Ethical Training Policy Update

In 2021, the Commission on Ministry of Pittsburgh Presbytery adopted a new set of requirements for ethical training.  The new policy requires that all members of Pittsburgh Presbytery who are active in ministry complete the current ethical training seminar within their first two years as a member of the Presbytery, and complete one ethical training elective every two years thereafter.

For the purpose of this policy, “actively engaged in ministry within Pittsburgh Presbytery” is defined as:

  • Teaching elders currently serving in a pastoral position within a congregation.
  • Commissioned Pastors and Certified Christian Educators currently serving within a congregation.
  • Teaching elders serving in a validated ministry role.
  • All teaching elders participating in pastoral services including: pulpit supply, moderating sessions, occasional pastoral care, teaching within a congregation and/or serving as a Parish Associate.

Failure to comply with this policy will have the following consequences:

  • It will be reported as part of any reference check to another Presbytery and/or to a COM Clearance Committee.
  • A continued pattern of non-compliance with this policy will result in COM requesting the Stated Clerk place a notation on the minister’s file with the Office of the General Assembly. This notation will be removed when the requirements are completed.

COM has scheduled two opportunities for members to complete their ethical training requirements. (Members may also submit an offering of their own choosing for approval by COM to satisfy this requirement.)

  • On March 9th, 2023 from 9 am – 2 pm we will be offering “Setting Boundaries in a Shifting Landscape”
    • Description: Often we talk about setting boundaries as a matter of saying “no” to actions that are wrong, but there’s so much more to understanding boundary setting. Setting boundaries means emotional, physical, relational, and spiritual self-awareness and other-awareness. This training will explore boundary setting from a self- and other-aware perspective. It includes topics such as boundary differences with male and female pastors; authority vs. relationship differences; work/life balance and burn-out; spirit-mind-body care; leadership boundaries; generational differences; and creating support networks. Led by the Rev. Dr. Graham Standish, PhD, MA, MSW, executive director of Samaritan Counseling, Guidance, Consulting, and director of its Caring for Clergy and Congregations program.
    • This is an elective option for those who have already completed the required ethical training.
    • You can register for this option here:—boundary-trng-mar9
    • The deadline for registration is February 27, 2023.
  • On March 16th, 2023 from 9 am – 3 pm we will be offering the standard ethical training that is required for all new minister members and those serving in commissioned and certified roles, led by Michelle Snyder. Individuals who have previously completed this training may participate again to fulfill their elective requirements.  You can register for this option here:—ethicaltrng  The deadline for registration is March 6, 2023.

If you have further questions you can contact Cathy Nelson (  The full policy can be found on our website