The Chaplaincy Institute Ethics Process for Clergy In Good Standing

Ethics Committee:

  • ChI Community Minister
  • ChI Board Vice President
  • ChI Community Member (a clergy member who is in good standing)

The committee is formed each year in July and plans to serve for the fiscal year. The Board president and Executive Director select the community member who is asked to serve.

ChI Clergy in Good Standing are endorsed by The Chaplaincy Institute Community. This community reserves the right to revoke ecclesial endorsement based on ministerial conduct that is at odds with the standards set forth by The Common Code of Ethics.  This includes, but is not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Sexual abuse or sexual relations with clients
  • Harmful addictions to the extent of impairing one’s ability to serve ethically and successfully in a ministerial role
  • Violence or criminal behavior, including deception, misrepresentation, and other behaviors not conducive to ministry

Any complaint alleging violation of The Common Code of Ethics must be made in writing and sent via email to and include: any allegations of wrongdoing, contact information for the person making the claim (this will not be disclosed to the clergy member without permission of the person filing the complaint), name(s) and contact information for any individuals who can speak to the violations alleged, any documents or other items that support the complaint being made.

The ChI Clergy Ethics Committee will respond to the complainant within one week to confirm receipt of the complaint. The committee will share a timeline for when the complaint will be investigated and may ask for additional information from the individual who filed the complaint.

The process will evolve from the complaint. Outcomes may include:

  • Dismissal of the complaint for cause or insufficient information
  • Meeting with the person(s) filing the complaint
  • Meeting with the clergy member in question
  • Planning for an investigation done either by the committee or an individual or group chosen by the committee
  • A hearing with the person(s) making the complaint and the clergy member
  • Other carefully selected steps that are deemed appropriate


Outcomes of the Ethics Committee Process may include:
(verbiage adapted from the ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL CHAPLAINS Process for Addressing Allegations of Ethical Misconduct

  1. Admonishment: The Hearing Panel finds that the clergy member did violate the Code, acknowledges the violation, and that education regarding appropriate ethical conduct is proportionally sufficient to the violation and will ensure future compliance with the Code of Ethics.
  2. Reprimand: This is a serious rebuke of the clergy member. It is based upon an assessment that the member has accepted full responsibility for the violation, articulates and understands the consequences of the violation; that the Reprimand is proportionally sufficient to the violation and is adequate to ensure future compliance with the Code of Ethics. It may include increased supervision or other stipulations for continued practice and good standing as recommended by the Ethics Committee.
  3. Probation: It is unclear whether the member fully understands, can articulate empathically, and accept responsibility for the violation and its consequences. For a designated period of time, the member will follow specific instructions under the direction of the ethics committee or designee. Before the clergy member is restored to full status, the clergy member will meet all the terms imposed by the Ethics Committee and appear before it to demonstrate fulfillment of the terms to its satisfaction.
  4. Suspension: The Ethics Committee finds that the member does not understand and/or accept responsibility nor appreciate the serious nature and/or consequences of the violation. Removal of Good Standing is not disproportionate to the violation. Either or both are removed until a specifically identified problem or condition is addressed to the satisfaction of the Ethics Committee and the ChI Board. The clergy member will meet with both the Ethics Committee and the ChI Board or their designees to demonstrate compliance to their satisfaction before the suspension is recommended lifted.

The clergy member can appeal this decision to the ChI Board President within one month of the decision.