In This Issue
PPCN Board
We Clergy are Community
Rate Your Own Level of Health
Congregational Support of Sustaining Clergy Health
shepherd's crook logo

Presbytery Pastoral Care Network (PPCN) is a 501(c)3 non-profit providing professional development, support, and resources for those caring for ministers throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA).
PPCN Board

Dan Corll, President   Email

   Pittsburgh Presbytery 


Stanley Jewell, Vice President

   Presbytery of Denver

Barbara Cathey, Secretary

   Chicago Presbytery

Gary Weaver, Treasure
r  Email
   Presbytery of Pueblo     


Steve McCutchan,  

Newsletter Editor   Email 

    Salem Presbytery 


Susan Holderness

   Western Reserve Presbytery


Ann Lange

    Mid-Kentucky Presbytery

Jim Splitt

   Central Nebraska Presbytery


Denominational Advisors:

SanDawna Ashley

   Office of Vocation, PC(USA)

Helen Locklear

   Board of Pensions, PC(USA)
Renew your PPCN membership today!


Individual membership $45

Institutional membership $200


More info

2014 membership brochure   


A note from the PPCN Board 
Thank you for supporting Presbytery Pastoral Care Network in its work to provide resources for those caring for ministers in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Our work is made possible through the purchase of Memberships, attendance at Conferences, and through individual financial support.  

Your tax deductible contribution may be mailed to:

Presbytery Pastoral Care Network
Rev. Gary Weaver, Treasurer
396 W. Archer Dr.
Pueblo West, CO 81007
In a recent survey conducted by PPCN, reinforced by numerous phone conversations with presbytery executives around the country, the issue of clergy isolation was continually identified as a major concern for clergy. This is not a new issue. John Calvin tried to counter the toxic effect of isolationism by creating a Company of Pastors.

Many times when a pastor does get in trouble, a contributing factor was the isolation of the pastor from others who could help him or her process what was happening in their lives. At the same time, healthy clergy across our denomination recognize the issue of loneliness within our profession. Clergy are surrounded by people but very few that truly understand the complexity of ministry and the pressures that clergy experience.


The focus of the 15th annual PPCN conference will be on the theme of clergy isolation and creative ways to respond. Save the date and start planning now to attend and bring those from the Committee on Ministry who focus on the care of the clergy.


Presbytery Pastoral Care Network 15th Annual Conference
Jointly sponsored by the Synod of the Sun
Rediscovering the Beloved Community:
Overcoming Isolation

October 27-30, 2014

First Presbyterian Church
Fort Worth, Texas


Registration will open soon. Check the website for updates.  

Rev. Dr. Dan Corll
President, Presbytery Pastoral Care Network
We Clergy are Community 


It is important for our own health and the health of our ministry, that clergy find ways to build community with other clergy. They are one of the few people who understanhelping others logod what you are experiencing.  


A good place to begin in finding companionship with other clergy is to seek out those opportunities in which you can have fun together. It can both provide a break from the intensity of the ministry and is often an easier path to building relationships. One of the sad realities of many people's lives is they have forgotten how to play and just have fun.

Not all clergy are going to seek out companions in among other clergy for an experience of fun. This is where a judicatory can play an important role in support of all clergy.  


The first step is to affirm the value of fun activities in interrupting the intensity of ministry and building colleagueship. By merely announcing that the presbytery is going to engage in helping to connect people with some fun activities, you lend legitimacy to the project. You might even take ten minutes in the agenda of your meeting to brainstorm some possibilities.


The second step is to advertise several possibilities and invite clergy to identify the types of possibilities that would interest them. Not everyone would enjoy going on a hike, but some would. Moreover, if you added a trail cleaning project and promised a nice bag lunch, you might encourage others. The same might be true of going to a movie, taking a dance class with their spouses, forming a book club, etc.  Then once they had had an enjoyable experience, you could explore with them the possibility of having a more continual date for fun.

It is clear that the problem of clergy isolation is not specific to any one denomination. Consider the benefits and witness that it would make if some denominational heads considered an ecumenical fun day for clergy. In many cases, it is actually easier for clergy to relate across denominational lines then within their denomination. When this is done within a small geographical location, there would also be the possibility that once the clergy became better acquainted, some ecumenical mission work might be done within the community. The health of the clergy can be enhanced through such activities and the health of the Christian witness within a community is strengthened.


As Jesus made clear, we declare to the world that we are Jesus' disciples when we demonstrate our ability to love each other.

Rate Your Own Level of Health


While one can do this exercise alone, it is best done with two or three trusted colleagues who also are rating themselves and sharing with you.


Let me suggest some contrasts between how healthy clergy (HC) and unhealthy clergy (UC) respond to both life and faith.


