Community Handbook 2015-16
Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.
All those who have been ordained by the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary primarily comprise the spiritual community of ministers. It is the ground from which we go out to minister in service to others, and to which we return for support and sanctuary. This Handbook describes how our community works for all ministers, and provides information about the benefits available from our membership of the One Spirit Interfaith Ministers Association (IMA).
This community also includes the students of One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, those who have formal roles within our organisation who may not have been ordained within our organisation, and those from like-minded organisations who may apply for membership, for example those ordained within the One Spirit Learning Alliance in the USA.
The Interfaith Ministers Association is the tangible and practical manifestation of this community and all ministers are encouraged to be active within the Association.
Its aims are to:
- Bring us together in an inclusive, supportive, and mutually-nurturing community for the sharing and growth of our spiritual life
- Establish opportunities for shared spiritual practice across the community
- Provide a means by which we can engage together in practice, supervision, learning and development
- Establish a public register whereby we can offer our services to the community and the public can find a minister for their needs
- Define and maintain the standards by which we serve others
- Provide appropriate mechanisms for the resolution of any conflict or complaint
- Create income streams to enable the community structures and processes that support our ministers in their on-going personal and work-related development.
The community supports us in both a personal and professional capacity, and in our relationships with each other, with clients, and with the Source of All.
We are a peer community of ministers. We commit to supporting each other and to serving our highest purpose. As community members we are all of equal worth, independent of the roles we may hold. We share a responsibility and duty to each other – through love, prayer, support, supervision and wise counsel, or by any other nurturing and affirming means that may be appropriate to the circumstances.
Individual members of the community are invited, encouraged and supported to step forward into offering service to the community at large. There are many opportunities, including: creating post-graduate events; hosting the annual convocation gathering; becoming a supervisor; serving on one of the various panels or task groups; becoming a tutor or staff member; offering your specialist counselling expertise; volunteering as a mentor, trustee or other role. Members fulfilling official roles in the Foundation such as tutor, staff member, mentor, supervisor, trustee or other role are expected to be a Registered member of the Interfaith Ministers Association.
Our community comprises all ministers in that all ministers and student ministers are automatically members of the IMA. IMA membership donations and fees enable OneSpirit to provide this expanding support to ministers after ordination. Registered IMA members (RIMA) receive enhanced benefits at either no-cost or reduced rates; standard IMA members may be asked to pay fees for each service. We invite you to step into your membership of the IMA and help co-create this spiritual community.
Shared spiritual practice
You are invited to participate from wherever you are in the weekly time for community prayer. Individual ministers offer to create and lead shared worship in local and regional groups on either a one-off or regular basis; such events are promoted in our publications.
‘iConnect’ and ‘Gracevine’
Our iConnect newsletter every second week and twice-yearly Gracevine journal are distributed free to all ministers and students.
A list of accredited supervisors is available via the website or from the administrator. There is a professional process for validating and supporting supervisors (Annex 7). There are many diverse ways to create supervision support.
Each year, the Convocation gathering brings ministers together in an event hosted by community members and supported by the staff team; there are also opportunities for minister-led retreats and other gatherings.
Website and Facebook
Our website, together with our Facebook page and iConnect, are the major media interfaces for communication from ministers and to ministers, and to the public.
Post-graduate training and continuing professional development (CPD)
A programme of post-graduate training courses, workshops and events is offered to all ministers, and at discounted prices to Registered IMA members.
A series of one hour facilitated conference calls, held by the Foundation team, to bring any issues forward for early dialogue, inquiry, meditation, information. Ministers welcome to initiate themes and be the lead speaker. Includes a ’OneSpirit Matters Touchstones’, where ministers can tune in for an update from the Focaliser and wider team, bringing any questions, issues or ideas about our organisation and work.
Legal registration for weddings
In Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, OneSpirit ministers are eligible to apply for temporary registration with the relevant Registrar’s office to conduct legal wedding ceremonies. The IMA will support you in this process with information, the relevant letters of support, and CPD training to be eligible for longer-term registration with the Scottish Registrar.
Regional and thematic groups and networks
Any minister is welcome to convene and organise regional (e.g. Tyneside, Devon, Ireland) or thematic (e.g. Funerals, Chaplaincy, Supervisors, LGBT) groups and networks. Such groups are self-managing. They may meet face-to-face, online, or via telephone conferencing or by any chosen means. IMA members may submit their groups, networks and events to the website from where they will be promoted through our publications.
Library of resource materials
IMA members can share and download resource materials (prayers, talks, briefing papers, services, and much more) through the on-line resource library which is growing into a valuable tool kit of useful materials.
IMA members may publish their prayer requests to other members of the community.
Support for ministers in crisis
From time-to-time, individual interfaith ministers may be in need of support of a physical, emotional or spiritual nature. Regular supervision or spiritual direction is strongly recommended for all ministers (and is a requirement for those on the Public Register). Beyond this, experience demonstrates that we may each encounter a difficult period and that may lead to a crisis on our spiritual journey. Such situations may include: a loss of faith, exhaustion and burnout, a crisis of confidence, uncertainty in how to respond, a lapse in professional conduct, or a loss of direction. All ministers share a duty of care for other community members. The IMA can help identify crisis support for you, including:
- A panel of trained, experienced and accredited supervisors
- A process to support notification of misconduct or complaints, and processes for healing and resolving conflict and complaints
- A list of recommended short-stay retreat houses
- A network of ministers who are experienced in responding to burnout, relationship breakdown, bereavement, severe illness, sexual identity and similar crises.
