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                                                          April/May 2016   
In This Issue
2016 Memberships 

Individual membership $45

Institutional membership $200


2016 membership brochure

More info


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Presby tery 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

Jim Splitt , President   Email 

     Homestead Presbytery 


Carol DeVaughan, V. President 

     Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery  

Anne Lange, Secretary

     White Water Valley Presbytery

Gary Weaver, Treas.

     Presbytery of Pueblo

Steve McCutch
an, Editor 
     Salem Presbytery    
Jim Burns    
     Indian Nations Presbytery

Dan Corll 
     Pittsburgh Presbytery

Holly Samborski

     Christian Educator, Lee's Summit, MO 


Raafat Zaki 

   Synod of the Covenant 



Denominational Advisors:

SanDawna Ashley

   Mid Council Ministries, Office of the  
   General Assembly PC(USA) 


Helen Locklear

   Board of Pensions, PC(USA)
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


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I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19.

"Easter is finally over! " was the gist of some comments shared by some colleagues as we met the week after Easter. We spent a few minutes "checking in" about how our Easter season went. "Easter is finally over" conveyed a sense of relief that all of the Lenten and Easter church events, the special worship services, and other Easter related commitments were over.  There was a collective sigh of relief.  In our profession, we go into our Easter overtime ministry mode. And, we all know what that means. Sometimes, in the midst of doing our "job", our "Ministry", our "Calling" we have to put in those extra hours, extra services, and all as we lead our congregations to the Cross and to the Resurrection. Isaiah's words of wisdom remind us of that journey from cross to resurrection, from dessert to flowing river, from death to life. We share that collective sigh of relief: we did it, we completed that journey, leading our congregation to the joyous moment of new life in Christ.  What happens next after this sigh of relief and joy?  We may only have a moment for Sabbath rest as we start a new journey to Pentecost and our summer ministry programs. Our Sabbath rest is taking just enough time to let the Spirit of God's joy and purpose fill us again and again and again.  Our Sabbath rest begins with a sigh as we exhale away all the stress related to our "Calling" and take a new breath in for renewal.  DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE IT?  God is working in us a new thing, full of energy, full of love, full of Christ, full of peace, full of grace for running the race and keeping the joy of the Lord as the reason for getting up and answering the CALL, "Here I am Lord".   
For more information contact
Rev. Jim Splitt, H.R. , Homestead Presbytery
President, Presbytery Pastoral Care Network
Email  |  Ph. 402-277-0912
A Word of Encouragement:  Consider a Sabbatical 
by Dan Corll

Most are aware of the importance of Sabbath, but let's take it a step further. How about a Sabbatical. Even Jesus encouraged the apostles to sabbatical. " 'Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest for a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat" (Mark 6:31 NRSV).
As a long term pastor to my present congregation, I attribute the sabbatical I experienced in 2005 as a centering and focusing instrument for ministry. It benefited me, my family, and my church.
The purpose of a sabbatical is to step back from ministry responsibilities so as to re-energize for ministry. It is to engage in an experience to bring renewed perspective to your ministry. It may be an opportunity for study in a new area, to engage in new experiences, to travel, or to intentionally reflect on ministry. A sabbatical is not to be confused with a vacation, although it may be restful and relaxing.
There are a number of resources to help one determine sabbatical possibilities. The Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program and the Indiana Program offer an extended, fully funded sabbatical on an annual application basis. Information may be found here. The Board of Pensions through its Assistance Program offers limited Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants for those serving churches fewer than 200 members. Grants may be up to $3,000.00. Click here for information. A sabbatical may be self-funded. Other sources may also be found on the internet under "sabbaticals".
All sabbaticals are for a specified length of time, usually include a theme or purpose, and usually involve a covenant with the congregation and granting agency to remain in the pastoral position at least a year after the sabbatical. Sabbaticals can be a means of growth for congregations, pastors, and church staff. The benefit is multi-faceted.
If a sabbatical is not in your terms of call, consider requesting or negotiating one. A key element is to develop a team for church and pastor for planning and support.
(Dan is a PPCN board member and past president)

