Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


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

December, 2010 

Volume 4, Issue 5


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



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 Learn more about PPCN 
and our 12th 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,

Director, Office of Vocation 

  Helen Locklear
Board of Pensions


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Join these Judicatories

in Supporting PPCN: 


Board of Pensions

Central Florida Presbytery

Carlisle Presbytery

Cherokee Presbytery

Flint River Presbytery

Mission Presbytery

Palo Duro Presbytery
Pittsburgh Presbytery
Presbytery of Chicago

Presbytery of Eastern Virginia

Presbytery of Greater Atlanta

Presbytery of Lake Michigan

Presbytery of the Miami Valley

Presbytery of Northern Kansas

Presbytery of the Pacific

Presbytery of Yukon

Salem Presbytery

Sierra Mission Presbytery

Synod of South Atlantic

    Visit our website for details

on how to join. 





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





Steve McCutchan



Goodbye To A Friend

On October 2, 2010, our friend david bailey succumbed to a brain tumor that he had courageously battled since it was first diagnosed in July 1996. At the time, he was told that he had six months to live, but taking one day at a time, david wrote and performed songs in 45 states and 21 countries for fourteen more years.

In 2007, david performed at the PPCN annual meeting in Louisville. Following that concert, in a conversation with Steve McCutchan, the idea emerged to create a CD especially for pastors. "A Deep Well for the Pastors," combined david's songs with reflections on various aspects of the ministry.

A second CD, focused on music and humor to support the pastor is currently being developed.

Many pastors and churches have benefited from david's unique ministry of music and courage. We will miss his kindness, humor, and support. Those wishing to contribute to a memorial fund may direct your gifts to the Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church, 6566 Spring Hill road, Ruckersville, VA  22968. The gifts will be divided between brain tumor organizations chosen by the family.

Notes of appreciation for david's ministry may be sent to his family, Leslie, Kelcey, and Cameron at P.O Box 453, Earlysville, VA  22936



San Francisco Conference

     "What is God calling the PC (USA) to be and do?"

     "What kind of leaders do we need?" and

     "How do we develop them?"  

      The Rev. Marcia Myers, Director of the Office of Vocation, presented her "treetop" view of leadership trends and needs in our denomination to the 11th Annual National Gathering of the PPCN at San Francisco Theological Seminary in late October. From her description of changing ministry contexts and the accompanying anxiety, it is clear that the participation of presbyteries in the formation of healthy clergy and candidates is a necessary and urgent concern. 

The Rev. Tim Cargal, who works with the PC(USA) candidacy process outlined  the changing landscape for ministry as he shared statistics like these:  as of 3/20/09, there were 2,137 ministers or candidates in the Call System with 627 available positions and 4,857 (almost ) of our churches have no installed pastor. The point made by Marcia and Tim is that changing models of pastoral leadership are needed. They offered this challenge: find new models to call and prepare effective leaders for these changing times, retool the present work-force to be effective, support existing competencies, and help some ministers to retire or find other avenues of work.  See the list of 12 characteristics of an effective 21st-century pastor by Jill Hudson excerpted from "When Better Isn't Enough: Evaluation Tools for the 21st Century Church, " 2004, a publication of the Alban Institute. 

The conferees were led in understanding and participating in the use of particular tools for developing competencies and offering support to ministry leaders. Presentations and workshops were led by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ferguson,  Presbyterian minister, certified coach and psychologist, who has developed a curriculum used by Presbyterian governing bodies to introduce coaching as a discipline, the Rev. Joe Sandifer, coordinator of the Pastor to Pastor Program of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery that makes use of mentors, and the Rev. Dr. Sam Hamilton-Poore, director of the Center for Christian Spirituality at SFTS, and an active Spiritual Director. In practice, these disciplines occasionally overlap, but have differing purposes, training, certification, and strategies of implementation. Each has a role to play in promoting and supporting healthy clergy and candidates. 



History of PPCN

The origins of the Presbytery Pastoral Care Network (PPCN) date to the early 1990's. At that time, a small group of presbytery executives and associate executives agreed to gather annually in advance of the church-wide staffing conference to discuss issues relating to the pastoral care of ministers.