Please contact your supervisor or our central office at any time for further help, and you will be offered suggestions for resources to turn to.
Registered Members also receive:
Minister marketing and the Public Register of Interfaith Ministers
All Registered IMA members can create an illustrated online public profile that displays to the general public in the Find-a-Minister area of our website. Ministers may promote their services and ceremonies including contact information and website details. This directory is promoted to the public and is the basis for all referrals on our public helpline. OneSpirit is developing our marketing process for the Seminary training and the work of our minister community, and is establishing relationships with other organisations who share our aims and ethos.
We also publish a public newsletter 6-8 times a year, OneSpirit News, which currently has around 1,000 subscribers. This newsletter is used mainly to promote the Seminary training, and where appropriate the wider work of our minister community.
Registered IMA members may use OneSpirit logos in their own marketing. Logos in various resolutions for web use and printing are available from our Administrator.
Registered IMA members can publish and promote their events and activities through the on-line events calendar, and these events are further promoted through our publications.
The IMA has negotiated tailored professional indemnity and public liability insurance at attractive rates for Registered members. Further details are available on the website or from our administration office.
Other work of the IMA in developing the profile of our Minister community, and the network of support available
Recently the IMA has:
- Responded to government consultations in both Scotland and England on proposals for equality of marriage for all couples.
- Trained a first group of “Ambassador Ministers” to promote our work at events, meetings and other opportunities to talk to the public.
- Supported financially and practically the gestation and delivery of a wonderful residential Convocation.
- Developed our network through collaborative working with the Wrekin Trust, supporting a series of regional gatherings of kindred spirits in this work.
- Begun developing our use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to widen the visibility of our community.
- Begun to identify and contact other organisations, such as “Dying Matters” and the “Charter for Compassion” whom we could connect with in offering our work to the world.
OneSpirit is committed to nurturing the growth of the community and all of the activities and services offered by ministers. You are welcome to be in touch with the staff team at any time; contact details are available on the website:
Nicola Coombe – Focaliser
Alan Briscoe – Operations Manager
Jackie Amos Wilkinson – Faculty Lead
Lindsay Jarrett – Foundation Administrator and overall point of liaison
Danielle Wilson – Finance Officer and point of contact for payment-related issues
Elaine Walker – CPD (Continuous Professional Development) Tutor
Rob MacLachlan – Editor of iConnect and media development
As community members, we share the duty of care and support for each other. We commit to taking supportive action when we see another minister in difficulty. We expect all ministers to be in regular supervision and/or spiritual direction for their own self-awareness; and this is a requirement for those on the Public Register. Sometimes a minister may be unaware of their own distress, inauthenticity, imbalance or lack of centredness. When we see another minister in difficulty – whether they recognise this or not – we have a responsibility as a ‘soul friend’ to approach them with love and compassion to support them in returning to a place of integrity and congruence. We do not “walk by on the other side”. We risk our friendship by offering the truth to our friend. To support you in doing this, any community member may approach a supervisor or a staff member for guidance.
For the times when things go wrong, we have a Conflict resolution and Reconciliation process (Annex 7) to resolve grievances between us.
Our Professional Conduct Procedure (Annex 8) has been developed to investigate any formal complaints made against a OneSpirit interfaith minister, tutor, trustee, mentor, staff member or student. The aim is to afford protection to all those with whom we work and to protect the reputation of One Spirit Interfaith Foundation. We undertake to inform anyone who indicates that they have a complaint or grievance about the existence of this procedure. The procedure allows for the recording of all formal complaints, the establishment of a professional conduct hearing, and an appeals process. When a complaint is received, the minister concerned may be suspended from the Register if the matter is sufficiently serious or/ and the Foundation may suspend its support for the minister’s work in the world, whilst the issue is being investigated. Where a complaint is upheld, the professional conduct panel will determine the most appropriate sanction.
Membership of the Interfaith Ministers Association is given to all those who have been ordained by the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation and is also open to ministers ordained by One Spirit Learning Alliance or the New Seminary in the USA. Applications for membership will be considered from ministers ordained by similar bodies who seek to support our community work.
There are five modes of membership:
- A Member is a minister wishing to belong to a community of like-minded and like-qualified people and intending to participate in the activities, communications and opportunities provided by the Association. Ministers need not have an active or overt ministry; we welcome your support for the wider community. Members agree to live by their personal vow, OneSpirit Foundation Vows and the Code of Ethics, and by all other guidelines published by the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation.
- A Student Member is a person who is undertaking our two-year minister training, and receives all of the communications from the organisation as if they were a Member.
