This is an update from our Baptist Code of Ethics-Conduct Advisory Group (CECAG), following on from their first update in July 2023 that outlined their work: Reviewing the ethics of our leaders. Steven Goulstone is part of this group and also pastor with Wellington South Baptist Church.

“The underlying values of a culture and its ethics shape and inform the way we speak and act.” – bell hooks

The CECAG (Code of Ethics-Conduct Advisory Group) have continued our work processing what is required to enhance the well-being, safety and dignity of our faith communities and leaders. Many of our meetings have primarily been listening exercises, as we have heard from many different people and perspectives about what will serve our whānau of Baptist churches best. Of course, it wouldn’t be a meeting of Baptist leaders without some robust discussion included as well. We have also heard more heartbreaking stories that strongly emphasise the need for robust ethical principles and guidelines for anyone leading within the various forms of Baptist ministry.

As the quote above says, it is our values and ethics that shape and inform our behaviour. To work together as a movement on solidifying efforts to be safe spaces for people to minister and be ministered to, our values and ethics need to be much more explicit to ensure that our behaviour, individual and corporate is always something that shows a watching world who Jesus is.

We let you know last year about the focus on identifying core ethical domains that need to be addressed within what is produced. That work has continued through our in-person and online Teams meetings, and following the consultation that has happened, we are ready to begin our first draft of what the new Ethical Principles and Guidelines document could look like, using the imagery of A Forest of Leaders.

Our next meeting is a ‘writing retreat’ that is happening on Monday 11 March. We deeply value your continued prayers as we meet and take these next steps.

We continue to be open to comments and suggestions which can be sent to [email protected]


Photo credit: Helen Brereton

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