On a continuum with Unhealthy Clergy on one end and Healthy Clergy on the other, rate yourself from 1 (UC) to 100 (HC). None of us is completely healthy. All of us do better in some areas than others. This is a self-evaluation rather than a judgment.


When you have graphed your responses, identify areas where you would like to raise your scores. Begin with some of the easy areas where you might improve as a means of building ....  read more 

Congregational Support of Sustaining Clergy Health


This is an exercise for a session to use in reflecting on the support of their clergy.


When we consider both the challenges to and the way to sustain our health, we need to consider physical health, emotional health, a healthy family, healthy finances, spiritual health, and vocational health. A pastor who experiences health in all of these areas is much better prepared to offer a vital ministry to the congregation. Look at the description of these six areas below, and, reflecting on the complexity of ministry, consider how the constant stress of ministry can affect one's health in any of these areas. What you are being asked to do is both reflect on the areas of stress in the life of pastors and how the congregation can act to lessen the toxic effect in any of these areas.


Six Aspects of Clergy Health

Physical health

The human body requires adequate food, sleep, exercise, and variation in activities. Identify two aspects of ministry to this congregation, which, while necessary, can affect a pastor's physical health.


Identify one way that the congregation can support the pastor in attending to his or her physical health:


Emotional Health

High emotional moments, both positive and negative, can drain one's energy. Particularly demanding in the ministry are times of conflict, disappointment, empathizing with others who are experiencing personal traumas, feeling inadequate to meet another person's needs, etc. Thinking of this congregation, identify at least two types of experiences that a pastor might find particularly emotionally draining.


Suggest one way that the congregation might be helpful in supporting the pastor's emotional health.



The health of any family is challenged by many factors in our culture. Considering the demands of the ministry, identify at least two particular ways that a pastor's family might experience negative emotions. 

What is a specific action that congregations might take that would be supportive of the pastor's family and their relationships.



Many families find that financial issues can create extreme stress. Name at least two ways that financial issues can affect a pastor and the pastor's family negatively. 


Suggest at least one way that a congregation can ease that stress.



A pastor is called to be the spiritual leader of a congregation. Sometimes when a pastor is so busy attending to the spiritual needs of others, s/he can neglect to take time to replenish his or her spiritual reserves. Name two ways that the congregation can encourage and support the pastor in staying spiritually strong.



While the call of God is an important factor in choosing to accept a congregation's invitation to become their pastor, it does not cease with the acceptance of the call. God calls both pastors and congregations to respond in a variety of ways to ministry as a church. As the pastor and the congregation share in ministry together, what are at least two ways that they can consciously pause and listen for God's guidance.

Pastors just don't get no respect these days


I tell you, pastors just don't get no respect these days.

First of all, no one can agree about what a pastor should be doing.

Everyone has an opinion about what clergy should do.

Membership committees think they should attract new members.

Stewardship committees think they should attract new pledges.

And Non-members think pastors should act like self-righteous idiots to confirm the non-member's excuse for not going to church.

The expectations for clergy is a lot different than for other professions.

Unlike a doctor, you are expected to make house calls on the sick for free to make them feel better.

Unlike Jesus, you are never to give the public reason to think you are a glutton and a drunkard.

If you did that, the next thing they'd accuse you of would be going to parties with tax collectors and sinners.

It used to be that pastors were among the most highly respected of professions -

And you can take that to the bank.

Woops, that's not a very encouraging thought these days.

Maybe some of us have been making too many withdrawals.

To make it worse, the sexual scandals have really made us suspect.

They used to call you Father as a sign of respect, but now days, it is an accusation.

Now days, people want their pastors to be virgins.

At the same time, they expect you to have a wife and children.

Which gives new meaning to the concept of immaculate conception.

Pastors just don't get no respect these days.

You are supposed to provide spiritual direction for your members but never take it personally if they reject what you say.

What they want is a pastor that acts like a GPS system.

You are to offer your members Global Positioning but always be prepared to recalculate when they insist on going their own way.

The real problem is tcepser. People keep spelling respect backwards.

            I tell you, pastors just don't get no respect these days.

Resources available through PPCN

Webinar:  Teaming With Your Clergy,

a resource webinar offering a plan to strengthen the healthy nurture of the teamwork between session and pastor. Co-sponsored by the Presbytery Pastoral Care Network and the Presbyterian Outlook.  (fee /inquire about bulk discounts)  Email | Ph. 800/446-6008 Ext. 758  

Deep Well CD Front Cover
Laughter from the Well CD
tool kit

Deep Well for the Pastor
CD with spiritual meditations and music to support the pastoral vocation.  Price $10 

(limited supply)

Contact Steve McCutchan

Laughter from the Well
CD with 70 minutes of humorous & musical reflections on the challenges of ministry. 

Price $9.99


The Toolbox

Paper with strategies bringing a healthier perspective to the work of ministry.  Free.
(Toolbox is at bottom of page)