to gain a following for myself or some other religious organization.
I am in agreement with this Ministerial Code of Ethics and will always strive to practice these ethical
principles. I agree that this Code supersedes and replaces any previous UCGIA Ministerial Code of Ethics.
Signed: ____________________________________ Date: ___________________
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