COM Forms & Policies

COM Forms & Policies

For forms that are in PDF format you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free.   They are listed alphabetically.  Contact Cathy Nelson with questions or for assistance.

Pittsburgh Presbytery CRT Information

Pittsburgh Presbytery CRT Information

Pittsburgh Presbytery CRT Information

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Search Process for Newly Created Installed Pastor & Associate Pastor Positions

Search Process for Newly Created Installed Pastor & Associate Pastor Positions

Search Process for Newly Created Installed Pastor & Associate Pastor Positions

Search Process for Newly Created Installed Pastor & Associate Pastor Positions

*Some steps may not be applicable in certain situations. Please consult your COM liaison.

  1. Congregation conducts Mission Study or other reflective work.
  2. Session studies the feasibility of adding a new pastoral position, and prepares a transition plan.
  3. Session notifies COM that it wishes to establish a new pastoral position, COM assigns a liaison.
  4. Session consults with congregation about the new position and its financial implications.
  5. Session clears with Presbytery office the proposed terms of call and position description.
  6. Session requests COM to authorize a pastoral search.
  7. Session consults with COM about electing Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC).
  8. Congregation elects PNC.
  9. PNC begins meeting with initial orientation by COM Liaison & Branch Minister.
  10. PNC prepares Ministry Information Form (MIF).
  11. MIF approved by session, COM Liaison, & Branch Minister.
  12. PNC begins to receive Personal Information Forms (PIFs).
  13. PNC screens candidates & conducts reference checks.
  14. PNC submits several names for reference checks by appropriate Branch Minister.
  15. Interviews, neutral pulpit & COM clearance for final candidates (including sexual misconduct policy).
  16. PNC notifies its final nominee, negotiates terms of call with candidate; conducts criminal  & FBI checks.
  17. Candidating service; congregation elects new Pastor.
  18. Effective date Pastor begins ministry set in consultation with COM.
  19. Presbytery approves call.
  20. Presbytery conducts Ordination/Installation Service.
  21. Six-month review with COM Congregational Advocate &/or Branch Minister.
Protected: Pastoral Competency

Protected: Pastoral Competency

Protected: Pastoral Competency

This content is password protected.


Pulpit Supply List

Pulpit Supply List

Pulpit Supply List

Pulpit Supply List – Updated 6/4/2021

The following people have been cleared by the Commission on Ministry to preach in churches of Pittsburgh Presbytery when invited by the pastor with the concurrence of session or, when there is no pastor, by the session.   The pastor or session seeking pulpit supply should make contact directly with the individual on the list.

The honorarium recommended by Pittsburgh Presbytery for a pulpit supply is $125 for one service and $175 for two services.   The Commission on Ministry also recommends the congregation reimburse the pulpit supply the cost of travel at the current IRS rate.

Specialized Ministers
Honorably Retired Ministers
Members At-Large
Seminary Graduate
Presbyterian Ministers Residing in Pittsburgh Area
Clergy from Another Denomination Connected to Pittsburgh Presbytery
Preaching Association, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Mission Co-workers


Specialized Ministers

Rev. Dr. Angela Hancock
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
8003 Bayard Court
Pittsburgh, PA  15237
Associate Professor of Homiletics and Worship, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
ahancock@pts.edu

Rev. Charissa Howe
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
3414 Portola Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15214
Director of Chaplaincy at Allegheny County Jail/Foundation of HOPE
Cell: 412-908-2778
Work: 412-350-2057
rev. charissa.howe@gmail.com

Rev. Dr. Asa Lee
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
616 N. Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15206
President, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Cell: 412-770-7315
Work: 412-924-1366
alee@pts.edu

Rev. Edwin van Driel
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
616 N. Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Director’s Bicentennial Associate Professor of Theology
Work: 412-924-1425
echrvandriel@gmail.com


Honorably Retired Ministers

Rev. Steven Bomely
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
65 Windvale Drive
Pittsburgh, PA  15236
Home: 412-714-4717
Cell: 412-370-9172
bomelysb@yahoo.com

Rev. Ronald L. Church
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
232 Singer Avenue
McKees Rocks, PA  15136
228-249-6596
revron@lcfreelancing.com

Rev. Owen (Lee) Clark
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
115 Scenic Hill Drive
Carnegie, PA  15016
412-559-3509

Rev. Dr. Donald Dawson
No Lectionary, Preaches on Mission, Will Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
3020 Marie Drive
Gibsonia, PA  15044
Cell:  724-494-0915
Home: 724-443-1488
dawsondonj@gmail.com

Rev. Carol Divens Roth
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
180 Stanton Court E.
Pittsburgh, PA  15201
Home: 412-441-6004
Cell:  412-414-1017
revdiv@aol.com

Rev. Dr. Robert Downs
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
906 Canterbury Drive
Moon Township PA  15108
Home: 412-269-0741
rtddmin@aol.com

Bruce Ford
No Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
99 Claridge Drive
Coraopolis, PA. 15108
Cell: 276-620-9455
beford1951@gmail.com

Rev. John C. Free
No Lectionary, Preaches Seasonal/Christian Year, Will Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
220 Parliament Drive
Moon Twp., PA  15108
Home: 412-269-7705
Cell: 412-396-9060
free220@comcast.net

Rev. Dr. Jim Gilchrist
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
281 Limerick Road
Wexford, PA  15090
Cell: 412-819-8148
jag31753@gmail.com

Rev. Dr. Bill Gracey
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Prefers Travel to West or South Branches
132 Parkedge Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15220
Cell: 412-977-7499
Home: 412-928-0891
sgracey@verizon.net

Rev. Dr. Carolyn Jones
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
4410 South Meadow Drive
Allison Park, PA 15101
Home: 412-486-2026
CJones@pts.edu

Rev. Dr. William Sutherland
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
Redstone Highlands
4953 Cline Hollow Road, Apt. #046
Murrysville, PA 15668
Home: 724-733-4868
Cell: 412-916-9199
willsuth046@gmail.com

Rev. John Sweitzer
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel to West and South Branches
45 Tenan Street
Burgettstown, PA 15021
Home: 724-947-5749
Cell: 267-514-5794
sweitzer_john@yahoo.com

Rev. Vance (Trip) Torbert
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
108 West Drive
Pittsburgh, PA  15215
Home:  412-782-5333
Cell:  412-841-3297
flexible@prodigy.net
vwtorbert@gmail.com

Rev. John Yohe
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
1632 Norsen Drive
Pittsburgh, PA  15243-1548
412-279-7795
revnphyl@verizon.net


Members At-Large

Rev. Kellie Weekly-Mills
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
3508 Shadeland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Cell: 412-302-9291 (best contact)
kelliewmills@gmail.com

Rev. Ann Morris
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
230 Park Entrance Drive
Pittsburgh, PA  15228
Home: 412-344-5249
Cell: 412-979-8422
foxmorris@verizon.net

Rev. Susan Rothenberg
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
4107 Willow Street Apt. 339
Pittsburgh, PA  15201
Cell: 412-585-1219
Smr33@verizon.net*prefer contact by email

Rev. Tara Woodard-Lehman
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
198 Central Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15238z
Cell: 412-503-3907
tarajoywoodardlehman@gmail.com


Seminary Graduates

William Branning
Will Preach Lectionary, No Sacraments, and Will Travel Presbytery Wide
1011 Winterton Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15206
Home: 412-441-308
Cell: 412-327-4213
wbranning@aol.com

Jason Dauer
Will Preach Lectionary, No Sacraments, and Will Travel Presbytery Wide
1035 N Negley Avenue, Apt 5
Pittsbugh, PA 15206
Cell: 412-418-9585
jdauer5@gmail.com

Kristen Emrick
Will Preach Lectionary, No Sacraments, and Will Travel Presbytery Wide
29 Rhodes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15220
Cell: 724-914-1562
kristenemrick@yahoo.com  


Presbyterian Clergy Residing in Pittsburgh Area

Rev. Gary Hansen
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
4315 Saline Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15217
Home: 412-421-0359
Cell: 563-495-6362
garynealhansen@gmail.com

Rev. Fairlight Collins Lower
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
180 W. Hutchnson Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA  15218
Cell: 619-816-7777
fairlight.lower@gmail.com

Rev. Bryan J. Powell
Will Preach Lectionary, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
4301 Hemlock Circle
Allison Park, PA  15101
Cell: 814-547-1418
Home: 412-487-8124
bryan_powell@yahoo.com


Clergy from Another Denomination Connected to Pittsburgh Presbytery

Rev. Dr. Thomas Clifton
Will Preach Lectionary during Advent and Christmastide, Serve Sacraments, and Travel Presbytery Wide
85 Scott Avenue
Glenshaw, PA  15116
Home: 412-213-0678
Cell: 412-759-2568
tomclifton@yahoo.com


Preaching Association, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Danielle Harris, Office of Student Services and Community Engagement
412-924-1405
dharris@pts.edu


Mission Co-workers

http://www.pcusa.org/missionconnections/

Validation of Other Ministries

Validation of Other Ministries

Validation of Other Ministries

Validation of Other Ministries

  1. Candidate provides the COM with a position description and contract as well as a PIF or resume.
  2. COM arranges a clearance interview with the candidate, ordinarily handled at a regular meeting of the Specialized/HR Subcommittee of COM – interview takes approximately 90 minutes
  3. If approved by the subcommittee, the candidate provides the following items:
    • Digital photo of candidate
    • Brief bio
    • Criminal and child abuse background checks (or signed permission to obtain background checks if presbytery is to order the checks. In that case, the candidate will be billed for the
      process – usually $9 unless additional checking is required)
    • Date position is to begin
    • If candidate is to be ordained to the position, the date, time and place of the ordination and the names of the teaching elders and ruling elders to serve on the ordination commission
  4. Specialized/HR Subcommittee makes the recommendation to COM to validate the ministry
  5. COM makes the recommendation to the presbytery
  6. Presbytery votes to approve

Notes on other ministries: (This is not intended to be a check list of requirements, but a review of the considerations often made by the Specialized/HR Subcommittee in considering validation of other ministries.)

  1. Other ministries include but are not limited to: chaplaincy, seminary staff and faculty, governing body staff, pastoral counseling, campus ministry, mission, social work, or consultancy.
  2. The ministry should be consistent with the mission of Pittsburgh Presbytery and the Great Ends of the Church
  3. The teaching elder will be accountable to Pittsburgh Presbytery through the COM
  4. The teaching elder will be accountable to a board or organization that has oversight for the ministry
  5. The salary should be fair for the work required (or there should be a clearly-defined intention of tent-making),and the budget of the organization indicates that it can provide the salary offered.
  6. There is some reason why the position requires ordination
  7. The candidate can clearly articulate a personal faith story
  8. There has been some evidence of fruit-bearing in the candidate’s ministry
  9. Candidate affirms ordination vows
Temporary Pastor Service of Commissioning

Temporary Pastor Service of Commissioning

Temporary Pastor Service of Commissioning

Temporary Pastor Service of Commissioning

The following litany may be used as part of an initial Worship Service:

Presbytery Representative:

We are at a time of beginning. We see with joy the possibilities and potential of the future we will share with your Interim Pastor (Covenant Pastor). There is anticipation and expectation and hope that what we build together with God and with one another will be good and faithful, and full of promise and joy.

Congregation:

We do not yet know what the future holds. Nevertheless, we commit ourselves to God with confidence that God will be with us; sure that God will provide us with all that is necessary. We trust God to lead us toward greater wholeness and greater faithfulness.

Ruling Elder:

Yet, we are aware that this time of beginnings is also a time of endings. There are old relationships to which we have, not yet said farewell. There are old hurts and old hopes and old ways of being and doing that are powerful among us, and important to us. We do not come to this time as brand, new people. We come with the past that is a part of, our life as individuals and as a congregation.

Congregation:

We pledge, with God’s help, to accept what is past as past, to cherish what has been good, to forgive what has hurt, to continue what is useful, and to let go of what we no longer need.

