Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


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

March, 2009 


 Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through caring for its pastors.

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In This Issue

PPCN 2009 Conference - Who is this conference for?

PPCN Workshops at the Big Tent Event

Board of Pensions Resources

Review of book on church conflict

Reflections on what a pastor needs





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PPCN Officers:

President: Dan Corll


 Vice President: Julie Johnson

Palo Duro

 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

  Denominational Advisors:

 Marcia Meyers,
PCUSA Office of Vocation 

   Helen Locklear
Board of Pensions

























Stephen McCutchan
Newsletter editor

A Tool Kit
for Healthy Ministries
Held in Conjunction with
the PCUSA Big Tent Event

On Thursday, June 11, 2009 the PPCN will hold a one-day conference prior to the beginning of the Big Tent Event in Atlanta.
How to Register
Go online to
or call 1-888-728-7228, ext. 2417

Select the pre-conference event "Presbytery Pastoral Care Network Gathering" under Healthy Ministries Division. Make your reservation, which includes lunch ($50.00)

Who Is This Conference For?

       Presbytery leaders (staff, committees, volunteers)  can learn Major Keys to Thriving Ministry, hear how other presbyteries are doing clergy care in large and small presbyteries, share resources with participants, receive input from the Board of Pensions, and discover some new tools for healthy ministries all in one day.
     While this year's conference is shorter, some new and exciting ideas and opportunities will come your way at the PPCN National Gathering. The plan is to incorporate spiritual nurture, important information on resources, and practical ideas about sustaining excellence in ministry.
     We gather at 9 for worship and introductions. 
     At 9:30 we focus on the lessons drawn from the Lilly Foundation's multi-year study of how to sustain pastoral excellence and the report emerging from that study, Keys to Excellence: Pastoral Imagination and Holy Friendship, by Craig Dykstra.
     At 10:30 we continue our reflections by hearing about how Committees on Ministry of both large and small presbyteries are practicing pastoral care. We will hear from Dave Kivett: COM Moderator-Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, Sue Westfall: Assoc. Executive for Ministry-Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, and Janet Williams: COM Moderator -North East Georgia Presbytery.
     At 11:45 we will have a brief Membership Meeting of the PPCN and then enjoy a Networking Lunch
(included in the PPCN Gathering Registration)
     We will reconvene at 1:00 to hear from Helen Locklear about some of the resources being developed by the Board of Pensions to nurture and sustain pastoral health and well-being. (See the accompanying article)
     At 2:30 you will have the first look at the Tool Kit, a new set of resources being developed by PPCN, in cooperation with the Office of Vocation as an on-line resource for Committees on Ministry.
     We will examine a sample of these resources in small groups, get your feedback on new areas that need to be developed, identify resources that are already available and explore the best means of sharing this material across the denomination.
     At 3:30 we will have a brief discussion of the systemic issues that we face and possible next steps for addressing them.
     We will conclude with worship at 3:50 and prepare for participation in the opening events of the Big Tent.



PPCN at the Big Tent
June 11-13, 2009, Hyatt Regency Downtown, Atlanta, Georgia
"and the Word Became Flesh ..."
or call 1-888-728-7228, ext. 2417)

As you register for events at the Big Tent, we draw your attention to several workshops under the section on Healthy Ministries that the PPCN are providing: 
Friday Morning: Sustaining Healthy Pastors-AB11:
How to move beyond putting out fires and attend to the preventative work of support.
Friday afternoon: Nurturing New Pastors-CH05:
How to develop a program that helps pastors in their first call to be supported and strengthened in their ministry.
Saturday Morning: Pastors Need Pastors Too-EH03: Examining best practices in a presbytery's care for the clergy. 

Saturday afternoon: When Pastors Get in Trouble-HH05: Intervention strategies that work.
Each of these is a resource for the work of COMs in sustaining healthy pastors



Board of Pensions Highlights
Did you know....?
By Helen Locklear

       Jesus, who came in the flesh, gave significance to flesh. "...I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly" (John 10:10 ff). He demonstrated concern for wholeness in persons as well as in the community in which they live.   Health and healing are central dimensions of the faith we profess. 

