Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through
caring for its pastors.
more about PPCN
and our 11th Annual Gathering
President: Dan Corll
President: Julie Johnson
Secretary: Carol Allen
Treasurer: Alan Baroody Savannah
Editor: Stephen McCutchan
Members At Large:
Christine Sage, Pacific
Joe Sandifer, Greater Atlanta
Lou Snead, Mission
Ken Waddell, Cherokee
Director, Office of Vocation
Board of Pensions
Join these Judicatories
in Supporting PPCN:
Board of Pensions
Central Florida Presbytery
Flint River Presbytery
Greater Atlanta Presbytery
Presbytery of Chicago
Presbytery of Eastern Virginia
Presbytery of Lake Michigan
Presbytery of the Miami Valley
Presbytery of Northern Kansas
Presbytery of the Pacific
Presbytery of Yukon
Sierra Mission Presbytery
Synod of South Atlantic
website for details
on how to join.
For more information on the care of clergy, go to the
editor's blog at www.smccutchan.com/blog
. Join the conversation on ways to care for clergy four to
five days a week.
perfect gift to recognize the excellent work of pastors
CD designed to support pastors, featuring song writer
order call 1-800 524-2612
and ask for item OGA-08-099
Mentoring, and Spiritual Direction
OUR THEME AND PRESENTERS
conference this year is focused on helping
presbyteries learn about practical models for
supporting pastors in ways that strengthen their
leadership capacities, deepen their spiritual life,
and encourage accountability for effective ministries.
conference leaders include:
Myers - the Director of GAMC and OGA PC(USA)
Laurie Ferguson - the Director of the Auburn Coaching Institute, a
consultant, and a PC(USA) minister
Sandifer - the pastor to pastors in the Presbytery of Greater
Samuel Hamilton-Poore - D.Min. SFTS,
Professor of Spiritual Direction
addition to the plenary presentations, participants
will have the opportunity to engage in conversations
and attend workshops that will address specific
strategies that presbyteries can develop to promote
healthy church leaders for the challenges facing the
PC(USA) in the 21st century.
more info, contact: Julie Johnson (806) 438-0886
see the PPCN website: www.pastoralcarenetwork.org.
for the Health of Pastors
Anne Dilenschneider pointed out in August in the
Huffington Post piece, a lot of media attention has
been given recently to the issue of clergy care and
the problems with clergy burnout. Articles and reports
on clergy health and the difficulties clergy encounter
in ministry have appeared in the New York Times, on
NPR and in studies conducted at Duke Divinity School.
What the public is now learning about the growing lack
of clergy care across denominational lines has been a
focus of concern for the Presbytery Pastoral Care
Network for nearly a decade now. As many of these news
reports suggest, many pastors today are suffering from
poor physical, emotional, and spiritual health due to
the demands of ministry, particularly among
denominations in decline or conflict. Getting at the
root causes of clergy burnout and distress is even
more difficult than recognizing the symptoms.
that presbytery leaders have a special concern and
responsibility for the health of our ministers, this
year's annual conference of the Presbytery Pastoral
Care Network will focus on three strategies a
presbytery can use to support clergy wellness-
mentoring, coaching, and spiritual direction. We have
invited leaders who have experience developing
effective programs for each of these strategies to
share their wisdom and learning with us when we gather
for our 11th Annual PPCN Conference at San
Francisco Theological Seminary on October 25-28.
Check the PPCN website for details.
up someone from your presbytery to join us as we
address practical ways to promote clergy wellness
among ministers serving the Church in today's culture.
profile of the presenters is provided for your review.
