Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 23 Jun 2015 8:48 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The purpose of my going to the Correctional Centre, aka jail, was to meet with two artists confined to the facility, individuals who I hoped might be able to do some sketching for a writing project I am working on. 

    Corrections? Or is it jail?
 I am tempted to stick with the word jail in that it’s a much less cumbersome term and possibly the more descriptive of reality. Certainly there are forces in our government and society as a whole that are more interested in jailing a person, to hell with correcting anything. But I decided I would not give in to such an attitude and refer instead to this place of incarceration as “Corrections”. Better to pray for what has been lost than to forget it. 

    Right from the beginning I am reminded that I am entering a different world, one of restrictions, an environment I am not accustomed to. First, I was informed I had to “get clearance”, that is fill out a form, send it in and wait two days to hear if the powers that be deem I am a safe bet to visit the place. I was reminded of applying for visas when we went to the U.S. years back. Our son was then one year old, nevertheless we had to fill out a long questionnaire in which we assured the government he was not the owner of dangerous weapons and was not going to engage in criminal behavior. They let him in just as the authorities let me in yesterday, one old man looking for someone who can draw some sketches and who has paid all his traffic tickets. Can it be any other way? Probably not.

    Upon arrival the mere look of the facility gives pause for thought. Call the place by whatever name you like, you can’t really disguise twenty-foot walls, adorned as they are with rolls of razor wire, concertina wire by name. Interesting word, concertina. Originally it referred to a hand held accordion, one of those happy little instruments that stretches and closes squeezing out a tune, light, gay sounds you can dance to. But here at “Corrections” the concertinas remain motionless and mute, their razor edges glinting in the sun.

    I enter through a set of doors, heavy brutes comprised of half inch glass and steel that crunch close with a finality that sounds more like jail than corrections. Once inside I encounter, behind a screen, an attractive young officer, as neat and trim in her police black uniform as the tiles and glass that surround her. She instructs me to sign in which I do, fits me out with a tag and I am ready to go. 

    A second officer appears and introduces herself, the same person I have been emailing with over the previous week. B.. is tall, plain featured, no make-up, a woman pushing 50, a little wary as she measures me up. She watches as I lock away my wallet and keys then leads me through another set of heavy sliding doors that close behind us, locking us in to a 6’ by 10’ glass walled chamber. A moment later and doors open on the opposite side and we step out into a space all its own. 

    I have been in the hallways of other institutions. Schools, for instance, where there is a plant or two, a picture of the Queen on the wall together with posters proclaiming the value of tolerance and equality and getting an education, passageways that ring with the shouts of children and bear that distinctive smell that arises from the intermingling of chalk dust and the odor given off by fifty sets of sweaty little sneakers.

    Hospital hallways are different. There is a distinctive smell as well, one of chemicals, body odors, and urine combined with a dash of air freshener to create an aroma like none other, one you will detect hours later in your clothes and hair. The space seems narrowed, confined, cluttered with carts and all manner of equipment together with staff - cleaning ladies, technicians, nurses on the move, and clumps of white coats in conversation -all vying for the same little bit of space. Wend your way through it all and you can find a patient. 

    The hallways at “Corrections” are different yet again, passageways 12 feet high, hard rectangular tunnels of painted cement, tiles and heavy glass. Wherever you go you are visible. No pictures, no posters, no clutter. No smell. There are people, to be sure, two distinct groupings, those in neat trimmed black, men and women, and all the others, men only, dressed in some variation on sneakers, jeans and T-shirts.

    We arrive at our destination, a classroom as barren as the hallway, the sole nod in the direction of human habitation are two arborite covered tables and some chairs in disarray. Actually we are fortunate to have even this little bit of space. When I arrive the following week I am told that due to overcrowding this room too has been taken over by bunks, as has the chapel. We must meet in B..’s office, a ten by eight cubicle crowded with two desks, a chair or two and “stuff”, as much a storage area as an office. 

