Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through
caring for its pastors.
more about PPCN
and our 11th Annual Gathering
President: Dan Corll
Vice President: Julie Johnson
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
PCUSA Office of Vocation
Board of Pensions
Join these Judicatories
in Supporting PPCN:
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Central Florida Presbytery
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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.
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
theme of this issue of our newsletter is how
congregations can use humor as an instrument of
nurture. There is an interesting article on the
benefits of laughter by the Reverend Laura Gentry on
the Evangelical Lutheran website, www.elcabop.org
. She has been introducing what is called laughter
yoga. Your editor has been exploring the value of
standup comedy since retirement. Most of us know the
healing release of some really good laughter. What I
would like to offer in this issue of the newsletter
are some ways that the governing body, the
congregation, and the clergy can avail themselves of
the value of laughter for the health of the Body of
Christ.After all, it's summer time, lighten up, it
will be good for you and everyone you care about.
leadership of a congregation can introduce the healing
experience of laughter for the whole congregation. You
have probably attended a roast for a departing staff
person and enjoyed the shared laughter at such an
event. Why reserve such a good experience only for a
person who is leaving or retiring.
an evening congregational dinner. Announce well in
advance that the idea would be to "roast"
the congregation, the preacher, educator, musician,
church board, choir, youth group, etc. Anyone can
contribute but it would be wise to specifically
identify some of the well known humorists in the
congregation to prepare some material. You might also
ask certain groups, such as the youth group, to
prepare a roast. Their perspective could be very
purpose would be to invite laughter to nurture the
soul of the congregation and the individuals within
it. Have a night in which we make fun of ourselves.
You might even introduce a "Guess who"
moment in which someone would act out some exaggerated
characteristics of a member in the congregation and
let the audience guess who they are portraying.
course one would need to build in some protections
against the misuse of humor that could hurt but
imagine the possibility of humor that can heal.
Sometimes we can get too serious in the church and
lose sight of the genuine fun of being together in
community. Who do you suppose could come up with the
best funny line about the pastor, the session, and the
congregation as a whole? It would be a fun evening to
see the results.
Presbytery Invitation to
Lunch of Humor
have been through some very difficult times in recent
years. The debate over sexuality is the most visible
issue that has divided us one from the other, but
there are many other pressures as well.
know that Jesus said one of our most effective
witnesses to the world is to demonstrate how we love
each other in a manner reflective of how Jesus has
loved us. A paraphrase of Jesus words is that the
world will know that we are Jesus' disciples if we
love one another. If that is the criteria, how is it
going within your presbytery?
and humor can be an effective antidote to some of the
relational poison that has been affecting us.
simple suggestion that any presbytery leader or member
of presbytery could take would be to have a lunch of
humor. Invite several clergy to have lunch together.
Make sure that there is theological diversity among
the group. It would probably be possible to ask some
cooks in a specific congregation to prepare the meal.
That would surely be a gracious act that most
congregations could accomplish if the group was of
agenda, which should be announced ahead of time, is
that each participant should bring their best
religious joke and a humorous story that they have
experienced in their own ministry. The leader should
have a set of his or her own, but the objective is to
get as many as possible to contribute.
and laughter can be healing contributors to any
community. If a presbytery were able to arrange
several of these lunches across the presbytery, it
would build better relationships that would help when
the more difficult issues are discussed.
that the whole presbytery can benefit from these
events, you might collect the best joke and the best
humorous story from each lunch to share at the next
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:
Marcia Myers -
the Director of the Vocation Office of the GAC
offices of the PC(USA)
- the Director of the Auburn Coaching
Institute, a consultant, and a PC(USA) minister
- the pastor to pastors in the Presbytery of Greater
Hamilton-Poore - D.Min. SFTS, Professor
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
PCUSA in the 21st century.
more info, contact: Julie Johnson (806) 438-0886
OR email firstname.lastname@example.org
see the PPCN website: www.pastoralcarenetwork.org
slightly satirical review)
that you have heard the saying that a dog is a man's
best friend. I saw a news item the other day about a
dog being abused. Most people would raise the question
of how someone could do that to man's best friend? It
got me to thinking whether sometimes congregations
confuse dogs and pastors.
know, someone on whom you can vent your frustrations,
even kick around, and then just assume that they will
come back around and lick your hand.
can understand why people get confused between dogs
and preachers. They often want their preacher to
perform tricks on command and then they toss them a
bone as a treat. It is hard to live on nibbles and
bits, but it is really done out of compassion for the
pastor. Many wealthy members agree that if clergy ate
real human food, it would probably be bad for their
clergy person feels a call from God, attends seminary,
and prepares to be a spiritual leader. They are
excited about being in a healing ministry. The problem
is that when they get to the church, many in the
congregation want them to heel at their command.
it possible that when people complain about pastors
they are barking up the wrong tree? People are
learning that it is not good for a dog to be kept on
too short a leash. Maybe they need to learn that about
clergy as well.
you ever considered the similarity between a school of
dolphins and a Presbyterian congregation at worship.
Scientists have discovered that dolphins can sleep
with their eyes open. Need I say more.