Elizabeth Kloeden is the Professional Standards Officer based in the Queensland District. She is employed by the Professional Standards Department of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA).
A relatively new department, the Professional Standards Department (PSD) was created to develop specific standards of ethical behaviour for the LCA. These standards are applicable to all aspects of the life of the church. They relate to aspects such as personal behavior, pastoral care, caring for children, communications; and financial and administrative matters.
Professional Standards training is part of the LCA’s commitment to reflect God’s love through the way we treat each other and those who come into contact with our church. The PSD has prepared a training program to help congregations more fully understand the LCA Standards of Ethical Behaviour.
‘I was drawn to working with the PSD because I enjoy working with people’, explains Elizabeth, who was also a volunteer at the recent Commonwealth Games. ‘I really enjoy supporting and encouraging people in their roles.’
As part of her position with the department, Elizabeth and her five fellow Professional Standards Officers, based around Australia and New Zealand, often assist people in dealing with difficult and complex situations. The department promotes the gospel message of forgiveness, together with a reconciliation of relationships, and resolution of issues based on sound scriptural guidelines. However, this message of forgiveness does not remove the need to take actions that are necessary to protect vulnerable people.
In her work Elizabeth finds great reward in meeting new people. ‘I love supporting and encouraging them’, she says. ‘I enjoy visiting congregations of the District. I have made some wonderful connections and friendships through this role.’
‘I am challenged at times when I am called upon to deal with difficult and complex situations’, she continues, ‘such as hearing about hurt and supporting those who have been hurt by inappropriate and abusive words and actions.’
The PSD protects people while supporting the LCA’s church workers and volunteers. The department assists congregations and other bodies:
- to implement the required ethical standards by providing comprehensive training programs
- by following up, after training workshops, to provide advice and assistance
- to improve their management of risks associated with ethical issues with some types of complaints
- by working with other departments to ensure efficient administration and record keeping.
Professional Standards Officers are supported by Tim Ross (PSD national manager), Marilyn Wall (national training coordinator) and a support staff person based in Adelaide.
Elizabeth, who worships at Trinity on the Gold Coast, asks that individuals and congregations hold the Professional Standards Department in their prayers. ‘Please pray for all staff in the Professional Standards Department’, she asks. ‘Pray that our churches provide ministries that promote SP3 – Safe people, Safe programs and Safe places.’
For further information on PSD or the LCA Standards of Ethical Behaviour, visit www.lca.org.au/psd or www.lca.org.au/seb To learn how your congregation can undertake this important training, contact Elizabeth on 0437 252 736 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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