    Presently two young men arrive, one aboriginal, one not. The introductions go easily; they greet me with firm handshakes and smiles. I suppose I have been expecting a reticence on their part, an awkwardness in our meeting but this clearly has been my problem, not theirs. It remains with me to tell them why I have come, that I am looking for an artist to do some sketching. I am pleasantly surprised at the questions they have and the interest they show.

    “Why did you choose us, why did you come here?”

    It is the aboriginal man who speaks, a man of maybe 30, wispy mustache, and friendly demeanor. He is wearing a covering over his hair, made necessary because he is working in the kitchen from which he has time off to meet with me. Later he will say he is interested in writing, that he would like to try his hand at it. 

    “I came here,” I reply, “because I have seen art work done by people like yourselves, by individuals who have experienced difficulty. I think good art comes out of adversity and you know about that.”  The conversation rolls on. We talk about what I want in my sketches. Less is more. Stripped down images, not too much detail. Suggestive. I read them a little of what I have written and they respond easily. We talk about how I might pay for what I receive. One of them offers to let me take one of his sketches –a beautifully drawn violin and bow, detailed, perfectly proportioned -to see if it can be reduced in size on a copy machine. 

    We arrange to meet in a week’s time and review what they have drawn. If I can use their work we will proceed with the details of a contract and payment. B.. will arrange for our meeting. Although I suspect what the answer will be I ask her if I can bring some cookies or muffins for our meeting next week? Sorry, nothing of that sort allowed.

    And a sinking feeling comes in the pit of my stomach. Later in the quiet of my home, at my leisure, where there is carpet on the floor, the doors close quietly and I can have a muffin with my tea, I take the time to reflect on my time spent in “Corrections”.

    What an awful thing to lock a man up, take away his freedom and put him in a cell behind bars where the sights and sounds and smells of every day are swept up, denied, and in their absence imposed a terrible kind of neat and tidy order, a sterility that reduces everything to no, denying the very essentials that make us human. Of what value is this?

    I know why Corrections locks people up, says no to cookies and muffins and most everything else that humans enjoy, but surely to God if you can build a place with concertina wire on the walls and every security feature in the book you can figure out a way to spot a bit of pot in a cookie or a razor blade in a muffin. Corrections? Jail? 

    In discussion alone with B.. she talked freely of the adverse conditions that prevail in the facility, the overcrowding, a lack of programming, the hierarchy among the prisoners, the harassment many of them endure, the abuse staff themselves absorb. And she confirms what I have thought, “Nothing”, she says, “gets corrected here.” Later one of my artists echoes her words when he says, “It’s jail all the way.”

    Under these conditions what can become of my two artists. What will happen to them? I have no idea. I imagine good things for them but then there’s reality. Their chances of success are probably on a par with the outcome of my writing project. Conformation of my fears comes a week later when I return to find one of the men has been sentenced to 28 months in the penitentiary. 

    And yet… .

    Even as I reflect on the dark side of “Corrections”, see the futility of what is being done, “that nothing gets corrected here”, I realize I am looking forward to going back to meet again with my artists and with B.. . Maybe I am looking for a fix, a happy ending for my sermon. Or maybe it’s something quite different, something humans do. We tell stories searching for an ending, an ending we can live with.

    Whatever the case two moments, two scraps interrupt my narrative. 

    At the conclusion of one of our visist sI had begun making preparations to leave and the men to return to their work. We discuss what kind of art supplies they will need. Some sketch pencils and paper. I am prepared to go and buy what is needed but B.., who seems to have warmed to the project, says she has a few supplies and will make them available. We stop by her office where I think I detect pleasure as she hands out what she has. As for the artists they are pleased, take the supplies eagerly, examine them, all smiles. And I am hauled up short, touched to the point of tears: gratitude over three sheets of paper and a box of pencils. And then there’s the candy.

