Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for Guild Associates in Ministry

(adapted from Spiritual Directors International's "Guidelines for Ethical Conduct" (2000), revised February 9, 2007 for Guild, and approved at Board meeting March 18, 2007; most recently revised May 2017 by Covenant of Associates.)

Ethical conduct flows from lived reverence for God, self, and others. The following guidelines are intended to define more precisely what this means for Guild Associates in ministry and to inspire them toward integrity, responsibility, and faithfulness in their ministries of spiritual formation. In their endeavor to see and to serve in all persons, Guild Associates strive to establish relationships of mutual trust and respect and seek to ensure the confidentiality and inner freedom of those to whom they minister.

I. The Guild Associate and the Self

Personal Spirituality

1. Guild Associates assume responsibility for personal growth by:

  1. following personal and communal spiritual practices and disciplines
  2. following the Guild Rule: placing their growth in Christ, engaging the scriptures, practicing a daily discipline and living in service to others.


2. Guild Associates engage in ongoing vocational formation by:

  1. continuing to discern their call to their ministry of spiritual formation
  2. nurturing self-knowledge and inner freedom
  3. engaging in the processes of communal discernment, accountability and support
    Acknowledging that we all have illusions and resistances which are more easily addressed through transparent communication with a trusted other, rather than in isolation, we strongly recommend participating in a spiritual direction, anam cara/soul friend, or teacher-student type relationship.
  4. studying scripture, theology, spirituality and other disciplines that inform their ministry.

Personal Responsibility

3. Guild Associates meet their needs outside their spiritual formation ministries by:

  1. exercising wise self-care, balancing time for worship, work, leisure, family and personal relationships
  2. removing themselves from any situation that compromises the integrity of their spiritual formation ministries
  3. seeking the counsel of other ministers or referring those with whom they work to appropriately qualified persons when Associates reach the limits of their own knowledge and competence in their ministries.

II. The Relationship Between the Guild Associates and Those to Whom They Minister


1. Guild Associates strive to clarify shared expectations with those whom they serve by initiating conversations and establishing agreements about:

  1. the nature of their spiritual formation ministry
  2. the roles of the Guild Associate and those to whom they minister
  3. the compensation, if any, to be given to the Guild Associate institution.


2. Guild Associates honor the dignity of those to whom they minister by:

  1. respecting the person's values, conscience, spirituality and theology
  2. recognizing the imbalance of power in their relationship and not exploiting it
  3. establishing and maintaining appropriate physical and psychological boundaries
  4. refraining from sexualized behavior toward these persons.


3. Guild Associates maintain the confidentiality and privacy of those to whom they minister by:

  1. protecting identities and all confidential information regarding these persons
  2. discussing issues of confidentiality at the outset of their relationship
  3. recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law, including:
  4. addressing legal regulations requiring disclosure to proper authorities, as in cases of physical harm to self and others.

III. The Guild Associate and Others


1. Guild Associates maintain collegial relationships with other ministers and professionals by:

  1. respecting other ministers and professionals and not disparaging them or their work
  2. reporting immediately to the Board of the Guild in writing any conflict with any person that may have possible legal or ethical repercussions for the Guild and its members.

Faith Communities

2. Guild Associates maintain responsible relationships to communities of faith by:

  1. appropriately drawing on the teachings and practices of communities of faith
  2. respecting the relationship of persons to whom they minister to their own community of faith.


3. Guild Associates, when presenting themselves to the public, preserve the integrity of their spiritual formation ministries by:

  1. representing their qualifications and affiliations accurately
  2. respecting all persons regardless of religion, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and mental or physical status.