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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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April 27, 2007

Al Hengager's Volunteer Pastoral Care Provider Model and Power Point Presentations


Al Henager is a staff a Chaplain at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a member of the Little Rock, AR CPSP Chapter. Through the years he has given attention to developing a model for Volunteer Pastoral Care Providers. He recognizes that many chaplains face the difficulty of increased demand of service but without the financial resources to hire paid staff.

While on a CPSP site visit to University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to review the CPE program I was intrigued by my conversation with Al and his thinking about the model he had developed. He described it this way:

"With financial and personnel resources shrinking for health care chaplaincy, good stewardship demands the creative use of community pastoral care resources. This model offers a program for chaplain departments in certain settings to use pastoral care volunteers while still maintaining professional standards and integrity. A paradigm is presented for Board Certified Clinical Chaplains to be the mentor and supervisor of pastoral care volunteers."

He has given workshops of this subject where he presents his creative model that has the following goals:

• Become aware of the scope of pastoral resources available in your community for the welfare of patients.

• Be able to articulate the appropriate times to train, supervise, and utilize pastoral care volunteers.

• Gain tools for recruiting, training, and supervising pastoral care volunteers in appropriate health care settings.

Given the phenomenal growth rate CPSP has experienced in the number of people seeking and receiving credentials as CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplains and Associate Board Certified Chaplains, Al wanted to offer his Power Point programs to the CPSP community and also to any chaplain who might find it useful. You will see below all of the PP files listed for download.

Al's generosity extends beyond his willingness to share his work via the PowerPoint materials. He is willing to provide consultation and guidance for those who might want to further explore the use of volunteer services in order to extend their pastoral care services. If interested, please contact him by email.

Perry Miller, Editor


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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:10 PM

April 26, 2007

The Death of The Rev. Robert Cholke

The Pastoral Report received the sad news of The Rev. Robert Cholke's death. Our thoughts and our prayers are extended to his wife The Rev. Joanne Martindale, his family, and also to members of his CPSP Chapter.

Robert was a gifted person, CPE Supervisor and Pastoral Counselor. He was a Charter Member of the New York CPSP Chapter where he remained a chapter member throughout these past sixteen years.

Below are the funeral arrangements.

BRADLEY FUNERAL HOME 601 Route 73 South (at Evesham Rd.) Marlton, NJ 08053 856-983-1005 Directions

VISITATION: Thursday, May 3, 6:00 PM-9:00 PM


65 Penn Blvd.
East Lansdowne, PA 19050

VISITATION: Friday, May 4, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM

: 1:00 PM
Luncheon following the Service

Steven Voytovich, a friend and colleague of Bob, discovered the following essay:

Pastoral Care: It’s Function
People don’t need a long life,

As much as they need a compelling reason to live,

And a compelling reason to die.

For upon these two necessities

Is life for the human being

(in that great array of living things)

Sustained, enabled, and fulfilled.

Chaplain Robert W. Cholke


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:26 AM

April 24, 2007


Eulogies are most immediately associated with funerals. For that reason I’ve tended to think of a eulogy as something sonorous, if not morbid. But that is a misreading. EU-LOGY means “good talk” or maybe “good mouth”. It means to speak or write in commendation of (NB commendation, not condemnation).

In CPE when the time comes to begin the final evaluation process students typically and understandably shudder at being faced once again with differentiating between criticism and critique – between devaluation and positive assessment. The word itself – evaluation – determining a value, a worth. Here we’re in the territory of shame/failure, if not guilt.

To the extent that CPE is clinical professional education there is a legitimate place for what’s referred to as evaluation. But to the extent that CPE is clinical pastoral education evaluation borders on being presumptuous. A different tone – more grace-full and less judgmental – is called for. A theological rather than a corporate perspective deserves emphasis.

The eulogist stands up not to sermonize, instruct, moralize, or even “evaluate”. The eulogizer’s task is to hold up and honor the eulogized (warts and all). Frequently the honoring emerges out of personal memories which reveal humanness through accounts of foibles as well as successes. The best eulogies come alive through humor rather than analysis. The eulogy at its best recalls the person, bringing her or him into the present – available to be appreciated and admired as well as regretted or grieved.

After years of reading and writing CPE evaluations – and finding the task (let me put it gently) tedious, I am more and more drawn to the centrality of memory (anamnesis) as an avenue to holding up a student’s “strengths” and “weaknesses”.

“If _____ ever taught me anything, it was the time when_____.”

“What I’ll remember longest about _____ was the incident in which _____”

“What I regret the most about _____’s CPE experience was _____”

“It’s been joyful to be a witness to _____’s efforts to _____”

And then let the student engage in the task of self-evaluation.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:16 PM

April 23, 2007

VIDEO: Raymond Lawrence's 2007 Report to the CPSP Community

The Rev. Dr. Raymond Lawrence, Jr. is the General Secretary of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP). The video is his 2007 Report to the CPSP Community during the Plenary held in Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Lawrence's new book, Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom, has recently been published.

