During their Fall Session at the Chancery October 23-26, 2018, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops gave their blessing to release an updated set of “Social Media Guidelines for Clergy and Lay Leaders” of the Orthodox Church in America. Available in PDF format, the Guidelines had been approved by the Metropolitan Council on September 19.
The updated Guidelines are recommended by the Holy Synod for implementation by the Central Church Administration, ministries, dioceses, parishes, clergy, lay leaders, staff and volunteers who work within the institutional, social, and legal environment of the Church. They should be adapted for use in these various contexts in order to ensure protection for the workers, youth and adults who labor for the Church in these varying circumstances. All entities are recommended to adopt these Guidelines, which supersede those originally issued by the Holy Synod on October 6, 2011, and to abide by them in order to protect the interests of the Orthodox Church in America. Each diocese will be expected to review the Guidelines and apply them within their respective contexts.
The Guidelines set forth social media best practices, guidelines for social media for clergy, and guidelines for social media when dealing with youth. Among the highlighted elements are the Social Media Code of Conduct for employees and volunteers, important considerations with regard to posting photographs and videos, and recommended image release forms for social media postings.