Teaching Elder:

With God’s help, I make this covenant with you: I pledge to you that I will be a partner in ministry with you, participating in the life of this congregation, implementing the decisions which will be made, working with you in our common tasks, and assisting you in this time of transition. I pledge to you that I will be a leader among you, offering my vision for this part of Christ’s Church. Listening to your vision, and working with you as we shape and develop our vision. I pledge to you that I will be a pastor for you, standing with you in time of joy or trouble.

Congregation:

God’s help, we make the covenant with you: We pledge to accept and support you as our Interim Pastor, and to encourage you as we share together in the life and work of this congregation. We welcome you as you begin your work in our midst as pastor.

Presbytery Representative:

We are aware that this is a temporary relationship. But we also know that this will be an important time for your congregation. You have covenanted with one another before God to be faithful to your calling as Christian people.

Congregation and Teaching Elder:

As we seek to respond to God’s calling, we promise to deal with one another with love, respect, honesty, humor, and creativity. We promise to remember the precious value of real laughter and genuine tears, of sweat earned in honest labor, and of the hard work of asking difficult questions. Above all, we covenant together by God’s grace to live as God’s people, faithful, free, joyful, just, and loving. Amen!

Presbytery Representative:

May God bless this beginning, and bring us through this time of transition, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, the head of the Church. Amen.

Specialized Ministry Guidelines

Specialized Ministry Guidelines

Specialized Ministry Guidelines

Specialized Ministry Guidelines

A ministry beyond the jurisdiction of the church may be classified as a validated ministry of the Pittsburgh Presbytery when it meets the following criteria:

  1. It is consistent with the mission of the Pittsburgh Presbytery in that it exhibits our core value of working in partnership with other congregations and organizations in the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ
  2. It is theologically faithful to God’s Word.
  3. It has, within the scope of its ministry, the promotion of at least one of the Great Ends of the Church (F-1.0304):
    • Proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
    • The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
    • The maintenance of divine worship;
    • The preservation of the truth;
    • The promotion of social righteousness;
    • The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
  4. It is accountable to the Pittsburgh Presbytery in that the person engaged in this ministry agrees that their Specialized Ministry shall be subject to annual review and renewal by the Commission on Ministry of the Pittsburgh Presbytery, and ratified by the Presbytery at large at an appropriately scheduled Presbytery meeting.
  5.  It is accountable to an organization, board, etc. that provides oversight and supervision on an ongoing and regular basis.
  6. The person engaged in this Specialized Ministry agrees to participate in the deliberation and work of the Pittsburgh Presbytery.
  7. The person engaged in this Specialized Ministry continues to affirm the ordination vows.
  8. The ministry makes active and effective use of the biblical and theological training that is required for ordination.
  9. The person involved in validated ministry shall participate in the worship of a local congregation.
Search Process for Designated Term Pastor

Search Process for Designated Term Pastor

Search Process for Designated Term Pastor

Search Process for Designated Term Pastor

A pastor may be called to a position for a designated term, usually 2 to 4 years. The church and the pastor must both have agreed to be considered for a designated relationship. The pastoral nominating committee shall nominate to the congregation for its consideration and vote, only from among those teaching elders designated to it by the presbytery’s COM.  The pastor is installed by the presbytery and is Moderator of the session.

  1. COM appoints Moderator of session after former pastor leaves
  2. Session confers with COM on the process for selecting the next pastor, considering whether the next pastor should be installed with indefinite term, installed with designated term, or called to temporary service.
  3. If COM and session agree to calling a pastor to a designated term, a PNC is elected for that purpose
  4. COM presents 3-5 candidates to PNC (Executive checks completed)
  5. PNC interviews candidates using targeted selection interview process and hears sermons
  6. PNC requests clearance interview for finalists, (background checks completed)
  7. PNC extends call; negotiates terms of call with candidate, and sets effective date for beginning ministry
  8. Candidating service; congregation elects pastor for a designated term
  9. Presbytery approves call
  10. Presbytery conducts ordination/installation service
  11. After end of designated term, congregation may elect pastor for an unlimited term. The session may act as the PNC for the sole purpose of nominating the pastor to serve an unlimited term.
Search Process for Temporary Pastors & Associate Pastors

Search Process for Temporary Pastors & Associate Pastors

Search Process for Temporary Pastors & Associate Pastors

Search Process for Temporary Pastors & Associate Pastors

*Some steps may not be applicable in certain situations. Please consult your COM liaison.

  1. Pastor announces departure to Session with COM liaison or Branch Minister present.
  2. Congregational meeting called and moderated by someone other than current pastor.
  3. Pastoral relationship is dissolved, or pastoral contract ended; COM conducts exit interview.
  4. Presbytery approves dissolution or affirms contract completion.
  5. Congregation plans Farewell.
  6. COM appoints moderator; Session consults with COM about process for electing Temporary Pastor  Nominating Committee (TPNC).
  7. COM orients Session to TPNC process, Session appoints TPNC.
  8. TPNC begins meeting, with initial orientation by COM liaison and Branch Minister.
  9. TPNC prepares Job Description, in consultation with Branch Minister.
  10. Session and COM Liaison or Branch Minister approve job description.
  11. Job Description posted for at least one month on Presbytery website.
  12. TPNC begins to receive Personal Information Forms (PIFs).
  13. TPNC screens candidates and conducts reference checks.
  14. TPNC submits short list for executive checks by appropriate Branch Minister.
  15. TPNC interviews finalists and hears them preach, COM clears finalists, after which TPNC selects its choice.
  16. TPNC extends call; negotiates terms of call with candidate; conducts criminal and FBI checks.
  17. TPNC offers the position and negotiates contract with its chosen candidate.
  18. Effective date Temporary Pastor begins ministry set, in consultation with COM.
  19. Presbytery approves contract.
  20. Presbytery conducts Ordination Service if candidate is not yet ordained.
  21. Six-month review with COM liaison and/or Branch Minister.
Search Process for Installed Pastors & Associate Pastors

Search Process for Installed Pastors & Associate Pastors

Search Process for Installed Pastors & Associate Pastors

Search Process for Installed Pastors & Associate Pastors

*Some steps may not be applicable in certain situations. Please consult your COM liaison.

  1. Pastor announces departure to session with COM Liaison or Branch Minister present.
  2. Congregational meeting called moderated by someone other than current Pastor.
  3. Congregation dissolves pastoral relationship; COM conducts exit interview.
  4. Presbytery concurs with dissolution.
  5. Congregation plans and conducts farewell to Pastor.
  6. COM appoints moderator; session consults with COM about process for electing Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC).
  7. Congregation elects PNC and conducts mission study or other reflective work.
  8. PNC meets on a regular schedule, with the COM liaison present at meetings frequently.
  9. PNC begins meeting with initial orientation by COM Liaison & Branch Minister.
  10. PNC prepares Ministry Information Form (MIF).
  11. MIF approved by session, COM Liaison, & Branch Minister.
  12. PNC begins to receive Personal Information Forms (PIFs).
  13. PNC screens candidates & conducts reference checks.
  14. PNC submits several names for reference checks by appropriate Branch Minister.
  15. Interviews, neutral pulpit & COM clearance for final candidates (including sexual misconduct policy).
  16. PNC extends call; negotiates terms of call with candidate; orders background & FBI checks.
  17. Candidating service; congregation elects new Pastor.
  18. Effective date Pastor begins ministry set in consultation with COM.
  19. Presbytery approves call.
  20. Presbytery conducts Ordination/Installation Service.
  21. Six-month review with COM Congregational Advocate &/or Branch Minister.
Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for Pastors

Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for Pastors

Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for Pastors

Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for Pastors

Sabbatical leave for pastors is a planned time of intensive enhancement for ministry and mission. Sabbatical leave follows precedents in the academic community and among a growing number of private sector groups. This “extended time” is qualitatively different from “vacation” or “days off.” It is an opportunity for the individual to strategically disengage from regular and normal tasks so that ministry and mission may be viewed from a new perspective because of a planned time of focus. Sabbatical leave is an extension of the biblical concept of a Sabbath day and a Sabbath year for renewal. It is both an act of faith that God will sustain us through a period of reflection and changed activity and an occasion for recovery and renewal of vital energies.


Recommendation

Pittsburgh Presbytery recommends to the sessions of its churches that pastors be granted a compensated sabbatical of at least three months after seven years of service to an individual church.


Rationale

A sabbatical will enable the minister to be renewed through the vital pursuit of continuing education, extended time spent in spiritual formation, and fresh mentoring by respected teachers. A sabbatical enables a pastor to return to the responsibilities of the parish with new energy, spiritual vision, and effectiveness.


Committee on Ministry Responsibilities

  1. Encourage churches to offer sabbatical leave for pastors.
  2. Review the sabbatical timetable and usage plan as submitted by the minister.
  3. Serve as mediator in any concerns of session or minister relative to the sabbatical.
  4. Determine who will moderate the session in the minister’s absence.

Minister Responsibilities

  1. Bring the sabbatical proposal before the session – at least in outline form – a minimum of six months before the intended commencement of the sabbatical.
  2. Secure the approval of the session for the sabbatical proposal and work out the necessary coverage of pastoral and pulpit responsibilities.
  3. Assure the session of continued service to the church for at least one full year from the conclusion of the sabbatical.
  4. Bring up to date all pending responsibilities as determined in consultation with the session before departing on a sabbatical.
  5. Submit to Committee on Ministry in writing the sabbatical timetable and outline of plans.
  6. Upon return, present an overview of the sabbatical experience to the session, congregation, and Committee on Ministry.

Session Responsibilities

  1. Receive for approval the pastor’s proposal for a sabbatical, at least six months in advance of the intended commencement of the sabbatical.
  2. Continue terms of call commitments to the pastor during sabbatical leave.
  3. Contract for pastoral services during the pastor’s sabbatical.
  4. Communicate to the congregation the importance and values to the church of a sabbatical.
  5. Request a written overview of the sabbatical from the pastor upon return.
  6. If agreed upon by session and the pastor, the sabbatical might be combined with study leave for extended study.
Sabbatical and Continuing Education Resources

Sabbatical and Continuing Education Resources

Sabbatical and Continuing Education Resources

Sabbatical and Continuing Education Resources

From the On-going Care Team of Committee on Ministry. Updated January 2018.

Each of the Presbyterian seminaries has particular programs and continuing education opportunities. Our local Presbyterian seminary is Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  Links to all our seminaries and their continuing education programs are published on the Presbyterian Mission page of the PC(USA) site.

Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program

  • A competitive grants program open to Christian congregations that have an ordained pastor
  • Approximately 100 grants are awarded annually
  • Sabbaticals may be taken in one 3-4 month chunk, or in smaller increments

Board of Pensions, PCUSA. Sabbatical grants for pastors of smaller churches

Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI

  • Seminars in Christian Scholarship and Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
  • Some partial stipends are offered

The Company of New Pastors

  • Denominational Program to become part of a covenant community of colleagues practicing spiritual, intellectual and vocational disciplines. Annual subscription. Look for “Daily Prayer” on Google Play or in the App Store.

Denominational conferences

  • Conference listings are available at the PC(USA) site.
  • The Big Tent conference convenes on odd-numbered years

Presbyterian Church (USA) national and regional conference centers:

Other Resources to Consider

Suggested texts on sabbatical programs found at www.rowman.com (formerly Alban)

  • Clergy Renewal: The Alban Guide to Sabbatical Planning by A. Richard Bullock and Richard J. Bruesehoff.
  • Journeying toward Renewal by Melissa Bane Sevier
Pastoral Call Form Guidelines

Pastoral Call Form Guidelines

Pastoral Call Form Guidelines

Pastoral Call Form Guidelines

The Call Form is to be filled out, signed at the congregational meeting at which the call is approved, and returned to Cathy Nelson at Pittsburgh Presbytery, 901 Allegheny Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15233.