- A Member on the Public Register is an ordained OneSpirit minister who may have an active or overt ministry in the world, who wishes to be listed on the Public Register of OneSpirit Interfaith Ministers. Registered members enjoy the same community benefits as Friend/Members; and they have access to additional benefits including listing in the Public Register. They must meet the same criteria as Members. In addition, they must abide by the requirements for Supervision and Continuous Professional Development and they must hold valid public and professional liability insurance.
- A Friend Member is open to anyone who shares the ethos and aims of the IMA and OneSpirit, and who wishes to both support the work and be a part of the community, but has not been ordained by OneSpirit or any other body.
- Some ministers ordained by OneSpirit may choose to opt out of the communications that the organisation sends out, but will still be on our database as a graduate minister and are still regarded as members of the community of ministers. The guidelines and procedures that apply to IMA members (particularly with regard to supervision and spiritual direction, conflict resolution, and professional conduct) remain available to them. Such ministers are warmly welcome to attend events and request support and assistance for which fees will be charged. Such support does not extend to help with marketing, promotion, library resources and similar facilities except at an appropriate professional fee for each service.
Trustees, faculty members, mentors, accredited supervisors and management staff are expected to be Members on the Public Register.
All Members (MIMA) and Public Register Members (RIMA) agree to follow:
- Their Personal Vow that each created and took, before witnesses, at the time of their ordination.
- The OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation Vows, that were taken during ordination:
- I promise to be inclusive, serving without discriminating on the basis of race, age, gender, religious affiliation, ethnic background, economic status, sexual orientation or any other distinction.
- I promise to continue to deepen in my own spiritual practice, that the service I offer others may always be grounded in the integrity of an authentic and evolving spiritual life.
- I promise to fulfil, to the best of my ability, the personal vow I took on retreat.
- I promise to abide by the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation’s code of ethics.
- The Code of Ethics, as published in Annex 1.
In addition, all Members on the Public Register agree to follow these additional guidelines:
4. Regular supervision and/or spiritual direction. All Members on the Public Register engage in a formal process of supervision and/or spiritual direction to support their work and personal growth as an interfaith minister. Supervision may be provided by a peer minister, a person accredited by OneSpirit to offer supervision, or a suitably experienced external supervisor. Supervision may be arranged on a one-to-one basis, or within a structured group. We particularly encourage IMA members to join an Independent Practitioner Network Group (www.i-p-n.org), which would provide a support structure with other professionals and offer mutual accountability and supervision. Spiritual direction may be provided by any appropriately experienced director. As a guideline, we are expected to engage in supervision at least four times each year, and more often if we have a full caseload, or when we experience difficulties or uncertainty in our work. Further advice on these requirements is provided in the Annex 2.
5. Continuing spiritual pathway. Members on the Register continue their spiritual growth and engage in further relevant study, practice and learning in order to enhance their knowledge, skills and expertise. The aim is to support the spiritual, mental and emotional growth of ministers and thereby develop personal and professional abilities. IMA members are required to regularly review their own spiritual path and to identify suitable opportunities by their further growth. A supervisor may assist in this process. As a guideline, ministers on the Public Register are expected to undertake a minimum of 25 hours or 4 days of relevant development activities each year.
7. Insurance. All Members on the Public Register agree to be insured for professional indemnity and public liability. We have negotiated a group insurance policy with Balens, and other similar policies are equally acceptable, if they cover your ministry activities. Further details are available in the insurance proposal document available on the website or from the administration office.
Membership of the IMA is offered as a gift to all ministers ordained by OneSpirit since its beginning in the United Kingdom.
All members are invited to make a donation, either annually or quarterly if preferred, to support the work of the IMA and OneSpirit in developing and enabling the work of the whole Minister community.
Current IMA Registered (RIMA) membership fees are £11 per month, payable by Direct Debit. Membership fees are reviewed annually in line with the cost of providing the benefits and services of the Association. Current students are not required to pay a fee to be temporary Members.
To join the IMA as a registered member (RIMA), please contact Lindsay.
Ministers who choose to opt out of the IMA and who later request a service or facility will be asked to pay fees for each service requested
Most, if not all, of the community’s communications will be delivered by email. Please ensure that the Administrator is kept informed of any change to your email address. Members on the Register are responsible for maintaining their own contact details on their online profile.
Relationship with OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation
OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation is the overarching body that holds the focus for the education and community building streams of our organisation. This includes the Interfaith Ministers Association and the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.
Members may be suspended from the Public Register pending an investigation into any complaint alleged against them. Members may be removed from the Public Register or from the Association:
- when a complaint has been formally investigated and upheld
- for non-payment of membership dues by 3 April in each year
- for non-adherence to the requirements of membership
- in the event of persistent non-communication by the minister
All ministers are entirely free to decide how they will practice and minister. In line with our Code of Ethics, the OneSpirit does not seek to determine, control or influence the specific spiritual practice, faith belief, creed, ministry or service offered by any member of our community.
For all enquiries about the Community Handbook please contact:
Tel: 0333 332 1996
To promote integrity in our training and practice, the staff, students and ministers of OneSpirit commit ourselves to the following precepts:
Remembering our unity, honouring our uniqueness
We aim to keep our hearts and minds open to everyone, celebrating difference but not separation. We refuse to marginalise people on the basis of age, disability, state of health, race, gender, nationality, religion, sexuality, economic status or any other distinction.
