Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


September 2011 - Vol 5, Issue 4


ppcn logo 


Table of Contents

PPCN Mission

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


 helping others logo



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


Melanie Hancock

Presbytery of Northern Kansas 


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






PowerpointHealthy Clergy Make Healthy Congregations Powerpoint

Flash drives containing the Healthy Clergy Make Healthy Congregations powerpoint program and expanded script and updated Toolbox are available for $40.   Contact Steve McCutchan if interested.


Quick Fact:
In a July Public Policy Poll, people were asked to evaluate God's overall performance: 52% approved, 40% were not sure, and 9% disapproved.




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A recent trend of appreciation has been assigned to October as Pastor Appreciation Month. I don't know why it is October, but any month or season is a good idea to express appreciation to pastoral leaders. The PPCN Toolbox recommends several methods of expressing appreciation. I recently was the recipient of Pastoral Appreciation by my congregation as they celebrated my 20th year of service as pastor at Mt. Pleasant Church. It began in early June with notes and cards thanking me for my ministry and particular expressions of pastoral care. A "Surprise Sunday" was sprung, late in the month, with a special order of service; a guest pastor; family and friends invited; an opportunity to sit with my family for worship; a congregational brunch; placards recognizing my ministry stats over 20 years; gifts of an engraved leather-bound Bible; a custom-made stole; a monetary gift; and a tree was planted in my honor.  Best of all it was a total surprise! I had no idea it was happening. The celebration was a joyous and festive experience as accolades and acknowledgements of our mutual ministry as pastor and congregation were shared. The whole experience was and is a great encouragement to my ongoing ministry. It makes me thankful for my call as a teaching elder in the PCUSA and to my church. We on the Board of PPCN are always willing to suggest ways to recognize and to show appreciation to pastoral leaders. Likewise, we appreciate the service and call of those who serve the church in all of its councils and hope to encourage you in your ministries. If we can be of assistance, please contact us.  
Dan Corll, PPCN Board President



Who do you call when you want help?''

"The Ghost Busters?"


"You call the Presbytery Pastoral Care Network consultants."


That's what Jim Burns, a minister in Indian Nation Presbytery, did. As a member of COM Jim was interested in providing more pastoral care for clergy. He had heard about different models of presbytery pastoral care when he attended a PPCN annual conference. So, working with Aaron Carland, his Executive Presbyter, he called PPCN.


On April 4-5, Joe Sandifer (Pastor to Pastors, Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and PPCN Board member) traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with members of COM. They discussed the model followed in Greater Atlanta. Topics included formation and training of a Pastoral Team, initial contacts, responding to crises, clergy cluster luncheons, weekly e-mail pastoral care report, finances, relationship to COM, etc.


Burns reports that as a result of our consultation they now have an active Pastoral Care Team Task Force that hopes to have a Pastoral Team functioning by the end of the year.


This is one example of how PPCN consultants can help your presbytery. Other presbyteries that have called for help include East Tennessee, Baltimore and Northern Kansas. The consultants are PPCN Board members who have expertise in various areas of pastoral care.


Possible topics for consultations include: Helping Congregations Care for their Pastors, Starting a Pastoral Team for your Presbytery; Creating Trust Among Clergy, Combating Clergy Isolation , PPCN Tool Kit for Clergy Care, Mentoring Your Clergy, Starting a First Call Program and Models of Pastoral Care for Presbyteries. Other topics can be developed according to your need.


The cost of these consultations is low. If your presbytery is an Institutional Member of PPCN the only cost is the consultant's expenses. If your presbytery is not yet an Institutional Member the cost is $200 for an annual membership plus expenses.


For more information, contact Joe Sandifer.  




There are many models for doing pastoral care for ministers in your Presbytery.


The Presbytery Pastoral Care Network has identified four basic approaches (models) that are used by our Presbyteries to provide pastoral care to pastors.



  1. Pastor to pastor as a specific staff position
  2. Executive presbyter or associate EP with pastoral care as part of the job description
  3. Volunteers who do pastoral care with pastors
  4. Task force or committee with specific responsibilities for care of pastors

Each of these four approaches has its own advantages and disadvantages. Whatever model is chosen, the same standards of care should apply. The Board of Directors of the Presbytery Pastoral Care Network has identified the following best practices for pastoral care of ministers and commends them to Presbyteries for consideration.


PASTORAL                                     HOLISTIC

         CONFIDENTIAL                            ACCOUNTABLE

               INCLUSIVE                                     INFORMED

                     PROACTIVE                                       GENUINE


If you would like to find out more about these models and their advantages and disadvantages, there are two brochures that describe these models and practices more fully on the PPCN website.   



That's the question Greater Atlanta COM asked back in 2002. Joe Sandifer volunteered to help pastor the pastors. COM said: "That's fine, that's good for Joe to be our Pastor to Pastors, but how can he do that if he can't speak Korean?" One thing led to another. Finally a TEAM was established with eight members. Each has a different focus: one for installed women; one for installed men; one for African-American clergy; two for validated and members at large; one for retired; one for educators; and, yes, one who can speak Korean.


Members of the Pastoral Team do not draw sharp lines between their primary focus. Rather, all eight members are available to all 400+ clergy in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. The primary work of the Team members is to make 'pastoral visits' to all the clergy and to respond to crises as they arise. In addition, they coordinate eight different Clergy Cluster Luncheon groups located geographically around the Presbytery. They meet every other month at one of the churches. Also a Friday Pastoral Team Report is emailed with updates on prayer concerns or requests, joys and celebrations of pastors and educators.  