The title of the office is Pastor, Co-pastor, or Associate Pastor, not “minister of youth” or “senior pastor”. The agreed upon starting date is the effective date of the call.

For minimum effective salary (salary, housing, social security offset, and deferred compensation) refer to the Minimum Terms of Call  For 2021.

SECA Offset of 7.65% is the amount required as part of the Minimum Terms of Call.

Automobile allowance, expense allowance, and book allowance ought to be reimbursed by voucher to avoid making the amounts taxable. Reimbursement rate and maximum amount of reimbursement should be indicated.

On the line for medical expenses, write “2% Medical Deductible” instead of indicating an actual dollar amount.

Moving costs are generally indicated as “full.”

Study Leave Allowance should be the amount agreed upon for one year, minimum required annually is $2,000, although the allowance may be accumulated for up to three years.

Other is for anything not included above; such as deferred compensation, if provided, may be included here.

There is no need to write the dollar amount of dues for the Benefits Plan. The dues are calculated on the effective salary, which includes salary, housing, and deferred compensation. If a manse is provided, it should be valued at an amount equivalent to 30% of the total of salary, deferred compensation, and social security offset for calculation of Benefits Plan dues.

The Benefits Plan dues rate for 2021 is 27% [Medical 27% , Pension 8.5 %, Death & Disability 1 %, Temporary Disability 0.5%].

The minimum vacation time is four weeks (including 4 Sundays). At least two weeks study leave must be allowed, which is cumulative to six weeks in negotiation with the Session.

The date of the congregational meeting should be entered on the line which begins “in testimony whereof we have subscribed our names….” Three or four signatures of people authorized at the meeting to sign on behalf of the congregation should be included in the space below. They may include the Chair of the PNC, Clerk of Session, and President of the corporation.

The name of the pastor/candidate and the name of the church should be entered in the last paragraph, and the moderator of the congregational meeting should sign the Call form on the front. The pastor/candidate signs Section C, Acceptance of the Call on the back. This is sent to the Presbytery {Attention: Cathy Nelson/COM) for the signature of the Chair of the Commission on Ministry and then given to the Stated Clerk who will sign after the Presbytery meeting and return copies to the church and candidate or send to the candidate’s presbytery.

Minimum Terms of Call for 2021

Minimum Terms of Call for 2021

Minimum Terms of Call for 2021

Minimum Terms of Call for 2021

Full-Time Called/Installed Positions
Full-Time Temporary & Part-Time Positions (Non-Called/Installed)

Starting Before January 1, 2020
Benefits Policy Before January 1, 2020
Starting After January 1, 2020
Benefits Policy After January 1, 2020
Examples

Certified Christian Educators & Commissioned Pastors
Summary of Significant Changes for 2021


The Commission on Ministry, at its meeting on June 9th, 2020, approved a motion that minimum terms of call for installed, temporary, and commissioned pastors and certified educators serving churches, effective January 1, 2021, be as follows:

Full-Time Called/Installed Positions

The minimum terms of call approved for calls before January 1st, 2020 to be either:

  • Salary of $38,874 + free use of the manse + cost of utilities.
  • An Effective salary” of $54,700 to be divided among cash salary, housing allowance, and
    utilities, as the minister requests. (The Commission on Ministry has defined utilities as
    fuel, electric, sewer and water, trash collection, and home telecommunications services.)

The minimum terms of call approved for calls after January 1st, 2020*
to be either:

  • Salary of $36,846 and a SECA offset** of $2,819 + free use of the manse + cost of utilities.
  • An Effective salary” of $51,846 to be divided among cash salary, housing allowance, and utilities, as the minister requests + SECA offset of $3,966 (The Commission on Ministry has defined utilities as fuel, electric, sewer and water, trash collection, and home telecommunications services.
  • While the salary and housing portion for new calls is lower than existing calls, when SECA offset is factored in the net cost to the congregation is the same. For more information regarding SECA offset please see the footnote below.

Due to the unprecedented times we find ourselves living in with the COVID-19 Pandemic, these minimums are identical to those from 2020.  Congregations are encouraged to provide merit increases where appropriate.

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

  • Full dues payment for the Pastor’s Participation Plan of the Board of Pensions
  • Provide payment for or reimbursement of the medical deductible or co-pays for health
    plan costs of the Benefits plan, up to 2% of effective salary through either a reimbursable
    account or a qualified Health Savings Account.
  • Provide $2000 for professional expenses and travel reimbursement at the rate allowable
    under I.R.S. regulations, subject to the organization’s accountable reimbursement policy.
    (For more information about reimbursement policies, please contact the Presbytery’s
    business office)
  • Grant two weeks (two Sundays) study leave, cumulative to six weeks, regardless of hours
    worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the six week limit.
  • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of
    hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the $6000 limit. 
  • Provide four weeks (four Sundays) of vacation time for all pastors, regardless of hours
    worked per week.
  • Provide parental and family leave for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week,
    per the Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental/Family Leave Policy adopted in 2016.

If you have questions regarding these new terms, you are welcome to direct them to the
Commission on Ministry Office (412-697-9210) of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

  Post 1/2020 Calls Pre 1/2020 Calls Post 1/2020 Calls (with manse) Post 1/2020 Calls (with manse)
Salary and Housing $51,846 $54,700 $36,292 $38,290
Medical Reimbursement (2%) $1,037 $1,094 $1,037 $1,094
Pension (8.5%) $4,407 $4,650 $4,407 $4,650
Medical (27%) $13,998 $14,769 $13,998 $14,769
D&D (1%) $518 $547 $518 $547
Temporary Disability (0.5%) $259 $274 $259 $274
SECA Offset (7.65% Salary)* $3,966 $0 $3,966 $0
Study Leave Allowance $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Expense Allowance $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Study Leave Time 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Vacation Time 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks
$80,032 $80,033 $64,478 $63,623

*A minister in an existing call may choose to switch to the minimums that include SECA offset at their own discretion.
**SECA Offset – Because ministers are classified as self-employed, they are responsible for paying both the employer and employee portion of FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes). SECA Offset pays the employer portion to the minister, which is considered taxable income by the IRS, but is not considered effective salary by the Board of Pensions.


Full-Time Temporary and All Part-Time Positions

Minimum Terms and Hourly Allocations for positions initiated before January 1st, 2020:

Full-Time ¾ Time ½ Time ¼ Time
Hours 35+ 25-34 15-24 Less than 15
Salary/Housing $54,700 $41,025 $27,350 $13,675
Professional Expenses $2,000.00 $1,600 $800 $400
Study Leave $2,000.00 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Vacation 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks
Study Leave 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Total Cost $58,700 + benefits (see below) $44,625 + benefits (see below) $30,150 + benefits if hrs per week is more than 20. $16,075

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

  • Provide for professional expenses and travel reimbursement, up to the amount listed for the type of call, at the rate allowable under I.R.S. regulations, subject to the organization’s accountable reimbursement policy. (For more information about reimbursement policies, please contact the Presbytery’s business office)
  • Grant two weeks (two Sundays) study leave, cumulative to six weeks, regardless of hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the six week limit
  • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the $6000 limit. 
  • Provide four weeks (four Sundays) of vacation time for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week.
  • Provide parental and family leave for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week, per the Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental/Family Leave Policy adopted in 2016.

Benefits Policy:

  • All non-installed teaching elders employed before January 1, 2017 for 20 or more hours per week are to be offered the Pastor’s Participation plan. The costs are the same as noted above for installed, full-time teaching elders. Please note that the costs for health insurance will be calculated based upon a $44,000 minimum effective salary. Pension is calculated at 11 % of effective salary and Death & Disability is calculated at 1%. Pastors may elect instead to choose coverage through the menu-based member-only option, according to the policy for pastors who begin service after January 1, 2017 (below).
  • All non-installed teaching elders employed 20 or more hours per week, and who began service after January 1, 2017 are to be offered single person health coverage with the EPO* from the Board of Pension, with the employing church covering 99% of the premium. If the teaching elder wishes to elect coverage for a spouse, for children only, or for a spouse and children, the additional premium for that coverage may be paid, in whole or in part, by the congregation or the teaching elder.
  • Non-installed teaching elders working 20 or more hours per week are eligible to participate in the Pastor’s Participation plan. Any non-installed teaching elder who has been offered the EPO plan may opt out of the Board of Pensions health plan if he or she is covered by an outside plan, for instance through a spouse or parent. However, it is the policy of COM that all pastors (installed or non-installed) serving congregations at 20 hours or more per week must be covered by health insurance, either through the Boardof Pensions or an outside plan. For those who opt out, 5% of salary will be available for allocation to a retirement plan or an optional insurance plan offered through the Board of Pensions.
  • All non-installed teaching elders employed less than 20 hours per week have the option to participate in the Board of Pensions medical and retirement savings plans only. The employing church may or may not elect to cover all or part of the costs for this coverage.
  • For pastors enrolled in the Pastor’s Participation plan, congregations will provide reimbursement of the medical deductible or of co-pays of the Benefits Plan up to 2% of effective salary.

Minimum Terms and Hourly Allocations for Full-Time Temporary and All Part-Time Positions initiated after January 1st, 2020:

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 3B Tier 4 Tier 5
Hours Range Full-Time 32-36 24-27 20-22 16-18 10-12
Salary/Housing $51,846 $39,329 $25,630 $25,923 $25,406 $12,962
SECA Offset $3,966 $3,009 $1,961 $1,983 $1,944 $992
Benefits $20,220 $15,719 $14,076 $7,055 $0 $0
Minister’s Choice $5,185 $3,933 $2,563 $2,592 $0 $0
Other $15,035 $11,787 $11,513 $4,463 $0 $0
Expenses* $2,000 $1,600 $1,200 $1,000 $800 $400
Study Leave $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Total Cost $80,032 $61,657 $44,866 $37,961 $30,150 $16,353

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

  • Provide for professional expenses and travel reimbursement, up to the amount listed for the type of call, at the rate allowable under I.R.S. regulations, subject to the organization’s accountable reimbursement policy. (For more information about reimbursement policies, please contact the Presbytery’s business office)
  • Grant two weeks (two Sundays) study leave, cumulative to six weeks, regardless of hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the six week limit. 
  • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the $6000 limit. 
  • Provide four weeks (four Sundays) of vacation time for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week.
  • Provide parental and family leave for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week, per the Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental/Family Leave Policy adopted in 2016.

Benefits Policy:

All non-installed ministers employed more than 20 hours per week are required to receive
benefits of equal value to that of single-member pastor’s participation in the Board of Pensions.
However, the allocation of those benefits is at the sole discretion of the minister depending on
their specific needs. The total cost of the Board of Pensions benefits plus any medical
reimbursement provided must be at least equivalent to the amounts listed in benefits line
above.

Examples:

In both of these situations, Pastor Sam and Pastor Jane effectively receive the same compensation for the same hours worked and the cost to the congregation remains the same but they come in forms that are useful to both of them.

Pastor Sam is currently employed by First Presbyterian as a 3/4 time employee but does not need medical benefits due to his spouse. Therefore, he elects the following benefits arrangement:

Pastor Sam
Salary/Housing $39,329.00
FICA $3,009.00
Expenses* $1,600.00
Study Leave $2,000.00
Benefits Total $16,599.00
Minister’s Choice $3,933.00
403B Contribution $12,667.00
Total $62,537.00

Pastor Jane is employed by 2nd Presbyterian as a 3/4 time employee but does need medical benefits. Therefore, she elects the following benefits arrangement:

Pastor Jane
Salary/Housing $39,329.00
FICA $3,009.00
Expenses* $1,600.00
Study Leave $2,000.00
Benefits Total $16,599.00
Medical Reimbursement $787.00
Medical $11,800.00
Minister’s Choice $3,933.00
Total $62,537.00


Minimum Terms and Hourly Allocations for Certified Christian Educators and Commissioned Pastors

Certified Christian Educators and Commissioned Pastors
Salary and Housing $49,230
Study Leave Allowance $1,250
Expenses
Study Leave Time 2 Weeks
Vacation Time 4 Weeks
$50,480

Due to the unprecedented times we find ourselves living in with the COVID-19 Pandemic, these minimums are identical to those from 2020.  Congregations are encouraged to provide merit increases where appropriate. 

