2024 Pastoral Ethics

According to our 2017 resolution (Pastoral Ethics Requirements Resolution Final 2017.pdf (pennwest.org)), this year’s Pastoral Ethics program is a Continuing Education event focusing on Child Sexual Abuse/Elder Abuse.  In Pennsylvania, clergy are mandated reporters, and as such, should receive training in reporting.  To that end, our Penn West Conference Committee on Ministry is recommending for our 2024 program that all our pastors receive such training. 

The course we are recommending on child sexual abuse in PA is reportabusepa.pitt.edu.  If you live in Maryland, we recommend bcac-lms (reportabusemd.com).  You will need to create a password to log in, and either course takes somewhere in the vicinity of 2-3 hours to complete.  It is well worth your time.  For training in elder abuse, we recommend this course: Guest Registration | Pennsylvania Department of Aging Learning Management System (pda-lms.org).  Please make sure you take the one titled “PS Mandatory Abuse Reporting Training Course” not the one titled “Elder Abuse Awareness Training.”  You’ll need to create a password for it, too, and it should only take about a half-hour to complete; again, it is well worth your time. 

You can do these trainings on your own time and at the end of the training, you can print out certificates of completion.  If you send us copies of the certificates along with your 2024 Informational Review form: PWC Informational review.pdf (pennwest.org), you will satisfy the pastoral ethics requirement for this year.  You may send them to us by email at andrea@pennwest.org; david@pennwest.org or by mail at Penn West Conference UCC, 312 S. Maple Ave., Greensburg PA 15601.  There are no costs to access any of these trainings.  The child abuse trainings may be exited at any time if you need to and the program should let you pick up where you left off.  So you don’t need to have several uninterrupted hours in order to complete it – you can do some now and some later. 

Because these trainings are about reporting abuse, some of the content may be more difficult for some of us to process emotionally.  For that reason, I ask you to be attentive to your emotional responses to the training and if you feel the need to talk with someone, I encourage you to do so.  You may decide that you want to speak with a trusted colleague and/or other professional about it.  If you need professional resources (I share this by way of information, not by way of recommendation), the counseling resources that we have utilized here in the Conference include the Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute (HOME (pittsburghpastoralinstitute.org)), the Samaritan Counseling Center in Pittsburgh (Samaritan Counseling, Guidance, Consulting | Counseling in Greater Pittsburgh | 202 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143, USA), and the Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster (Samaritan Center (samaritanlancaster.org)). 

If you do not choose to take these trainings, because this is a continuing education year, you are also free to write a 2-4 page paper on any analogous experience in this area or on any continuing education experience that you have had recently, and that, in addition to completing your Informational Review (PWC Informational review.pdf (pennwest.org)) will also satisfy the requirement. 

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