FCM Standards Of Ethics

Federation Christian Ministries 

Standards of Ethical Conduct:

The members of the Federation of Christian Ministries treat each person whom they encounter with reverence and respect. People trust that pastoral ministers respect the dignity of all, and believe these ministers are motivated by the love of God. The unethical actions of some ministers is a betrayal of this trust and has caused great damage. People demand that the conduct of those in ministry reflect the highest ethical standards.

Therefore as of June 27, 1999, the Circle of Directors of the Federation of Christian Ministries is promulgating the following standards of ethical conduct for its members. Compliance with these standards presupposes that members are committed to socially accepted behavior and to ethical principles rooted in the Scriptures. At the heart of these principles and standards is Jesus, the model of God's provident care.

Members of the Federation of Christian Ministries are committed to promoting the dignity of all persons by:

  • treating with reverence and respect each person to whom they provide pastoral care;
  • avoiding any behavior that could be interpreted as harassment or discrimination of any type;
  • communicating verbally and non-verbally in ways that respect the dignity of the human person.

Members shall exercise ministry in an inclusive fashion by:

  • promoting the equality of women and men;
  • reaching out to the marginal people, especially to those who feel alienated from the Church;
  • being sensitive to the diverse forms of spirituality and worship;
  • promoting the principles of interdependence and subsidiary.

Members shall encourage each person to live the life to which God calls that individual by:

  • using inclusive language that indicates a sensitivity and respect for all ministries;
  • respecting the different charisms, spiritualities, qualifications and of others who work to proclaim the Good News of God's intended world of love and justice;
  • avoiding clericalism or fostering dependency and submissiveness among those they serve.

Members shall respect the physical and emotional boundaries appropriate to pastoral relationships by:

  • being aware of their legal responsibilities under federal, state or local law;
  • exercising discretion when providing pastoral ministry to an individual, especially a minor;
  • by avoiding over-familiarity, inappropriate language, and inappropriate physical contact;
  • by avoiding the provision of pastoral ministry in locations where there is an appearance of impropriety;
  • by avoiding the furnishing of alcohol or controlled substances;
  • exercising prudence in giving and receiving gifts and by avoiding conflict of interest.

Members shall work for personal and systemic justice for all people, particularly the vulnerable, the poor and the oppressed by:

  • setting an example of the faithful steward in the workplace and cultivating a society marked by justice;
  • encouraging people to address the social and ethical issues of the day;
  • fulfilling their civic responsibilities, including all just financial obligations.

Since the members of the Federation of Christian Ministries have a duty to develop and maintain competence in pastoral ministry, and to act within the limits of their qualifications and ability, they:

  • shall not give advice on matters about which they are not competent, nor provide formal counseling without appropriate credentials;
  • shall maintain confidentiality with respect to issues arising from pastoral ministry;
  • shall terminate a pastoral relationship when it is reasonably clear that the person(s) seeking service is(are) not benefiting from the relationship;
  • shall maintain appropriate records of their pastoral ministry;
  • shall not misrepresent themselves as acting for any organization other than the Federation of Christian Ministries;
  • are encouraged to obtain and keep current their own professional liability insurance.

Members are committed to maintaining their spiritual, physical, and emotional health, recognizing that they are precious gifts entrusted to them by a loving God through:

  • seeking spiritual nourishment regularly in prayer and reflection;
  • being committed to a spiritual growth program suited to their individual needs;
  • monitoring their life-styles to maintain physical and emotional health.


January 1999 Submitted by Bob Fagan. June 1999 Edited by Bridget Mary Meehan after consultation with Mike McFadden, Regina Madonna Oliver, Joe Ruane and Judy Kalmanek