Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


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

October, 2009 


 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


Join these Judicatories

in Supporting PPCN 

Central Florida
Synod of South Atlantic
Greater Atlanta
Northeast Georgia
Palo Duro
De Cristo
Flint River


    Visit our website for details

on how to join. 




 Other resources on pastoral care may be found on the blog at












Steve McCutchan

2010 Conference

October 25-29

San Francisco Seminary 

    Plan now to attend the 11th annual conference of the Presbytery Pastoral Care Network. Maybe you can even build in a few days of vacation on either side of the conference and explore the wonders of San Francisco.
     Whether you are an individual pastor concerned with how to maintain a rich, creative balance in your ministry; have a responsibility for helping prospective members prepare for the ministry; or are a member of a presbytery committee charged with care of pastors, plan to attend. Arrangements are underway for Keynote Speakers and Workshops on the theme of Coaching, Mentoring and Spiritual Direction.  This is an opportunity to share with colleagues who have the same interest and participate in invigorating workshops that will increase your skills.
     The PPCN Board will be meeting in February to pin down the details and they will be available on our web site. We will also provide more information in future newsletters.
     So mark your calendars and prepare to be enriched in ministry.

Legal and Identity Theft Support
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Identity Theft is a growing phenomenon in our society; causing one to expend countless hours and thousands of dollars to rectify the problem.  The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can connect you with the information and resource you need. 

Legal Support

To help assess and resolve legal problems, you can speak to a licensed attorney through a 30-minute telephone or face-to-face consultation
For services beyond the initial consultation, receive a 25% discount on most legal services, if using an attorney from the provider network

Extend legal support to other members of your household and your parents for direct legal consultation on senior care issues such as estate planning, power of attorney, living wills, death of spouse, etc. Employment-related issues are not covered.
Identify Theft Support

To help manage the recovery process after an identity theft event, you can receive a 60-minute consultation with a fraud resolution specialist who will work with you through seven emergency response activities to restore your identity and good credit.
The specialist can:
     -  Counsel on how to notify the proper authorities,
         agencies and creditors
     -  Provide forms or letters to help you report and
         itemize each fraudulent occurrence
     -  Advise on how you can dispute fraudulent debts

       *The specialists can also advise you on how to:

               -  Obtain and monitor your credit report every four
               -  Place a fraud alert or credit freeze (if allowed by
                   your state) on your credit record
               -  Take future preventative measures
Whether you're finding a lawyer or dealing with the fact that your Social Security Number has been used to open a credit care in someone else's name, you can call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help. 

For more information, contact the Board of Pensions at 1.800.773-7752.


When the Pastor Gets Sick:
A Story About How a Connectional Church Can Help
By Lou Snead, Mission Presbytery

Nancy was the pastor of a small-town Presbyterian church in South Texas when she learned she had cancer.   Her congregation rallied around her in support as she underwent surgery and then received radiation treatments over the next several months.  Our presbytery leadership quickly offered to provide the church with pulpit supply preachers to allow Nancy to focus on getting the medical attention she needed.  She was touched by the out-pouring of cards, flowers, phone calls, and meals that she received from both her congregation and a number of colleagues in ministry around our presbytery. 
Fortunately, we have within the structure of our presbytery a Pastoral Care Committee made up of 12 volunteer ministers and lay people who seek to provide pastoral care and support for ministers and church professionals on an on-going basis.  So, when our Pastoral Care Committee was alerted to Nancy's illness shortly before she was scheduled for surgery we were able to contact her and let her know that we had her on our prayer list and we wanted to know how we could best be of help to her during this difficult time.  She was grateful for the contact and she expressed concern about how her disease and treatments would impact her disabled husband who depended on her heavily.  One of our Committee members at the time was a pastor with a long-standing relationship with Nancy so he volunteered to drive over to be with the husband and other family members during the surgery.  After the surgery he took Nancy's husband to dinner to hear his concerns.
About a year and a half later, after Nancy had seemed to recover from her surgery and chemotherapy treatments she learned that she had a recurrence of her cancer that was now attacking her liver.  The pastor who had volunteered to go and be with the family during surgery had a number of conversations with Nancy during this time.  He learned that she had begun to realize that her condition may be terminal and she wanted to make plans for her husband's well-being if she died.  Our committee member contacted us and we discussed possible resources or contacts we could make to help Nancy with the decision-making she was worried about in regard to her husband's future care. 