    On a desk in the clutter of B..’s office sits a bowl of hardrock candy wrapped in cellophane, sour cubes, the kind that once in your mouth refuse to break but take a half hour to slowly reduce to slivers and then dissolve. B.. has bought them at Dollarama and leaves them here for all who stop by. 

    I help myself and even take three for my pocket. Then in occurs to me these bits of candy are breaking all the rules. God knows what could lie hidden in those colored chunks of sugar. More to the point, I am embarrassed. For most of the people who sit in this chair one piece of candy will be a week’s rations. More than that it will be a place to rest awhile and talk, time to enjoy the care of a mother who knows what a man requires. I put the three back and suck more thoughtfully on the sliver that remains.  

    _________________________________ 

    Ron Evans is a CPSP Diplomate living in Saskatchewan, Canada is a a published author. He has frequently presented his poetry and prose at meetings of the CPSP Plenary as well as contributed articles for publication in the Pastoral Report

    The following are two of his recent book publications:

    Coming Home: Saskatchewan Remembered

    The Sourdough Bagel: Confessions of a Loner Who Likes Company

    Below are several of his articles published on the PR:

    Five Books At One End of a Shelf

    A Word From the Lord

    To contact Ron Evans, click here.

  • 20 Jun 2015 9:10 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Editor's Note: Below is a Pastoral Letter to the Columbia, SC and the CPSP community from Hayden Howell, CPE Supervisor.

    Dear Columbia Chapter, CPSP (other colleagues, and former members of the Chapter)

    It is with heavy hearts we must address one another as well as offer our “presence” to those close to the ones who died in Charleston last night while praying at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church. The African-American community is hurting and grieving this horrible loss. Our Columbia Chapter of CPSP joins heart and soul with our brothers and sisters in the common frailty of our humanity.

    We are especially mindful of the impact this has made on those African-Americans who are (or who have been) members of our chapter. The following persons may especially be touched by this tragedy because of their heritage as African-Americans and/or their connection with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

    Rosalyn Coleman, CPE Supervisor; former Chapter Convener; and, A Presiding Elder in the AME Church

    James Abrams, CPE Supervisor and former Convener

    Deberry Cook, Hospital Chaplain; Aspiring Clinical Certification

    Jacquelyn Hurston, AME Pastor; Supervisor in Training; Specialist in Grief Counseling

    Melvin Coleman, (Husband of Rosalyn; AME Pastor; Provided food; set-up space for Chapter meetings)

    Charmaine Ragin, CPE Supervisor; Chaplain; and AME Pastor (moved to another CPSP Chapter)

    Robert Freeman, (AME Pastor; Chaplain; Left us to become a CPE Supervisor for the ACPE, Inc.)

    As that ole Democrat LBJ used to say: “Let us come together.” And then let us comfort our people.

    On behalf of Gene Rollins, who called me to say we needed to say something and in the awareness of our connection to the wider community of CPSP, I am copying this to Raymond Lawrence, Perry Miller, John Robbins and Charles Kirby. The latter two are colleagues in the Asheville/Stoney Mtn Chapter.

    Grace and Peace to all,

    Hayden Howell
    CPE Supervisor, (Retired Emeritus)
    jhowell4@sc.rr.com

  • 19 Jun 2015 9:13 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The ghastly event at Mother Emanuel AME Church Thursday in Charleston, South Carolina, was an unspeakable act of violence seemingly motivated explicitly by racial hatred.

    We must do all we can to counter these kinds of outrageous assaults, and to be united with those who are victimized by them.

    This incident calls attention to the disturbing rise of both overt and covert hostility in this country, particularly directed against racial minorities and the poor.

    We in CPSP must do all we can to be in solidarity with the abused, the assaulted, and the oppressed. This is our moral and our prophetic pastoral responsibility.

    I call for all in CPSP as well as those beyond the boundaries of our community, to renew our commitment to work toward a just and loving community for all people, with special concern for racial minorities and the poor among us.

    Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary
    College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
    raymondlawrence@gmail.com

  • 17 Jun 2015 9:17 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Almost a century ago Anton Boisen changed the face of pastoral work. He taught religious professionals to be healers. Listening to persons suffering mentally or physically was his central theme. To get their stories. To make connections where connections were apparent. To support self-awareness and self-discovery. "It's not what the minister says to the boy (sic) but what the boy says to the minister," he proclaimed. By the time he died his followers were legion. And they, as he, had learned much from the psychoanalytic movement. The role of the minister was transformed in Boisen's own lifetime. He was a religious giant of the twentieth century. Because of him many teachers, preachers, and evangelists morphed by the middle of the century into competent psychoanalytically informed counselors and therapists.

    This year a little book containing nine clinical pastoral cases appeared under the title Spiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy, edited by George Fitchett and Steve Nolan. If this book, and others like it, carry the day we will write fini on Boisen's clinical pastoral movement and all that it represented. Boisen and his inheritance will have been trumped by a new form of evangelism. And then it will be only a matter of what the minister says to the boy. Religious proselytizing and browbeating will have replaced pastoral care and counseling. It's not a pretty picture.

    This reversal of the Boisen tradition is well documented in Chapter 1, containing the first of nine revelatory clinical cases presented in this book. It documents with specificity the new order of chaplaincy, or spiritual care, as it is unhappily being called of late.

    The patient is a 12-year-old girl stricken with a daunting disease, cystic fibrosis. Her options are limited. Her life likely will be short and confined, under conditions of rather extreme isolation from peers and loved ones. Her family's home is a long distance away, and she is alone most of the day. She has had more than one hundred surgeries in her short life. The chaplain generously notes at least ten substantive visits with her over the course of a year, visits that included burdensome infection-control measures such as gowns, face masks, and gloves. In short, the patient presents a heart-rending case that is almost unbearable to read.

    The chaplain in question, who claims to have been trained in the Boisen tradition, turns the Boisen model on its head. Instead of seeking to hear the voice of the young girl in a desperate plight, he moves to instruct her in the practices of Christian piety. He is hell-bent on persuading her to pray. He's as heavy-handed as an evangelist at a tent revival calling for a belief in Jesus.

    To give him due credit, the chaplain who has known the patient over a five-year period, generously spends significant time sitting with the young patient playing board games and drawing. These activities might have led to some opening in the patient whereby she might have been empowered to share some of her painful experience, which to any observer would appear unspeakably grim. But the chaplain can't wait for the patient to start feeling free to talk. He wants her to pray and to talk to God, and without delay. In nine of the ten noted visits the chaplain lobbies for the girl to talk with God and to pray.

    In the fifth of the recorded visits the chaplain believes he has hit pay dirt when the patient tells him she believes that God is helping her by telling the doctors what to do. It would seem that the girl is grasping for straws, hoping to get the Chaplain off her back. She now has some God-talk to give back to the eager chaplain.

    Hoping for a 12-year-old to open up enough to talk candidly with an adult, even after a 5-year relationship, may be more than can be wished for, so the chaplain's failure to hear the authentic voice of the patient may have been predestined. However, the chaplain's perpetual beating of the drum for prayer and God surely voided any hope of the patient's sharing anything significant about her own grim experience. She undoubtedly feels harassed by a propagandist.

    The nadir of the chaplain's inappropriateness came on a visit to the outpatient clinic where he found mother and daughter together for the first time. He asked the girl "how she and God were doing." Such a question to a preadolescent could be considered crazy-making, as well as inappropriately evangelistic. Human beings who are sane will never know how they are doing with God - if indeed there is a God.

    In his many visits it would have been sufficient for the chaplain to have asked simply, "What's it like for you here in isolation?" or "What's it like for you being so far from home in a strange place?" or "What's it like for you to have to protect yourself with all this gear and equipment?" or "How much do you miss your family?" She may or may not have ever been able to respond freely and talk about herself in that way with an adult stranger in the form of a chaplain. But we can be sure she would have understood the questions. However the question, "How are you doing with God?" is not a question she would have any way to answer. Even the chaplain, if he were honest, would be flummoxed by such a question put to him.

