Theological Foundation

The Diocese of Toronto is committed to ensuring that our church is a holy place where the love of Christ can be modelled and learned. Our Baptismal Covenant identifies that we are to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves (Book of Alternative Services, p. 159). A fundamental obligation, therefore, is to look after the welfare of all members of our community but especially those who are vulnerable through age, infirmity or particular circumstances of dependency. This is a sacred trust which must be responsibly and safely managed.

In company with the bishops, clergy and people of the Anglican Communion, the Diocese of Toronto “affirms that every human is created in the image of God who has made us for loving, covenant relationships with our Creator, others and the world. We believe that our peace arises out of right relationships. Our personal dignity, freedom and bodily integrity are ensured by faithfulness to just covenants of mutual trust, care and respect. Such covenants undergird the moral framework of our communal life, responsibilities and entitlements.” Lambeth Conference Report, 1988

Ministry is a privilege. Through our baptism we are all called to ministry using our varied and different gifts. (BAS pp. 158-160) The process of matching an individual’s gifts with the church’s needs requires church leaders use gifts of discernment, insight, courage and to speak the truth in love. From time to time, some individuals may feel a stronger call to a ministry than the church is able to affirm. However, only those who are perceived to have the appropriate gifts for the position will be permitted to minister. This principle is important to ensure that the recipients of the ministry, the individual who feels called to the ministry and the church are safe from harm.

Those who offer themselves for ministry must have an attitude of servanthood and be willing to be trained, mentored and possibly reassigned, as needs dictate.

Rationale for the Policy

This Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith policy is the means by which the Diocese of Toronto responds to our call to offer our best to those we serve. It is necessary, therefore, that we discern gifts and determine a person’s suitability to a ministry position.

The Diocese of Toronto is abundantly blessed with gifted and committed clergy, employees and volunteers who offer their talents in full recognition of their obligations. In fact, the church could not operate without the work of thousands of individuals throughout the Diocese who exercise a variety of ministries to persons within the church community and beyond.

It is critical, therefore, to ensure that those we place in positions of power and trust be selected, trained and supported so that their ministry may be life-giving. In this way our Christian values are consistent with the legal concept of “duty of care.” Duty of care arises out of legal doctrines dealing with negligence. Everyone has a general obligation to conduct themselves in a manner which does not cause damage to other people or their property. The duty of care is most obvious where a relationship of dependence exists.

For the full list of resources available to help with the implementation of the Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith program, please see Forms and Resources.

Screening Prayer

God of abundance and God of life, infuse your children with courage and love, that we may build communities of hope, which are healthy, thriving and safe. Help us to be responsible with our ministry so that both the weak and the strong find their home in our churches, through the profound love of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© 2003 The Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Toronto. The Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Toronto willingly shares these resources with anyone who may find them helpful. However, no responsibility will be taken for how these resources are used, interpreted or applied.