Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through
caring for its pastors.
Visit our Website
to learn more about PPCN
for details on how to
President: Julie Johnson
Board of Pensions
& Personal Counseling Center, FLorida
from our 9th Annual Conference
Presbyteries Care for Clergy: Shifting from Crisis Management to Prevention
It Takes A Village to
Develop Healthy Pastors
At our recent PPCN Conference a number of conversations
among COM representatives, presbytery staff members, and pastoral care givers
underscored the current need within the PCUSA for a more systematic
approach to creating healthy ministers and helping pastors deal with
the leadership challenges that face our denomination in the 21st
century. We were concerned about the disconnect between
presbyteries and seminaries in the process of preparing ministers to
serve churches in these changing times. Presbytery CPMs need to
work with our seminaries to strengthen the process of vocational
discernment and help potential inquirers understand that most of the
calls open for ministers in the PCUSA today are with small membership
churches who cannot afford full-time pastors. We affirmed the
value of more interpersonal skill development and efforts to strengthen
emotional intelligence among ministers in the seminary curriculum and
continuing education programs. We envisioned ways that
presbytery COMs and seminaries could help ministers manage conflicts in
their congregations in healthy ways and to encourage ministers to build
the supportive relationships needed to sustain themselves spiritually,
emotionally, and professionally. One concluding
recommendation was that the PPCN should encourage the Vocation Office
of the General Assembly to hold a consultation among presbytery leaders,
pastoral care givers, and seminary faculty to address these concerns
and find ways to better prepare and support ministers for the
vocational challenges that now confront the PCUSA.
Trust Among Clergy in Divisive Times in the Church"
by Don McDonald and Julie Johnson
Divisive times are inevitable in the life of the church and its clergy.
If trusting relationships are not cultivated before such conflicts
occur, the effectiveness and health of the clergy family is at great
risk. A trusting relationship is a friendship. Trusted relationships
have healthy boundaries that are often tested.
Some of the suggestions for COM's, and
Presbytery Staff that emerged from the seminar were:
1. Get to know your clergy as pastors and
2. Ask how you can help the pastor in ways
outside tri-annual visits and other prescribed meetings.
3. Speak the truth in love about the church and
4. Encourage self-care by organizing Sabbath time for clergy
and inform sessions about this necessity along with a fair salary for
5. Help clergy be aware of emotional intelligence as a tool
for better understanding of themselves and church members.
6. Teach COM's and all those working with churches and
pastors systemic family theory as it applies to the church and its
Care is Essential
Sabbath is at the heart of spiritual
care. Times for personal reflection were interspersed throughout each
day as a preface to the workshops, evoked by the music of composer and
singer David Bailey and meditations and prayers by Steve McCutchan on
their CD "A Deep Well for the Pastor." Midway through our
meeting, two small group experiences were offered that centered on the
Ignatian spiritual practice of Examen.
To promote the self-care of ministers, it was
suggested that presbyteries might encourage:
1. Pastoral Nominating Committees to
include provision for periodic Sabbaticals in pastoral calls, and
require thoughtful planning of study leaves, retreats, and vacations.
2. Ministers make use of allotted times away and
include Sabbath experiences.
3. Congregations and Presbyteries to offer
newsletter articles about how minister, members, and educators plan
their times away and benefit from the gift of Sabbath.
4. The practice of spiritual direction/companionship
and refer people to Spiritual Directors International.com This site
includes a directory for locating a spiritual director in communities
around the U.S. and beyond.
gleanings in future issues
Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa
in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (new location confirmed)
A time of rest and relaxation, of celebration and worship, of spiritual
growth and renewal.
Keynote by Walter Brueggemann. Co-sponsored by national agencies
of the PCUSA.
Regency Downtown, Atlanta, Georgia
Come, join the Presbyterian family for the Big Tent Event - "and
the Word became flesh . . . "
This event joins 10 PCUSA conferences for common worship, celebrations,
meals, exhibits, and a common workshop time, as well as focused time
around particular ministries. Partner conferences include:
Ministry Conference (CPM/COM)
Justice Biennial Conference
Church Growth Conference
Registration will be open in January.
CD, based on music by david m. bailey and meditations by Stephen
McCutchan, is offered as a resource to the pastor. Through a series of
reflections and songs, the pastor is invited to renew his sense of
God's call and experience the power of God's spirit energizing his or
The cost of
the CD is $10.
by Presbyterian Writers Guild and Cecil Murphey
Harrington Center, Columbia
Seminary ~ Decatur, GA
Make this your big step to becoming a published author.
Speak with a literary agent.
Learn about the needs and opportunities in Presbyterian publications.
Get the answers and direction you need from a professional staff.
Dr. Cecil Murphey, Bestselling Author/Speaker/Teacher
Author or co-author of more than 100 books, including
the NY Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven.
Vince Patton, Westminster John Knox Press
Rev. Jerry Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service
Rev. James Clinefelter, Freelance Writer
Deidre Knight/The Knight Agency, Literary Agent
Dr. H. Michael Brewer, Pastor/Writer/Teacher
Mitali Perkins, Young Adult Novelist
Patrick Borders, Freelance Writer/Ghostwriter
Twila Belk, Writer/Speaker/Publicist
$200 ~ Presbyterian Writers Guild members will
receive a 10% discount.
A limited number of rooms are available at Harrington Center for early
registrants. There are also nearby hotels.
Meals are available at the campus cafeteria
for less than $20 per day.
Contact Columbia Seminary to register.
(When at the online site, scroll down to April 23.)
Conference begins with registration at 8 a.m. on Thursday, 4/23.
Conference ends at 5 p.m. Friday, 4/24.
Contact Rev. Steve McCutchan, email@example.com or
Twila Belk, www.gottatellsomebody.com