Lawrence has been an Episcopal minister for almost half a century. Most of his career was spent training the next generation of ministers in the art and science of pastoral care and counseling. His most recent teaching position was as Director of Pastoral Care at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University, a position he held for fifteen years. Previously he held positions at St Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, St. Joseph's Hospital, Houston, and New York Methodist Hospital. He has published widely in scholarly journals, and his opinion pieces on religion, ethics, and social values have appeared in most major newspapers in the U.S. His previous book, The Poisoning of Eros: Sexual Values in Conflict, was published in 1989, and was the winner of the 1990 Book Award at the World Congress on Sexuality in Caracas, Venezuela.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:37 PM

April 20, 2007

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: George Hankins Hull

Dear Editor,

I want to thank you for the hard work you put into publishing Pastoral Report. I am proud that CPSP has lead the way in publishing an on-line journal. It's one more example of CPSP creativity and I want to celebrate this.

It is such a pleasure to read Kathryn Martino's and Barbara McGuire's reflections on the 2007 CPSP Plenary and to read again Jim Gebhart’s challenge to us to expand our concept of supervision towards the larger culture. Jim's comments are timely set against the awful events which have unfolded at Virginia Tech.

And now, most recently, Raymond Lawrence’s penetrating observation that "violence and brutality and unrequited hurt that now permeate our social order." We are once again challenged to be resolved "to be more alert to the profoundly troubled among us, and risk taking action that is both caring and restraining."

Once again CPSP is leading the way.

George Hankins Hull

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:47 PM

April 19, 2007

VIDEO: Dr. James Gebhart 2007 CPSP Presidential Address

James Gebhart, PhD is President of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP). He delivered his Presidential Address to the CPSP community during the spring meeting of the 2007 CPSP Plenary held in Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Gebhart is a practicing clinical psychologist in Columbus, Ohio. Also, he is a CPSP Diplomate in Pastoral Psychotherapy and Clinical Pastoral Supervision.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:57 PM

April 18, 2007

Words of Support From the College of Health Care Chaplains

The letter below was received today from the Rev. Dr. Chris Swift, President of the College of Health Care Chaplains:

Dear Perry and colleagues at CPSP,

The National Professional Committee of the UK's College of Health Care
Chaplains was in session when news reached us of the devastating events
in Virginia.

We wish to extend to CPSP colleagues our prayers and support at a time
when the kind of services provided by your organization will be in great
demand. Not only now, but in the months and years to come there will be
a need to care for those affected by these dreadful events.

Please pass on our condolences to any of your members who may have been
directly connected to the consequences of this shooting - and our best
wishes to those who are working to support others.

Yours sincerely,


We of the CPSP community are very fortunate to have such dear colleagues as Chris Swift and the College of Health Care Chaplains in the United Kingdom. His words of wisdom, truth and support captures, not only the generous and affectionate spirit of our bothers and sisters in the UK but his words serve as a reminder to all of us in the clinical pastoral field as to who we are and who we are called to be.

Our mission must be that we all become big enough to reach beyond ourselves and our self-interest as pastoral organizations into a vision and mission that knows, "...Not only now, but in the months and years to come there will be a need to care for those affected by these dreadful events...."

The sad truth remains, there are far too many in this world who face the dreadfulness of life, a dreadfulness that eventually befalls all of us, for clinical pastoral organizations to not support the uniqueness of each another as together we share the burden and the hope that as clinically trained clergy we might be able to make a difference in the lives of those who face within their lives and relationships dreadful hours and days.

Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:42 PM

FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY: The Massacre in Virginia

No one can explain such tragedies as the massacre in Virginia Monday.Nor can anyone bring the youngsters back whose lives were so abruptly and terribly ended.

These events are a reminder of the violence and brutality and unrequited hurt that now permeate our social order. Perhaps it was always so. But it does seem that wherever we look, in this country and abroad, profound frustration and murderous rage lurk. We must all, especially those of us in the religion and counseling field, resolve to attend better to the wide frustration that is evident, and find ways to attend to and control the rage of
troubled persons and groups. Even as our hearts go out to the victims, we must resolve to be more alert to the profoundly troubled among us, and risk taking action that is both caring and restraining.

Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 2:30 PM

April 16, 2007

Reflections of a Milestone – Diplomate Certification in Singapore: Interview Report of the Newly Certified Singapore CPSP Diplomates by Kathryn R. Martino


Reflections of a Milestone – Diplomate Certification in Singapore: Interview Report of the Newly Certified Singapore CPSP Diplomates by Kathryn R. Martino
College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy
2007 Plenary
Raleigh, NC

Were not out hearts burning within us as we discussed indigenous CPE in Singapore? The experience of Luke 21 continued today as I sat with CPSP’s brand new diplomates, Tak Meng Wong, Erik Yong, Chee Meng Foo and Philip Soh. And the ancient Chinese proverb: When two or three walk together, one may become your teacher was relived in the joy of interpersonal camaraderie. The teacher was evidently the Spirit within each of us as we relived the cross-cultural journey that brought these extraordinarily inspiring pastoral educators to Raleigh, North Carolina for the 2007 CPSP Plenary. The newly certified diplomates glowed with the joy of something new and wonderful in our midst, as new and wonderful as the birth of a newborn child. And as fellow pilgrims, we are invited to bask in their glow. Planted as round seeds in a far off land, indigenous CPE brings forth round watermelons, culturally holistic and unboxed in by Western culture.

Although the seeds of CPE in Singapore were sown years earlier, they did not come to fruition until the expansion of St. Andrew’s Hospital from a 60 to 200 bed facility. Our first diplomate from Singapore, The Reverend Tak Meng Wong, knew the spiritual needs of patients could be met more fully with clinical pastoral education at the site. The Most Reverend Dr. John Chew, Bishop of Singapore and Archbishop of Southeast Asia, had received a proposal from The Rev. Dr. Richard Liew, a fellow alumnus at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, to implement CPE in Southeast Asia as early as the 1980’s. Even as Richard laid the groundwork, a generation earlier, The Rev. Dr. John DeVelder’s family had an interesting connection to Singapore. His parents who were missionaries in China, ministered to immigrants of the same Fujian Province from whence one of the newly certified Diplomate’s ancestors originated. And now, the moment has come for the seeds of CPSP’s clinical pastoral education program in Singapore to bear fruit. The newly certified diplomates share their thoughts with us:

The Rev.Wong Tak Meng, facilitator and initiator of the CPE program, is fueled by his passion for contemplation and sets aside time for solitude and prayer. His youthful demeanor does not negate a spiritual presence that is immediately experienced. He revealed his appreciation for the human condition’s process of recovery of soul and journey toward transformation. Tak Meng views his call to CPE as one initiated by Divine Intervention. When asked if he had a word he wished to bring to the larger community, he stated:

I would like to remind the community that the purpose of CPE is first and foremost theological. Seeking God and His perspective may be more elusive, intangible, hard work – but it must be the core of what we do. Doing the work of God does not polarize theology and psychology. We need both right and left hands, with the emphasis on theological guidance.

When asked how he felt upon becoming certified, he simply said,

A milestone has been reached and I am pushed to continue learning to the next level. My feeling is that of excitement. [And that excitement is contagious!]

The Rev. Eric Yong, was invited to enter the CPE journey by Tak Meng, and both diplomates are employed at St. Andrew’s Hospital. Eric has a smile that lights up his face. He wished to share the following comments with the larger community:

I hope CPSP will continue to be an important part of my journey. I look forward to sharing experiences of pastoral theology with the CPSP body and believe supervision is always a learning experience.
Relative to his certification as diplomate, he said:
I am honored. This opens up for me the opportunity of a greater understanding of the journey. At the end of the day, I hope to be transformed in person and as pastor – more aware of what God is doing both in myself and in others.

The Rev. Foo Chee Meng’s word to the community was related with eyes beaming – eyes that reveal his soul’s passion for the journey:

I wish to be culturally sensitive, taking into consideration a person’s mind set, background and contextual setting as appropriate Dealing with soul is very important and pastoral self- care attracted me to CPE. It is a new chapter in my life. A person transformed is a person more aware of what God is doing through him and in him.

This is a new beginning also for our CPE program. We will start extended units to give students time to first learn the method and then integrate deeper theological reflection and interpersonal skills.

The Rev. Philip Soh, along with his Singapore colleagues have been asked by his Certification Review Committee, to study, process and create psychoanalytic theory from a Chinese cultural perspective. He shares his thoughts on CPSP as follows:

My feeling is that this is a very welcoming community where I can be free to express my thoughts and feelings. For me this has been constant throughout the whole CPE process. It is helping me to be a reflective as well as affective, effective, and active pastor, addressing the concerns and injustices among the hurting.
This is an ongoing process -- certification is just another milestone or phase of an ongoing growing ministry. I want to thank CPSP for the opportunity extended to myself and the pastoral community to be part of this educational ministry.