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

  • Provide four weeks of vacation time for all CPs/CCEs, regardless of hours worked per week.
  • Grant two weeks of study leave, cumulative to three weeks, regardless of hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the three week limit. 
  • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of hours worked per week. The Commission on Ministry encourages Sessions to grant a waiver to all study leave from 2020 to carry over into 2021 in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, even if the accrued study leave would exceed the $6000 limit. 

Although not required, congregations are encouraged to offer health care coverage, as well as death/disability/pension benefits, to CCEs, through the Board of Pensions plans or other qualified providers.

If you have questions regarding these new terms, you are welcome to direct them to the Commission on Ministry Office (412-697-9210) of Pittsburgh Presbytery.


Summary of Significant Changes for 2021

There is no change to the minimum terms of call for full-time installed pastors.

Congregations are encouraged to permit their Pastors to carry over up to eight weeks of study leave and $8000 due to many events being cancelled in 2020. (The typical ceiling is six weeks and $6000)

The full-time installed minimums incorporate the new structure of for Pastor’s Participation (Pension, Death and Disability, Temporary Disability, and Health).

The Full-Time Temporary and Part-Time Minimums have the following changes:

  1. Incorporation of new Tier 3B, that splits the difference between Tiers 3 and 4 cost and hours wise.
  2. Requires the participation in Minister’s Choice, the new program from the Board of Pensions which includes Pension, Death and Disability, and Temporary Disability coverage. Being enrolled in Minister’s Choice allows the individual to be eligible for all other programs of the Board included the Employee Assistance Program, CREDO, etc.
  3. Tier 5, which previously had an hours range of 8-10, is now 10-12 and the minimum salary raised from $12703 to $12962 which is 25% of the full-time salary. This shift was based upon the research the Pastoral Vitality team completed in developing the Part-Time Position Guidelines.  It was the determination of the Pastoral Vitality Committee that 10-12 hours a week is the very minimum one can work and fulfill the essential duties of serving as a Pastor.

There are no changes to the minimum terms of call for CCE/CPs with the exception of encouraging congregations to permit CCE/CPs to permit CCE/CPs to roll over more than the typical maximum amount of time.

Minimum Terms of Call for 2020

Minimum Terms of Call for 2020

Minimum Terms of Call for 2020

Minimum Terms of Call for 2020

Full-Time Call/Installed Positions
Full-Time Temporary & Part-Time Positions (Non-Called/Installed)

Starting Before January 1, 2020
Benefits Policy Before January 1, 2020
Starting After January 1, 2020
Benefits Policy After January 1, 2020
Examples

Certified Christian Educators & Commissioned Pastors


The Commission on Ministry Pastoral Vitality Committee, at its meeting held on July 2nd, 2019
approved a motion that the minimum terms of call for installed and temporary pastors serving
churches, effective January 1, 2020, be as follows:

Full-Time Called/Installed Positions

The minimum terms of call approved for calls before January 1st, 2020 to be either:

  • Salary of $38,874 + free use of the manse + cost of utilities.
  • An Effective salary” of $54,700 to be divided among cash salary, housing allowance, and
    utilities, as the minister requests. (The Commission on Ministry has defined utilities as
    fuel, electric, sewer and water, trash collection, and home telecommunications services.)

The minimum terms of call approved for calls after January 1st, 2020*
to be either:

  • Salary of $36,846 and a SECA offset** of $2,819 + free use of the manse + cost of utilities.
  • An Effective salary” of $51,846 to be divided among cash salary, housing allowance, and utilities, as the minister requests + SECA offset of $39,66 (The Commission on Ministry has defined utilities as fuel, electric, sewer and water, trash collection, and home telecommunications services.
  • While the salary and housing portion for new calls is lower than existing calls, when SECA offset is factored in the net cost to the congregation is the same. For more information regarding SECA offset please see the footnote below.

These minimums reflect a 2% increase over 2019. The yearly adjustment of minimum salary
requirements is designed to help our pastors keep up with changes in the cost of living in our
region. We hope that all congregations will consider merit raises for pastors in addition to the
cost of living adjustment.

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

  • Full dues payment for the Pastor’s Participation Plan of the Board of Pensions
  • Provide payment for or reimbursement of the medical deductible or co-pays for health
    plan costs of the Benefits plan, up to 2% of effective salary through either a reimbursable
    account or a qualified Health Savings Account.
  • Provide $2000 for professional expenses and travel reimbursement at the rate allowable
    under I.R.S. regulations, subject to the organization’s accountable reimbursement policy.
    (For more information about reimbursement policies, please contact the Presbytery’s
    business office)
  • Grant two weeks (two Sundays) study leave, cumulative to six weeks, regardless of hours
    worked per week.
  • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of
    hours worked per week.
  • Provide four weeks (four Sundays) of vacation time for all pastors, regardless of hours
    worked per week.
  • Provide parental and family leave for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week,
    per the Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental/Family Leave Policy adopted in 2016.

If you have questions regarding these new terms, you are welcome to direct them to the
Commission on Ministry Office (412-697-9210) of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Existing calls

(with housing)

New calls

(with housing)

Existing calls

(with manse)

New calls with (manse)
Salary and Housing $54,700 $51,846 $38,290 $36,292
Effective Compensation $54,700 $51,846 $54,700 $51,846
Medical Reimbursement (2%) $1,094 $1,037 $1,094 $1,037
Pension (11%) $6,017 $5,703 $6,017 $5,703
Medical (25%) $13,675 $12,962 $13,675 $12,962
D&D (1%) $547 $518 $547 $518
FICA (7.65% Salary)* $0 $3,966 $0 $3,966
Expense Allowance* (IRS Rate) $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Study Leave Allowance $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Other
Study Leave Time 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Vacation Time 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks
$80,033 $80,032 $63,623 $64,478

*A minister in an existing call may choose to switch to the minimums that include SECA offset at their own discretion.
**SECA Offset – Because ministers are classified as self-employed, they are responsible for paying both the employer and employee portion of FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes). SECA Offset pays the employer portion to the minister, which is considered taxable income by the IRS, but is not considered effective salary by the Board of Pensions.


Full-Time Temporary and All Part-Time Positions

Minimum Terms and Hourly Allocations for initiated before January 1st, 2020:

Full-Time ¾ Time ½ Time ¼ Time
Hours 35+ 25-34 15-24 Less than 15
Salary/Housing $54,700 $41,025 $27,350 $13,675
Professional Expenses $2,000.00 $1,600 $800 $400
Study Leave $2,000.00 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Vacation 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks 4 Weeks
Study Leave 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Total Cost $58,700 + benefits (see below) $44,625 + benefits (see below) $30,150 + benefits if hrs per week is more than 20. $16,075

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

    • Provide for professional expenses and travel reimbursement, up to the amount listed for the type of call, at the rate allowable under I.R.S. regulations, subject to the organization’s accountable reimbursement policy. (For more information about reimbursement policies, please contact the Presbytery’s business office)
    • Grant two weeks (two Sundays) study leave, cumulative to six weeks, regardless of hours worked per week.
    • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of hours worked per week.
    • Provide four weeks (four Sundays) of vacation time for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week.
    • Provide parental and family leave for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week, per the Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental/Family Leave Policy adopted in 2016.

Benefits Policy:

    • All non-installed teaching elders employed before January 1, 2017 for 20 or more hours per week are to be offered the Pastor’s Participation plan. The costs are the same as noted above for installed, full-time teaching elders. Please note that the costs for health insurance will be calculated based upon a $44,000 minimum effective salary. Pension is calculated at 11 % of effective salary and Death & Disability is calculated at 1%. Pastors may elect instead to choose coverage through the menu-based member-only option, according to the policy for pastors who begin service after January 1, 2017 (below).
    • All non-installed teaching elders employed 20 or more hours per week, and who began service after January 1, 2017 are to be offered single person health coverage with the EPO* from the Board of Pension, with the employing church covering 99% of the premium. If the teaching elder wishes to elect coverage for a spouse, for children only, or for a spouse and children, the additional premium for that coverage may be paid, in whole or in part, by the congregation or the teaching elder.
    • Non-installed teaching elders working 20 or more hours per week are eligible to participate in the Pastor’s Participation plan. Any non-installed teaching elder who has been offered the EPO plan may opt out of the Board of Pensions health plan if he or she is covered by an outside plan, for instance through a spouse or parent. However, it is the policy of COM that all pastors (installed or non-installed) serving congregations at 20 hours or more per week must be covered by health insurance, either through the Boardof Pensions or an outside plan. For those who opt out, 5% of salary will be available for allocation to a retirement plan or an optional insurance plan offered through the Board of Pensions.
    • All non-installed teaching elders employed less than 20 hours per week have the option to participate in the Board of Pensions medical and retirement savings plans only. The employing church may or may not elect to cover all or part of the costs for this coverage.
    • For pastors enrolled in the Pastor’s Participation plan, congregations will provide reimbursement of the medical deductible or of co-pays of the Benefits Plan up to 2% of effective salary.

Minimum Terms and Hourly Allocations for Full-Time Temporary and All Part-Time Positions initiated after January 1st, 2020:

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Weekly Hours Full Time 32-36 24-27 16-18 8-10
Salary/Housing $51,846 $39,329 $25,630 $25,406 $12,703
FICA $3.966 $3,013 $1.961 $1,944 $972
Expenses* $2,000.00 $1,600 $1,200 $800 $400
Study Leave $2,000.00 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Benefits $21,333 $16,744 $14,829 $0.00 $0.00
Total Cost $80,033 $61,639 $45,379 $30,150 $16,075

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

Provide for professional expenses and travel reimbursement, up to the amount listed for the type of call, at the rate allowable under I.R.S. regulations, subject to the organization’s accountable reimbursement policy. (For more information about reimbursement policies, please contact the Presbytery’s business office)

    • Grant two weeks (two Sundays) study leave, cumulative to six weeks, regardless of hoursworked  week.
    • Provide a study leave allowance of $2000 per year cumulative to $6000, regardless of hours worked per week.
    • Provide four weeks (four Sundays) of vacation time for all pastors, regardless of hours
      worked per week.
    • Provide parental and family leave for all pastors, regardless of hours worked per week, per the Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental/Family Leave Policy adopted in 2016.

Benefits Policy:

All non-installed ministers employed more than 20 hours per week are required to receive
benefits of equal value to that of single-member pastor’s participation in the Board of Pensions.
However, the allocation of those benefits is at the sole discretion of the minister depending on
their specific needs. The total cost of the Board of Pensions benefits plus any medical
reimbursement provided must be at least equivalent to the amounts listed in benefits line
above.

Examples:

In both of these situations, Pastor Sam and Pastor Jane effectively receive the same compensation for the same hours worked and the cost to the congregation remains the same but they come in forms that are useful to both of them.

