Maintaining Respectful Boundaries
Please view this slideshow on “Basic Concepts and Best Practices” provided by the Presbyterian and Reformed Theological Field Educators. It provides an excellent introduction to the subject of boundaries in supervised ministry.
The guiding rule to govern the relationship between supervisors and interns should be respect. Please regard one another with appreciative respect:
- Respect for each other’s personal integrity,
- Respect for the pedagogical and ministerial nature of your relationship with each other, and
- Respect for the power differential between you and the intern’s relative vulnerability. Because of the imbalance of power structured into the relationship between supervisors and seminarian interns, Wesley prohibits amorous relationships between them. The seminary’s Sexual Harassment Policy states the following:
While the development of romantic relationships between genuinely consenting adults can obviously be a positive event in appropriate circumstances, faculty and administrators, as individuals in authority, must recognize that the imbalance of power between themselves and students renders mutuality of consent in relationships with students problematic and raises potential conflicts of interest.
Further, when the authority and power inherent in administrative and faculty relationships to students is abused, whether overtly, implicitly, or through misinterpretation, there is potentially great damage to individual students, to the persons complained of, and to the educational climate of the institution.
For these reasons, Wesley Theological Seminary prohibits romantic or amorous relationships between faculty and students, and between administrators and students. For the same reasons, Wesley Theological Seminary also prohibits romantic or amorous relationships between students and learning partners, and between students and parishioners in the Practice in Ministry and Mission sites. Likewise, the seminary prohibits romantic or amorous relationships between supervisors and those whom they supervise (PMM Handbook, p. 82).
Please read Wesley's Sexual Harassment Policy in its entirety (pp. 82-83 in the PMM Handbook). In addition, please review Wesley's other important policies and covenants in Appendix F of the PMM Handbook.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED BOUNDARIES RESOURCES
The PMM faculty and staff are available to advise and assist you with all aspects of the PMM program. The PM&M office is located at Wesley's main campus in the Kresge building, office suite K-107. Please feel free to contact us.