The Rev. Dr. Laurie Ferguson, director of the Auburn
Coaching Institute will speak on Coaching. She holds a
PhD in psychology from Adelphi University, Master of
Divinity from Princeton Seminary, and Religion degree
from Smith College. As a trainer and consultant her focus
on coaching strengthens church leaders in
organizational leadership, personal resilience, and
Rev. Dr. Samuel Hamilton-Poore is Director of the
Program in Christian Spirituality and Assistant
Professor of Christian Spirituality at San Francisco
Theological Seminary. Prior to his position at SFTS he
served congregations in North Carolina, Missouri, and
Iowa. Sam defines spiritual direction as
"the art, discipline, and commitment of one
person assisting another, or a group, in listening to
the ways God may be drawing, inviting, or challenging
people into deeper, truer, and more fully human
relationships. The director assists people in noticing
and responding to the movement of the Spirit in any or
every aspect of their lives and relationships."
Joe Sandifer, is pastor to pastors and educators in
Greater Atlanta Presbytery. Having served as a pastor,
Joe brought an awareness of skills and needs to design
and coordinate the Pastoral Care Team for Greater
Atlanta Presbytery and now coordinates that ministry
within the Presbytery. He brings insight and practical
experience to the mentoring of pastors and ministry
Marcia C. Myers is Director of the Office of Vocation
for The General Assembly Mission Council. As Director
of Vocations, she comes with a pastor's heart and
experience. The focus of the Vocation Office is
nurture and Christian vocation and the preparation,
credentialing, call and support of church
members of PPCN will assist in hosting and presenting
the conference. Participants will have opportunity to
share best practices and procedures in their places of
ministry. An evening venture in San Francisco is set
for Wednesday night of the conference.
Out or Burnt Out
an article in the August 7 issue of the New York
Times, Jeffrey MacDonald suggests that the declining
health of pastors in our country is based on more than
overwork and the need to take more time off. He
a more fundamental problem that no amount of rest and
relaxation can help solve:
congregational pressure to forsake one's highest calling.
The pastoral vocation is to help people grow spiritually,
resist their lowest impulses and adopt higher, more
compassionate ways. But churchgoers increasingly want
pastors to soothe and entertain them. It's apparent in
the theater-style seating and giant projection screens
in churches and in mission trips that involve more
sightseeing than listening to the local people.
As a result, pastors are constantly forced to choose, as
they work through congregants' daily wish lists in
their e-mail and voice mail, between paths of personal
integrity and those that portend greater job security.
As religion becomes a consumer experience, the clergy
become more unhappy and unhealthy."
of the major sections of the ToolBox developed by the
PPCN is a section on Vocation. It is our conviction
that especially during times of immense pressure from
the culture to do otherwise, it is important for us to
celebrate the call of the church to ministry..
is a sample of activity that a Presbytery could engage
in to lift up the sense of call in the whole church.
Israel was constantly learning, being set apart by God
was less a reason for pride than of humble awe. It
isn't that God took a special people and rewarded them
for their greatness. In fact Scripture is very clear
that God took a "no-people" and made them
into "God's people." (1 Peter 2:10) It is a
humbling, not a prideful thing to recall that we are
in the normal work of a presbytery meeting and ask
people to respond spontaneously with a word of phrase
to the question, "What makes a church different
from other organizations in our society?" Collect
10 or 15 responses. Then change the question to
"What is a special calling of elders in our
churches?" Having recorded 10 to 15 responses of
words of phrases, change the question to, "What
is unique about the call of clergy, CLPs and educators
in our churches?"
liturgist then takes the three lists and combines them
into a litany of thanksgiving for our call as the Body
of Christ. The lead in to each list might be something
like, "Lord, we offer our praise and thanks that
you have offered us the privilege of being a church.
We hear our call to be: (list what you have heard
about what makes the church different.) Then continue
(perhaps with a different speaker) with "By your
Spirit you have chosen elders to serve your church. We
thank you for elders who are called to (read the list
collected.) From out of the mystery of time, Lord, you
have called as clergy and educators among us. They are
called to (then offer the list.) Conclude with a
singing the doxology.
Israel before us, it is important to remind ourselves
that God has called us out as a light to the nations.