When Nancy died, our Presbytery planned with her congregation a memorial service to celebrate her life and ministry.  Without any formal effort to do so, a memorial fund was established in Nancy's name for our presbytery to use to help other ministers who were facing life-threatening issues.  One of our Committee members made a point to go visit with Nancy's husband on a regular basis for the next several months until he got situated in a new living arrangement with his family. 
We have learned as a pastoral care committee that our level of care in these situations depends on our awareness of the health issues our ministers are having.  Also we have learned that congregations and sessions need special attention and assistance when an illness disrupts a minister's ability to fulfill his/her pastoral duties. Given the financial difficulties that many small church pastors face when serious illness or injuries happen, we are blessed to have the Pastoral Care Crisis Fund that our presbytery has had to foresight to put in place to meet such needs. Interfacing with our presbytery's administrative leadership and with our denomination's health care provider are important resources we can draw upon to care and support ministers and their congregations when illnesses occur.  Perhaps most importantly in these situations, having a network of relationships with ministers is vital to accessing pastoral care when pastors get sick.


Tool Box

The Tool Box that was introduced at the 10th PPCN Conference at the Big Tent is now available on line. Go to and click on the Tool Box icon.
This is intended to be a resource for the entire church. Feel free to recommend it to others. An example of the resources is:


Does the Pastor's Spouse Have a Pastor?
Caring for the Pastor's Spouse

A pastor once lamented, "My wife was the only person in the congregation without a pastor." He recognized the unique qualities of both pastor-congregant and husband/wife relationships, and he, a solo pastor, understood that he could not be his wife's pastor. Even in multi-staff churches, dynamics between the ministers may preclude a spouse from having a pastor in the church. Further, because both men and women are pastors and because many spouses are working, the supportive forms of clergy wives' groups have generally not survived, often leaving clergy spouses isolated. Yet they need care, too. Spouses report that they have unique challenges in the congregation. Sometimes they are viewed as extensions of the pastor, or congregants treat them as the pastor's secretary. This can get even worse when, for example, a spouse is part of a church school class that has members who are in tension with the pastor. Some regret having to live a model marriage or having to present a model family life when what they often want is to be normal, to have a normal family, to be recognized as a normal member of the congregation. Sometimes when the pastor is always away from the home, they have neither pastor nor spouse. Ultimately, they are often the uncredited partners who handle family needs evenings, weekends, and holidays, thereby making the pastors' public ministries possible. The stress put on marriages by the demands of ordained ministry threatens both marriages and the church.

How can sessions and committees on ministry support the pastor's spouse? Every situation is unique, but here are some general principles and possibilities:
Stress the responsibility of the pastor to his or her family: Pastors are often tempted to put the church first for a number of reasons: sense of call, ego needs, a demanding congregation. Pastors may need a governing body to help set appropriate boundaries that will make it possible for the pastor's spouse to have a spouse.

Triennial visits need to inquire about the pastor's family: COM visitors need to ask the session, not just the pastor, about how the clergy spouse is doing. Heightening session awareness may be a helpful first step. A session member can be a liaison with the spouse, if that is appropriate.

Presbytery point person: Some presbyteries have a designated person as the clergy spouse care coordinator or minister.

Educating congregations: Pastors' spouses have a right to be normal Christians. They should be treated as other members of the congregation, not held up as role models (or lightning rods).

Who will be the spouse's pastor? The spouse may need to develop a relationship with someone outside the denomination, as s/he might not feel comfortable with someone from within the denominational system. Spouses lose many normal rights as clergy spouses, and they should be encouraged to feel free to develop their own forms of discipleship and spirituality even if this is not connected to the clergyperson's own church.  

Resources: for one presbytery's example. for Pastor's Wives Ten Most Wanted (A Wish List).