Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


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

March, 2010 

Volume 4, Issue 1


 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

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



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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


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in Supporting PPCN 

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Steve McCutchan

Paul's Letter to all ministers

Via the PPCN Board

     We have just concluded our board planning meeting in preparation for our annual conference in San Francisco on October 25 - 28. In both our reading of some recent research on clergy health and some information from the seminaries and our Vocation Agency, we were once again struck with the challenge of ministry in our time.

With slight emendations, we offer Philippians 1:3-11 as our letter to the clergy in the Presbyterian Church and all clergy around the world.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank our God every time we remember the work of the clergy, constantly praying with joy in every one of our prayers for all of Christ's faithful clergy, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. We are confident of this, that the one who began a good work among us as clergy will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for the Presbytery Pastoral Care Network to think this way about all clergy, because we have felt your prayers, sometimes as "sighs too deep for words," for all of you share in God's grace with us, both in our efforts and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is our witness, how we long for all clergy with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is our prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced a harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

We hope many of you can join us in San Francisco, but whether you can or not, know that we are praying for you and your work.

      The Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


Note to GPs and COMs

  Feel free to adapt our adaptation of Philippians 1 and send it to the clergy of your presbytery. We do not need to be acknowledged as initiating the idea. Let it be a sincere prayer on your behalf for all the hard work that they do.


Supporting Ministry Leaders:

Coaching, Mentoring, Spiritual Direction

 And More



OCTOBER 25-28, 2010

San Francisco Theological Seminary




Our annual conferences are designed to help presbytery leaders (staff, committees, volunteers) learn about the essential best ministry practices at the presbytery level that promote clergy wellness in a pro-active way rather than simply responding to crises situations dealing with ministers.

This year our focus is to help 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.  We will also address the changes that are taking place in the PCUSA and how ministry leaders will need to adapt to these changes for the 21st century Church. 

Leaders include:

Marcia Myers- the Director of the Vocation Agency  of the GAC office of the PC (USA)

Laurie Ferguson - the Director of the Auburn Ministry Coaching Institute and a PCUSA minister.

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

      Samuel Hamilton-Poore--Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality, San Francisco Theological Seminary 


The Congregation's Relationship to Returned Veterans

     A website, offers 10 things you should know about returning veterans. You can go to their website for the complete list but let us mention the top three.

      First, returned veterans are exhausted when they get home-physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. They often do not have the energy or focus to talk for long periods of time. It will take some time for them to adjust, so follow their lead;

Second, there is nothing black-and-white about what has happened to them. Almost always there are good things that come from a deployment experience. Likewise, there are some pretty difficult things that they face once they are back home. Do not make any assumptions about their experiences;

Third, and perhaps most importantly, they are not the same people they were before they deployed. But do not assume that is a bad thing. The Service Member may come home more confident and with better problem-solving skills. He may return with a deeper sense of gratitude for the comforts that he used to take for granted or she may have found a greater sense of purpose and direction than she ever had before. Yes, there may be many unseen wounds of the soul and spirit. But there are tremendous resources to help heal those wounds, both for the Service Member and the Service Member's family, and an ever growing number of people who truly care and want to help.

There is not some quick program that will make things all right, but congregations and clergy can work at providing a welcoming presence, with an open heart and an open mind but also providing space for the returned veterans to find their place. We live in an impatient society who doesn't mind making an effort to help people in need as long as it can be done quickly and then we move on to our own agendas. Perhaps we need to explore again the meaning of sanctuary and explore how we might offer that for ourselves as well as others.


Symptoms of PTS For Clergy and Session Awareness

Kathy Platoni, a Clinical Psychologist who has worked in this field has identified some signs to look for that might indicate difficulty for a soldier transitioning back into society.
      1. Vivid flashbacks and recurrences of images from the war that are painful, intrusive repetitive, and undesired
      2.  Nightmares that are disturbing in nature, often with associated sleep disturbances (i.e.: Insomnia, nighttime awakenings)
      3.  Social isolation, alienation, and withdrawal
      4. Remaining detached or emotionally distant from others, even in their presence
      5. Difficulty or inability to experience or express emotions appropriately (for instance, crying when sad or grieving)
      6. Remaining on "high alert" status (hyper vigilance) and scanning the surrounding environment continuously
      7. Obvious startle responses to loud noises, being approached or touched by others
      8. Excessive boredom with the commonplace and ordinary aspects of life on the home front, thrill-seeking and looking for the "adrenalin rush", while posing unnecessary risks to self and family members
      9. Finding little worth, meaning, or purpose to life on the home front and longing to be back in the war zone to find it
    10. Preoccupation with bitter and angry feelings directed towards a society or government for maltreatment, exploitation, and failure to keep promises, as has been the case with veterans of previous wars
     11. Feeling confused, angry, or cynical in regard to one's fate in life; pessimism and hopelessness about one's future and any possibility of altering what lies ahead.

Congregations who seek to be welcoming need to avoid acting as if they are hovering over a returned soldier waiting for signs of abnormality but being aware of possible behaviors that might indicate the returned soldier is having problems may be helpful. Almost as important as anything is to convey to such soldiers that although you could not possibly understand what they have been through, you are available and a supportive presence. There are some key theological elements of our faith that provide needed resources in such a situation

The first is the meaning of sanctuary. Next is an understanding of Sabbath. Third is a deeper understanding of liturgy, particularly as it centers on confession, forgiveness, and healing. Sometimes it is at such challenging moments that we renew our awareness of the power of our own faith.

In the meantime, keep this web site on your saved list, It is a good source for excellent resources.