Canada, it became apparent as early as 1970 that the desire for
Unitarian rites of passage far surpassed the availability of
Unitarian ministers. The Lay Chaplaincy program was developed
to meet this need. Lay Chaplains are chosen by their congregations
and sanctioned by the Canadian Unitarian Council. Lay Chaplains are
officially licensed by provincial government to perform
legally-binding marriage ceremonies.
Unitarian Lay Chaplains across Canada conduct some 1,000 rites of
passage each year for members of the community at large. There are
more than 70 Unitarian Universalist Lay Chaplains in Canada.
additional information about Lay Chaplains please see
Code of Ethics for Lay Chaplains
Statement of Purpose
We, Lay Chaplains
appointed by our congregations under the guidelines of the Canadian
Unitarian Council, give full assent to this code of behavior as a
statement of our serious intent and as an expression of our common
concerns and loyalties.
I commit myself, before
all else, to honest and responsible performance of my duties as lay
chaplain. Because the religious life is a growing life, I will strive
to keep alive my own religious growth. I will try to be aware of my
own weaknesses and strengths. Knowing my limitations, I will not
hesitate to seek help in difficulty. I will sustain in my own mind
respect for the lay chaplaincy. I will refrain from words and actions
that degrade the lay chaplaincy or are destructive to congregational
I will do my best to
support my colleagues and to keep, for them, an open mind and heart.
I will respect confidences given to me by my colleagues. I will not
speak scornfully or in derogation of any colleague. When critical of
a colleague, I will speak responsibly, temperately, and
constructively. I will try to inform my colleague, in advance, of any
request for my services within her/his church or purview. I will
consider with respect her/his objection, if any, to such engagement.
When sharing lay chaplaincy with others, I will work in cooperation
and in consultation in accordance to clearly defined
hold to a single standard of respect and help for all members of the
church and larger community. I will respect the confidentiality of
private communications. I will not invade the private and intimate
bonds of others' lives, nor
will I trespass on those bonds for my own advantage. I will not
exploit the needs of another person for my own purposes. I will treat
with respect and sensitivity the religious beliefs and traditions of
others. I will strive to live and to speak in a way that exemplifies
the best of Unitarian values and traditions.