by Steve McCutchan

Think about your ministry. You are called to give witness to and proclaim the fullness of life for God's people. Your profession asks of you an enormous physical, emotional, and spiritual task. You are asked to manage a small business and organize the activity of a large group of volunteers. You are asked to be present to and offer nurture and comfort to multiple individuals in a variety of highly emotional circumstances. Each week you seek to inspire people in a creative and challenging way through worship. Your constituency ranges in age from birth to death, male and female, and from a variety of stations in life. Your normal work-week can easily exceed 70 hours. I doubt if there is any other profession so designed to drain a person both physically and emotionally as well as spiritually.
As Scripture proceeds to develop commentary on the Sabbath, it is clear that in addition to one day in seven, there are also longer sabbatical periods recommended. For clergy, regular sabbaticals, at least every seven years, are both important for their refreshment and a witness to the faith they proclaim.


First, find information on how to apply for a grant to help pay for your sabbatical.  Go to Lilly Foundation and look for their clergy sabbatical grant program.  If you get one of these, they even provide some money for your church to cover extra expenses during your Sabbatical.  Go also to the Louisville Institute and look at their grant programs.  There are probably other grant programs that can assist you. 
Second, talk to  your General Presbyter - Ask how presbytery can help with your sabbatical.
read more


As you are planning your sabbatical, encourage your sabbatical task force to imagine ways that the congregation can engage in Sabbath time as a congregation. I will suggest one idea, but you can have some fun in brainstorming together about a variety of ways.

I encourage pastors to deliberately build in to their sabbatical plans an intentional time for family renewal and recreation. Since pastors often feel guilty about the time denied to their         read more

Since we live in a secular society that has lost its appreciation for the Sabbath, and churches are only beginning to appreciate the importance of sabbaticals for their clergy, let me suggest some ways that Presbyteries can nurture the church's understanding and appreciation of sabbaticals for clergy and staff.

First, presbyteries can lift up the whole concept of the rhythm of seven that our faith suggests is built into the framework of creation. If a major aspect of the Sabbath is the ceasing of productive work to focus on our relationships with God and neighbor, could that rhythmic interruption be consciously built into the design of presbytery meetings. For example, after seven agenda items of productive work, could we consciously take a sabbatical moment to sing praises, exchange the peace       read more

Thoughts on why a sabbatical after a spouse dies
by Duncan Nichol

I'm coming from a marriage of over 42 1/2 years in which my wife's mental illness and finally cancer
were long time experiences. The cancer prognosis was stage four with a life expectancy of two years, give or take a few months. Jeannie beat the prognosis, lasting almost three years with death arriving after three months in hospice. My quest for applying for a sabbatical comes as I wish to use time to maintain a growing edge, to refill in my life that which has been depleted, and to work with my grief so that I maintain a healthy balance and outlook going forward. I have chosen as a theme "inter-generational faith formation" (also called "discipleship") and am taking the time to apply for a grant for my sabbath and cleansing.   Contact me at dnichol@abbnebraska.com.
Shop on AmazonSmile and Amazon will make a donation to
  Presbytery Pastoral Care Network for every eligible purchase.  
Resources for support of clergy

Steve McCutchan, Author.  Now available on Amazon.com.

(Reminder:   Shop through AmazonSmile and generate donations to PPCN!   To access AmazonSmile use this link, sign in and search for "Stephen McCutchan."



This book offers a fresh resource for clergy support groups. Building on judicatory efforts to counter the problem of isolation and loneliness in ministry, the author describes how the use of stories about clergy can provide a basis for clergy to explore in support groups some of the signal issues experienced in ministry. The design offers a 20 meeting framework for building what John Calvin called "A Company of Pastors."



This book provides strategies and techniques of humor to be applied to the practice of ministry. The author demonstrates how comedy can lessen tension, bridge differences, and strengthen relationships in the church. With a variety of examples, the book shows how humor can be utilized in sermons, liturgies, counseling, funerals, and other dimensions of ministry. It also provides a "Pastor's Survival Notebook " that offers several techniques of comedy that a pastor can use to personally address the stresses of ministry.




This book introduces the idea that an interim is in an ideal position to advocate for good health strategies for the next pastor. The author offers exercises and directions on how to raise the congregation's awareness and specific steps the congregation can take to shape a healthy relationship with their new pastor.


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)