Last but not least, The Reverend. Dr. Richard Liew, Director of CPE at Episcopal Health Services of Long Island, who envisioned CPSP’s clinical pastoral education program in Singapore in the nineteen eighties, offers his reflection of this momentous occasion (in an email report to the CPSP supervisory CPE trainees in Malaysia who are just a causeway away from Singapore):

I just returned from our national CPSP Plenary (CPSP's annual gathering of the community) that was held at Raleigh, North Carolina. While tired, I am also energized by the sense of accomplishment. As you all know, your Singapore colleagues were here (after 2.5 years in their own training process) to be examined and reviewed for their certification as a Clinical Educator in CPE Supervision ("Diplomate in Supervision" in
the College of Pastoral Supervision & psychotherapy). Helping each of them with their theory papers and clinical materials they had to submit and arranging every detail for the Examination & Review Committee necessitated the devotion of all of my time and attention. I am happy to share with you that they all "made it" (with flying colours)! After receiving their certificates which were presented during the grand assembly gathered for the banquet, Archbishop and Bishop John Chew's letter to CPSP was read aloud, followed by a standing ovation and applause from everyone present. It was indeed a well-deserved proud moment, not just for the Singapore trainees (former) but also for the Diocese of Singapore, we Asians, and, not least, me too (of course I felt like a proud rooster looking at his chickadees "making it" and taking their rightful place on their own merit).

So, a hearty “congratulations” Tak Meng, Eric, Chee Meng and Philip on the enormous milestone each of you have reached in your respective ministerial journeys! You came with wisdom from the East bearing the gifts of self; you return with the respect, gratitude and support of the larger CPSP community. Let us continue, with God’s blessing, to walk together.

Garden City, NY Chapter
March 30, 2007

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:15 PM

April 15, 2007


MARCH 29,2007
James E. Gebhart, Ph.D.

A year ago at Virginia Beach in my first Presidential address I urged you to focus on the specific name of our organization, at least the first two words of it: College and Pastoral. I experienced you working with me to revisit those words: the unique meaning and history of ourselves as a covenant community, and the empowerment embedded in the term pastoral, that in a secular world of health care and education we dare to claim ourselves as persons called by God to do God’s work, to actually guide persons to transcendent commitments.

If the first two words speak of who we are, the second two words speak of how we enter the world and engage it. And in challenging you to consider the second two words, “Supervision” and “Psychotherapy” I am compelled to go far beyond the limited task of the supervision of the student or trainee, or the clinical treatment of the client or the patient, although that is all of great importance. Let us look not at one individual case in this hour but to the vast, complex culture itself. Let us broaden our focus from the student or the patient to North America. For I am asking who is supervising America, who is seeking to care for and bind up the wounds of our nation?

Begin with that first word: Super-vision. The promise of the 121st Psalm comes to mind: “He watching over Israel slumbers not nor sleeps.” That is divine supervision, the Lord sustaining her own covenant. Super-vision—to see the entire picture, the whole scene, to keep it in front of us. To seek to know all that is happening or not happening, to grasp what must be addressed. And don’t be limited by the literal term “vision.” Total comprehension is what is seen, what is heard, what is sensed, what is touched. And in our common theologies, the Super-vision of the Lord God is manifested through human eyes which are no longer blind; it is expressed from human lips, the prophetic words of those who are inspired; it is incarnate in mortal souls like our own, and finds expression in our music and poetry, our celebration and anguish, our compassion and anger.

“He/She watching over Israel slumbers not nor sleeps.”
And yet we much prefer to slumber or sleep, because if we take a focused “super” view of this culture we are want to despair. Things are that bad. For these are critical times, critical hours of our culture, and we must find the courage to claim our Super-vision, to name it for what it is.

At this juncture I am not so foolish as to preach to the choir. I am telling you nothing you do not already know. I ask only that we bring our vision together. If we had the modern “power point” screen, we would put these bullets up there, and you would nod, knowing them well.

These, then, are the bullets:

First, this terrible war,
this growing agony of our nation, this moral abyss into which we have sunk, this many-headed monster whose chaotic strategy is to disarm or kill the insurgents, hunt down al-Queda (if it even exists in Iraq), rebuild that country, restore civilian order, and all the time try to keep from getting killed by a people who are coming to despise us. Granted, there once was popular support (including from some of us) in the first days when a pre-emptive move against Afghanistan seemed justified in retaliation against al-Queda’s attack on our nation. But then it degenerated, flowing into Iraq in the tragic misguided policies of our leaders who arrogantly pronounced that the near-East eagerly awaited the visit of the messianic democracy of America. Manifest Destiny, again. The consequence has been a war of longer duration than World War II. It has cost “only” 3500 American lives compared to 50,000 in Viet Nam, but as a Navy Surgeon at COMISS told us “Don’t be deceived by those statistics. We have better forward advance medical care in Iraq than we did in Viet Nam, and we keep many more from dying. But the public does not see the horror of the cascading numbers with grievous injuries: head and spinal trauma, loss of limbs, gross disfigurement, post-traumatic stress.” “Only” 3500 dead. An estimated 50,000-100,000 deaths to Iraqi civilians. A cost of $500 billion with an ultimate cost of up to $1 trillion. And a morally stricken, discouraged and confused nation. A disaster!

