Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


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

September, 2010 

Volume 4, Issue 4


 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  Savannah

 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

Greater Atlanta Presbytery

Mission 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

Salem Presbytery

Sierra Mission Presbytery

Synod of South Atlantic



     Visit our website for details

on how to join. 



For more information on the care of clergy, go to the editor's blog at . Join the conversation on ways to care for clergy four to five days a week.





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

Supporting Ministry/Leaders:

Coaching, Mentoring, and Spiritual Direction

October 25-28, 2010

11th Annual Meeting

San Francisco Seminary


Our 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.

Our conference leaders include:

Marcia Myers - the Director of GAMC and OGA PC(USA)

Dr. Laurie Ferguson - the Director of the Auburn Coaching Institute, a consultant, and a PC(USA) minister

Joe Sandifer - the pastor to pastors in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta

Rev. Samuel Hamilton-Poore - D.Min. SFTS,  Professor of Spiritual Direction

In 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.

For more info, contact:  Julie Johnson (806) 438-0886

or email

Or see the PPCN website:


Caring for the Health of Pastors


As 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. 

Believing 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. 

Sign 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.   

                                                           Lou Snead



Conference Leadership


A 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 vocational discernment. 
     The 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."
     Rev. 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 leaders.
     Rev. 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 professionals.
Board 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.    


Worn Out or Burnt Out

 In 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 writes:

"There's 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."


One 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..

Here is a sample of activity that a Presbytery could engage in to lift up the sense of call in the whole church.



Celebrating Our Call

As 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 God's people.

Pause 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?"
     The 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.

Like Israel before us, it is important to remind ourselves that God has called us out as a light to the nations.