Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


Providing professional development, support, and resources for those caring for ministers throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA)

April, 2010 

Volume 4, Issue 2


 Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through caring for its pastors.



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 Learn more about PPCN 
and our 11th Annual Gathering





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PPCN Officers:

President: Dan Corll



Vice President: Julie Johnson
Palo Duro


Secretary: Carol Allen


Treasurer: Alan Baroody



Editor: Stephen McCutchan


Members At Large:


Christine Sage, Pacific

Joe Sandifer, Greater Atlanta

Lou Snead, Mission

Ken Waddell, Cherokee


    Denominational Advisors:


 Marcia Meyers,

PCUSA Office of Vocation 


  Helen Locklear
Board of Pensions



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A perfect gift to recognize the excellent work of pastors  
 A CD designed to support pastors, featuring song writer david bailey
 Cost: $10
  Deep Well CD Front Cover


 To order call 1-800 524-2612
and ask for item OGA-08-099


Join these Judicatories

in Supporting PPCN 


Central Florida
Synod of South Atlantic
Greater Atlanta
Northeast Georgia
Palo Duro
De Cristo
Flint River
Board of Pensions
Presbytery of Miami Valley
Presbytery of the Pacific


     Visit our website for details

on how to join. 


 Helpful Websites from other denominations concerned about the health of pastors.



A Methodist site:

The Lutheran Board of Pensions:


Ministers in Transition


I have a call from God, but I don't have a call from a church. This time is depressing and terrible. How can I move? What can I do in the meantime?


These are comments and questions we hear all the time if we are trying to pastor pastors who are in transition. In an effort to give assistance, the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta conducted a Seminary for all folks who are without a call or are members-at-large or are in transition in any way. 


The program they created is listed below:


Spiritual Challenges of Transition

Tom Evans, Executive Presbyter


Emotional, Family, Psychological and

Vocational Challenges of Transition

Robby Carroll, Pastoral Counselor


Care of Self During a Time of Transition

Joe Sandifer, Pastoral Care Team Staff


Guidelines, Tips and Protocols for Writing and Disseminating One's PIF

Penny Hill, Associate Executive Presbyter


Maintaining Health Insurance and Other Board of Pensions Benefits

Clark Simmons, PCUSA Board of Pensions


Real Estate - Practical Advice for the Current Market Conditions

Cheryl Gosa, Experienced Realtor


For additional information please contact Joe Sandifer


11th Annual PPCN Conference

San Francisco Theological Seminary

San Anselmo, CA

October 25-28, 2010




Speakers, workshops, discussion and networking will provide the most current resources for engaging these aspects of ministry for your presbytery and pastoral care setting.  We continue to focus on providing resources to presbyteries that are seeking to find creative and effective ways to care for and support ministry leaders. Building a strong network of pastoral care givers for ministers is important to our shared efforts. The PPCN Board invites every presbytery in the PCUSA to send staff persons, COM and CPM members, and others involved in pastoral care to our up-coming national conference. 

Conference Brochure ______________________________________________ 



Presbyterian Writers Conference

April 28-29, 2010


Sponsored by the Presbyterian Writers Guild


You'll attend workshops on how to maximize your creativity, write from the heart, string for Presbyterian publications, break the publishing barrier, write fiction with a purpose, build your platform and create community online, "drink deep" with commercial songwriting, write for the screen, and other classes, including the subtle touches of good writing, which might teach you how to write shorter sentence


Nurture Yourself through writing





Governing Bodies Supporting Healthy Pastors


The statistics on the health of pastors is growing increasingly disturbing. There are some actions that a Presbytery or even a community of churches can take.


A first step might be to help arrange a health fair strictly for pastors in a contiguous community. Large presbyteries could do this in sections of a presbytery but it would make a positive witness to the community if executives from the various denominations in an area coordinated such an activity.


The presbytery could approach a local hospital and talk with them about providing health personnel for such an event. They could check blood pressure, sugar in the blood, cholesterol count, weight, etc. They may even have portable sonogram machines or other machines to check other health issues.


In addition you would want health personnel to provide tables with literature and advice on signs to look for with respect to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, etc. An additional advantage for the pastor is that s/he would be better informed about what to do if a member of the congregation showed such symptoms. There could also be a demonstration of mouth to mouth resuscitation, use of a defibrillator, etc.


If you are near an educational medical center, they probably have a division that would be glad to work with you on designing  such an event. You might even get someone to include some brief seminars on healthy cooking, home exercise programs, stress reduction programs, etc. It would be worth checking with the local branch of a large health insurance industry like Blue Cross to see if they would help sponsor such an event.


If you did it ecumenically, you could have sufficient numbers without anyone driving too far. Plus you probably could get some good media coverage for a positive cooperative event among the churches.


Because it is focused on pastors and professional church staff, it would be good to have some elements built into the design that address the unique aspects of working in a church and the resultant pressures of such a profession.




Congregational Support for Healthy Pastors


It is appropriate for the session to be concerned about the physical health of the pastors and educators (P/E) on the staff of their church. It should be clear that a congregation benefits from supporting their staff to maintain their physical health. Many corporations are learning this lesson and our Board of Pensions is making this a major focus of some of their efforts.


First, a session can become familiar with the programs offered by the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church ( in their wellness program. Here is an example of the value of the connectional church.


Second, they can express verbal support for the P/E in maintaining their physical health and make sure they are aware of these resources. For example, if they are having trouble with their weight, are they aware of the Weight Management Program that they can access at 1-866-640-2772.


Third, a congregation can support their staff in taking time to make physical exercise a part of their regular routine. One congregation had a member that offered use of his weight machines for the pastor's use. Several congregations have tried to help provide membership at a Y or sports club. In some cases, the health insurance will even help with the cost of such a membership.


Fourth, they can invite the pastor and educator to lead the whole congregation in the spiritual dimensions of physical health. Reminding the congregation that according to Paul (1 Corinthians 19) this is a spiritual issue for the whole Body of Christ.




Four Steps for the Pastor or Educator


By virtue of our call, we are not our own. We have been set aside by God for a special purpose. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is a temple (or sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?" Here are four steps to get you started.


First, you need to give yourself permission to take time for physical exercise. We need to see the time required to do this as part of being obedient to our call. If taking time for physical exercise is not already a habit, we need to build in support for altering our already filled schedule.


Second, take a piece of paper and make a quick list of the variety of ways that one can engage in physical exercise. As individuals there are such things as walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, etc. Once you have your list, look at it and see what is most attractive to you. What is a modest way that you can begin with one form of exercise that is already attractive to you?


Third, look at some of the ways people get exercise in connection with other people. Some play sports, attend exercise classes, find a partner to walk with, run with, etc. Who do you know who might enjoy partnering with you to begin a better exercise program? Having someone else who expects you to participate helps build support for changing your habits. Some people have found the benefit of an early morning or evening walking program.


Fourth, commit yourself to exploring the spiritual dimensions of taking care of your physical body. Use your research and reflection in preaching or teaching a course on caring for our bodies. Sharing with your congregation your desire to improve your body and invite them to do the same. There is nothing like public commitment to strengthen your resolve.


The major step is an awareness that this is not in addition to the responsibilities of ministry. It is part of it.