Walking our talk
We understand the importance of practising what we preach, and agree to uphold the ethical and practical principles of the spiritual path we follow. We recognise that all paths emphasise the importance of honesty, respecting self and others, non-stealing and non-harming.
Knowing that truthfulness brings freedom, we aim to cultivate conscious and clean communication. We aim to speak and listen as truly as we can, being mindful that our words are kind, true and useful.
Since we value purity of awareness, we support each other in exercising maturity over the ingestion of intoxicants or mind-altering substances.
Honouring physical boundaries
In order to create safe space for the opening of our hearts and minds, we aim to be sensitive and respectful in expressing physical affection. Mindful of the power our position as teacher, counsellor or minister may bring, we undertake to refuse absolutely sexual relationships with our students or clients.
Representing ourselves accurately
Since we strive for integrity, we understand the importance of not misleading others about the services we can offer, and not exaggerating our professional achievements. Further, we commit ourselves to open and just dealings in all of our financial transactions.
We honour the sacred trust between a spiritual counsellor and a client, and between a minister and the community served, and promise to hold any personal information in the strictest confidence within the law. The same applies to our group settings, so that a safe space is created for heartfelt sharing.
Valuing support and supervision
We acknowledge the need for supervision and guidance beyond our years of study at OneSpirit. We commit to regular supervision of our spiritual counselling and ministry work.
Committed to continued awakening
We understand that our spiritual unfolding is an ongoing process, and dedicate ourselves to continually deepening our personal spiritual practice, that our service may be grounded in an authentic and evolving spiritual life.
Safeguarding the whole
We commit, where necessary, to lovingly call to attention, either one-to-one or through our peer group, any issue that may place another in danger or compromise the good reputation of interfaith ministers however difficult this may seem.
OneSpirit’s Confidentiality Policy
Confidentiality helps to create and protect a sacred space, a sense of being held safely but it can also be used to create secrecy and defend us from openness. OneSpirit’s intention is to heal or bring to wholeness all aspects of humanity and so it recognises the need for a confidentiality policy that encourages individual openness while establishing best practise in how and when personal information is held and shared.
Three aspects of UK law impact on this document; Data Protection Act, Terrorism Act, and the Children Act 2014. This document also needs to be read in conjunction with OneSpirit’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Procedure. Our training contracts reflect this policy as well as our supervisory contracts and RIMA membership.
Values and Code of Ethics
OneSpirit believes that maintaining confidentiality is an expression of our values and is currently expressed in these terms:
Maintaining Confidentiality: “We honour the sacred trust between a spiritual counsellor and a client, between a minister and the community served and promise to hold any personal information in the strictest confidence within the law. The same applies to our study setting, so that a safe place is created for heartfelt sharing”. We will only discuss privileged information within our legitimate forums of support (such as supervision), focusing on the issues and only identifying the individuals concerned when absolutely necessary. On the very rare occasions we see a need to break confidentiality, we will first aim to encourage the individual themselves to share information that could be in their best interests to disclose. This is normally about a risk to the client/trainee, to a second party (ourselves) or a third party (like a child or a spouse)
Confidentiality within the Training Context
In the interests of students’ growth and development, core and group tutors and wider faculty, together with our finance and admin staff where appropriate, will share information in the legitimate forums of support, for example debriefing meetings, unless specifically requested by an individual student not to do so. That request for confidentiality will be respected if it is deemed in the student’s best interest to do so, does not contravene the training agreement, the statement below or bring the organisation into disrepute. The individual will also be encouraged to bring the issue out into the open/light for healing and to get wider support.
If confidentiality cannot be maintained the individual will be informed.
All student counsellors will be taught the confidentiality statement below before taking on a student client.
All student counsellors will use this statement on confidentiality and discuss it with the student client before counselling takes place.
When student counsellors are writing up their case studies they will not mention the client’s name and only the issues, not the individual, will be discussed at supervision.
If tutors or supervisors are concerned about the “student client” as a result of reading or hearing case notes they will ask the student counsellor to ask the student client for permission to pass on their name.
If tutors or supervisors feel this code has been, or has to be, broken for any reason they will inform both student counsellors and student clients.
Confidentiality within OneSpirit’s Minister Community
OneSpirit ministers and spiritual counsellors honour the sacred trust that is placed with them when personal information is shared by their fellow ministers and/or given by members of the wider community they serve. This trust requires them not to discuss such privileged conversations outside the OneSpirit’s legitimate forums of support, for example in supervision, and then by focusing on the issues and only identifying the individuals concerned when absolutely necessary.
If it is in the community’s best interests that confidentiality is not maintained ministers will encourage the individual to share information with an appropriate person.
If confidentiality cannot be maintained because the code of ethics has been broken or because of circumstances mentioned in the statement at the end of this paper the individual will be informed.
Confidentiality between Spiritual Counsellor and Client
OneSpirit spiritual counsellors will make explicit statements about the limits of confidentiality and will include this in their initial contract prior to entering the counselling relationship. These statements will be discussed within supervision.