Pastor Sam is currently employed by First Presbyterian as a 3/4 time employee but does not need medical benefits due to his spouse. Therefore, he elects the following benefits arrangement:

Pastor Sam
Salary/Housing $39,329.00
FICA $3,013.00
Expenses* $1,600.00
Study Leave $2,000.00
Benefits Total $16,743.00
Medical Reimbursement $0.00
Pension $4,512.75
Medical $0.00
Death/Disability $410.25
403B Contribution $11,821.00
Total $61,368.00

Pastor Jane is employed by 2nd Presbyterian as a 3/4 time employee but does need medical benefits. Therefore, she elects the following benefits arrangement:

Pastor Jane
Salary/Housing $39,329.00
FICA $3,013.00
Expenses* $1,600.00
Study Leave $2,000.00
Benefits Total $16,743.50
Medical Reimbursement $821
Pension $4,512.75
Medical $11,000.00
Death/Disability $410.25
403B Contribution $0.00
Total $61,368.00


Minimum Terms and Hourly Allocations for Certified Christian Educators and Commissioned Pastors

Certified Christian Educators and Commissioned Pastors
Salary and Housing $49,230
Study Leave Allowance $1,250
Expenses
Study Leave Time 2 Weeks
Vacation Time 4 Weeks
$50,480

These minimums reflect a 2% increase over 2019. The yearly adjustment of minimum salary
requirements is designed to help our CPs/CCEs keep up with changes in the cost of living in our
region. We hope that all congregations will consider merit raises for CPs/CCEs in addition to the
cost of living adjustment.

In addition to salary, employing churches will:

  • Provide four weeks of vacation time for all CPs/CCEs, regardless of hours worked per week.
  • Grant two weeks of study leave, cumulative to three weeks, regardless of hours worked per week.
  • Provide a study leave allowance of $1250 per year cumulative to $3750, regardless of hours worked per week.

Although not required, congregations are encouraged to offer health care coverage, as well as death/disability/pension benefits, to CCEs, through the Board of Pensions plans or other qualified providers.

If you have questions regarding these new terms, you are welcome to direct them to the Commission on Ministry Office (412-697-9210) of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Litany for Closure of a Ministry

Litany for Closure of a Ministry

Litany for Closure of a Ministry

Litany for the Closure of a Ministry

Pastor:

On (date)____________we shared together in a service of celebration of a new ministry. It is now time to give thanks for the life we have shared in Christ. It is also time for me to move on to the next chapter in my spiritual journey on which the Lord is leading me. I
found our time together rewarding and memories of what we have shared will always remain precious and meaningful.

People:

The Lord is loving to everyone;
God’s compassion is over all God’s works.
All your works praise you, O Lord,
And your faithful servants bless you (Psalm 145:9-10).

Pastor:

Let us thank God for what these past years have meant by praying together the General Thanksgiving

Pastor And People:

Almighty God, Lord of all mercies,
We your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
For all your goodness and loving kindness
To us and to all people.
We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all
The blessings of this life;
But above all for your incomparable love
In the redemption of the world
By our Lord Jesus Christ;
For the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies
That with truly thankful hearts
We may make known your praise,
Not only with our lips, but in our lives,
By giving up ourselves to your service,
And by walking before you in holiness and
Righteousness all our days;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with
You and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and
Glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Pastor:

Dear Friends, you have allowed me to share the Responsibilities of the ordained ministry in your midst. At the celebration of a new ministry, you presented me With symbols expressing my special role among you. It is time for me to return to you what you have lent me. I have tried to proclaim the Word of God faithfully among  You. Here is the Bible which expresses this. (The Bible is presented to a lay leader)

People:

Thanks be to God.

Pastor:

I have shared, through God’s grace, in bringing some through the water of new creation in
birth into the Body of Christ by Holy Baptism. Here is water which symbolizes God’s gift of
belonging in Christ. (A vessel of water is given to a lay leader)

People:

There is one Body and one Spirit, There is one Hope in God’s call to us.

Pastor:

Prayer, both individual and corporate, is the means by which our relationship with God
grows, deepens, and strengthens. Here is the (prayer book or denominational directory for
worship). (Book is given to a lay leader)

People:

Put your trust in God, “for I will yet give thanks to God, for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5)

Pastor:

Bread and Wine are the means by which we share in the blessing of Creation and it is the
means by which we offer ourselves to be transformed into the sacramental Body of Christ.
Bread and wine are given to a lay leader.

People:

Taste and see that the Lord is good: happy are they who trust in God.

Pastor:

And now it is time for me to go forth having restored to you the signs of office which you presented me. I ask that in your love and commitment, you send me forth with a “going away” blessing.

People:

Unto God’s gracious mercy we commit you.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give
You peace both this day and forever. Amen.

Service of Ordination & Installation for Candidates Called to Installed Pastoral Positions

Service of Ordination & Installation for Candidates Called to Installed Pastoral Positions

Service of Ordination & Installation for Candidates Called to Installed Pastoral Positions

Pittsburgh Presbytery Service of Ordination & Installation For Candidates Called to Installed Pastoral Positions Who are being Ordained and Installed in the place of their Call

The Gathering

Presentation of Candidate – Moderator of the Presbytery or designee
Call to Worship
Opening Prayer
Hymn
Confession and Pardon
The Peace of Christ

The Word

Prayer for Illumination
First Reading
Psalm
Second Reading
Hymn or Anthem (optional)
Gospel Reading
Sermon
Hymn

The Service of Ordination & Installation

Sentences of Scripture or Litany of Gifts – Presbytery Moderator or designee
Statement on Ordination – Presbytery Moderator
Presentation of Candidate – Member of Commission
Profession of Faith – Presbytery Moderator
Anointing with oil (optional)
Constitutional Questions to the Candidate – Presbytery Moderator
Constitutional Questions to the Congregation – a Ruling Elder of the congregation
Prayer of Ordination – Presbytery Moderator
Declaration of Ordination and Installation – Presbytery Moderator
Welcome by Members of Presbytery
Charge to the Newly Ordained and Installed Pastor
Charge to the Congregation
Presentation of Symbols of Ministry
Hymn

Option A:
Responding to the Word (with the Eucharist)

Invitation to the Lord’s Table
Offering*
Great Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer
Words of Institution/Breaking of the Bread
Communion of the People
Prayer after Communion

Option B:
Responding to the Word (without the Eucharist)

Offering*
Prayer of Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer
The Sending
Hymn
Charge – a deacon, if available
Blessing – newly Ordained and Installed Pastor/Associate Pastor


Notes

The full service of Ordination including texts is found in the Book of Common Worship (2018), pages 461-478. The outline of the service, including Constitutional questions, is found in the Book of Order (W4.04)

The Service of Ordination of a Minister of Word and Sacrament is conducted by Pittsburgh
Presbytery, and takes place as guided by the Book of Order, W-4.0402: “The ordination and/or installation of a minister of the Word and Sacrament shall take place at a time that enables substantial participation of the presbytery.”

*Offerings at Services of Ordination are designated for the Oldman Fund (a scholarship fund for
Inquirers/Candidates of Pittsburgh Presbytery). After the offering has been counted, a check may
be sent to the Pittsburgh Presbytery for the same amount.

Service of Ordination for Candidates Called to Temporary Pastoral Positions, Validated Ministries

Service of Ordination for Candidates Called to Temporary Pastoral Positions, Validated Ministries

Service of Ordination for Candidates Called to Temporary Pastoral Positions, Validated Ministries

Pittsburgh Presbytery Service of Ordination For Candidates Called to Temporary Pastoral Positions or Validated Ministries

The Gathering

Presentation of Candidate – Moderator of the Presbytery or designee
Call to Worship
Opening Prayer
Hymn
Confession and Pardon
The Peace of Christ

The Word

Prayer for Illumination
First Reading
Psalm
Second Reading
Hymn or Anthem (optional)
Gospel Reading
Sermon
Hymn

The Service of Ordination

Statement on Ordination – Presbytery Moderator or designee
Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant and Apostles’ Creed
Anointing with oil (optional)
Constitutional Questions to the Candidate – Presbytery Moderator or designee
Prayer of Ordination
Declaration of Ordination – Presbytery Moderator or designee
Welcome by Members of Presbytery
Charge to the Newly Ordained
Presentation of Symbols of Ministry
Hymn

Option A:
Responding to the Word (with the Eucharist)

Invitation to the Lord’s Table
Offering
Great Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer
Words of Institution/Breaking of the Bread
Communion of the People
Prayer after Communion

Option B:
Responding to the Word (without the Eucharist)

Offering*
Prayer of Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer

The Sending

Hymn
Charge – a deacon, if available
Blessing – newly Installed Pastor/Associate Pastor


Notes

The full service of Ordination including texts is found in the Book of Common Worship (2018), pages 461-478. The outline of the service, including Constitutional questions, is found in the Book of Order (W4.04)

The Service of Ordination of a Minister of Word and Sacrament is conducted by Pittsburgh
Presbytery, and takes place as guided by the Book of Order, W-4.0402: “The ordination
and/or installation of a Minister of Word and Sacrament shall take place at a time that enables the substantial participation of the presbytery.”

*Offerings at Services of Ordination are designated for the Oldman Fund (a scholarship fund for
Inquirers/Candidates of Pittsburgh Presbytery). After the offering has been counted, a check may
be sent to the Pittsburgh Presbytery for the same amount.

Ordination & Installation Service Policy & Guidelines

Ordination & Installation Service Policy & Guidelines

Ordination & Installation Service Policy & Guidelines

Ordination & Installation Service Guidelines for Teaching Elders

Policy & Descriptions
Administrative Commission
Planning the Service


Policy & Descriptions

A service of Ordination or Installation is a service of the Presbytery. Therefore, “the service of ordination or installation of a teaching elder shall be conducted at a convenient time to enable the
substantial participation of the presbytery.” (W-4.4002) The service shall not be scheduled on a Sunday morning.

Ordination is a service of the Presbytery to ordain a candidate as a teaching elder for service in a particular church or other approved validated ministry. An outline of this service is available on the COM Forms page.

Installation is a service of the Presbytery to install a teaching elder for service in a particular church. The service should be held as soon as is feasible following the effective date of the call. An  outline of this service is available on the COM Forms page.

Ordination & Installation is a service of the Presbytery to ordain and install a teaching elder for service in particular church when the candidate has not been previously ordained. An outline of this service is available COM Forms page.


The Administrative Commission

The Administrative Commission MUST be approved by the Presbytery through the Commission on Preparation for Ministry (in the case of ordination) or the Commission on Ministry (in the case of installation). The Administrative Commission for a service of Ordination & Installation is approved by the Presbytery through the Commission on Preparation for Ministry. Administrative Commissions ordinarily consist of those invited by the person being ordained, installed, or ordained and installed.

The Administrative Commission Form for Ordination and Ordination & Installation services must be submitted to be approved and may be found here.

Convener: The Administrative Commission is convened by the Presbytery Moderator or by her or his designee. It is essential that prior to planning the service, the date and time of the
service is confirmed with the Presbytery Moderator.

Members of the Commission: The administrative commission shall be composed of no fewer than five (5) and no more than seven (7) persons from Pittsburgh Presbytery. The administrative
commission shall be composed of ruling elders and teaching elders in numbers as nearly equal as possible. No more than one (1) ruling elder from any one church of the presbytery may serve on
the commission. “A commission should reflect Pittsburgh Presbytery’s commitment to principles of inclusiveness, representation, and participation for race and gender.” Others may
be invited to participate, but such invitations should be limited to one or two beyond the commission. All members of the commission must be members of Pittsburgh Presbytery.


Planning the Service

The service shall be conducted at a convenient time to enable the substantial participation of the Presbytery. The service shall not be scheduled on a Sunday morning. The service should be planned to last approximately one (1) hour.

Orders of worship and additional liturgical resources may be found here.

Planning Suggestions

  1. One week before the service, confirm the date and time with participants. Assure that each
    participant understands her or his role and inform them what time and where to meet prior to
    the service. Provide guidance to Teaching Elders regarding the wearing of vestments.
  2. Provide a room where the Moderator can convene, constitute the Administrative Commission,
    and review service details.
  3. Encourage participants to maintain time limits on their part of the service.
  4. Provide child care to encourage parents of young children to attend.
  5. The congregation should arrange a celebratory reception at the conclusion of the service.

