Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

Episcopal Diocese of Rochester Pastoral Crisis Response Resource (PCRR)

Episcopal Diocese of Rochester Pastoral Crisis Response Resource (PCRR)

The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester cares deeply about the well-being of our congregations, and the people who make them the God-loving places they are. Additionally, even our strongest and most faithful institutions need assistance in dealing with crises of all sorts. To better serve our congregations and members in acute need, the Diocese has called for the creation of a diocesan Pastoral Crisis Response Resource. This Resource will be an additional resource for the Bishop, Deans and diocese to utilize in serving the health of individuals, congregations and institutions, and ultimately the diocese. All of the Resource’s ministry will be offered as requested by, and in consultation with, the Bishop, and other appropriate diocesan institutions.

This Pastoral Crisis Response Resource (PCRR) is comprised of a group of lay and ordained members with experience in pastoral care, spirituality, conflict mediation, psychological counseling, congregational life, and legal issues. The Resource is available to offer insight, instruction, and guidance to all people in the Diocese: congregants, clergy, and staff. The primary purpose of this Resource is to provide temporary and immediate pastoral, social, emotional, and spiritual support. Generally, this includes possible Critical Incident Stress Management including psychological first aid, debriefing, and connecting affected individuals and congregations to appropriate resources.

The Diocese anticipates that this Resource and its additional support beyond normal pastoral resources will be available to a congregation and affected individuals in situations such as:

Allegations of clergy misconduct

  • Resource Response: could provide subsequent support to the reporter and the accused, and/or to the congregation at request of the Bishop or appropriate diocesan institutions, in conjunction with any disciplinary processes; provide pastoral response as determined by the Bishop under Title IV, Canon 8, of the Constitution and Canons of the national church. Any discovery of misconduct by the PCRR will be immediately reported to the Bishop.

Significant congregational conflict, especially when it imperils the ongoing operations of the congregation

  • Resource Response: could advise as to options concerning conflict resolution and/or mediation; provide venue, facilitation, and guidance for group interaction on issue in conflict

Congregation adversely impacted by a member’s arrest or conviction of a crime

  • Resource Response: could provide venue, facilitation, and guidance for group communications or interaction on issue; connect congregation to appropriate resources

Sudden injury or death of a clergy person, member of the clergy person’s family, or congregant, especially a particularly tragic or troubling death such as suicide or from violence

  • Resource Response: could provide venue, facilitation, and guidance for group communications or interaction on issue; connect congregation to appropriate resources

Natural disaster affecting a congregation

  • Resource Response: could provide psychological first aid and critical incident debriefing; connect congregation to appropriate resources

Loss or significant damage to church property through fire, burglary, vandalism, etc.

  • Resource Response: could provide Critical Incident Stress Management including psychological first aid and debriefing; connect congregation to appropriate resources

Mental health issues or unusual behavior affecting congregation or diocesan staff

  • Resource Response: could provide venue, facilitation, and guidance for group communications or interaction on issue; could connect congregation to mental health or other appropriate resources; could provide support to clergy or staff

Other situations as deemed appropriate by the PCRR and Bishop

  • Resource Response: review referral and discern if and how the Resource will respond

The PCRR is not intended to: (i) provide individual or group therapy; (ii) function as a crisis or suicide hotline for those in imminent danger; (iii) provide legal, medical, or mental health advice or care; (iv) serve a disciplinary function; or (v) substitute for any leadership provided by the Bishop, Diocesan Council, clergy or vestry.

If in the course of the PRCT ministry there are any all allegations of misconduct discovered, they will all be immediately shared with the Bishop and members of the Diocesan Disciplinary Board under the Constitution and Canons of the national church and will continue to work to support those affected by the allegations.  The PCRR, however, will not participate in investigations or adjudication of misconduct. Separate PCRR members will respond to the different parties in these situations.

The privacy of all persons seeking support from the PCRR will be protected to the fullest extent possible, but all applicable disclosure obligations remain for any PCRR member, including, without limitation, any licensed therapist, clergy, or attorney. Very specifically, and without limitation, the PCRR will be obligated to appropriately disclose any allegations of clergy misconduct. Individuals and congregations dealing with the PCRR will be advised of any limits to confidentiality wherever possible, but the PCRR and the Diocese will not be responsible for any PCRR member disclosing communications made with the PCRR as required by law, regulation, rule of professional conduct, Constitution and Canon or otherwise.

PCRR members will withdraw themselves from involvement in any issue giving rise to a conflict of interest or undue bias concerning that PCRR member, or if said member is part of the congregation seeking support. PCRR members will also monitor the level and scope of support the PCRR provides, and maintain care and support for its members as needed.

PCRR members will be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Bishop.

The PCRR can be reached via email that we are currently working on (PCRR@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org) and a member will respond within 48 hours, absent exigent circumstances. The responding member will then process the intake request with the PCRR, which will determine the next steps to take. The PCRR will respond as needed to matters brought before it and follow up as needed. Finally, the PCRR will consult with the Bishop (or the appropriate ecclesiastical authority) before engaging in a response action and will remain in communication with the Bishop throughout the process of providing PCRR support.

At the direction of the Bishop, the PCRR will also report to other diocesan bodies, which could include the Diocesan Convention, on its general activities, maintaining at all times the appropriate level of confidentiality for the matters in which it is involved.

Throughout the ministry of the PCRR, from the first phone call through completion, the PCRR will strive to live into our Baptismal Covenant of respecting the dignity of every human being, seeking Christ in all persons, pointing the way towards repentance or forgiveness, and ensuring that God’s grace and mercy are known to all those who hurt or suffer.


PCRR Chair: Rev. Jay Burkardt

PCRR Clergy Members: Rev. Ginny Mazzarella, Rev. Leslie Burkardt, 

PCRR Lay Members: Ms. Johanna Bond, Ms. Mary Lou Hunt-Quintal, Ms. Laurie Phillips, Mr. Buzz Stewart