Confidentiality and the Law
Many people believe it is illegal to withhold information from the police or the authorities. In reality, in most cases it is not illegal to withhold until a subpoena (court order) is issued.
There are some notable exceptions that have legal requirements with regard to disclosure and they are issues related to terrorism, child abuse and data protection all of which you are legally required to report to the police.
OneSpirit recognise that if spiritual counsellors are to hold the vision of wholeness for an individual and channel Love, and if individuals are to share from their hearts and open up to healing, then a non-judgemental attitude to behaviour is a prerequisite. However, care must be taken for keeping of notes within the data protection act.
We understand that sometimes information is regarded as sensitive and private and we want to respect that. Please be aware that sometimes we may need to share information internally, with colleagues, in order to ensure we provide you and others the necessary support. We will explain why and how such information is to be shared in such cases, and who with, so that you have the opportunity to withhold permission.
We may also need to breach confidentiality in extreme circumstances such as:
A serious risk to your own health and welfare.
If your behaviour presents a serious risk to the legal rights of others.
When staff have been placed in a position that compromises their professional integrity
When disclosure is required by law.
If any of the above circumstances were to arise, before any decision was made to breach confidentiality, the situation would be discussed with you.
The purpose of supervision is to improve the quality of practice offered by a minister. This is achieved by entering an agreed, formal process for discussing and reflecting upon the work that occurs between a minister and his or her client(s), with the support and guidance of the supervisor. The focus of supervision is on the growth journey of the interfaith minister through his or her work in the community.
Whilst supervision may often use methods employed in spiritual counselling or spiritual direction, it differs in its prime focus. Spiritual counselling is concerned with the client’s own personal relationship with the Divine; supervision is concerned with the quality and nature of the minister’s relationship with his or her client(s) including the way in which that relationship is held in the Divine presence.
Registered Members of the Interfaith Ministers Association who are providing services to clients or their community are expected to engage in supervision at least four times each year, and more often if they have a full caseload, or when they experience difficulties or uncertainty in their work.
Supervision should be pre-arranged between those involved; have a clear structure that is understood by all; and maintain a focus throughout on the practice issues being discussed. All supervision arrangements should be jointly reviewed (by supervisor and minister) at least once each year to ensure that they are working effectively for the purposes described here, and more often if either person feels that the arrangements are not working effectively.
Supervision may be provided in a face-to-face meeting, in a group setting, or by telephone.
Recognised models of supervision
The Interfaith Ministers Association supports members in selecting the most appropriate and practical form of supervision for their needs. Ministers may choose from the following models of supervision:
- Peer-based co-supervision: Ministers may establish a peer-supervision relationship with another OneSpirit-trained minister. To reduce the risk of collusion, we recommend a three-way triad (A supervises B, B supervises C, C supervises A). Co-supervisors are required to agree a supportive framework for sharing their experiences and difficulties, listening attentively to each other, offering constructive comments and insights, and challenging each other when appropriate. All fees payable are by mutual agreement.
- Group supervision: Ministers may establish their own arrangements for group-based supervision using each other as peer-supervisors, or contracting with a more experienced minister to provide supervision for a fee. Ministers are encouraged to align themselves with the Independent Practitioners Network and join an already existing Group, which is the preferred route, or alternatively start the process of establishing a new Group. (see www.i-p-n.org for further information) Several faculty members hold regular group supervision for second-year students at which ministers are welcome.
- Accredited supervisor: OneSpirit accredits several ministers as experienced supervisors; a list of such supervisors is available on the website or from the administration office.
- External supervision: Ministers may receive formal supervision from an external person. This may be appropriate when a minister is also a member of another related professional body. The external person should be trained, qualified and experienced to provide supervision. You should check that the external person is knowledgeable and competent to supervise all aspects of your ministry and spiritual counselling practice.
Verifying supervision arrangements
On the renewal of your Interfaith Ministers Association membership each year, Registered Members are asked to confirm their supervision arrangements. The supervisor is also asked to counter-sign the annual CPD record of Registered Members.
Training for supervisors
OneSpirit promotes a post-graduate training programme for supervisors that is delivered by experienced ministers and/or external teachers. Those who satisfactorily complete this programme are eligible to become an accredited supervisor.
OneSpirit-accredited supervisors are those experienced Members on the Register who have successfully completed OneSpirit’s post-graduate training programme for supervisors (and/or such other requirements as may be determined). Accredited supervisors can be found through their listing on the Public Register.
OneSpirit and the Ministers Community require a body of skilled and experienced supervisors available to support people in at least five ways:
- To provide regular and contracted supervision to seminary mentors as they support our seminary students through their training;
- To provide supervision to second-year seminary students during their period of providing spiritual counselling to first-year students and/ or others during their case studies;
- To provide supervision to OneSpirit ministers, via one to one, peer or group supervision options, either in person or via technology;
- To provide additional and specific spiritual direction and support to a student, at the request of the seminary leader;
- To provide additional and specific spiritual direction to a minister experiencing difficulty, at the request of the Faculty Lead.