The Offering
An offering for the Oldman Fund (a scholarship fund for inquirers/candidates under the care of
Pittsburgh Presbytery) shall be received during the service. The church is responsible to count the
offering and send a check for the amount received to Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Service of Ordination/Installation for Called Pastors & Associates

Service of Ordination/Installation for Called Pastors & Associates

Service of Ordination/Installation for Called Pastors & Associates

Pittsburgh Presbytery Service of Ordination/Installation*

The usual elements of a service of ordination/installation are presented in normal type. Optional additions appear in italics. The service for the ordination and installation of pastors is found in The Book of Common Worship (2018). Services from earlier editions of the Book of Common Worship may also be used, provided that the most current constitutional questions are utilized, as found in the current Book of Order (W-4.0404).

The Gathering

Welcome or Greeting
Call to Worship
Hymn
Confession and Pardon

The Word

Prayer for Illumination**
First Reading
Psalm
Second Reading
Hymn or Anthem
Gospel Reading
Sermon
Affirmation of Faith

The Service of Ordination/Installation

Sentences of Scripture or Litany of Gifts – Presbytery Moderator or designee
Statement on Ordination – Presbytery Moderator
Presentation of the Candidate – Member of Commission
Profession of Faith – Presbytery Moderator or designee
Constitutional Questions to the Candidate – Presbytery Moderator
Constitutional Questions to the Congregation – Ruling Elder of the Church
Prayer of Ordination/Installation – Presbytery Moderator
Declaration of Ordination/Installation – Presbytery Moderator
Charge to the Pastor (Associate Pastor)
Charge to the Congregation
Presentation of the Symbols of Ministry

Responding to the Word (Optional Eucharist)

Hymn
Offering***
Invitation to the Lord’s Table
Great Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer
Sharing the Peace of Christ
Words of Institution/Breaking of the Bread
Communion of the People

The Sending

Hymn
Charge and Benediction – Newly Ordained/Installed Pastor


*The Service is conducted by Pittsburgh Presbytery
**Items in italics are optional
***Offering for the Oldman Fund (a scholarship fund for Inquirers/candidates of Pittsburgh Presbytery). After the offering has been counted, a check can be sent to the Pittsburgh Presbytery for the same amount.

Ethical Guidelines for Teaching Elders

Ethical Guidelines for Teaching Elders

Ethical Guidelines for Teaching Elders

Ethical Guidelines for Teaching Elders

(Adopted April 3, 1995, revised 2008)

Preamble
Professional Practices
Responsibility Toward God
Responsibility Toward the Self
Responsibility Toward Colleagues and Those Served


Preamble

All Presbyterian teaching elders are committed, by their ordination vows, to trust Jesus Christ as Savior, to acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the church, and to believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; to accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ; and to be led by the confessions of the church. Each teaching elder has also promised to be governed by this church’s polity, to abide by its discipline, to be a friend among all colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit. Every time a teaching elder is installed in a new position, these same commitments are reaffirmed. Every ministry shall be carried on in accountability for its character and conduct to the Presbytery.

Two additional ordination vows suggest that the teaching elder’s personal life is also a concern of the church. All teaching elders have agreed in their own lives to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love their neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world. They also have promised to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church, and to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.

There are, therefore, two aspects to ministerial ethics — the professional code and the personal code. Both aspects are, to some degree and at some times, concerns for the whole church. The maintenance of high standards of professional competence is an ethical concern and is a responsibility shared by all teaching elders. All ordained persons will work toward the improvement and refinement of the practice of the ministerial calling.

While teaching elders are directly accountable to the Presbytery to which they belong or where they labor with permission, they also bear accountability to their employing body. In the realm of ethics there is a larger accountability,to the religious community as a whole and to the general public. People expect high standards of teaching elders, and to deny or ignore this is unrealistic and irresponsible.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) in all its expressions, the ecumenical religious community, and the general public expect and deserve the highest standards of conduct from teaching elders. When even one teaching elder denies, ignores, or flouts the ethical demands, irreparable damage is done to the individuals and to all parts of the communities affected. Therefore, teaching elders are called to the highest standards of conduct for the good of all and in service of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is the intention of Pittsburgh Presbytery to set forth the basic standards that must guide the practice of teaching elders. Also, we intend for these standards to evoke a vigorous discussion of the issues; and to challenge all ordained clergy as they search their own consciences and review their own past practices of ministry; look seriously at current practice, and anticipate their own ongoing ministry.

We acknowledge that we cannot cover every possible issue or anticipate every question that may arise. Therefore, if these guidelines are silent on a given issue, it is the professional responsibility of the teaching elder to return to the basics of Scripture, the polity of the church, and consultation with colleagues in ministry and other professionals to arrive at an ethically acceptable way to proceed for the ongoing practice of ministry.


Professional Practices

In all professional matters teaching elders, also referred to as ministers of Word and Sacrament, maintain practices that:

  • give glory to Christ
  • advance the goals of the church
  • nurture and protect the welfare of church members, parishioners, clients, and the public, challenging them in their endeavors to lead a Christian life

Teaching elders are energetic about their devotion to duty. Their practice of the profession will also seek to advance the profession itself, and include, but not be limited to, the following practices:

  1. Teaching elders shall accurately represent their professional qualifications, education, training, and experience in all contacts with the church or the public. Personal Information Forms (PIF’s), announcements of professional services, and other kinds of publicity are to be accurate, objective, dignified, and within the standards of generally accepted good taste. Teaching elders are themselves responsible for correcting any misrepresentation.
  2. Teaching elders shall use their knowledge, skill, experience and professional relationships for the benefit of the people and the institutions they serve and not to secure unfair personal advantage.
  3. Teaching elders shall limit their pastoral counseling to those circumstances for which they are qualified, and shall seek consultation from, or make referrals to, other professionals, such as physicians, psychotherapists, attorneys, or accountants, when needed.
  4. Teaching elders who provide professional counseling services shall do so following the professional standards of their discipline.
    • Teaching elders are expected to offer their services to members of their own congregations without charge or honorarium. Clergy stand ready to render appropriate services to individuals and communities in crisis without regard to financial remuneration. While fees for the use of the church facilities are set by the Session, honorarium or fees for the teaching elder’s services to non-members can be set by the teaching elder or by the Session.
  5. All teaching elders shall be honest, truthful, and trustworthy. They shall not violate confidences, break promises, or plagiarize.
    • Teaching elders may be confronted with conflicts between the obligation to maintain confidentiality and a legal or moral responsibility to disclose confidentially acquired knowledge, abuse of children or others, or the commission of crimes to appropriate secular authorities.
    • It is the teaching elder’s responsibility to determine whether the law requires the reporting of a particular incident.
    • Teaching elders are encouraged to contact the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery to obtain current additional information.
    • These conflicts shall be resolved through informed, thoughtful consideration and with guidance through prayer.
  6. Teaching elders shall refrain from the disparagement of any person, particularly of colleagues and other professionals.
  7. Teaching elders should not be the financial or legal agents, that is, Executor of Wills or Powers of Attorney, for members of their congregations. They should avoid conflicts of interests. They should avoid the appearance of impropriety.
  8. Teaching elders shall maintain professional competency throughout their careers. This shall be aided through continuing education and professional reading.

The Teaching Elder’s Responsibility Toward God: Spiritual Competence and Integrity

Teaching Elders are responsible for the recognition of and care for their humanity. Such responsibility makes necessary an active relationship between creature and Creator.

Recognizing that the ongoing spiritual life of any individual is a matter of personal responsibility, clergy shall actively develop, pursue, and seek to maintain nourishing spiritual practices.

Spiritual growth and development for clergy shall be a regular focus of worship, personal devotion, continuing education, and study leave.


The Teaching Elder’s Responsibility Toward the Self: Personal Competence and Integrity

The teaching elder has the rights, needs, and gifts of all God’s children: privacy, relationships, freedom, rest, meaningful work and recreation. Therefore, clergy need not be guilt-ridden, over loaded with work, duty-bound, unhappy or obsessed with righteous rage. A proper balance of responsible self-care frees the teaching elder to function effectively and to invest purposefully in the joys and burdens of a ministerial vocation.

  1. Clergy shall work toward a balance between time at work and time with family and friends, recognizing the need for healthy interpersonal relationships which include intimacy, interdependence and affirmation.
  2. Clergy shall plan for days of respite, study leaves for renewal, vacations for enjoyment and when appropriate the minister shall also seek personal counseling and spiritual direction.
  3. Health for all clergy includes an awareness of limitations and the ability to recognize problems and seek therapeutic help and/or spiritual guidance when necessary. This would include but not be limited to family problems, alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual dysfunction, compulsive behaviors, and burnout.
  4. While the personal and professional lives of clergy are separable to some extent, both should be consistent with Christian ethics. Unethical behavior can be used to discredit the integrity of the church, the ministry and the cause of Christ.

The Teaching Elder’s Responsibility Toward Those Served and Toward Colleagues: Pastoral Competence and Integrity

Teaching elders shall respect the integrity and protect the welfare of persons or groups with whom they are working by maintaining high professional standards.

Pastoral Relationships:

  1. Clergy shall protect the best interests of those they serve and empower them for ministry. They shall be sensitive to the influential position of trust and dependency bestowed upon them, and they shall recognize that the religious/spiritual convictions of individuals have powerful,emotional and volitional significance.
  2. Given the nature of this trust, dependency, and power, any sexual interaction between a clergy person and person whom they serve is sexual misconduct.
  3. Colleagues have the responsibility to report sexual misconduct to the Sexual Misconduct Response Team as set forth in the “Policy and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct” for Pittsburgh Presbytery.
  4. Teaching elders should be accessible to the entire constituency. Clergy are encouraged to be aware of the effect that “special friendships” can have within the congregation or work-place. Unmarried clergy who chose to date are encouraged to seek such relationships outside the congregation/work-place.
  5. Clergy should seek to be exemplary in the management of personal finances and respect the resources of those they are called to serve.
  6. Clergy shall seek to embody the hospitality and grace of the divine relationship and shall not refuse pastoral care to anyone on the basis of age, race, gender, creed, national origin, disability, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation.

Collegian Relationships:

Teaching elders maintain a vital association with their ecclesiastical colleagues and with colleagues in related professions–health care, social services, legal services, and the like. This includes persons in the Presbyterian Church (USA), those in other faith groups, and possibly some without any faith group connection. They communicate regularly with such peers and respect, support, and depend upon them personally and professionally.

  1. In ecclesiastical staff relationships, the objective is to work together cooperatively and professionally in order to build up the whole church. To that end, teaching elders who are heads of staff have special authority and responsibility. However, all staff members should be free to express their differences appropriately. Within the context of professional propriety, the head of staff should be especially aware of resources for conflict resolution.
  2. The teaching elder’s first responsibility is to his/her own parishioners. Ordinarily, a teaching elder should not knowingly call on someone who is a member of another church unless such a call in initiated by the parishioner, family members, or friends. When membership in another church becomes known, there should be communication with that teaching elder if appropriate.
  3. When a teaching elder is called upon to officiate at a wedding or funeral for families who are not members of the teaching elder’s own congregation, the teaching elder shall determine whether they are members of another church. The teaching elder shall notify the family’s pastor. For Baptism, see “Book of Order”, e.g. W-2.3014.
  4. When the relationship between a pastor and congregation is dissolved, the pastor must announce publicly what that means, calling attention to the fact that there will be another pastor or an interim pastor to whom the people should give their loyalty, and stating clearly that the departing teaching elder will not accept invitations to perform pastoral services or ceremonies except at the invitation of the current pastor. The teaching elder shall not influence the election of the Pastor Nominating Committee or the selection of any successor.
  5. Teaching elders who are elected as Pastor Emeritus shall recognize such as an honorary title that carries no job responsibilities or special privileges unless expressly stated by the Session, in consultation with the pastor, and approved by the Presbytery.
  6. The purpose of an Interim Pastor is to prepare a particular congregation for the coming of a new pastor. To this end the Interim Pastor will seek to develop loyalties to the office of the pastor and, most of all, loyalties to Christ and to the Church.
  7. All teaching elders who are not serving as pastors or associate pastors of a specific congregation shall be active in the life of a particular congregation but must respect the position of pastors/associate pastors regarding all ministerial functions within the community of faith.
Parish Associate Policy

Parish Associate Policy

Parish Associate Policy

Parish Associate Policy

A parish associate is a teaching elder who serves in a validated ministry other than the local parish, or is a member-at-large, or is retired, but who wishes to maintain a relationship with a particular church  in keeping with ordination to the ministry of teaching elder.  Such persons, already qualified as continuing members of presbytery, may serve as parish associates. The relation shall be established, upon nomination by the pastor, between the parish associate, the session, and the presbytery. The parish associate shall be responsible to the pastor, as head of staff, on an “as needed, as available” basis with or without remuneration.

