Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


August, 2011 - Vol 5, Issue 3 

PPCN Mission

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


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PPCN  Board

Dan Corll, President

Pittsburgh Presbytery


Joe Sandifer, Vice President

Presbytery of Greater Atlanta


Carol Allen, Secretary

Chicago Presbytery


Alan Baroody, Treasurer

Savannah Presbytery


Steve McCutchan, Newsletter Editor

Salem Presbytery


Christine Sage

Pacific Presbytery


Lou Snead

Mission Presbytery


Gary Weaver 

Presbytery of Pueblo



Denominational Advisors:

Marcia Meyers


Office of Vocation, PC(USA)


Helen Locklear

Board of Pensions, PC(USA)





Deep Well CD Front Cover 

A Deep Well for the Pastor

Spiritual meditations and music to support the pastoral vocation.

Price $10

Order from Presbyterian  Distribution Center   

ph. 1-800-524-2612

Ask for OGA-08-099



Laughter from the Well CD 

Offering 70 minutes of humorous and musical reflections on the      challenges of ministry.

Price: $15.99

 Order here

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Welcome to the PPCN Newsletter.

The PPCN Board rejoices in the participation at the recent Annual meeting in Indianapolis. We were honored to have several board members make presentations and lead workshops at The Big Tent Event which followed our annual conference. See the summary of our conference at the end of this newsletter. Plans are developing for the 2012 conference based upon responses and evaluations received.

Remember that PPCN seeks to encourage, educate, advocate, and support the care of clergy.We do so through conversation, consultation, resources, training, and workshops.
Dan Corll



The Psalmist demonstrates how to express love through remembering what God had done in their lives. The following is a plan for how the COM or Presbytery staff can express love to the clergy who are serving in their presbytery.


The first step is for the COM or presbytery staff to prepare a chart on their clergy. Each presbytery has on record the date of ordination and the date of installation of the clergy in their presbytery. Ask a volunteer to compose a calendar of those dates and create a reminder file on a computer.


Most congregations easily forget the anniversary of a pastor's installation and probably many do not even know the date of ordination. Yet both of these dates are important to the clergy person. A quick reminder to the session of an approaching anniversary date can assist them in offering appropriate recognition. Also the letter can suggest that every five years the congregation might consider some activities that recognize the anniversary. 


The second step is for the COM to create a basic template that can be personalized with some specific data for each clergy that expresses the presbytery's appreciation of that clergy's ministry. Send that letter to the clergy person on each five year anniversary of their ordination.


Additionally, the COM can encourage the session to compose a letter identifying some of the strength's of the pastor's ministry to be shared at the next presbytery meeting. Over several years, these mini-celebrations can build an appreciation of our common ministry together. 


At least on the ten-year anniversary of ordination, the presbytery can create a liturgical affirmation of God's call in that pastor's ministry that includes a laying on of hands of the corporate bishop (the presbytery) and the singing of the Doxology in praise of the mystery of God's call.



Congregations need to be intentional about receiving a pastor back from a Sabbatical. In some ways, a three or four month Sabbatical can pass very quickly but it is important to recognize that everyone continues to change. When a pastor returns to a congregation, there is an uncertainty on both parts as to what has occurred and what it all means. It is a mistake to assume that now that the pastor is back, everything will pick up and continue as normal. How can a pastor and the congregation be comfortable with adapting to how each has grown in the interim?


Consider some simple things that a congregation might do to assist in the reintegration of the pastor and the congregation.

First, consider asking the church school to make some posters to welcome them back. The posters might include some verbal affirmations of how important the pastor and family are to the congregation. Perhaps there should be some blank spaces for other members of the congregation to write in their own appreciations.


Second, a brief reception can be organized as a welcome home party. It should be a fun party that makes room for laughter as well as some welcoming speeches. Maybe some of the musicians could create some fresh words to a familiar hymn that speaks of the joy of being back together. Maybe a little light hearted roasting of the pastor and the congregation would be fun.


Third, getting back after being away can be stressful. Consider the pleasure in discovering the congregation has prepared some meals for the first few days and maybe restocked the pantry with some staples.


Fourth, consider composing a liturgy for the first worship service that recognizes the return. This might include a renewal of baptismal vows for the whole congregation and a renewal of the pastor's call to guide the church in their journey.


Fifth, the session can invite the pastor to kneel before the congregation and have a laying on of hands by the session asking God's blessing on the family and giving thanks for their ministry. They might even invite a presbytery staff member to participate in the event.


Finally, the session might deliberately plan some time at their first meeting to ask the pastor to speak of any possibilities that has occurred to him or her during the sabbatical that the session needs to examine for the future of the congregation's ministry.


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Our day and a half conference this year brought together more than 40 presbytery representatives from across the PCUSA to hear presentations about caring for church professionals while our denomination is experiencing many institutional changes. Tom Evans, the General Presbytery for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, offered his take on the critical issues that need to be addressed within the structures of our governing bodies to promote clergy wellness. Steve Hayner, the President of Columbia Theological Seminary, impressed our gathering with the power of speaking from the heart about keeping God's grace before us as we go about ministry. Dr. John Wimmer, the Director of the Lilly Endowment Program for Pastoral Excellence, shared with us the research that has been emerging from the Lilly funded projects to sustain excellence in ministry and the key role that clergy peer learning groups play in this effort to strengthen the church for ministry in today's world.


Beyond these presentations, our PPCN participants took advantage of the other workshops on helping congregations care for their pastors and planning for clergy care in our local presbyteries, as well as participating in the workshops offered in the Big Tent Event that followed our conference. Among the other benefits of this conference was the opportunity we had to share resources and ideas about developing strategies in our local presbyteries for supporting and caring for ministers, out of our conviction that "healthy pastors lead to healthy congregations."


We also held our annual PPCN membership meeting at this conference, thanking Ken Waddell for his years of faithful service on the PPCN Board as he rotates off and electing Gary Weaver, the EP Pueblo Presbytery to serve on the PPCN Board in the class of 2014. Aside from the agenda of the conference, we all were enticed to learn about Laughter from the Well, we enjoyed expensive hotel snacks and refreshments in the beautiful new JW Marriott Hotel, and we ate like pigs. Most of us can't wait to join in the fun at our PPCN conference next year, wherever it may be held.


For more information on the care of clergy, go to the editor's blog.
Join the conversation on ways to care for clergy four to five days a week.

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




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