We see supervision as a mutually agreed process in which the supervisor meets regularly with the supervisee to support the latter in being more effective in their ministry and practice with clients. Good supervision enables spiritual counsellors and ministers to develop and deepen their own practice at the practical, professional and profound levels of insight, understanding and self-awareness. It helps guide the counsellor/minister, and protects the client/public and OneSpirit from inappropriate interventions and actions. It is a form of professional reflection that honours the wisdom, knowledge and experience of all three people/ groups involved in the arrangement, (supervisor, supervisee and client). It is an opportunity for innovation and creativity. It allows ministers counselling to both realise their potential and identify their limitations. It prevents this work from becoming an isolated individual experience.
As Hawkins and Shohet in their book ‘Supervision in the Helping Professions’ propose:
“The supervisor has to integrate the role of educator, with that of being the provider of support for the worker, and in most cases, managerial oversight of the supervisee’s clients. These three functions do not always sit comfortably together and many supervisors can retreat from attempting this integration to
just one of the roles. It is our intention (in this book) to help the supervisor develop an integrated style of supervision. We are not only advocating integration of the educative, supportive and managerial roles, but also a supervisory approach which is relationship based.”
Process for becoming accredited
We look to recruit experienced and qualified counsellors and supervisors to join the list of the OneSpirit Supervisors Group.
The criteria for accreditation include:
- Maintaining a personal spiritual practice
- Having a (spiritual) counselling training / qualification
- Having completed relevant supervision training / qualification
- Having an active (spiritual) counselling practice; those with less experience and practice of counselling may be regarded as ‘apprentice’ supervisors
- Being in personal supervision
- Being a Registered Member of the IMA
- Being available to provide supervision to students and ministers.
Applications for inclusion on the list should be sent to the Faculty Lead, identifying your match against the criteria above.
In recent years we have been continuing to raise the awareness of supervision, including it more overtly in the seminary training, offering more post-graduate training, and practising it widely within our organisation. We assert that supervision is a process that builds on developed counselling experience, and that supervisors are honoured for their capacity as experienced and qualified counsellors who then extend their work into training in and then offering supervision. We also seek to create a way to enter the process and practice of supervision that is not exclusive and inaccessible…..and which fully honours intention, desire, and learning on our feet.
We invite all supervisors to take an active and contributory role in the self-managing Supervisors Network Group. This network aims to bring together
and support our supervisors. It is convened by one (or more) supervisors, on a voluntary basis, working closely with the Faculty Lead. Supervisors participate in periodic telephone/Skype conference calls to share their practice, attend periodic training workshops, and provide mutual support to each other.
When supervising second-year students and mentors (roles 1 and 2 above), please do not contract with more than two students, in order for a wide pool of supervisors to have the opportunity to work.
For the supervision of mentors (role 1 above), OneSpirit establishes a standard fee each year, paid by OneSpirit, and this should be invoiced directly to the Finance Officer. For the supervision of second-year students (role 2 above), OneSpirit invites each student and supervisor to negotiate the actual fee. In all other instances, you are free to agree a fee with each client, within the overall context of our Code of Ethics.
Refreshing commitment to the list
Each year you will be asked whether you wish to be on the list. You will be asked to confirm the following if you decide to do this, please send the confirmation to the convenor of the Supervisor Network Group:
- that you are available to support OneSpirit students in the particular academic year;
- that you still meet the accreditation criteria set out above;
- that you are agreeable to negotiating a fee with each student who approaches you, depending on their financial means;
- that you are receiving regular supervision as well as engaging in your own daily spiritual practice;
- that you are insured to do supervision work;
- that you have continued your membership of the IMA and that you agree to do so for the duration of the academic year in question;
- to inform the convenor of the supervisor network if your circumstances or qualifications have changed in a way that should be noted since your last re- commitment to the list;
- to be willing to engage within our peer community of supervisors, sharing leadership and responsibility, and being part of the suggested quarterly conference or Skype calls in January, April and September.
Withdrawal or suspension from the list
You are welcome to take a ‘sabbatical’ from the list at any time, if you feel unable to continue or fulfil the role for whatever reason (including absence, ill-health, burn-out, major loss and grief, conflicting demands, etc). We regard it as a positive and healthy move to ‘step back’ from active supervision at any time when you feel unable to commit to the work whole-heartedly and when you know that your own needs are in some way in conflict with your capacity to undertake this work.
OneSpirit may suspend you from the list pending resolution of any complaint involving you, or if it appears likely that your ability to continue offering supervision to mentors, students or ministers is restricted or conflicted for a period of time.
Conflicts and complaints
We have established procedures for resolving conflicts (Annex 6) and handling complaints (Annex 7). You should bring these processes to the attention of any client and colleague who may be dissatisfied in any way with the supervision, counselling or direction being received
All Registered Ministers continue their spiritual growth and undertake further study, practice and learning in order to enhance their knowledge, skills and expertise. The aim is to support the spiritual, mental and emotional development of the minister and thereby develop their personal and professional abilities.
Identifying your pathway
Our approach is rooted in our culture of peer supervision and self-assessment. There are many ways in which you can identify those areas of practice, insight, knowledge, skill or expertise that will help you grow and develop as a minister:
- Reflect on your recent practice with clients to identify situations that have been problematic or difficult to handle
- List some of the situations, events or services that you have tended to avoid – perhaps because you felt insufficiently skilled.