       By 1999 the original group had diminished in size, and the remaining members conducted a church-wide survey to determine what was being done to provide pastoral care to ministers at the presbytery level, what the needs were, and who was doing this work. The findings of this research indicated that there were real needs for care to ministers, and a revitalized effort to build the network began.

The first national gathering of a renewed PPCN took place in Philadelphia in 2000. The 11th Annual PPCN National Conference was held at the San Francisco seminary in San Anselmo, CA.

What began as an informal network is now a growing nationwide effort involving more than 175 Presbyterians from more than 33 states throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who are engaged in and concerned about the care and support of ministers. In March 2002, the network was officially organized as a not-for-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. On July 1, 2002, the corporation received recognition of exemption from federal taxes under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.



     Family Fun During Advent 


One of the prices we pay in our profession is that our family can feel neglected during such high stress times as Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. It is important to carve out some special time for the family. Of course it depends on the age of your children or if there are only you and your spouse in the home. Regardless of the circumstances, an evening should be set aside for the gift of laughter.

First, there is the meal to be considered. The meal should be constructed in such a way that every member of the family can participate in its preparation. It might be a good time to have some recorded music playing. Small children like to decorate cookies or make candy; older children can help with such items as making pizza or preparing a salad. This meal should have a dessert that helps make it special. Maybe someone can even prepare that as a surprise. Be creative and imaginative in what you do.

       Next, there should be some fun activities. It is time to be silly and even to make fun of some of the stressful features and people of the church. With proper caution that the family must keep what happens during the evening as a private family conversation, there are some ways that can allow the whole family to respond to the stresses they have experienced.

One possibility would be to have a game of charades in which one or more family members might act out some characteristics of a church member and the others have to guess who it is. Or they could recall an event during the church year and see if others could guess it. If this is done with good humor and confidentiality, it might be a good stress reducer.

Another possibility would be to have the family describe how they would construct a perfect Christmas season that emphasized the joy of the event. What would they leave out and what would they add. Like our birthday, Jesus' birthdays should be joyous celebrations. How might you increase the pure fun of celebrating Christmas?

A third possibility would be to take two or three Christmas hymns and have different members create silly verses that talk about the church and ministry or their family. Then sing them as a family.

After the laughter and the fun, it might be good to conclude with a family prayer that both recognizes God's gift of laughter and expresses gratitude for the anticipated birth of the Christ that liberates us from the weight of sin and allows us to laugh even at ourselves.

(See ToolBox at




Healing Liturgies for Veterans


We need to re-explore the power of liturgies in our lives. Consider the basic structure of worship as expressed in Isaiah 6. Full worship consists of becoming aware of the presence of God, experiencing that in our own unworthiness, God takes the initiative to cleanse us and make us worthy, being instructed in purpose of God's call in our lives, and given the opportunity to respond to that which is much larger than ourselves. In essence, our liturgy reminds us that we are not alone, that even when we feel unworthy, God makes us worthy, and that we have a call to serve something much larger than ourselves.

Our churches have a healing gift to offer to the many veterans that are returning to our communities. When you check the symptoms that traumatize some returning veterans, you will note that they can easily be overcome with guilt, feelings of isolation, and a sense of purposelessness in life.

The Presbyterian church has a liturgy called a Service of Wholeness or a Healing Service. In those services we are invited to bring our concerns, brokenness, and despair to God in the context of a praying community. We are reminded by our liturgy that God is present and more powerful than that which threatens us. The service often includes having elders or deacons lay their hands on individuals and/or anointing them with oil in order to convey the power of Christ's healing touch.

This can be a powerful service for returned veterans. In an immediate and personal way they can be reminded that they are not alone, that there is one who hears the depth of their pain, can cleanse them of their guilt, and has a purpose for them that incorporates but far exceeds their past experiences of war. It also reminds them that the church cares about what they are experiencing.

By the presbytery gathering several congregations together to offer such a service, they make a witness to the larger ministry of the church while drawing on the gifts of different members of the presbytery to design the service.


(See ToolBox at




Presbytery Pastoral Care Network

 BigTent Pre-Conference

June 29-June 30, 2011

Marriott Hotel, Indianapolis, IN


Conference Theme:   Caring for Clergy While the Church Is Changing