A parish associate may not be called to be the next installed pastor or associate pastor of a church served as parish associate.

The agreement between the session, the parish associate, and the presbytery shall terminate when the call to the installed pastor is dissolved. The presbytery may dissolve the relationship with the parish associate upon the recommendation of the commission on ministry.

Parental & Family Leave Policy

Parental & Family Leave Policy

Parental & Family Leave Policy

Pittsburgh Presbytery Parental and Family Leave Policy

Revised 6/20/16

Parental Leave
Family Leave
General

The celebration, nurture, and encouragement of the family take place in many ways and on
many levels in the life of a church. During times of joy and times of sadness the congregation
has the opportunity and the responsibility of extending care for the teaching elder and the
teaching elder’s family.


Parental Leave

Parental leave is extended to all teaching elders who are welcoming a new child into their
family, whether by birth or adoption. The policy applies to the terms of call of all teaching
elders serving congregations in the presbytery, including those serving in
temporary/transitional or part-time positions, as well as in installed positions.

  • When a teaching elder becomes pregnant, or a teaching elder’s spouse becomes
    pregnant, the Session/Council and the Branch Minister should ordinarily be consulted
    within 12 weeks of a physician’s confirmation of the pregnancy. Maternal leave would
    ordinarily begin with the physician’s certification that the female teaching elder can no
    longer perform her duties. Paternal leave may begin at a time agreed upon by the
    teaching elder and his Session/Council. The time of leave for teaching elder(s) who are
    adopting a child begins when the child arrives for permanent placement in the teaching
    elder’s home.
  • Congregations are required to provide, as a minimum, the teaching elder’s full salary
    and benefits for six (6) weeks. This leave does not require the teaching elder to exhaust
    other types of paid leave including vacation and continuing education time.
  • At the teaching elder’s request, an additional six (6) weeks of leave may be taken at 60% salary with full benefits.

Other arrangements may be negotiated by the teaching elder and Session/Council to extend the
leave beyond the initial period of three months (12 weeks). A teaching elder may extend the
period of parental leave at his/her discretion by using accrued vacation time. Upon completion
of the parental leave, the teaching elder will be entitled to return to his/her position. The
position will not be filled during the leave except on a temporary basis.


Family Leave

Family leave is appropriate in life-altering circumstances when the teaching elder is called
upon by reason of major life trauma or serious illness to be the primary caregiver for a spouse,
child, parent, sibling, or other family member for whom the teaching elder bears primary
responsibility.

  • Congregations are required to provide, as a minimum, the teaching elder’s full salary
    and benefits for up to six (6) weeks. This leave does not require the teaching elder to
    exhaust other types of paid leave, including vacation and continuing education time.

Other arrangements may be negotiated by the teaching elder and Session/Council to extend the
leave beyond the initial period. Upon completion of the leave, the teaching elder will be
entitled to return to his/her position. The position will not be filled during the leave except on a
temporary basis.


In General

1. Churches are encouraged to be supportive in every way when such a situation arises that
necessitates a teaching elder to step away from the daily life of a congregation and tend
to the needs of his or her family. Family and parental leave is in addition to vacation
and other periods of extended time away already set forth in the teaching elder’s call.

2. The Commission on Ministry (COM) and Branch Minister should be informed when a
Parental or Family Leave option is exercised by a teaching elder so that the COM and
Branch Minister may be of assistance in securing appropriate pulpit supply, pastoral
care, and administrative assistance during the teaching elder’s absence. Additionally,
the COM and Branch Minister may be helpful, if needed, in advising the
Session/Council in how they may continue the mission of the congregation while the
teaching elder is absent.

3. The expectation is that the teaching elder will return to service and remain in his or her
current position for at least 12 months after the leave has ended.

4. A Session/Council ought not to feel over-burdened by financial considerations that may
be present in the teaching elder’s Parental or Family Leave. The COM, working
together with the branch ministers will seek to assist the congregation as necessary to
provide appropriate pulpit supply and pastoral services.

5. Congregations are encouraged to respect the boundaries and privacy of the teaching elder while he or she is away on Parental or Family Leave.

Moderator Compensation Policy

Moderator Compensation Policy

Moderator Compensation Policy

Pittsburgh Presbytery Moderator Compensation Policy

The policy adopted by Pittsburgh Presbytery regarding moderators of churches without installed pastors is that the session should pay $60 for each meeting moderated.

In addition, the Commission on Ministry recommends that the congregation reimburse the  moderator the cost of travel at current IRS rate.

Medical Leave Guidelines

Medical Leave Guidelines

Medical Leave Guidelines

COM Medical Leave Guidelines

All sessions are encouraged to develop personnel policies appropriate for their own staffing situations. These guidelines are offered by the Commission on Ministry to provide guidance in that process. They are not intended to suggest required terms.


Sick Leave

Teaching Elders will receive 10 working days of sick leave each calendar year, cumulative up to 120 days, to be used in case of illness. Sick leave entitlement during the first year of service will be prorated according to length of service. At the time of termination of call (either voluntary or involuntary) a Teaching Elder shall have no claim for pay in lieu of unused sick leave.


Medically Certified Disability Leave (short term or long term)

Teaching Elders who are, according to certification by a licensed physician, temporarily disabled and who are not covered by a disability plan, shall receive full salary and benefits for a period of such disability not to exceed 90 days, at which time if disability continues, application may be made for disability benefits from the Board of Pensions for members of the Pension Plan. This policy shall apply to all medically certified disabilities, including pregnancy-related disability.


Leaves of Absence with Pay

  • Regular training period in the U.S. Armed Forces (up to two weeks annually).
  • Jury duty (up to two weeks annually).
  • Marriage of the teaching elder (up to three days).
  • Personal and family emergencies or other personal business that cannot be cared for outside working hours (up to three days annually).
  • Death in the immediate family (husband, wife, parent, parent-in-law, child, brother, sister,
    grandparent) (up to four days for each situation).
Continuing Education Guidelines

Continuing Education Guidelines

Continuing Education Guidelines

Guidelines for Continuing Education for Pastors Serving Congregations

  1. As Pittsburgh Presbytery requires at least two weeks of Continuing Education in pastoral calls, with an amount of at least $2,000 for such, the Presbytery provides these guidelines for pastors and Sessions.
  2. The process in the local church should begin with Session’s Personnel Committee, which should be an advocate for the pastor’s use of the time and money provided for Continuing Education. If your church does not have such a committee, Presbytery’s Commission on Ministry can help you establish one.
  3.  At the time of the pastor’s Annual Review, an assessment should be made of the pastor’s continuing education over the previous year, and funds used. (Unused Continuing Education funds may be carried over up to three years at the request of the teaching elder and consent of the Session.) At this time also, the committee should have conversation with the pastor about his/her plans for Continuing Education in the next year.
  4. Matters to consider: The strengths of the pastor—How can a particular Continuing Education experience build on these? The need for the pastor’s growth and expertise in particular areas—What’s “out there” for the teaching elder to build on? What are the needs of the congregation for growth and development? What Continuing Education opportunities are available in this region? (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, presbytery events, university offerings, etc.) What “big ticket” opportunities would the pastor thrive on? (Study abroad, an overseas short-term pastoral exchange, a Presbyterian Heritage tour, a unique mission trip, a visit to the General Assembly, etc.) This is why the building up of funds over three years is provided.
  5. Plans should be made between the teaching elder and the personnel committee and the recommended action taken to the session for approval. This should be a time of celebration about the professionalism of the pastor, and the affirmation of such by the church officers.
  6. The congregation should be aware of the pastor’s plans, affirming him/her in such. The Presbytery office should be contacted for a list of available supply preachers, and for the recommended stipend. Please also discuss stipend expectations with the supply preacher.
  7. Upon completion of the Continuing Education program/event and the pastor’s return, the pastor should provide a written report of the values of the event along with an itemized list of expenditures to the Personnel Committee and the Session. The report should be part of the pastor’s permanent file. The pastor should also take this opportunity to teach and preach to the congregation about his/her experience. This is another opportunity for the church to celebrate the professionalism and growth of the pastor.
  8. The pastor’s use of Continuing Education time and money is a trust matter between the pastor and the Session. Continuing Education funds can be used for continuing education only. The pastor should not be reticent about using this portion of the pastoral call; nor should the Personnel Committee and Session be reticent about recommending particular needs for growth of the pastor. Christ’s call to reach out is dependent upon the growth of every disciple.
  9. Church officers and lay leaders need to grow as well. There are many fine opportunities—local and inexpensive—where ruling elders and deacons and lay leaders can sharpen their skills. We highly recommend that they be encouraged to attend such events, be evaluated in their effectiveness, and be affirmed in their high commitment!
Congregational Meeting to Call a Pastor

Congregational Meeting to Call a Pastor

Congregational Meeting to Call a Pastor

The Congregational Meeting to Call a Pastor

Preparing for the Congregational Meeting
Sample Agenda for the Congregational Meeting


Preparing for the Congregational Meeting

  1. After the PNC has made its choice, the COM liaison will meet with the PNC to give an overview of the upcoming steps for a smooth transition and positive experience for the incoming pastor and congregation.
  2. Review the terms of call with the PNC (and with the appropriate P2P) BEFORE they are sent to the potential candidate. Refer to the guidelines for Terms of Call, which can be found on the COM Forms Page.
  3. The PNC meets with the session, notifying the Interim pastor and clerk of session.
  4. At the session meeting the PNC gives their report and requests the session call a congregational meeting to act on the recommendation of the PNC. (NOTE: This date is best worked out with the Interim pastor and potential candidate ahead of time.)
  5. The COM liaison (or the appropriate P2P) should review with the PNC the following issues and questions.
  • How will the potential candidate be presented? Publicized to the congregation? g.  Call to the meeting, a brochure, letter? Will a “meet and greet” be held for the pastor (and family)?  This process must be discussed with the candidate in order to avoid lapses in confidentiality while providing the congregation with adequate information.
  • Who will moderate the congregational meeting? Interim, P2P, COM liaison?
  • Who will take minutes? Usually the clerk
  • Who will speak at the congregational meeting?
      1. Who will present the call?
      2. Who will review the process? EEO
      3. Who (from the PNC) will present the candidate’s qualifications, pastoral experience, and why the PNC believes this pastor is the one of God’s choosing to lead the congregation at this time?
      4. Who will present the terms of call?
      5. Who will make the motion?
      6. Who will go out of the room with the potential pastor and his/her family?
      7. What will the congregation do while the ballots are being counted?
      8. Who will count the ballots? Appoint 3 tellers
      9. Have the PNC chair prepare copies of the call papers to be signed.

Agenda for Congregational Meeting

This meeting should be moderated either by the Interim Pastor (or pastor if the call is for an associate pastor) or COM Liaison.  The Clerk of Session serves as secretary for the meeting (or, if not present, a secretary pro term may be appointed).

  1. Open with prayer.
  1. The reading of the call of the meeting:

“A special meeting of the ____________ Presbyterian Church has been duly called and announced by the session, to be held on __________ (date) for the purpose of hearing and acting upon  the final report of the Pastor Nominating Committee and to elect ________________________ as pastor.”