- Review any feedback received from clients, groups or your supervisor to identify areas of weakness in your work
- Consider what new areas or subjects or issues you feel drawn to and might like to explore further
- Take the question of your future development into your personal practice
- Consult with your supervisor.
Meeting your identified growth
OneSpirit recognises that there are very many approaches to effective growth. They include (and are not limited to): spiritual practice; undertaking new roles; courses, workshops and events; supervision and counselling; retreats; mentoring; study; visits; reflection; creativity; research; and much else.
A post-graduate programme of events is offered to all ministers.
Relationship of growth to supervision
From time-to-time it is recommended that you review your pathway with your supervisor. This will help you to assess whether you are travelling in a helpful directions and what new opportunities are emerging.
Recording your pathway
It is recommended that all ministers keep a record of their personal development. This is particularly important for ministers engaged in direct client work. A simple template is provided in the Pathway Record (Annex 4).
|What was your spiritual and developmental path as an Interfaith Minister during the past year?|
|What growth opportunities have you undertaken as part of your spiritual path during the past year? Please give summary details of the nature, format and duration of each activity.|
|How do you see your spiritual path developing in the year ahead?|
|Your supervisor’s comments|
It is the wish of OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation that internal conflicts or difficulties between members of our community should be resolved speedily, effectively and fairly. This four-stage conflict resolution and reconciliation procedure applies across and between all ministers and students (and including all roles of employee, contractor, volunteer, trustee, faculty and mentor).
Stage 1: Spiritual practice
In most cases grievances can be resolved by individuals taking any feelings of conflict or difficulty to their spiritual practice and asking: “What is being reflected here?”, or “What part of myself am I refusing to accept?” Having checked out what is going on inside themselves those in conflict are encouraged, wherever possible, to work together to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
If this does not resolve the issue the next stage is supervision.
Stage 2: Supervision
If the person does not have a supervisor they should ask a minister to act in this capacity. A list of recommended supervisors can be obtained from the administration office. Students should speak to their mentors and/ or faculty.
The questions, amongst others, the supervisor will ask are: “What is the blockage?”, or “What needs to be resolved in you?”, and “What more do you need to do?”
If the issue is still not resolved and it is a personal issue between two people the last option available for resolution is to ask an experienced minister to act as a mediator; both parties need to agree to this and be willing to abide by the agreement negotiated by the mediator.
Stage 3: Mediation
The role of the mediator is to help bring a clear and constructive approach to the issue and to help the people concerned resolve the issue in the best interests of all concerned and the charity. If mediation is agreed upon, all parties must agree to abide by the resolution/agreement negotiated by the mediator.
The agreed resolution will be put in writing and circulated to all parties involved and the grievance procedure will end.
Stage 4: A formal grievance
If, after speaking to a supervisor and offering mediation, the grievance is still not resolved, and the issue concerns a member of staff, the faculty, the management team or the trustee board, or it represents a risk to the reputation of OneSpirit, the issue should be put in writing and sent to the Operations Manager. The process to initiate the Professional Conduct Procedure will then take place.
OneSpirit interfaith ministers and spiritual counsellors (including employees, contractors, faculty, mentors, volunteers and trustees) are required to inform any person who indicates they have a complaint or grievance relating to their work or service about the existence of this procedure.
If requested to do so, they should inform the person that further information concerning these procedures may be obtained from the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation and give contact details.
We encourage the mutual adoption of informal means of conflict resolution at the outset of any process; only if these are unacceptable or unworkable should these formal procedures be implemented.
The aim of the Professional Conduct Procedure is to afford protection to people using our services and to protect the reputation of the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation.
1.2. Bringing a complaint
A complaint can be brought by anyone who is or has used or received the services provided by a OneSpirit interfaith minister or student minister (including those services provided in their capacity as an employee, contractor, tutor, mentor, volunteer or trustee). A complaint can also be brought to the attention of the Professional Conduct Panel by any OneSpirit interfaith minister following public allegations of unprofessional conduct by a minister or student.
Those in formal roles within the organisation can bring complaints against members of our community whose conduct is believed to be outside of the values and principles as laid out in the code of ethics, or who fail to adhere to the requirements for membership (see the Community handbook). The decision to remove a minister from the public Register of Interfaith Ministers or to suspend the organisation’s support for a minister’s work in the world rests with the Professional Conduct Panel
A complaint must be lodged within a year of the alleged breach.
OneSpirit is not responsible for travel or any other expenses incurred either by the complainant or the person complained against in connection with any stage of the complaint.
2 Making a complaint
2.1. The Complaint
The complaint must satisfy the following conditions:
- The allegation is of a breach of the commitments, code of ethics or agreed principles, policies or procedures of the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation or any of its component parts.
- It is brought by a person (or their representative) seeking or using a service provided by a OneSpirit interfaith minister or student minister (including those services provided in their capacity as an employee, contractor, tutor, mentor, volunteer or trustee), or by a person whose communications from an interfaith minister are deemed as harassment.
- The individual complained against is named.