     The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has introduced Stewardship of Self, a comprehensive effort to help Benefits Plan members understand and use Board plans, programs, and services to improve self care.

     It is based on the premise that both the Board and its Plan members share a responsibility to enrich all aspects of one's life: spiritual, vocational, health, and financial.  The Stewardship of Self is a comprehensive effort to help Benefits Plan members understand and use the Board plans, programs, and services to improve self care.  Through the benefits, programs and services provided by the Board, members can improve their own lives and thus fulfill a responsibility to help care for the greater Presbyterian Church community.

     A number of services are available to Plan members and their covered dependents:
         Benefits Plan
         Mayo Clinic Embody Health
         Disease Management
         Telephone Coaching Programs
         24-hour Nurse Line
         Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
         Work/Life Service (EAP)
         CIGNA Behavioral Health
         Assistance Programs
         Education Seminars
     For more information or program details, please visit the Board of Pensions Website,, or call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752.
     For the next several issues of the PPCN Newsletter, we will focus on the various programs of the Stewardship of Self which are listed above.

Understanding Church Conflict
Carol J. Allen

     Chicago Presbytery is currently working with the Rev. David R. Sawyer, Ph.D. (Professor of Ministry and Director of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees, Louisville Seminary, PCUSA) who draws on his experiences as a pastor to help equip leaders to find the hidden health in congregations that are mystified by emotional upheavals.
     Sawyer's approach is summed up in his book Hope in Conflict: Discovering Wisdom in Congregational Turmoil; Pilgrim Press, 2007.
     In his introduction, Sawyer comments: "As a leader you know that a congregation can be wonderful and terrible, exciting and discouraging, nurturing and demanding, healing and hurting. You are familiar with the discouragement of disagreements, difficulties, or outright conflicts. If your experience is anything like mine, you have felt helpless and hopeless in the face of the mystery of a congregation that has emotionally blown up.
     But hold on to that sense of mystery. If you are willing to live with mystery, study its hidden meanings, and perhaps even trust that God might be in that confusing uncertainty, you can find your way back onto the path to hope (p.7)."
     Using a variety of congregational case studies, Sawyer offers an approach by which to find hope in conflict, because conflict may be a sign of resistance to change that is emerging from God's creativity. He outlines ways to pay attention to structures, stories, and symptoms in conflicted congregations. He draws from what have become classic approaches to conflict and from family systems theory and goes beyond them to a new understanding and a method that aims at avoiding  the temptation of the quick fix of simply "removing a 'broken part' and replacing it with a different one."




Clergy Care for the Totally Depraved
Catherine Knott
Chicago Presbytery

  PRAYER:    Since I make this claim to be a Calvinist, I admit to my depravity and need for lots and lots of prayers, wherever I can get them. This includes friends on Facebook, other churches, family members, family pets et al.
HUMOR:    I can be very entertaining... especially in my attempts to be Sovereign of the Universe.  That itself is worth a good laugh.
SWEAT:     I find I am far less disgruntled with congregants when I'm working out my frustrations regularly in a good sweat at the gym.
INSTANT GRATIFICATION:    Serving people can take eons to see results.  Next to that, cooking dinner only takes a few hours and then the food is ready!  This kind of small accomplishment helps me maintain a sense of gratification.
DIRECTION:    I have been blessed with gifts, as well as a whole smorgasbord of errors.  I need daily doses of the Word, and the objective listening ears of a good counsel at least once a month.  A good spiritual director or psychologist is invaluable.
COMMUNITY:    I am called to have a life abundant which entails having a life.  I go out regularly with women friends and my husband, and keep myself busy in non-church community activities.
SILENCE:   I find it really hard to solve the world's problems when I'm getting a good back massage.
RELEASE:   I may want to save the world, but that's already been done.  Sometimes the best I can do at the end of a long day is to have a glass of wine and watch Seinfeld reruns.
NAPS:  Almost every Sunday afternoon, I fall asleep on the sofa attempting to do the crossword puzzle.
GRACE:   This goes along with my general theme, that I would be a really sorry Sovereign of the Universe.  Thankfully God has called me to be a special part of the world, but really, Jesus is way better at pastoral care and the Spirit will always be more inspiring.  Thank goodness for that!


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