UUMA Guidelines Committee Social Media & Online Ministry
Over the next two years, the UUMA Guidelines Committee will be exploring the intersection between social media, online ministry and our guidelines.
Ever-evolving and expanding platforms for electronic communication present enormous opportunities and risks for ministers. Social media are international venues where ministers can embody what it means to be “beloved community” and broadly share the good news of our faith. They can take our ministry beyond the walls of our congregations into the most public of realms – the internet – where ministers can engage with people from diverse backgrounds they might not otherwise encounter. People who may never set foot in a brick-and-mortar based worship service can receive from our liberal religious tradition without ever leaving their homes.
Factors contributing to the power of social media include the speed of message delivery; the reach of communication around the globe; the lasting availability of information posted; the absence of geographic limitations.
The challenges of social media include the possibility of being anonymous and engaging with anonymous people; maintaining integrity; determining one’s identity; creating accountability with colleagues, the institutions we engage with and those to whom one ministers, and; having limited understanding of the context into which one is speaking.
The issues raised by social media are relevant to guidelines established in the age of congregational ministry. The underlying commitments reflected in our guidelines still hold, and are even more important given the challenges social media presents. In all formats of communication, we lift up the health of congregations, responsibility for one’s actions and respect for our faith.
Join us for an Online Collegial Conversation
- September 9th, 2-3:30pm EDT. Integrity online: Accountability, identity and anonymity
- October 21st, 7-6:30 -7:30 EDT. Personal and professional boundaries (e.g. Leaving a Church; Dating)
- November 18th, 12-1:30 EST. Beyond bricks and mortar: collegial accountability and online ministry
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments. Click Register to sign up for the Facebook Group or an Online Conversation. When you select the FaceBook Group (Sept 1) you will be invited to join the group - there is not an actual event on Sept. 1.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Fraser Gitlitz
Meg A. Riley