I am reminded right now of a moment when Harry Emerson Fosdick stood in the pulpit at Riverside Church. This elegant, classical Christian scholar and preacher crafted every word he spoke. I have read most all of his sermons. On this day, during World War II, from that magnificent pulpit he looked out on a congregation which included a large section of Naval cadets, in their dress uniforms, just before shipping out. Whether he had crafted these words, or whether he was led to speak from his heart, this is what Fosdick said: “God damn this war! And that is a prayer, and not an oath.”

The second bullet point: the American economy. Oh, the Dow Jones looks pretty good these days, and I am glad, because it manages my pension. But this average reflects the status of the rich who are becoming very rich, of corporations who are doing quite well, and to a lesser extent the status of a disappearing middle class. One brokerage house is now quietly discouraging giving any attention to any family whose investment is less than $750,000. America’s powerful economic engine is productive, but not for a vast number of Americans. 16 million now are counted as in living in poverty with family incomes of less than $10,000 per year. Over the last five years this country has experienced a 25% increase in the number of severely poor—persons living hand to mouth, barely able to subsist even with food stamps and food pantries. This comes at a time of actual economic expansion with a dramatic increase in worker productivity; yet the profits have gone to corporations while wages and job growth have actually slipped badly. African Americans and Latinos make up a disproportionate share of the impoverished with the highest rates of poverty being near the Mexican border and in parts of the South. But increasing numbers of the poor are also appearing in our affluent looking suburbs where persons reside who are on fixed retirement, unable to keep up with inflation or with the soaring medical expenses, or persons able to maintain their old lifestyle only by home equity loans and increasing credit card debts.

The third bullet: the health care crisis. This is, of course, closely related to the economic assessment just mentioned. But if that previous bullet is only a theoretical report to you, not this one. You see this crisis every day. Only one in five persons in that emergency room will be able to pay for the service, thus distributing the burden to the one who has insurance and can manage the co-pay. Or a hospital will restrict care to the poor. Or people walk around not able to afford the medicines prescribed for them by their doctors, or postponing procedures for themselves until some later time. Very soon over 50% of the population will have no health insurance. And in the interim the costs of health care rise 5% each year, now amounting to $1 of every $5 spent by anyone in America. This is outpacing the overall economy. It means that many smaller churches can no longer afford a minister because the health care costs push the total support package over the limit. And that, of course, is assuming that you can even get health insurance. We could compose a long list of medical conditions which would disqualify any applicant from benefits unless he or she could join some larger group plan. This third bullet: a health care system which is completely disintegrating.

The fourth bullet: the ecological crisis,
the global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels around the world, and notably in the United States which is responsible for one-fourth of the greenhouse gases. Some say this should be the first bullet, the most urgent crisis of world history. At the U.N. The Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change predicts “catastrophic consequences” if we fail to reduce these emissions. Yet this comes at a time when such gas emissions are actually increasing, and we predict a 20% rise by the year 2020. The outlook is dire; some say we have about 40 years to revolutionize the basic ways the world produces and consumes fuel. 40 years! Our very children and grandchildren will inherit this disaster. But it is a low level priority in Washington.

There are other bullets we could add: continuing discrimination against minorities; the impasses in our educational system; our crass popular values reflected in our consumer and entertainment habits; overpopulation; our flawed system of justice which services the wealthy white person in one way, and the poor or the minority of those will less education in a completely different manner; the attempt by the far right to create an American theocracy; the plight of women and children around the world; our national disdain for immigrants and refugees; other abuses of human rights; and of course the international concerns with nuclear proliferation and terrorism. We could go on; our power point board does not have enough room. But, stitched together, they form what Joseph Sprague calls “seamless garment of oppression and sin.”

This is basic Super-vision. This is what is going on. But who speaks up and identifies this? Sadly, very few. Not most of our political leaders, for Realpolitic is a world of partisan rivalries, of complex expediency where any leader “can only go so far” lest he/she empower the opposition. And, to our sorrow, such Super-vision does not come from religious leadership for, of course, organized religion is so very political. One example is Ohio. I have given personal leadership to the creation of the Interfaith Coalition to Stop Executions. When, in 1998, Ohio, under then Governor Robert Taft, decided to re-institute the killing of convicted prisoners, the first two who were executed were, it was commonly agreed, mentally ill and mentally retarded. But the silence that followed was unbearable, reminiscent of Germany in the 1930’s. And so we created the Interface Coalition. At our inauguration in 2001, I had the honor of giving the inaugural speech while I was flanked by over 60 religious leaders and leading pastors and rabbis who stood together, holding before us the strong statements of commitment of 54 major religious groups who opposed capital punishment on moral, social and judicial grounds. We met again the following year and all the bishops and church executives stood shoulder to shoulder with the families of murder victims saying that the killings for retaliation must end. But the executions continued, and nothing happened. I could not get this same group to march on the state house and nail our demands to the door of the Governor and the conscience of Ohio. Then one day I looked in the mirror and saw, looking back at me, Don Quixote. I was foolishly blind to the fact that reality prevented the bishops and religious leaders from going any further. This was, after all, the time of national elections, and because the majority of “persons in the pew” still endorsed capital punishment, to try and educate them to alternatives to execution would empower the far right, and risk further polarizing congregations already divided over issues of homosexuality, abortion and stem cell research.

