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Glossary

This section defines terms used in this report, in the context of their current usage in our Unitarian Universalist denomination.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Abuse

Actions causing physical, emotional or psychological damage to another person, usually in the context of a power imbalance between the Victim and the abuser. See "Sexual Abuse."

Advocate

A person appointed with the authority of the UUA, and accepted by a Victim/Survivor, whose role is to listen, to inform such person of the procedures established by the UUA, and other options, for confronting Clergy Sexual Misconduct, and to accompany the Victim/Survivor through these procedures. An Advocate does not function as a lawyer or therapist, but seeks to provide safe spaces for the Victim/Survivor, to facilitate truth-telling, and to restore community.

After-Pastor

A minister who, during the period while significant healing remains to be accomplished, serves a Congregation which has experienced Clergy Sexual Misconduct by a previous Minister.

Apology

An expression, to a person wronged, of genuine sorrow and regret for behavior acknowledged to be a breach of applicable ethical standards and a violation of trust. Apology can be an essential long-term precondition for Forgiveness.

Board of Review

An administrative panel of the UUA which (currently) has jurisdiction of appeals by Ministers from certain disciplinary actions of the MFC.

Boundary

The perimeter of a rule or a generally accepted norm governing relationships between people, including sexual behavior between Ministers and others, e.g., inappropriate words and overtones, and physical movement or contact.

Clergy

A person who has been ordained to ministry as a professional religious leader.

Clergy Sexual Abuse

See Clergy Sexual Misconduct

Clergy Sexual Misconduct

The crossing of an appropriate sexual Boundary with a member of a Minister's community, in violation of the Code of Professional Ethics of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association or other professional body to which the minister is subject.

Clerical

Refers to Clergy (see below).

Community

A Congregation or other group served by a Minister. May include agencies and individuals served by a community Minister, and children and family members served by a Congregation, agency or community ministry.

Complaint

A formal written statement by a Victim/Survivor accusing a Minister of Clergy Sexual Misconduct, under procedures established by the UUA, the UUMA, or other professional ministerial association.

Confidentiality

Respect for the privacy of a Victim or Survivor of Clergy Sexual Misconduct. Generally requires nondisclosure of Victim or Survivor's name, the specifics of alleged Clergy Sexual Misconduct, and (after the filing of a Complaint) the specifics of a Complaint, beyond the minimum required for the processing of the Complaint by the MFC. Ordinarily it should be up to the Victim or Survivor what should be disclosed, on the principle that the "story" belongs to the particular Victim or Survivor. See also Secrecy.

Congregation

A church, fellowship, religious community or society, affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Covenant

A theological concept which describes the relationship among the members of Unitarian Universalist Congregations, and with their Ministers and Congregations as entities, based on promises (explicit, implicit and traditional) as to how we want to relate with each other; sometimes expressed in terms of relationship with the divine, as well.

Defellowship

A decision of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to revoke a Minister's Fellowship.

Defendant or Minister/Defendant

A Minister accused in a Complaint.

Disfellowship

See Defellowship.

District

One of 23 geographic regions within the UUA, within the United States and Canada.

District Consultant or Executive

Names sometimes used for a staff person (Clergy or lay) who heads a District.

Fellowship

A status granted by the MFC, which recognizes a person as a Minister in good standing with the UUA , eligible to be recommended to Congregations or agencies seeking a Minister.

Field Staff

Staff members of the UUA, serving at a district level; variously designated as "District Executives," "District Consultants," program consultants, or otherwise.

Forgiveness

An expression which does not deny, excuse or forget another person's offense, but agrees to set it aside in the interest of healing and ongoing life.

Good Offices Person

A member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association charged with responsibility for providing advice and support to a Minister in relation to possible conflict with a Congregation or agency served by that Minister. Each chapter of the UUMA normally selects one or more such persons.

Harassment

See Sexual Harassment.

Healing

See Survivor.

Laity

A participant in a Congregation, other than Clergy; the backbone of religious institutions, often thought of as the "people in the pews," described by Unitarian Universalist theologian James Luther Adams as active participants in "the prophethood of all believers."

MFC (Ministerial Fellowship Committee)

A committee of the UUA to which has been delegated the authority to grant, withdraw and reinstate the standing of a person as a Minister "in fellowship" with the UUA.

Minister

See Clergy.

Ministerial Fellowship

See Fellowship.

Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC)

A committee of the UUA to which has been delegated the authority to grant, withdraw and reinstate the standing of a person as a Minister "in fellowship" with the UUA.

Pastoral Counseling

Individual counseling, informed by psychological and theological training, of persons who are survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse or Misconduct. Pastoral Counseling is a spiritual approach toward Healing, some essential steps toward which are described in the Truth to Power section of this report.

Perpetrator

A member of the Clergy who has engaged in sexual abuse of a Victim or Survivor.

Power

The moral authority inherent in a Minister's position in relation to a member of the Minister's community.

Recovery

See Survivor.

Restorative Justice

A composite of actions seeking to restore right relationship, with equity and compassion. In relation to Survivors, may include an Apology and other amends such as monetary compensation, and payment for therapy. May also apply to Perpetrators and Congregations. See also Section entitled "Restorative Justice: A Transforming Philosophy" (opening paragraph).

Second Circle

A person or group injured by Clergy Sexual Misconduct, other than a Victim/Survivor; e.g. members of the family of a Victim/Survivor or Defendant; a Congregation and its individual members or other bystanders; or a close colleague. In its broadest sense, may include a Congregation's surrounding community, and the larger world of Unitarian Universalism.

Secrecy

The suppression of information about Clergy Sexual Misconduct. Ordinarily, such information should be suppressed only to the extent required to protect the Confidentiality of a Victim or Survivor, as decided by that person. Beyond this, Secrecy may unduly maintain a power imbalance, and impair the right of the Congregation and larger world to know.

Sexual Abuse

The misuse of the power differential inherent in a Minister's position of moral authority or relationship of trust, through Clergy Sexual Misconduct.

Sexual Harassment

The misuse of the power differential inherent in a Minister's position of moral authority or relationship of trust, through unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Survivor

A Victim who has healed or recovered from the experience of Clergy Sexual Misconduct. Healing and recovery are a continuum, as self-determined by the Victim or Survivor. Its stages may include the establishment of that person's safety, the reconstruction of the person's story, and restoration to the person's community.

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

An association of congregations, now headquartered at 25 Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA)

UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association)

An association of congregations, now headquartered at 25 Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

UUMA (Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association)

Victim

A person who has experienced (directly) what she or he believes to have been Clergy Sexual Misconduct, and has not healed or recovered from the experience. Sometimes referred to as a person or persons "victimized" by a Perpetrator, to emphasize the damage done even when a person does not self-identify as a Victim.

Victim/Survivor

See Survivor.

For more information contact safecongregations @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Friday, April 22, 2011.

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