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  • Healthy Boundaries in Ministry: Professional Ethics and Sexuality

    March 2, 2019
    08:30 AM - 04:00 PM

    RSVP for the Workshop
    Download Promotional Flyer

    Why This Workshop?

    This event, hosted at Howard University School of Divinity, will explore the vocational and professional challenges of healthy relationships and issues of sexual misconduct in an ECUMENICAL context and with peers in other churches. It will focus on healthy boundaries and relationships in ministry, theological and ethical framing of the issues, and skills and resources for responding well to situations or signs of boundary-crossings. It will NOT be a rehash of what your denomination, church, or school offers, as the student-oriented process and Ecumenical approach will give it a distinct value for ministry formation.

    We believe the negative-only news in the press, the strength of the #MeToo movement, and the growing concern among church leaders needs a concrete and positive response from many ecclesial and denominational groups. The theological schools of the Consortium provide a perfect forum for equipping future and current church leaders to plan ahead for healthy and safe practices in their churches and ministry.

    Workshop Leaders

    The day-workshop will be lead by two nationally known trainers in this area in an ecumenical fashion:

    Dr. Kate Ott, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Drew University and School of Theology 

    Dr. Ott’s Full Bio and List of Publications

    Rev. Dr. Stephen Rossetti, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Catholic University School of Theology and Religious Studies

    Msgr. Rossetti’s Full Bio and List of Publications

    Listen to Msgr. Rossetti’s interview on National Public Radio regarding the Vatican Summit around Sexual Abuse in the Church

    The event is student-centered, including small student-lead groups for processing the material, thanks to the WTC Student Board.

    Goals of the Workshop

    1) To create an intentional Ecumenical environment that affirms the vital nature of this work in all our churches and schools and to build solidarity and resources around it.

    2) To provide a strong Theological and Professional Ethics framework that affirms the spiritual foundations for the sacred trust clergy have with parishioners and the call for healthy and open sexual environment in parishes.

    3) To engage in conversation around specific cases and skills that will help seminarians build their resources for effective ministry and healthy parish/congregational life.

    Elements of the workshop will include some topics that ecclesial and denominational training covers, but it will be DISTINCTIVE in its Ecumenical, Professional and Student-centered approach.

    Activities Include

    1. An Overview of the scope of the problem and cost of misconduct for all our churches and how denominations/churches are responding so far,
    2. Aspects of human formation that promote healthy relationships (for celibate, married, or single ministers),
    3. The vocation to ministry, greater involvement in peoples lives than other professions, distinct power-dynamics in relationships, and the fiduciary duty and sacred trust involved,
    4. Exercises that help students to identify where they are on a spectrum of isolation vs. healthy relations, to distinguish personal needs and professional needs, to identify warning signs of “wandering” behavior, and to name digital boundary-crossing around social media or unhealthy use of the web,
    5. Case Studies around professional and relationship situations processed in peer groups (with student facilitators),
    6. Best practices (viz. policies) for healthy ministry and safe churches. These will include sound, tested policies that can be instituted in most churches.

    Students WILL RECEIVE lunch, a certificate of completion, and free resources that they can utilize for their personal professional growth and implementation of safe-church policies.

    Registration on the day of the event begins at 8 a.m.

    Download Promotional Flyer

    We encourage students from ALL Consortium schools to sign up today! (limit is 50 students, so sign up now!).

    This event has ended. Thank you for your interest.


    Howard University School of Divinity
    Holy Cross Hall–Northwest Campus of Howard
    2900 Van Ness Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20008
    (two blocks from Van Ness UDC Metro Stop, Red Line)
    (parking available on campus)