ACCC Professional Ethics

All ACCC certified and non-certified members are required to maintain the highest level of personal, professional, moral, and ethical standards in both their personal and professional lives.

When moral and or ethical standards of such persons are called into question, the ACCC National Board will meet to engage the person against whom the complaint is made in accordance with the below procedure. These procedures are meant to be redemptive, educational, and problem solving in their intent and nature. However, disciplinary procedures may be initiated.

A. Respect

The Association of Certified Christian Chaplains believes that all whom we encounter deserve respect for their beliefs. Therefore, ACCC members and chaplains will, at all times, not:

1. discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, religious beliefs, ethnicity, cultural background, or any other legally protected status;

2. proselytize or impose their particular theology on others;

3. exploit relationships or use relationships to their own advantage including but not limited to emotional, sexual, financial, or social gain ends;

4. disclose any information regarding records, evaluations, personal notes, and conversations with regard to ministry to our charges and between ourselves regarding our ministry;

B. Commitment

ACCC members, chaplains, pastoral counselors will maintain their commitments and remain in good standing with this association, their faith group, endorsing/licensing agency, and employer(s).

Any reports of impairment, incompetence, or behavioral issues will be taken seriously. All reports of such behavior are to be directed to the ACCC National Board.

C. Professionalism

ACCC members will act professionally at all times both in their ministry and personal life. They will constantly strive for personal and professional growth using any resources available to them. Including but not limited to the ACCC annual conference, attendance at didactics regarding pastoral care and ministry, and resources for spiritual and religious wellbeing.

D. Professional Practice

1. ACCC members will represent their qualifications truthfully and correctly; limiting their practice only to their level and area of certification and/or specialization.

2. ACCC members will keep accurate training records, provide correct and updated information in publishing, and make timely and accurate responses to inquiries.

3. ACCC members will follow national established guidelines in the design of research projects and gain approval from the ACCC National Board and the appropriate institutional review board(s) before commencing their research.

4. ACCC members have complete freedom to share their private and public opinions as long as they distinguish them clearly from those positions and opinions held by ACCC.

E. Ethics Complaint Protocol

Complaint Procedure

1. Any person with an ethical complaint against a member, chaplain, or pastoral counselor either certified by ACCC or is a member or associate member of ACCC shall inform the ACCC National Board in writing stating the exact nature of the complaint, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is made, and when the alleged event took place.

2. The National Board of the Association of Certified Christian Chaplains shall first review the grounds of the complaint to determine if the complaint has merit. In the event that the National Board believes a complaint has merit the process shall continue. If not, the person or persons initiating the complaint shall be informed in a timely fashion, by the National Board—in writing—of that decision including the reason(s) for the decision;

3. The ACCC National Board will interview the person(s) against whom the complaint is made to determine the details of the complaint and to give that person/those persons an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

4. The ACCC National Board will then meet to determine the outcome of the complaint and all parties will be notified of the decision. The decision of the National Board is final and may include any methods available to them.

F. Disciplinary Action

Any member, chaplain or pastoral counselor found to be in violation of these professional ethics may face disciplinary action up to and including temporary or permanent suspension of any certifications, removal of membership an notification of said proceedings to the individual’s endorsing body and employer of said employer utilizes them in the scope of chaplaincy. Such decisions are not taken lightly and are part of the deliberative and prayerful process by the ACCC National Board.