  • Appoint 3 tellers (not PNC members)
  • Appoint Minute Reader
  1. The Pastor Nominating Committee presents its final report, including:
  • Review of the process followed by the PNC;
  • The EEO final report;
  • Terms of call, including effective start date;
  • Introduction and presentation of the candidate.
  1. The candidate may be asked to introduce him/herself further. Following this, the candidate and family are excused.  A member of the PNC should be designated to keep the candidate company while the congregation votes.
  1. A motion is made that the congregation elect the Reverend _________________________ to serve as (pastor, associate pastor, co-pastor, or designated pastor) effective __________ (date) and that the congregation ask the Presbytery to concur with the call.
  1. Discussion
  1. Vote by written ballot.
    1. Vote is shared with candidate in private and asked if he or she accepts the call.*
    2. The congregation is informed of the candidate’s and the PNC’s decision – either the Call is accepted and you move on to item 8, or the Call is refused/denied or the decision is delayed and you move to . . . (see note *)
  2. Invite the pastor-elect and family back into the meeting to congratulate them on the call.
  1. The clerk (or PNC chair) ensures that the signed Call Forms are delivered to the presbytery within 48 hours of the meeting.
  1. The minutes of the special meeting are approved before adjournment or submitted to the session (G-7.0307).
  1. Adjournment with Benediction.
  1. Celebration!

* Note: In some situations the negative (against) portion of the vote of the congregation exceeds 1% of those in attendance, and may reach 8% or higher.

In those situations, at the discretion of the PNC and in full consultation with the candidate, a delay in the decision is recommended until PNC, candidate and COM liaison can discuss why this negative portion is high.  If the negative vote exceeds 10%, a delay is mandatory until that conversation can be held.

Clearance Interview Guidelines

Clearance Interview Guidelines

Clearance Interview Guidelines

Guidelines for COM Clearance Interview

(Updated 03/31/2016)

A clearance interview is generally conducted near the end of a PNC’s search process. It is often scheduled to coincide with a candidate’s visit to Pittsburgh Presbytery for an on-site interview or to preach in a neutral pulpit. If possible, it is best for the COM to conduct a clearance interview with any of the “finalists” being considered by the PNC. The COM liaison should serve as a member of the clearance interview team, and the Associate Minister to Presbytery for the appropriate branch should be present. Based on the clearance interview, the interview team will recommend to the COM how to proceed with the call process.

Purpose
Possible Behavioral Interview Questions
Process


Purpose of the Interview:

  1. To examine the candidate on his or her Christian faith and views in theology, Sacraments and the government of the church, if the call includes the candidate being ordained as a teaching elder, or if the candidate is seeking to serve as a commissioned ruling elder.
  2. To determine whether the candidate will be a good match for the congregation and a good member of Pittsburgh Presbytery in terms of theological style, professional skills, ability to handle conflict, and leadership style.
  3. To answer the candidate’s questions about the congregation and presbytery.
  4. To explore any unusual circumstances in the call.
  5. To review the final stages of the call process and obtain necessary information:
    • Congregational meeting
    • Installation
    • Terms of call
    • Call papers
    • Effective date of call

Possible Behavioral Interview Questions

  1. Tell about a time when you created an opportunity out of an obstacle. What were the results?
  2. Describe a situation that put your personal relationship with God to the test. What did you do? What were the results?
  3. Tell about a time when it was necessary for you to adjust your behavior or your approach in order to be successful in ministry. What was the situation? What did you do?
  4. Describe your service to the presbytery or the wider church in your most recent call? How was the presbytery supportive of you?
  5. How have you helped a congregation define a vision for a successful mission strategy?
  6. Tell about a time when you were able to lead someone to become a true disciple of Christ?
  7. Tell about a time when you provided spiritual and emotional support to someone in need. What was the situation? What did you do?
  8. Discuss a time when you encouraged your congregation to make a major change that was vital to spiritual growth and discipleship. How did you handle the situation? What were the results?
  9. Tell about a time when you were able to gain the commitment of others toward a common goal.
  10. How have you successfully engaged conflict to bring about growth and productive change?
  11. Tell about a time when it was hard to stay focused on God’s mission because of competing demands on your time and attention. How did you stay focused?
  12. How do you understand the biblical theology of stewardship and how have you applied it in your own practices?

Process

  1. Members of the clearance team should receive copies of the candidate’s PIF and copies of the 10-year congregational statistics reported to GA prior to the meeting.
  2. Before meeting with the candidate, team members may share their impressions of the PIF and statistical report and receive information concerning the call from the COM liaison and the Presbytery’s General Minister or an Associate Minister. The Presbytery Minister should clarify any unusual circumstances concerning the call, such as the transfer of ordination from another denomination, part time, temporary, or validated ministry status, conflict in the congregation, etc.
  3. Invite the candidate into the room, introduce participants and pray.
  4. Members of the interview team should ask behavioral questions of the candidate and ask the candidate whether he/she continues to affirm the ordination promises without exception.
  5. The candidate may ask questions of the team concerning the congregation or presbytery.
  6. Ask the candidate to step out of the room while the interview team discusses its recommendation concerning COM action.
  7. Invite the candidate back into the room.
    1. If the team does not plan to recommend the call, explain the reasons to the candidate.
    2. If the team will recommend the call, inform the candidate of the decision.
      • Explain the process for the call to move forward
      • Ask the candidate to read the presbytery’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct and sign a receipt form and complete the required clearances on child abuse and FBI finger printing.
      • Inform the candidate of the COM’s New Clergy Orientation and Ethical Training attendance requirements
      • If the candidate is called to a position outside of a congregation, determine whether he/she is interested in being included on the pulpit supply list
  8. Ask the candidate to close the meeting in prayer.
Commission On Ministry Organization and Authority

Commission On Ministry Organization and Authority

Commission On Ministry Organization and Authority

COM Organization and Authority

Authority
Organization


Authority

Membership
The Commission on Ministry shall have thirty-two (32) members, of whom sixteen (16) shall be teaching elders and sixteen (16) shall be ruling elders. The quorum of the Commission on Ministry shall be a majority of its membership.

Powers and Accountability
The Commission on Ministry shall be directly accountable to, and shall report directly to,
Presbytery.
The Commission on Ministry shall hold stated meetings and may, with due notice, hold special meetings as called by the Chair or by two (2) members of the Commission.

Authority to Act
The Commission on Ministry is hereby granted authority to find in order calls issued by
churches, to approve and present calls for services of teaching elders, to approve the
examination of teaching elders transferring from other presbyteries, to dissolve the pastoral relationship in cases where the congregation and the pastor concur, to grant permission to labor within or outside the bounds of Presbytery, and to dismiss teaching elders to other presbyteries during those times when Presbytery is not in session and there are more than forty-five (45) days intervening between stated meetings of Presbytery, provided that the Commission on Ministry shall make a full report of its actions to Presbytery at its next stated meeting.

Duties
The commission shall serve the Presbytery in the following ways. It shall:

    • Visit regularly and consult with each teaching elder of the Presbytery. It shall report to the Presbytery annually the type of work in which each teaching elder of the Presbytery is engaged.
    • Make recommendations to Presbytery regarding calls for the services of its teaching elders.
    • Visit with each session of the Presbytery, discussing with them the mission and ministry of the particular church and encouraging the full participation of each session and congregation in the life and work of Presbytery and of the larger church.
    • Counsel with churches regarding calls for permanent pastoral relations.
    • Counsel with sessions regarding temporary pastoral services when a church is without a pastor, and it shall provide lists of teaching elders and ruling elders who have been trained by the Presbytery to supply vacant pulpits.
    • Provide for the implementation of equal opportunity employment for teaching elders and candidates without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, age, marital status, or disability.
    • Serve as an instrument of Presbytery for promoting the peace and harmony of the churches, especially in regard to matters arising out of the relations between pastors and churches. Its purpose shall be to mediate differences and reconcile persons, to the end that the difficulties may be corrected by the session of the church if possible, that the welfare of the particular church may be strengthened, that the unity of the body of Christ may be made manifest.

Organization of the Commission on Ministry

Much of the work of the Commission on Ministry will be done by its four sub-committees as defined below. Each member of the Commission, with the exception of the Chair, will serve on at least one and no more than two sub-committees. The Chair of the Commission will be an ex-officio member of all subcommittees.

Ongoing Care

  • Provides orientation, pastoral care, and support for teaching elders
  • Nurtures the relationships between pastors, congregations, and the presbytery
  • Organizes and oversees the congregational visit program of the presbytery
  • Reviews compensation annually, recommending changes in terms of call
  • Monitors teaching elders’ use of continuing education time and funds
  • Serves as liaison to the Board of Pensions
  • Conducts ethical training for teaching elders
  • Oversees the work of PEAL

Temporary Pastoral Relationships (Covenant Pastor, Interim, CRE, Parish Associate)

  • Supports those serving in temporary pastoral relationships by developing and implementing
    policies and procedures related to the service of interim, covenant pastor, parish associate, and
    commissioned ruling elder
  • Organizes support groups for individuals serving in temporary pastoral situations, as needed or
    appropriate
  • Conducts an annual review of temporary pastoral relationships
  • Maintains an up-to-date pulpit supply list

Specialized/Honorably Retired Teaching Elders

  • Provides pastoral care and support for teaching elders who are retired, their spouses and widows, and for those active in specialized ministries
  • Reviews the annual reports of specialized teaching elders, making recommendation to presbytery for the validation of their ministries

Conflict Resolution

Seeks to promote the peace and harmony of congregations by mediating differences and intervening in conflicted situations when appropriate, in an effort to reconcile persons and bring unity to the body of
Christ.

Associate Pastor Nominating Committee Guidelines

Associate Pastor Nominating Committee Guidelines

Associate Pastor Nominating Committee Guidelines

Associate Pastor Nominating Committee Guidelines

Adopted by the COM in February 2017

An Associate Pastor serves the congregation by way of direct accountability to the session, and their call is independent from that of the Pastor. According to the Book of Order, “The relationship of an associate pastor to a congregation is not dependent upon that of a pastor.” (G-2.0504a) Thus, an AssociatePastor’s call process is conducted by an Associate Pastor  Nominating Committee (APNC) elected by the congregation for that purpose. The role of the Pastor (Head of Staff) in that call process is limited to appropriate counsel to the APNC, as specified below.

The position of Associate Pastor is different from the former role of an Assistant Pastor (which the PCUSA removed as a pastoral category in the 1980s). An Assistant Pastor served the Head of Staff directly as a ministry assistant. The Associate Pastor may be supervised by the Pastor, but is accountable to the whole congregation in the same way as the Pastor.

While the Pastor does not direct the work of the APNC, it is important for the APNC to consult with the Pastor as it seeks to discern whom it will nominate to the congregation as Associate Pastor. To maintain that balance appropriately, COM advises the APNC as follows.

When an Associate Pastor search is being conducted, the APNC shall conduct its process in a way that assures that:

  • the nominee has the endorsement of the Pastor;
  • the APNC maintains full ownership of the search process, without undue influence from the Pastor; and
  • Confidentiality of applicants is fully protected.

Toward this end, COM advises that the Pastor:

  • participate in the initial APNC meeting with COM representative and/or presbytery branch minister;
  • have access to all PIFs throughout the APNC process;
  • be given opportunity to speak to the APNC about particular candidates in an advisory capacity at any stage of the process;
  • be given opportunity to suggest removal from consideration any potential finalist candidate before candidates are told they have been selected as finalists;
  • separately interview finalists one-on-one and advise the APNC as to any particular concerns; and
  • endorse the nomination before the nominee is presented to COM and to the congregation.

The COM further advises that the Pastor should not:

  • participate in most APNC meetings, but should be available as invited;
  • be present when the APNC interviews candidates;
  • serve as chair or as a voting member at any meeting of the APNC; and
  • circulate or discuss any PIFs of candidates beyond the APNC.