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Pastoral Counsellors Network

2020 European Pastoral Counsellors Network

The European Pastoral Counsellors Network is for leaders involved in pastoral care or personal discipleship ministries. This year’s programme focuses common pastoral challenges on the issue of marriage, sex and raising children. The first half will function as a marriage seminar – discussing a biblical view of marriage, conflict, and restoration – and will conclude with practical tools to use in a pastoral context. The second half will focus on the difficult topics of sex, sexuality, and raising children.

The programme will feature both lectures and case studies. Case studies are a very helpful way to apply principles learned in lectures and from reading in the real situations that we will meet in counselling. Participants will be given a written summary of the case prior to the Forum. At the Forum, the cases will be discussed in small groups in order to provide a more participatory style of learning.

Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.



Jelena Sivulka was born and raised in Serbia, where she got her master’s degree in psychology and in theology. She became a Christian 25 years ago and a few years later got involved in ministry with her husband Greg, planting churches, distributing humanitarian aid, and partnering with Joni and Friends, serving people with disabilities. Jelena has also worked as a counsellor in Serbia’s schools and a social worker, and she is currently working as therapist in a medical clinic. She is the founder and director of the non-profit organisation Hana's Hope. She has been blessed with three children: Benjamin, Sara, and Hana, who has autism.



Richard Winter is Professor Emeritus of Counseling and Applied Theology at Covenant Seminary in St Louis, USA, and has served as one of the leaders of the European Counsellors Networks.  He is also a psychotherapist and counsellor - who trained in medicine and psychiatry in England before – and was on staff and was director of the English branch of the L’Abri Fellowship for 14 years. He has served in a variety of pastoral and teaching leadership roles in the church.  He is the author of When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression (IVP, 2012); Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of Excellence and the Perils of Perfectionism (IVP, 2005); Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment: Rediscovering Passion and Wonder (IVP, 2002); and numerous professional journal articles.  He is married, with four children and nine grandchildren.


Don Worcester is in private practice in Phoenix, Arizona. Through his company, True North Consulting, he provides counseling, consulting and coaching services to a wide range of clients and organizations. Don was on Young Life staff for 15 years and continues to provide speaking and consulting services to both their national and international ministries. He has worked in a variety of counseling settings, taught course work at several universities, and along with his wife, Renee, led marriage conferences to pastoral and professional groups. Don completed a master’s degree in counseling from Arizona State University (1984) and a doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Northern Arizona University (1998).


Renee Worcester is the vice president of Life Together, a non-profit organization that provides resources focused on encouraging and equipping leaders for healthy marriages. Renee served on staff with Young Life for 13 years. She has also worked for several business/ministry organizations in the area of human resources, business development and organizational health. Renee is also an active and enthusiastic mother. She and Don have four wonderful children, all doing Life Together in Phoenix, Arizona.



Day 1

Oneness in Marriage
Don and Renee Worcester

Marriage is more than a social or cultural institution. It is a very specific kind of union, designed by God to expose us, to develop us and to heal us. Marriage is both a gift and an invitation. We are invited to start a miracle that only God can finish. Oneness in marriage is not about perfection or performance, but it does require our full participation. This session will focus on the practice and the process of building a strong “WE” in our marriage relationship.

Conflict in Marriage
Don and Renee Worcester

A marriage relationship is a union of difference. Our efforts to navigate and negotiate these differences often leave us feeling hurt, alone, offended or disappointed. Is there a way to carry and resolve the real hurts that develop in our marriage relationships? This session will focus on understanding the source of our relational conflict and the process of staying connecting through it.

Day 2

Restoration in Marriage
Don and Renee Worcester

A marriage union is designed and intended to be life giving to the couple in the union and life giving to the community around the union. We are blessed to be a blessing. What we do after we are hurt and disappointed in our marriage relationship will determine whether we flounder, function or flourish. Restoration is the process of reclaiming and restoring one another to our full good purpose. This session will focus on the Biblical provision, posture and practice that restore us to a life-giving marriage.   

Case Study
Don and Renee Worcester

Day 3

The Beauty and Brokenness of Sex: Sexual Addiction
Richard Winter

Sex is a wonderful gift from God to be enjoyed within the boundaries our Creator has revealed in Scripture. It points us to the deep intimacy we will one day have with the Lord. Sadly, it is also profoundly misused in many ways, especially with the constant temptation of pornography.  We easily become addicted to the rituals and pleasure of sexual arousal and release, thus damaging ourselves and others who are caught in the porn and sex trade industry throughout the world. To break free from compulsive and addictive dependence on sex, we need the help of others in the body of Christ to understand the broken places in our hearts.  We also need the grace and forgiveness of our loving Father and a restored vision of the goodness and beauty of God’s plan for our flourishing as sexual beings.

Case Study
Richard Winter

Day 4

How to Not Ruin Your Children
Jelena Sivulka

Christian parents want their children to grow up to be self-sufficient adults who love and obey God and His Word.  But how do we do this? What do we believe about discipline, expectations, punishment and family rules?  How do love, forgiveness, encouragement and deep connectedness in a healthy Christian family look according to God’s word?  In this lecture and discussion, participants will talk about these challenges and receive guidelines for helping parents raise healthy children by Biblical principles.

Case Study
Jelena Sivulka

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