Who is watching over Israel? Not, in most cases, the sleeping religious leadership.

And it is disheartening that such Super-vision does not come from our established professional organizations. But they, too, have their own vested, political interests. The American Medical Association nor the American Psychological Association do not stop their presses and make this broad Super-visory assessment. They do not do so because, first, doctors are also divided, and they must coalesce around the single components. They can fight for health care concerns if they do not “go too far” and criticize the war.

And not the academic community. I asked a professor recently who is a world class scientist at Ohio State why academics, noted for their history of intellectual freedom, are not gathered to protest the inept response in Washington to our national crises. Her response: “Jim, you are naïve. You know where I stand on most of these issues. But if I did as you said my funding from federal sources would be cut and a short time my lab would disappear.”

Who is “watching over Israel?” Here I must add in great sadness from personal experience: such Super-vision is not even forthcoming from most of the pastoral care and counseling organizations, those who are supposedly most committed to an objective and soulful assessment of the whole picture, who are supposed to be ones through whom the Word of the Lord comes. Accept this shameful fact: two of the largest pastoral organizations are devoting most all of their energy to their internal concerns, to position themselves for their greatest political advantage over other organizations. They spread false information to accomplish their goal. One seeks to have an absolute monopoly on clinical pastoral education, the other seeks to have an absolute monopoly on the certification of chaplains. They are even moving to a kind of merger, better able to fiddle while Rome burns.

And so, if not these, our political and religious leaders, our professional organizations-- if not these who, then, will provide Super-vision?

It is not surprising that the models which inspire us are theologians. For that is the task of theology: to engage and interpret the total human experience. Pastoral Supervision, no less. There is Karl Barth in 1934, telling Germany that Christianity and patriotism are not synonymous. In these exact words he sounded the alarm

“against every form of groupthink, especially when those who claim an affiliation with God begin to rally hearts and minds under a nationalistic banner. When this occurs, it is the prophetic consciousness that brings a redemptive skepticism to our mythical realities. The confessing community can speak candidly and demand candor when career politicians and celebrity pundits feel trapped by a public that seems to only want promises of absolute victory in the war on evil, further proclamations of America’s moral superiority, and assurance concerning the innate goodness of the American people.”

Or Paul Tillich, preaching on Jeremiah and Isaiah about the shaking of the foundations of the earth, how the triumph of science has become the power for annihilation of the world. Or Walter Brueggemann who describes our current state of alienation in these words:

“The fabric of human care, human dignity, and human possibility is destroyed in the powerful name of greed, as though the American dream has run its course and nobody knows what to do, or even when to notice. . . We scarcely have any poets left whose lips tremble enough to speak our truth for us.”

The one person in our time who most clearly had a comprehensive Super-vision of this nation was, of course, Martin Luther King. This is what he said: “A time comes when silence is betrayal. . . We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. . . . We must speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy. . .” King’s deep wisdom came in seeing the whole picture, the complete Gestalt, namely that racism, war and poverty are triplets, joined at the hip, crippling the soul of our culture. He said this: “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Super-vision takes it all into account, defining as clearly as possible and in integrated fashion what is happening.

And then Super-vision asks the question why? Why has it come to this? Why the dysfunctionality, or the pathology?

Why? How would you answer that? Some would answer that it is because we are blind and stupid. Jesus stalked constantly of our blindness. Others attribute it to our narcissism and arrogance. Others to our deep fear. Still others to our fallen estate and need of salvation.

But can we get a little more specific than this? I think so. For some time now I have instructed by a new edition of an older text by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno called Dialectic of Enlightment. These two philosophers tackle the problem of how Germany, the very cradle of the Enlightenment, could have disintegrated into the barbaric Third Reich, and in the decades to follow with most of humanity following in its way. They analyze in depth the Enlightenment, the profound intersection of history where two basic elements were introduced into the renaissance of history. Those elements were truth and freedom.

