Presbytery Pastoral Care Network 
                                                             June 2014 
In This Issue
PPCN Board
Conference on clergy isolation
Building clergy connections
Celebrating all church staff
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

    White Water Valley Presbytery

Jim Splitt

   Central Nebraska Presbytery


Denominational Advisors:

SanDawna Ashley

   Mid Council Ministries, Office of the
   General Assembly 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 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
Registration is now open for the PPCN annual conference.  The topic is on clergy isolation - something we all experience from time to time.  The Board has worked diligently to provide an excellent conference while keeping costs low.  I hope you will join us.   Read below for more details.

Don't forget to renew your PPCN membership for 2014, and save on your conference registration!
Rev. Dr. Dan Corll
President, Presbytery Pastoral Care Network
15th Annual Gathering  |  October 27-30 




Register now for the
Presbytery Pastoral Care Network  

15th Annual Gathering 


presented in collaboration with Synod of the Sun

First Presbyterian Church | Fort Worth, Texas

October 27-30, 2014


Come and share with your colleagues from across the nation in exploring new resources for strengthening the health of clergy. Studies suggest that most clergy find significant satisfaction in their calling. However, they also frequently feel overwhelmed with their work, find little time to reflect on their ministerial role, have trouble finding people they can trust and confide in, and frequently feel powerless to influence change within their denomination. Everyone in the pastorate knows of the inherent loneliness and frequent isolation of the profession. Repeated studies of ministry in the USA and Canada have identified that ministry personnel experience a higher level of depression and stress when compared to other populations.


The conference will explore the effect of isolation and possible antidotes to its toxic effect. Participants will share resources and strategies that can be used in your home setting, explore the role of humor in maintaining balance in pastoral work, and look at ways to experience spiritual revitalization for clergy and churches.


Stephen McCutchan, with support from members of the PPCN Board, will provide leadership for the conference. Steve is author of more than a dozen books and CDs directed towards the care and support of clergy.  In 2013 he published a mystery novel, A Star and a Tear.   


Register now and join your colleagues in strengthening our beloved community.


Building connections among the clergy  

by Steve McCutchan 


All General Presbyters/Presbytery Executives know the challenge. First, we live in an age of institutional distrust and the presbytery represents one more institution in our society. Second, our denomination is experiencing ideological division similar to that taking place in our larger society and even clergy seem to place their fellow clergy in categories-liberal, conservative, small church, large church, rural, urban, etc. What we lack is more face to face time where we get to know each other as colleagues in the faith. I've rarely had a conversation with another pastor, regardless of theological position, where I didn't discover that we shared many of the stresses and challenges of being a pastor.


A Company of Pastors


Recently I had phone conversations with each of the General Presbyters of the Mid-Atlantic Synod. When I asked what one of the biggest challenges they saw among the clergy in their presbytery, they agreed that it was isolation. This was reinforced by conversations that other board members had with executives in other sections of the country.


Because of time demands, geography, theological differences, etc., clergy do not regularly convene to support each other. In the early days of our denomination, John Calvin formed a "Company of Pastors," in which the clergy regularly came together for nurture and support. Many of the executives that I talked to have tried various ways to form clergy cohort groups to break this isolation.


New Castle Presbytery tried an idea I want to  read more 

 A party celebrating all church staff


Congregational initative

The celebration of the ministry of a church's staff needs to be initiated by the congregational leadership. This is an event that is done in appreciation of the spiritual leadership of the whole staff and is an opportunity for the lay leadership to take the lead.

It will lose some of its power if it is a regularly scheduled event. "Oh, it's that time of year again. I guess we should plan the pastor's appreciation day." The Presbyterian Outlook, among others, has tried to advance October as pastor appreciation month. That is a good reminder but does not necessarily determine the schedule for such efforts. The event does not need to be a surprise but it should not require effort from the staff to plan their own appreciation.      


Drawing on the gifts of others

This would be an opportunity to talk to retired pastors, denominational staff, or other pastors in the community for ideas that will enhance the event. A retired pastor may find real pleasure in drawing on his or her experience to help others show appreciation for ministry. Denominational leaders can feel their own work strengthened in seeing that a pastoral ministry is celebrated.


Food, fun, and frolic 

Having food at the event will both enhance the celebration and create a less formal atmosphere in which the entire body can enjoy themselves. While there will be serious moments where appreciation is expressed, it should be a fun and relaxed experience.


Here is an opportunity for creative members to create some musical or poetic parodies either of the staff as a whole or for each individual staff member. This event will be enhanced if acts of appreciation are shown to educators, musicians, office administrators, custodians, etc. Even small churches often have several people contributing to the ministry of the church. What you are doing is celebrating the leadership of the church.


In addition to the parodies, roasting, etc. that can be enjoyed, you will want to have one part of your program that can focus in on specific words of appreciation. If you have identified a couple of specific people ahead of time to speak on behalf of each staff member, you might have each person stand in front of the group and invite people to speak words of appreciation about that person.


You may also want to show appreciation as a liturgical event, either in a worship service or at the end of the party. Click here for a Litany celebrating the call to specialized ministry. 

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)