- It is in writing, signed and received by the focaliser, manager or central administrator.
A complaint not satisfying the above conditions will be rejected.
The Minister or student complained against will be notified that a complaint has been received, given a copy of that complaint and details of this procedure. The student or minister is not required to respond at this stage, but will be given an opportunity later if the complaint is accepted for a hearing.
Those ministers who are RIMA members, and those who are not but hold professional indemnity insurance, are advised that they should inform their insurers immediately if they are made the subject of a complaint.
2.3. Receipt of the Complaint
- The complaint will be submitted to a pre-hearing assessment panel comprising of two experienced ministers and chaired by an appropriately qualified and experienced external party appointed by the chair of trustees and the focaliser.
- The pre-hearing panel will decide whether the complaint is appropriate to forward to a professional conduct hearing; the panel may seek further clarification or information.
- If further information or clarification is requested, upon receipt, the pre-hearing panel will decide whether to accept it for a hearing or reject it.
- If the complaint is not appropriate for a professional conduct hearing, the complainant and the person complained against will be formally notified in writing.
- If the complaint is for hearing the chair will inform the focaliser team, who will start the process needed to initiate the professional conduct procedure.
- The pre-hearing assessment panel has discretion to suspend a minister from the public Register of Interfaith Ministers (including from other roles within OneSpirit where appropriate) or to suspend a student from further training, pending the outcome of a professional conduct hearing, or to suspend the organisation’s support for a minister’s work in the world whilst the procedure takes place.
The decision of the pre-hearing panel is final.
3 The Professional Conduct Procedure
3.1. Acceptance of the complaint
The complainant and the person complained against will be notified in writing that the complaint will proceed to a professional conduct hearing which will be chaired by an appropriately qualified and experienced external party appointed by the chair of trustees and the focaliser. It is at the discretion of the chair of trustees and the focaliser to ask the pre-hearing panel to take on the role of Professional Conduct Panel, or to appoint a new panel.
3.2. Responding to a formal complaint
At the time of notification of acceptance of the complaint, a full copy of the now formal complaint will be submitted to the person complained against, who will have 28 days to respond to the complaint. Any response to the complaint must be forwarded to the focaliser’s team member dealing with the complaint.
All evidence submitted by either the complainant or the person complained against shall be available to the parties involved in the complaint. The focaliser’s team member will distribute to the parties copies of all submissions made.
4 The Professional Conduct Hearing
4.1. Professional Conduct Panel
The panel comprising of two experienced ministers and chaired by an appropriately qualified and experienced external party will hear the complaint.
The purpose of the professional conduct hearing is to examine the complaint and decide whether the complaint is proven or not. If proven, the panel will decide whether or not any sanction should be imposed on the minister or student concerned.
4.3. Presence of a support person
When appearing at the professional conduct hearing, the complainant and the person complained against may each be accompanied by a representative who may support and/or speak on behalf of the party concerned.
4.4. Failure to attend the Professional Conduct Hearing
Where a complainant or member complained against fails or refuses, without good reason or notice, to attend a hearing, the chair of the panel has the power to decide:
- To proceed with the hearing in the absence of one of the parties
- To adjourn to a date not more than 28 days in advance
- To terminate the proceedings.
What constitutes good reason shall be solely at the discretion of the chair of the panel.4.5. Notification of Findings
The decision of the professional conduct panel will be notified in writing to the parties within 28 days of the professional conduct hearing.
If the complaint is upheld the decision will state the grounds:
- Professional misconduct (the student or minister has contravened the ethical or procedural standards expected by OneSpirit); and/or
- Bringing OneSpirit into disrepute (the student or minister has acted in such a way that the public’s trust in OneSpirit might reasonably be undermined).
5.1. Sanctions available
The professional conduct panel, having regard to the findings, may impose one or more of the following sanctions:
For students of the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation:
- Extra tuition and/or supervision with a named minister or external counsellor
- Retaking of the course
- Dismissal from the course
For OneSpirit Interfaith Ministers and Spiritual Counsellors:
- Extra supervision/spiritual counselling with a named minister or external counsellor
- Removal from the public Register of Interfaith Ministers
- Removal from membership of the IMA and/or to suspend the organisation’s support for a minister’s work in the world.
- Removal from any position (paid or voluntary) held in OneSpirit.
6 Appeals Procedure
Appeals will be heard by the Trustees, in consultation with an external agency, if:
- a request in writing is received within 28 days of notification of the professional conduct panel’s decision and,
- There is new evidence that was not available to the panel or,
- There is evidence to suggest procedural impropriety.
6.2. Format of Appeal Hearing
The appeal will be by way of a re-hearing chaired by a Trustee. The Chair will decide whether to involve the same panel or to convene a new panel.
6.3. Notification of Decision
The Chair will report the appeal decision in writing to all parties involved. The decision will be final.
Nicola Coombe – Focaliser
Alan Briscoe – Operations Manager
Jackie Amos Wilkinson – Faculty Lead
Lindsay Jarrett – Foundation Administrator and overall point of liaison
Danielle Wilson – Finance Officer and point of contact for payment-related issues
Rob MacLachlan – Editor of iConnect and media development