First truth. It was Francis Bacon whose “experimental philosophy” led him to anticipate the coming of the scientific method where truth would replace medieval mythology. He went all the way back to Plato: God is truth, and thus truth is divine. And such divine understanding must be pursued at all costs. Some of it is exciting, such as the discovery of the human cell and its functions. But some of it is daunting, that the world was not created in seven days as the old myths insisted. But no matter, we have to come to terms with it. The pursuit of truth is the sine qua non of integrity. Likewise the lie, especially the deliberate distortion of the truth or the claiming that a myth is literally true, is not of God, and is demonic. There follows Emmanuel Kant and his critique of pure reason, and Descartes and Leibnitz and Hegel and Nietzsche, persons who would not be deterred in search of the truth that liberates. Old myths and Homeric tales are prized for their symbolism which point to truths sensed but not yet defined.

The pursuit of truth. . . and the proclamation of freedom: this is the Enlightenment. The truth that we are not born into unequal biological castes, the truth that we most certainly must celebrate our individual differences like the variety of flowers in the field. Conformity to some common characteristic is a violation of the truth of our differences, and it must be resisted.

But, then, Horkheimer and Adorno ask: How could Germany do what it did. It replaced truth with fiction, with a new mythology of Aryan supremacy and Jewish culpability. And the enlightened, intelligent population bought into this, shedding their marvelous and distinct individual differences for a common character of conformity and blind obedience.

Truth replaced by mythology, freedom by conformity. Friends, does that sound familiar as we look at American culture today? Truth? Pilate would be right at home in Washington, muttering cynically “What is truth?” It seems to be missing from the scene. We are talking not only about the infamous fabrication of “weapons of mass destruction” which justified our invasion of Iraq, but much more. Deceit is all around us from Enron to the Florida votes which “elected” this President the first time, from Alberto Gonzoles to Scooter Libby. We just don’t believe what is told to us. A congressional hearing is of dubious value unless witnesses are subpoenaed under oath, for otherwise it is assumed they will not tell “the whole truth.” We have “spin doctors” who are experts at replacing truth with a new social myth. A great example is the WHIG group (White House Iraq Group) headed by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, exposed by the Washington Post as having a mandate to cook up the sexiest recipe for promoting the war, facts be damned. Tell a lie long enough and people will think of it as truth. We have highly orchestrated “disinformation” experts to change the truth. Exxon, for example, in one quarter last year had the highest earnings for any corporation in all of history. But Exxon directed that 25% of that new fortune be placed in the hands of those who would convince the public that there is no ecological crisis resulting from our production of carbon dioxide, and that it is right that we continue to build engines and furnaces that burn petroleum products. Demonic deception.

Truth replaced by mythology. And personal freedom replaced by conformity. John Kinney’s references to the square watermelons and the “squaring of America” are so timely. Again, no preaching to the choir. You know that we are a trendy people, directed by our advertising and marketing experts to dress and act in a certain way, to accept this entertainment, these values, to adapt to the great collective. The result is uniformity, unending sameness, the prelude to the simple obedience which was the downfall of Germany.

How ironic that the pastoral care and counseling movement is in danger of succumbing to this conformity to the new mythology. The “squaring” of pastoral care. For the pastoral care and counseling movement was, just a generation ago, a dramatic phenomenon. In its pursuit of truth it dared to open theology to psychoanalysis, to a courageous look at any and all of our motivations and presumptions, and to a daring reclamation of its place in the healing professions. And as for challenging conformity, it was a threat to religious leaders who expected ministers to “get in line and stay there.” The principle of individuality characterized the personalities who were their own persons. March a few of them before you, and marvel at their selfhood: Boisen, whose passion for authenticity started it all; Seward Hiltner, Carroll Wise, Helen Flanders Dunbar, Russell Dicks, Ernie Bruder, Tom Klink, Wayne Oates, Armen Jorjorian, John Billinsky, Fred Kuether, Len Cedarleaf, Myron Madden. . . The list could go on and on. Whether or not you agreed with them, you could never say that they were cut from some cloth of sameness. They were fiercely independent.

How ironic, then, that such individuality in the pastoral care movement is now suspect, criticized as rebellious, and not tolerated by the majority who fear it. The modern candidate for certification is sometimes counseled by the “wise” to not be conspicuously different from the norm. And in recent years that has been a strong movement toward sameness in the desire for “universal standards” for pastoral care organizations. This is a dangerous phrase. While we need a language that is understood across disciplines, this phrase can also become a perversion of the meaning of standards. Standards are parameters, attempts to articulate values and criteria for professional functioning. But they are not a mold into which we should all comfortably fit. But this modern quest for sameness is to make standards the “letter of the law” which stifles creativity and poisons personal freedom. My partner in Columbus, Rahe Corlis, once put this best when he was serving as President of the State Board of Psychology. At a public meeting where the legalists were wanting to take over the profession he made this remark: “Look. Show me a psychologist who says he has never moved beyond any of these strict ethical codes, who has never violated any of the standards, and I will show you an incompetent psychologist.” Of course! Such a psychologist will be acting as a machine, without soul, never vulnerable, and who could ever relate to such a person. It would not surprise you that Dr. Corlis was soundly criticized for such an outrageous remark.

