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The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy is a theologically based covenant community, dedicated to "recovery of the soul" and promoting competency in the clinical pastoral field.

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September 27, 2006

A Call for Chaplaincy that IS Measured, Weighed, and Cut Down to Size -BUT By and On Behalf of the Persons in Need by Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD


Thoughts upon Chaplain Anton Boisen's "Empirical Theology":

Honoring the 60th anniversary of Boisen's Problems of Religion and Life �

Dear Editor:

Recent efforts to measure, weigh, and cut chaplaincy down to size have been predominantly by and for the benefit of external agencies. These efforts, mostly by �managerial technicians,� have become so insistent across the last twenty years that one can easily forget how similar � yet psychologically and morally very different � actions used to be carried out, primarily by �humanistic artists,� almost entirely with and on behalf of the actual persons in need.

The founder of a clinically trained, educated, and transformed chaplaincy, Anton Theophilus Boisen, argued that in pastoral caring one needed to �gather and interpret the facts� � to take �a systematic look at one�s community �, at � families, �  and at certain individuals in need �.� He argued that one needed to do this

(1) to ascertain if �the pastor � has overlooked � significant areas of need,� and
(2) to certify that the pastor�s �knowledge is being constantly tested and increased�.

Both the ascertaining and the certifying � the measuring, weighing, and cutting down to size � were not to occur externally but rather internally � to become clearer in the midst of  �actual service to human beings in need.� [italics mine] The key words here are �significant� and �increased�.

For a good century or so before Boisen, clergy had been admonished, via dry-as-dust lectures and books on �pastoral care,� to do �this or that� for an abstract group of persons in need. Few teachers before Boisen appear to have gone out among individual persons in
need to ask what assistance might actually be most relevant for their lives. �Significant� was to be induced by listening to the people involved rather than deduced from academic lectures.

That is, within what Boisen called �empirical theology,� the measuring, weighing, and cutting down to size were (1) toward shaping the discrete varieties of pastoral care to the community needs and (2) toward shaping the pastor involved into the actual community chaplain needed.

Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

Boisen, Anton Theophilus: Problems in Religion and Life: A Manual for Pastors, with Outlines for the Co-operative Study of Personal Experience in Social Situations. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1946; pp.7, 7-8, 6.

Robert Charles Powell: "Empirical Theology, 1916-1946: A Note on the Contribution of Anton T. Boisen." invited address, presented before the Autumn Convocation, Chicago Theological Seminary, September 1976. Chicago Theological Seminary Register 67: 1-11, 1977.      

Robert Charles Powell: �A Call for Chaplaincy that is NOT Measured, Weighed, or Cut Down to Size: Thoughts upon Chaplain Robert Mitchell�s Article�. CPSP Pastoral Report, July 27, 2006.



Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:51 AM

September 26, 2006

National Clinical Training Seminar Update

The Fall 2006 National Clinical Training Seminar will be held Oct. 23-24, 2006 (Monday and Tuesday). The venue will be at Carmel Retreat, Mahwah, NJ. Registration time is between 10.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m.

Registrations are coming in from CPSP members from New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, and Puerto Rico! If you have not registered, please do so. We are excited about being a part of the small groups, group relations seminar and hearing our presenter, Dr. David Frazen who is the director of the Pastoral Care and Counseling Department at Alamance Regional Medical center in Burlington, NC. His themes are: Attachment: The work of John Bowlby and Separation: Anxiety and Anger. Come with your comments and your questions.

We have extended the deadline to October 16th, so please mail in your registration. You can download the Registration Form and detail information from our CPSP.ORG website.

If you have any questions, please call me at 212-305-5817 or email me.

See you there!

-Francine Angel,
NCTS Coordinator

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:11 PM

September 25, 2006

Notice to the CPSP Community Regarding Jennifer Headley

The helicopter carrying thirty-four-year-old Jennifer Headley, with twenty-three government personnel and conservationists was found crashed today in Nepal with no survivors.This is a terrible loss of a dedicated young woman in the early years of her life and work. Norman and his family can be reached at and via postal mail: 76 Park Street West, Port Credit, ON L5H 1K9 Canada. Please, at this time no phone calls.

-Raymond Lawrence

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:08 AM

September 23, 2006

Notice to the CPSP Community

Norman Headley's eldest daughter, Jennifer, is among those on the now
missing helicopter in Nepal. Jennifer was with government and
conservationist officials, and is employed by the World Wildlife
Federation, British office. Norman received this news while in a
Chapter meeting in Chapel Hill. We are all waiting for news from the
rescue teams now en route to find the missing aircraft.

-Raymond Lawrence

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:25 PM

September 22, 2006

The CPSP Advantage

The Pastoral Report is always interested in hearing how CPSP training centers promote the value of being accredited by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. Recently, we discovered how George Hull,Director of Pastoral Care and Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences,does so.

The PR contacted George Hull and he would be pleased for anyone in the CSPP community to make use of it by adapting it to their unique setting.

From the PR's perspective, George's Public Relations document would be a useful tool for all CPSP Chapters to utilize for the purpose of promoting CPSP. For example, a Chapter could encourage its members to send out an adapted form of the document via their unique email and chat room networks, including divinity schools and faith group judicatories.

Sometimes we forget that there are lots of people out there who have not heard of CPSP. On daily basis The PR and Barbara McGuire, CPSP Registrar, receive inquiries from persons interested in credentials with the CPSP based on their current education and clinical training accomplishments. Others contact us about CPE training in one of our centers.

Please see attached document (The CPSP Advantage):Download file

-Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:38 AM

September 19, 2006

Notice From Raymond Lawrence

Our beloved Myron Madden took a fall and is 'stove up at home,' in his
words, with a fractured right arm and broken shoulder, by his own
description. He collapsed and fell backwards in a grocery parking lot
while loading groceries into his pick up. He cannot use his right arm
and says he will have to work with an orthopedist. He sends his love and
prayers to the community. He can be addressed at 805 Jefferson Ct,
Slidell, LA 70458.

-Raymond Lawrence

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:51 PM