POLICY CONCERNING CLERGY COURTSHIP AND CASUAL DATING RELATIONSHIPS

MISSIONARY DIOCESE OF CANA WEST POLICY CONCERNING CLERGY COURTSHIP AND CASUAL DATING RELATIONSHIPS
 
(August 6, 2017)
 
Purpose
 
Members of the clergy and all other church professionals in the Missionary Diocese of CANA West work within a covenant framework of sacred trust characterized by great authorityand even greater responsibility. There is high expectation that all clergy relationships withstaff members and parishioners will be characterized by godliness, trust, and mutual respect.
 
In times past, the church was a preferred localefor single members of the clergy to find – and to court – a suitable spouse. In today’s rapidly-evolving society, however, clergy courtship (or casual dating) activity within the confines of a local church creates an unacceptable risk ofethical conflict arising from clergy acting in the dual roles of pastor and suitor.
 
To protect all of its diocesan clergy, staffmembers, and parishioners in the aforementioned types of situations, the Missionary Diocese of CANA West hereby adopts the following Policy Concerning Clergy Courtship and Casual Dating Relationships.
 
Policy
 
A. COURTSHIP
 
When a member of the diocesan clergy wishes to engage in a courtship relationship (that is, a relationship pursued in good faith hope that a marriage will ensue) with a member of the staff or parish where he is employed (or serves in a volunteer capacity)…
 
1. The clergyperson in question must immediately disclose his intention to the rector of said parish and to the diocesan bishop (or, if the clergyperson in question is the rector, his disclosure need only be made to the diocesan bishop);
 
2. The female member of the staff or parish, as the case may be, who the clergyperson in question intends to court will be asked to write a letter to the diocesan bishop acknowledging her understanding of and assent to the relationship;
 
3. One of the two individuals in question must leave said parish prior to and during the entire pendency of the courtship relationship; and
 
4. The courtship relationship must be characterized by sexual purity and godliness.
 
If the courtship results in a marriage, the individual who left the parish (pursuant to part A.3. of this policy) may return to that parish.
 
B. CASUAL DATING
 
Given the inherent danger that impropriety, real or perceived, will be attributed to any dual-role relationship, diocesan clergy may not, under any circumstances, engage in casual dating relationships (that is, relationships of attraction or intimacy without the guiding good faith hope of marriage) with members of the staff or parish where they are employed (or serve in a volunteer capacity).
 
Commentary
 
Violation of any part of this policy constitutes a basis for the imposition of discipline, and could result in the suspension of ministerial licensure.