If you would like additional information please contact PPCN Board Member, Joe Sandifer.  



Gary Weaver, Executive Presbyter in Pueblo, Colorado, and Melanie Hancock, Associate General Presbyter for the Presbytery of Northern Kansas have recently joined the PPCN Board. The editor asked each of them to prepare a brief biographical sketch.


GARY R. WEAVER has been the Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Pueblo in Pueblo, Colorado for the last 15 years and plans to retire at the end of this year. He has been married 46 years to his best friend, soul mate and love of his life: Kathleen or Katie. His younger daughter lives with her family in Pueblo and runs a cookie business; his older daughter lives with her family in Oakland, California. He holds degrees from the University of Kansas, the University of New Mexico, and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is a certified mediator. He has led workshops on "Caring for Your Pastor" and on "Pastoral Self-Care" and has trained Committees on Ministry within the eight presbyteries of the Synod of the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of GENTLE WORDS IN A RAGING STORM, C.S.S. Publishing, 2003, a book of prayers for all occasions.  During his time as executive presbyter, he has created various opportunities for pastors to form peer groups for learning, support, and professional and spiritual development. He takes seriously his title as "pastor to pastors" and told the search committee when he was called to this position that he aspires to be the executive presbyter he never had in 24 years of parish ministry.



MELANIE HANCOCK, Associate General Presbyter for the Presbytery of Northern Kansas, and an ordained elder and a Christian Educator, has served the Presbytery since 1993. She works with the Stewardship & Mission, Commissioned Lay Pastor,  Youth Ministries, Nominating, and Budget Committees as well as Presbytery Council, Resource Center, and Committee on Ministry and provides guidance, training, resources and support to Church Educators,  Associate Pastors, and churches.  Melanie  in her second year as Co-Moderator for the National PCUSA Stewardship Kaleidoscope Planning Team, a collaborative effort of the middle governing bodies and agencies throughout the PCUSA.  Before joining the Presbytery staff, she was Christian Education Director for 8 years at Sunrise Presbyterian Church in Salina, Kansas.   


Melanie says, "Education and relationships are at the heart of my service in the PCUSA. I have always held a high priority for developing and sustaining relationships and see this as an important part of our ministry together and one of the primary ways we all support each other.  I see my service on the PPCN Board as another avenue for developing relationships and supporting pastors and pastoral leadership both in the Presbytery of Northern Kansas and throughout the PCUSA.   In my daily ministry, I strive to strengthen and develop relationships with and between pastors, elders and lay leaders throughout the Presbytery."




By Gary Weaver

  1. Get permission before using a story about a family member in a sermon; holds true for congregational members as well
  2. Protect your spouse and family from the presumption that they "work for the church."
  3. If the phone rings at the family dinner hour, let the recorder answer the phone and screen the call.
  4. Schedule "dates" with your spouse and children on your church calendar; include lunch or a coffee date at least once during the week.
  5. Plan a "mini-honeymoon" with your spouse overnight away from church and children 2-4 times a year.
  6. Take 2-3 "mini-Sabbaths" during your work day: 5-10 minutes to go for a short walk or a brief nap or a few minutes of centering prayer.
  7. Think of your work day as three segments--morning, afternoon and evening-and aim to only work two of those three on the average.
  8. Schedule away overnight spiritual retreats for you at least once a quarter: a time to BE with God, not WORK for God.
  9. Your "day off" is your Sabbath-keep it sacred.
  10. Take 3-4 weeks of your vacation allotment together.
  11. Gather a Peer Group or Covenant Group for support and accountability.
  12. Develop outside interests, outside friends.

Modeling a balanced life to your parishioners is a wonderful gift!



Here is an exercise that is not only fun but can generate some good material for sermons at the same time.


Take a small notebook or even a set of 3 x 5 cards with you for a week. Now keep alert to what is happening around you. Every time you can associate a Christian doctrine with some situation that you either observe or participate in, make note of it. The challenge is to see how many doctrines of our faith you can apply to the life around you. During this first week, don't even try to be serious. Just make the association of doctrine to situation no matter how farfetched.


You may read in the papers about a congressman who has sent nude pictures of himself to some admirer. What doctrine would you associate with that act? Is it self-worship or idolatry? How does his anthropology or understanding of human nature contradict the Christian understanding of human nature? In what way is he denying the theological understanding of what it means to love one's neighbor? Maybe it is just the theological understanding of the sin of lust. Go ahead and play with it. Now consider what theological doctrine might apply to the short fall in your church budget. Or perhaps you can consider the Christian doctrine of marriage as you engage in counseling one of your parishioners.


Now, expand the fun by inviting three or four colleagues for a breakfast or lunch but with the clear intention of playing a theological game. The game can go in one of two directions but is intended to connect theological truths with lived experiences. One approach is that someone in the group will name an event in society and the others will respond by suggesting some of the theological doctrines that may guide our response to such a situation. The other way to play the game is to go in the opposite direction. That is, someone will name a doctrine and others will suggest life experiences to which such a doctrine might apply. Either way, the group should have fun with the game and be willing to make some exaggerated or fanciful connections. The reason for that is that sometimes when we begin in too serious a mode, we miss some insightful connections that can be made.


Two things are going to begin to happen for you. First, you are going to alert your awareness to the many ways that Christian doctrine speaks to the world in which you live. Second, as you begin to sensitize yourself to this relationship, you are going to begin to collect some very practical illustrations that you can utilize in your sermon preparation.


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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