Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through
caring for its pastors.
in Supporting PPCN
Synod of Atlanta
website for details
on how to join.
Vice President: Julie Johnson
Treasurer: Alan Baroody
Editor: Stephen McCutchan
Joe Sandifer, Greater Atlanta
Lou Snead, Mission
Ken Waddell, Cherokee
PCUSA Office of Vocation
Board of Pensions
Enough to Offend
"When lonely pain becomes shared pain, healing
begins," said the CPE Supervisor. This is
true in CPE, but not in the parish. REV found
that, "When lonely pain becomes shared pain from
the personable pastor, offense begins!"
Many people in that small Katrinaville, LA parish
encouraged REV to be her real self -- warts and all.
Some thought she was their best friend, and had found,
in their own special relationship, a safe place to
give and receive healing for their inner-most pain.
REV had counseled, baptized, confirmed, married and
buried her flock. She discovered, after 7
trusting years, that a nagging minority claimed they
were offended by REV. Why? Lots of
unspoken reasons, like the fact that REV didn't always
wear a dress -- and there was that time when two
church ladies sitting right behind her, swore she
farted at the quilters club. She was seen
sipping a martini at her best friend's birthday party
in a nearby town, and some wondered if she was,
therefore, an alcoholic. "REV is a
real nice lady, and everyone knows she believes she is
called to be a minister. But, she offends
people, especially during Stewardship Season.
The chemistry just isn't good."
The naysayers led a movement among disgruntled former
members to file complaints about her to the Presbytery
Executive, as Ms. Wise snipped, "If they care
about our church, they'll fire her, immediately, and
get us someone more like us!" Had REV
found herself in the crux of a caring offense?
How could the EP reply to Ms. Wise and her followers?
What would come of that small Katrinaville Church?
For the answer to these and other questions, tune in
next time for more about REV.
REV and the Katrinaville church had discovered one of
the ironic truths of caring ministry. Offense is
intrinsic to effective pastoral ministry.
Relentlessly, the preacher brings the message of an
offending Gospel which challenges our imperfections
and demands uncomfortable change. Yet, the
pastoral relationship depends on parishioners who keep
returning for more challenge and with an expectation
that those same offended people will provide funds to
generously compensate the offending pastor and the
congregation's mission. As the institutional
church experiences systemic decline, it is faced with
many fears. Systemic fear leads to things like
avoidance of conflict, for fear of risking more
with-holding of funds, as an expression of being
offending. (How have you as a pastor,
congregation or presbytery found effective ways to
navigate through conflicted pastoral relationships?
Send us your experiences with your permission to share
what you've learned through the lens of REV.)
by Rev. Eve Virtue)
ain't heavy, He's my brother!
McCutchan's recent blog, "The Rising Weight of
that Presbyterians Today (3/09) had a startling study
of the changing weight of pastors. In the past 17
years, the average weight of pastors increased and
that the share of pastors who are obese has doubled in
that time period. There is evidence that this
tendency towards obesity affects mental health. Is it
possible that it also affects their spiritual health
and their capacity to engage in effective ministry?
I realize that there is a built in prejudice against
heavy people. There is no physical description of
Jesus in the Scriptures. The images we have are
developed out of our imagination. Still, have you ever
seen an image of a fat Jesus or even a heavy set
Jesus. This, of course, is in contrast to the Asian
image of a fat Buddah.
There is good reason to examine our prejudice
regarding weight, but we also need to recognize the
health costs, both mentally and physically, to
inappropriate weight. And we should ask what this
increase in weight among our clergy is saying about
the stress and challenges of ministry. On the
positive side, the same report found that 21 percent
of Presbyterian clergy are in formal weight-loss
programs and 39 percent belong to fitness centers.
The full survey may be found at .pcusa.org/research.
Is there a struggle within your own spirit between
Buddah and Jesus? If so, you are encouraged to
make the most of this season and get outside and
exercise, as a spiritual discipline! Better yet,
find a faith partner and create or strengthen a
relationship with a sister who, like you, will
appreciate the healthy accountability and support!
at the Big Tent
11-13, 2009, Hyatt Regency Downtown, Atlanta, Georgia
the Word Became Flesh ..."
or call 1-888-728-7228, ext. 2417)
online at the above address. Select the
Pre-Conference event "Presbytery Pastoral Care
Network Gathering" under Healthy Ministries
Division. Make your reservation, which includes lunch
($50.00). In addition to this 9 am - 4 pm
Pre-Conference PPCN Gathering, there will also be four
Workshops during the Big Tent Conference related to
Healthy Ministry Conference
.. at the Big Tent
Workshops to be presented by PPCN Board Members:
"Healthy Pastors: How to Sustain Them"
Fri. 10:30 - Stephen McCutchan and Carol
New Pastors/First Call"
Fri. 3:30 - Joe Sandifer
Need a Pastor Too"
Fri. 7:00 pm - Joe Sandifer
and Intervening When Necessary"
Sat. 1:30 pm - Alan Baroody and Lou Snead
Each of these is a resource for the work of COMs in
sustaining healthy pastors.
& Copy "Big Tent" Brochures for your
The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) is concerned with the well-being of pastors
who serve the church. We know that spiritual, physical
and financial issues can directly and indirectly
affect a person's holistic health. To help Plan
Members improve their well-being, the Board offers
Stewardship of Self initiatives that promote leading
healthy lives. For the next couple of PPCN
Newsletters a different program of the Stewardship of
Self initiative will be featured.
Employment Assistance Program
(EAP) is a free, confidential resource that helps
active members and their dependents find answers to a
variety of personal concerns. It offers
consultation, support, and personalized assistance, as
well as referrals to licensed counselors and
professional resources in your community.
Up to six free private counseling sessions (per issue)
with a licensed Counselor provided for you and members
of yours household
Financial Resources (NEW):
Certified financial planners, certified tax preparers,
enrolled agents, CPAs, and professionals from the
banking and insurance industries provide telephonic
coaching and advisement about budgeting, credit,
investing, tax preparation, and more.
Free 39-minue telephonic or face-to-face consultation
with an attorney on legal matters, or 60-minute
consultation with a fraud resolution specialist on
identity theft issues.
Resources and referrals to pre-screened childcare
providers, before and after school programs, camps,
adoption organizations, and information on parenting
and prenatal care.
Resources and referrals to prescreened home health
agencies, assisted living facilities, social and
recreational programs, and long-distance care giving.
Resources and referrals for pet sitting, obedience
training, veterinarians, and more.
Access to discounted network of specialty health
providers and discounts on products and services, and
to information about a variety of topics, including
message therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture,
vision and hearing care, vitamin and herbal
supplements, and more.
The Employee Assistance Program is available 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-866-640-2772.
- Go to www.cignabehavioral.com
- Click on "Login to access your
benefits" in the
upper left-hand menu.
- Scroll down to "Employee ID" on the
- Enter Employer ID: pscua (in lowercase
with no spaces)
- Click "Go."
** Not available to individuals on Medicare Supplement
More information about the Board of Pensions is
available at www.pensions.org
Newest Members and Renewals!
to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh,
and Carlisle Presbyteries for your
recent Institutional Memberships!!!
individual membership: $45 minimum donation
membership: $250 minimum donation