    I suggest here that the failure of this chaplain to ask questions that might have evoked the girl's pain and sorrow and despair can be explained by the chaplain's avoidance of pain in his own life. That would mean, in Boisen's terms, that his own counter transference inhibited his ability to touch the girl's pain. He preferred to take the role of religious functionary, defending himself against the profound pain he likely would feel in identifying with her should she disclose herself to him. Boisen's clinical training movement was designed to engage pastors with their own unconscious and transferential material, which in turn sensitizes them and makes them aware enough to hear the pain of others. This chaplain would likely benefit from further clinical training, where with a competent supervisor he might understand what is buried in him that leads him to look away from the terrible pain of this 12-year-old.

    As we in CPSP struggle to promote the inheritance of Boisen's teaching, we will have to do battle with the surging influence of such propaganda as this case and this book presents. It will not be easy. The purveyors of this new direction in chaplaincy - this new spirituality - are formidable, supported by millions of dollars in foundation monies. The future of a credible, therapeutic pastoral role is at stake. If we do not succeed in countering this alliance of superficial religiosity and money, the Boisen tradition of the psychologically competent pastoral clinician will vanish from our culture, and religious leadership will fall entirely in the hands of those with a competency level of used car salesmen and traveling evangelists.

    For reviews of the other eight cases in the book, please contact Raymond Lawrence by email: lawrence@cpsp.org.

  • 30 May 2015 1:00 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Jonathan Freeman, Certification Chair

    At its most recent meeting, the CPSP Governing Council approved changes to the CPSP certification process. These changes are implemented to strengthen the role of the chapter in the certification process, expedite the certification process, and to contain costs. The CPSP certification process will move to a two-phase process.

    The initial phase of the review will be conducted exclusively under the auspices of the candidate’s chapter, as long as the chapter is in good standing with CPSP and has the critical mass to certify at the candidate’s level (at least 4 certified members holding the certification sought by the candidate). The Outside Reviewer will no longer be a part of the certification process. This change is intended to highlight the role of the chapter (unique to CPSP) in the certification process. The Certification Team has recognized a trend of chapters becoming less involved in the “midwifery” and review of candidates and their work. Many times it is apparent that the chapter has reviewed the candidate’s work and biography, for the first time, just prior to the review with the Outside Reviewer. This is not the intent of the chapter’s role in the candidate’s preparation for certification. The chapter is, rather, intended to be the MOST prepared to speak to the candidate’s work and preparedness for certification. 

    Prior to the initial phase of the review, the candidate submits to the chapter, or portion of the chapter conducting the review, the required certification documents which are outlined in the Standards. These documents are submitted to the chapter in whatever form the chapter chooses. The candidate’s certification materials will be submitted and reviewed, by the chapter, well in advance to the chapter’s pre-certification review. The chapter may elect not to conduct the pre-certification review of the candidate if it determines the candidate is not yet prepared. If the chapter determines, following its review, that the candidate needs further professional preparation and development the chapter will continue to support and guide the candidate in addressing the deficiency. Once the candidate and chapter agree, the chapter can offer another review process to determine readiness for phase two of the process.

    Chapters without the critical mass to certify at the candidates level will conduct this phase of the certification process under the direction of the Certification Team Representative, an authorized consultant, and a chapter that has the critical mass to support certification and the necessary follow up.

    Candidates will be recommended to the Certification Team for the second phase of the process via an online report form submitted by the chapter convener (or the convener of the chapter assisting with the preliminary review for those candidates from chapters with insufficient critical mass to conduct the preliminary review). This report is new to the certification process and it will functionally replace the report previously submitted by the Outside Reviewer. The Chapter rather than the Outside Reviewer will report, among other items, its understanding of the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, clinical and professional functioning, rationale for equivalencies, etc.

    Candidates will then pay fees to the Treasurer and submit to the Certification Team the certification materials previously reviewed by the candidate’s chapter. The certification documents will be sent to the Certification Team via Dropbox.

    Candidates from chapters who function in compliance with The Standards and who submit a complete file of certification materials will be referred to a four- person Review Panel. The Panel may be comprised of members of the Certification Team and others appointed by the Certification Team in consultation with the General Secretary. The Panel will conduct a preliminary review of the candidate’s materials and the chapter’s report of its review to ascertain if the candidate is prepared for an in-person review with the Panel. If not, the Panel will provide its rationale and suggestions to the candidate and the candidate’s chapter convener. If the candidate’s chapter does not have the critical mass for certification at her/his level, the authorized consultant and her/his chapter will also receive this information, in order to continue work with the candidate.

    Review Panels will meet at each of the National Clinical Training Seminars on the day prior to the beginning of the scheduled events (currently there are two training seminars in the east and one in the west. Additional reviews may be scheduled in the west, and elsewhere if needed).

    DOWNLOAD

    These changes will begin August 1, 2015 with the first Review Panel meeting at NCTS–West at its fall meeting. Candidates for certification can continue to use the existing process. However, certification reviews under for those using the current process will need to have been scheduled by August 1, 2015.

    The Certification Team encourages members to read the revised certification process which is posted on the website. Your chapter’s Certification Team Representative is available to answer questions and to assist candidates and chapters through the process.

  • 30 May 2015 12:01 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    I entered the world of CPSP in late summer of 2011 as a supervisor in training. Since that time I have attended just about every National Clinical Training Seminar (NCTS) and have come to value numerous experiences along the way. As I reflect on the Spring 2015 NCTS I find myself connecting to the movement of my own journey as well as CPSP’s.

    The heart of CPSP is what I believe to be the small group experience beginning in our chapters and then expanding to NCTS and the Plenaries where we present our work and experiences in small working groups. For me this is living into our covenant as “We commit to being mutually responsible to one another for our professional work and direction.”

    My first presentation in this small working group experience was at the Fall NCTS 2011. I brought with me a complex diagram of a ‘clinical rhombus’ I was subjecting myself to with me in the center holding up how multiple organizations ‘needed’ to relate, ‘balancing’ dynamics as I imagined them and being ‘responsible’ for the relationships. The group process liberated me from the monster I imagined I was responsible for managing. Each NCTS from that first experience has provided me additional opportunities to present my experience and work for feedback and processing toward my growth and development as a professional pastoral clinician. The small working group experience has been invaluable toward my certification process.

    The theme of Spring NCTS-East was New Procedures in Certification and Accreditation for Members and Those Interested in The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy Credentials. As the new convener of our chapter these workshops provided me with forth coming changes in processes that affect the members of the chapter who are looking toward certification. We are engaging in how we are accountable and responsible for the candidates we produce from our chapter and what that means for each of us as we growth and develop in our clinical pastoral identity.

    Also at the heart of the CPSP experience is the Tavistock experience focused on group relations as we work toward discovering the task of the group in conjunction with various agendas arising. At this particular Tavistock encounter I found myself wondering if the work we were doing at that particular time was what Recovery of soul looks like when We commit ourselves to a galaxy of shared values that are as deeply held as they are difficult to communicate. During the past year I have experienced a change in attitude at our gatherings as we welcome this ‘uncertain’ new beginning after hard labor. I understand it as being faithful to the labor of growth and change. It was the first time I felt I was living the covenant and not just reading the covenant and liking what it said.

    The next NCTS-East gathering is November 2-3, 2015. I encourage you to attend if you haven’t already. It will not only enrich your professional growth and development but will deepen and add to the whole CPSP experience. We are invested in offering a living experience that reflects human life and faith within a milieu of supportive and challenging community of fellow pilgrims.

