Because a sign of spiritual maturity is practicing what we preach, and because for the length of our Tradition’s lifespan, it has systemic structures in place that hide UU clergy misconduct and perpetuate harm towards those to whom UU clergy mistreat, one of the most important conversations taking place in our UU Faith Tradition right now is that of addressing clergy misconduct, most specifically when UUMA fellowshipped ministers use their power to abuse, bully, demean and otherwise emotionally and financially harm those who are not UUMA clergy. While to some extent there processes in place to address cases of clergy sexual misconduct, there are no accountability systems to turn to when clergy harm other non-fellowshipped UU Professionals in other ways. There are countless community ministers, religious educators, musicians and laity who have been harmed by fellowshipped clergy. There is a movement in our midst to create a Common Ethics Panel. Doing so will take us long strides towards building the beloved community that is spiritually mature and safe for all.
While quietly this has been known for decades, more publicly over the past several years there has been much evidence brought forth that there are harmful power-over situations in the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. This page contains a growing list of resources and discussions that have been taking place as those with spiritual maturity and the courage to speak are exploring how to transform the abusive systemic structures.
In May there was an Ethics Panel that met for two days in Denver, CO. They delved deep into the issues, accompanied by letters and testimonies by many who have been mistreated emotionally and financially by UU Ministers. The Ethics Panel was attended by representatives from the UUA, UUMA, the UUA Religious Credentialing Committee, UUMP, the MFC, LREDA, UUMN and UUAA as well as UUSCM. The group set a goal to create Common Ethics Panel responsible for responding to grievances arising from members of any of these organizations.
Below they talk widely about how it is a red flag when a UU Minister refuses to covenant with a non-UU-ordained community minister or lay person!
The Guidelines Committee is a standing committee of the UUMA, charged with periodically reviewing The UUMA Guidelines for the Conduct of Ministry, studying issues as they arise, and when called for, suggesting changes. They along with the Accountability Committee have suggested these changes to UUMA bylaws to address how to hold UU Ministers Accountable to those that to date have been marginalized and in many cases abused, bullied and demeaned by UUMA clergy, including Community Ministers and Laity: