The Ethical Education Task Force

The Ethical Education Task Force, or EETF, currently chaired by Rev. Steve Easterday-McPadden, was established to address the prevention of violations of the sacred trust of ministry through developing and offering relevant educational workshops in each District to keep the subject of appropriate ministerial relationships before the clergy and lay ministry leaders of the Conference. The scope of the workshops has been expanded over time to include topics related to “Safe Sanctuaries” (the protection of children, youth, and vulnerable adults – and those who work with these persons) and the proper use of Social Media and Church Technology. Since the work of the EETF is associated with ongoing formation of clergy and laity and the healthy practice of ministry, it is supervised by and accountable to the Board of Ordained Ministry.

The work of the EETF is established by legislative action of the MSC. The legislative history is documented in the Journals of the Rocky Mountain Conference; however, the foundational piece of legislation is Petition AC07-1999 “Conference Church Ethics and Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training”, which established the requirement that all RMC clergy under appointment by the Bishop or assignment by a District Superintendent attend Ethics and Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training “once every four years”.

With the passage of Petition AC12-2009, the requirements for Ethical Education for clergy serving under appointment in the RMC changed from "once every four years" to "once per quadrennium", with quadrennium being defined by the 4-year period between General Conferences. (Technically, it's the 4-year period marked out by our Annual Conference sessions following a General Conference.)

The significance of this is that the Ethical Education Task Force no longer has to offer workshops every year. Under the old rule, some group of us were faced with falling out of compliance every year depending upon when we last participated in a workshop. Under the new rule, as long as we get our training in any time within the quadrennium, we are in compliance.

Taking advantage of the 2009 rule, the EETF undertook in 2013 and 2014 a complete revision of the 2008-2012 Ethical Education workshop curriculum with the goals being:

  1. More discussion than “lecture” along with greater interaction among participants
  2. More consistent quality among workshops and workshop leaders,
  3. Less hassle (and expense) with the procurement of materials for the workshops, and
  4. Less administrative overhead for EETF members and District Administrative Assistants.

In our Internet-age, with the emphasis on so much work taking place online, we remain committed to the value of having face-to-face workshops and will not be going to an online, "read-and-take-the-quiz" format. The Cabinet and the EETF feel that there is great value in discussing ethics and best practices in ministry where we learn from each other's experiences and not just listen to a presentation on the subject.

I would like to thank those on the EETF this quadrennium for their strong participation and invaluable contributions to our work: Rev. Dr. Andy Dunning, Rev. Linda Cheek, Rev. Dr. Val Jackson, Candace Gordon, Chris Wilterdink, Rev. Don Sperber, and Rev. Amy Strader. This work could not have been completed without them.

God’s blessings to you all in the year ahead. I hope you find the new EETF workshop valuable, enjoyable, and helpful in keeping your ministry settings places that are safe and healthy for all and that glorify God in Jesus Christ, whose disciples we are and are becoming moment by moment that the world might be transformed!

Rev. Steve Easterday-McPadden, Chair
Ethical Education Task Force