    ____________________________________

    Nancy Schaffer

    nschaffer1@outlook.com

    Nancy Schaffer is ordained with the United Church of Christ (UCC) and is a supervisor-in-training at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Far Rockaway, NY under the supervision of Francine Hernandez. She is Head Chaplain for the Long Island Council of Churches at the Nassau County Correctional Center, East Meadow, NY. Nancy has completed her doctorate concentrating on Prisons, Public Policy and Transformative Justice through a pastoral care lens from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, NJ. She is exploring community building through a community-based CPE program.

  • 27 May 2015 10:16 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    National Clinical Training Seminar-West ( NCTS-West) announces the dates and venue of the next gathering. Please mark on your calendar the dates of October 18-20, 2015 for the event which will be held at Christ the King Retreat Center in Sacramento, CA.

    Keep in mind that the NCTS-West is designed for Clinical Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors and Psychotherapist, CPE Supervisors and Supervisors-in-Training. The event represents a unique opportunity to focus on clinical work and developing further ability for the use of self in clinical practice and doing so within the context of psychodynamic group training process.

    Further details will be announced. For now, set these dates on your calendar and plan to attend.

    Ruth Zollinger is serving as the coordinator for the fall event. She request that we contact her if more information is needed at this point.

    ________________________

    Ruth Zollinger
    runrz1@me.com



  • 26 May 2015 12:11 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Our covenant reminds us that chapter life is the heart of our organization. The values and commitments that we uphold each time we read this covenant – collegial professional community; mutual responsibility; personal authority and creativity; persons over institutions—are each expressed most profoundly in our individual chapters. If CPSP as an organization wants to work towards better national recognition and accountability, we can’t afford to ignore the life of the chapters. In many ways the chapters provide the foundation for our reputation as a certifying and accrediting body.

    For this reason, the new “Committee on the Promotion and Certification of Chapters” has begun the work of reviewing annual chapter reports and reaching out to conveners with comments and suggestions. The goal of this process is not to enforce a set of rules or create a bureaucratic structure that prevents individuality or creativity at the chapter level. The goal is to set standards that ensure the health and strength of our chapters: to learn from the wisdom of our oldest chapters and provide guidance for those who are just beginning the journey. Our hope is also to work with the Standards committee to add more specific guidelines about what chapter life entails so that the expectations are clearly communicated.

    Here are a few major themes that the committee is looking at:

    Chapter Size: The Covenant and our current Standards limit chapter size to a dozen (12). This may seem arbitrary, but group dynamics begin to shift when there are more than twelve people in the room. The ability to maintain deep relationships and mutual accountability requires an intimate group. The same applies to minimum size: our suggestion is no less than six members to ensure diversity of perspectives and avoid insular tendencies.

    Critical Mass: The specific tasks of certification/re-certification and oversight of training centers require a critical mass of members at a given certification level. To certify and re-certify members at the Clinical Chaplain level, for example, requires at least four members who are certified at that level or higher. Likewise, annual re-certification of Diplomates and oversight of their training centers requires at least four members certified at the Diplomate level. Chapters with less than the critical mass are encouraged to partner with other chapters to ensure that certifications can be completed and maintained.

    Meeting Time: Healthy chapter life takes time. Deep relationships need to develop and there should be a balance of social and professional interactions. In order to allow for personal updates, case consultations, and any other necessary business, we recommend a minimum of at least two hours per member per year. Thriving chapters often spend 3 or 4 hours per member per year and utilize a variety of meeting options including retreats, video-conferencing, etc.

    National Participation: Chapters that know what’s going on in the organization are able to contribute their insight and help shape the future of CPSP. They are also able to advocate for and accurately represent the organization in their local community. Chapters that do not participate run the risk of drifting away from the organization’s values and isolating themselves. We recommend that chapters pool resources to sponsor at least one member to attend the annual Plenary conference, and encourage all members to participate in as many ways as they can, including Plenary and the regional NCTS gatherings.

