Special Announcement – New Professional Conduct Protocols

05 Jul 2023

To our endorsed ministering persons in our network, we have an important update. churches of Christ in NSW & ACT is a network of ministries, agencies and churches that partner and collaborate in ministry and mission.  We are not hierarchical or centralist and choose to hold each other accountable in mutual respect and maturity. In many aspects, the network takes no position regarding the theology, style, vision or mission of any single church.

One exception, however is the provision of endorsement of ministers, pastors and chaplains, and subsequently, the oversight of the professional standards for those who are endorsed. Our faith communities, and the community at large, rightly expect that those who hold ministering roles be held to a high standard for their behaviour. The churches of Christ in NSW & ACT Code of Conduct for Ministering People has been in effect for many years and fulfils this expectation with definitions of regarding misconduct and an impartial process for handling complaints made against subscribers. The last major revision of the Code of Conduct was in 2011. The 2011 Code is not on par with other Australian ministerial codes of conduct, nor does it fulfil the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Over recent years, Conference Executive have been considering a major review of the Code, and have now approved and adopted a broader suite of documents to replace the 2011 Code. Conference Executive have adopted the Professional Conduct Protocols – a suite of six volumes that will come into effect on 1 July 2023.

The Professional Conduct Protocols are on our website HERE and is comprised of: Volume 1: Dictionary of Defined Terms. Volume 2: Guide for personal behaviour and practice in ministry.Volume 3: Code of Conduct.Volume 4: Professional Standards Unit Establishment and Functions Policy.Volume 5: Complaints Procedure.Volume 6: Pastoral Response Policy. There will be a twelve-month transitional period between the 2011 Code of Conduct and the new Professional Conduct Protocols (Code of Conduct). This time will also serve as a consultation period whereby leaders across the network will be provided opportunities to give feedback on the Professional Conduct Protocols. During this transitional period, subscribers to the 2011 Code of Conduct will be invited to subscribe to the new Code of Conduct. Once an endorsed person subscribes to the new Code of Conduct, they are no longer bound by the 2011 Code of Conduct as of that date.

The 2011 Code of Conduct ceases to have effect on 30 June 2024. The 2011 Code of Conduct has been amended to reflect this change (see HERE).  What this means for you as an Endorsed PersonAs a subscriber to the 2011 Code of Conduct, you are invited to become a subscriber to the new Code of Conduct (see Appendix A HERE).

To complete the form, two leaders from your ministry must also co-sign the form. Please fill out and upload your new Code of Conduct form to the Ministry Portal in the ‘My Certificates’ section. We will be sending further information in the coming weeks regarding the transition to the Professional Conduct Protocols, and providing consultation opportunities over the coming 12 months. Warm regards, Daz FarrellExecutive Ministry Director, churches of Christ in NSW/ACT