All ELCA internship sites are required to have their congregation's policy on sexual harassment on file with their seminary's contextual education office. (See Candidacy Manual—Guidelines for Internship, pgs. B23-27, esp. pg. 27 E.4. "Settings [for internship] are expected to have a written policy for sexual ethics, sick leave, and life-long learning.") Therefore, texts of these policies are required on the Contextual Learning Internship Site Application online form.

Below is a sample of a policy on sexual harassment that may be used as the basis for a congregational statement. If you have any questions about the formation of such a policy for your congregation, please contact Contextual Learning Associate Kathryn Ostlie-Olson.

Sample Policy Language


____(church name)____ Lutheran Church of _______(city)________, __(state)___ is committed to providing a professional work environment free of discriminatory intimidation or harassment. In keeping with this commitment, ____(church name)____ Lutheran Church maintains a strict policy prohibiting sexual harassment. This policy applies to all of ____(church name)____ Lutheran Church's employees, as well as ____(church name)____ Lutheran Church's pastor(s), intern, all ministry leaders, all members and constituents. Furthermore, it prohibits harassment in any form, including verbal, physical, and visual harassment.

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, making unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors where either (1) submission to such conduct is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decision affecting such individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. The pastor(s), intern, employees, ministry leaders, lay members or constituents who violate this policy will be subjected to discipline.

The Congregation Council will designate one or possibly two persons as congregational officers who will be responsible for handling harassment and discrimination complaints and investigations. Depending upon the size of the organization or board, the congregation may want to designate an officer of each gender so as to offer an alternative that complainants may be comfortable speaking with.

Any person who believes he or she has been harassed by a pastor, intern, co-worker, ministry leader, member, constituent or any representative of ____(church name)____ Lutheran Church should promptly report the facts of the incident or incidents and the names of the individuals involved to the designated congregational officer(s). Allegations involving any person rostered in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shall be reported to the synod. Allegations involving the supervising pastor or intern shall be reported to the Director of Internship at the seminary. Concern and complaints should be lodged without fear of reprisal. The designated congregational officer(s) will investigate all such claims and take appropriate disciplinary action.

If you have questions concerning this policy, please feel free to contact the pastor, the president or the designated congregational officer(s) at your convenience.

This policy was adopted by the ____(church name)____ Lutheran Church Council on: (mm/dd/yyyy): ____/____/____