Discuss the importance of ethics to the clergy-lay relationship. Do you believe a clergy person has ethical responsibilities? If so, what are these responsibilities? (300 words minimum)
The importance of ethics to the clergy-lay relationship is the ability to know right from wrong, as well as appropriate responses to individual needs. Anyone who is a representative of people, or someone who is looked to for any sort of guidance has an important heavy requirement of being ethical. They represent a need and presumption by humans in general to know that we are moving in the right direction, that we have someone who can help guide or understand the experiences in which they go through.
A large responsibility then rests on the shoulder of anyone in a leadership or clergy position, or that provides counsel or guidance to sooth or direct someone in a positive and applicable direction. An example of this would be the ability to provide unbiased consultation to someone who has been convicted of a felony of some sort, including those felonies we don’t necessarily agree with. I experience such a situation in my own Grove with a registered sex offender (non-violent), and his desire and right to seek spiritual sanctuary and to do so without bias on my part. I fully accept his rights and provide what services I appropriately can, while still maintaining my responsibility as clergy, and keeping the thoughts and feelings of the membership in consideration as well.
There are certain expectations that society looks for from a clergy-person, such as confidentiality, wisdom and/or guidance, pastoral duties, as well as ceremony and ritual. Clergy should lead by example and not set a misleading depth of knowledge to anyone seeking counsel, nor expose a bent stance on who deserves or has the right for services where appropriate. Obviously there are times where we cannot provide a service requested or needed and have to refer to professionals who can, such as mental counseling. We must acknowledge our own limitations in order to give an accurate account of what services we are able to administer.
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