    The Committee for the Promotion and Certification of Chapters looks forward to ongoing discussion with chapters about what works and does not work in chapter life. We also hope to identify some “exemplary” chapters in each of the five regions. Our hope is that these chapters can be a source of wisdom and consultation for others, especially newly forming chapters.

    Feel free to reach out to the members of the committee with any questions.

    Committee for the Promotion and Certification of Chapters:

    Orville Browne (chair)
    orvant.browne@gmail.com

    Parthenia Caesar
    partheniacaesar@gmail.com

    Miriam Diephouse-McMillan
    miriam.diephouse-mcmillan@dhs.state.nj.us

  • 18 May 2015 10:26 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Chaplain Joanne S. Martindale, a CPSP Diplomate CPE Supervisor, member of the Nautilus Pacific Chapter, and Veterans Administration chaplain at David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, CA, was recently promoted to the rank of Colonel in the US Army Reserve.

    She received her promotion on May 2 in a ceremony at Moffett Federal Airfield, CA. The chapel was filled to capacity with members of her unit, the 351st Civil Affairs Command, family, and friends from across the country. Trainees of her current CPE group attended and Nautilus Pacific/CPSP was represented.

    Chaplain Martindale, a 25-year veteran of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, served as lead trauma counselor for Rwandan and Bosnian victims of atrocities in 1996. She was a first responder on 9-11 and served at Fresh Kills landfill for months afterwards. She also served as Division Support Command Chaplain for the 42nd Infantry Division in Iraq in 2005. She was also mobilized for 3 ½ years as Deployment Support Chaplain for the Schweinfurt and Bamberg Military Communities in Germany.

    With this promotion, Chaplain Martindale joined a very select group within a select group: she is now one of three female O-6 (rank of full colonel) chaplains serving in the entire US Army (Active, Guard, and Reserve).

    Ed Luckett, Jr.
    ed.luckett@kp.org


  • 06 May 2015 10:29 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Whenever I talk with fellow members of CPSP, recurring themes emerge. Among the most common are struggles with pastoral identity, how the chaplain should use and work with authority, our roles on interdisciplinary teams, how to manage boundaries in our work, and the forms pastoral leadership might take when we work with groups.

    It is not only trainees in CPE who struggle with these and related issues but seasoned chaplains, SITs and CPE supervisors as well.

    So what can we do to address these issues?

    Getting a handle not only on what is most obvious but grasping our and others’ unconscious processes – “what’s really going on” – is key.

    Raymond Lawrence and I have just returned from Chicago where for the first half of last week four CPSP supervisors-in-training participated in an experiential group relations conference sponsored by the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI). This event was followed by four days of seminars and workshops about group relations theory and practice, known as the AKRI Dialogues, that the two of us attended.

    Over that past few years CPSP has been working with AKRI and its regional affiliates on the West Coast and in New York. NCTS-West and NCTS-East have both been venues for introducing our members to the methods of group relations. Charla Hayden and Jack Lampl, AKRI fellows and internationally recognized leaders in the group relations field, joined the CPSP community at the 2013 CPSP Plenary in Las Vegas.

    For the last two years CPSP members have participated in AKRI’s annual international 6-day residential conference that is held each June in Dover, MA.

    Presently, group relations conference participation is a training requirement only for SITs seeking diplomate certification. More of our CPE supervisors should attend, along with clinical chaplains, pastoral counselors and psychotherapists. We cannot stress strongly enough the benefits widespread conference participation will bring to chapter life and our various ministries.

    The reduced-rate, early registration deadline for the June 16-21 AKRI conference “Learning for Leadership” is fast approaching – less than two weeks away. Apply now. If the price tag is prohibitive, inquire about a reduction in fees. According to conference director, Edward Shapiro, MD, scholarships are available for those with an financial need.

    Last year, Bill Sewall, a trainee in CPE wrote this in Pastoral Report. http://www.pastoralreport.com/the_archives/2014/09/first_impressio_1.html

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    David Roth 
    drdavidroth@gmail.com