How could it have happened. this surrender of truth and freedom, yielding to new mythologies and conformity. Why would we do such a thing? Horkheimer and Adorno reflect on how threatening it is for persons to be actually committed to the quest for truth and freedom. They conclude that humans were simply not up to the vision of the Enlightenment, and they ran for safety. The theologian Douglas John Hall observes the flight of many Christians to absolutism and authority because they cannot tolerate ambiguity and “the burden of freedom.” This is reflected, of course, in the proliferation of religious fundamentalism in America, large numbers preferring to accept myth as literal truth and abandoning their freedom.

But that is enough. All of this is what I lift up as at least one perspective, on Super-visory pronouncement of our nation and our time.

And what of the last term in our name: Psychotherapy. It means literally the treatment of the soul. The soul of America. How to bind up the wounds of this nation.

My mind is too small to even imagine all that must be done in this time of crisis. What we can do is to be guided by the principle we apply in our practice: if you are able to make an accurate diagnosis, then the prescription will follow. If our Super-vision is on target, then we will fashion a response accordingly.

Therefore if we implement our paradigm for today, it means that we must, at all cost, require truth and counter mythology designed to deceive; and we must commit ourselves to personal and organizational freedom, and challenge all who would have us conform to the easy way of security.

Fortunately on the horizon there is hope for the recovery of truth and freedom. Polls indicate that a great majority of Americans are no longer buying the myth that the freedom of the world depends upon our military success in Iraq. Most agree: let us admit this disastrous policy and get out. In Washington the “spin doctors” might well be subpoenaed in the coming days, now required to tell the “whole truth” lest they be charged with perjury. Since January of this year, 10 major corporations have announced their full and immediate support of mandatory limits of greenhouse emissions, prepared to completely rebuild their factories if necessary. And whoever you vote for, you must be pleased that “We The People” is a more open process with candidates for President that include a woman, an African American, and an Hispanic, and others —this instead of a cartel representing interests of the petroleum industry.

But the Psychotherapy, the treatment of this broken soul of a nation, is just beginning. It will require much of you individually, and much of us collectively. Above all we must speak up, demand candor and accountability. We must demand it of our political leaders, our religious leaders, the leaders of our professions, and from one another. Ours must become the voice for the voiceless who are poor, who are without medical care, who have been disenfranchised for one reason or another. We simply must support one another in our individual differences, the hallmark of the recovery of our free spirit. We must speak, and we must step out. If this era requires a return to demonstrations in public, even civil disobedience, so be it! Anything but this silence, this deceit, this blind conformity and obedience. Anything but that.

Well, that is our name: The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. I want to say how honored I am to be one of you, seeking to proclaim the truth as we can best discern it, and working to sustain our individual freedom. And I am so proud to serve you. And one of the things which inspires me is a letter on file at my desk. . It came at a time when I asked for feedback on our strategies and process. The letter is about our community, our pastoral empowerment, about the big picture, and about our response. I look at this letter whenever I am unclear about CPSP. It brings me back to the essence of our name:

“We are called by God to care for others, to work toward healing our broken world. . . It is time to move forward into a new tomorrow. Forget about the past; no more turf battles with these other organizations. Rather devote your energy to come over and help me design and establish programs that will advance the utilization and resourcing of clinically trained clergy in North Carolina. Because North Carolina has gutted community mental health. Many of the mentally ill have no where and no one to whom they can turn for help. Desperation, fear and hopelessness is suffered and endured.
Let CPSP remain dedicated to the Recovery of Soul—ours and those whom we are called to serve. We must continue to ask the other pastoral organizations to join us in this work. Let us serve the least of these who are broken in spirit and heart. There is too much suffering in the world for us not to do so.

Signed. Perry Miller.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:43 PM

April 12, 2007

The 2007 CPSP Plenary: A Time to Share, Heal and Hope by Barbara McGuire


As I flew home from Raleigh, North Carolina; where the 2007 CPSP Plenary was held I began to reflect on the experiences I had over the last several days. As in previous years, it is the small group meetings that hold the most significance for me. It is during these meetings that I am given a time to share, to heal and to hope. Where else can one encounter a phenomenon such as this? It never ceases to amaze me that year after year I can sit in a room with people who are virtual strangers and in a short amount of time they become my confidants. This experience always offers me a sense of renewal.

A sad point this year occurred when I discovered that for the second year in a row Myron Madden, our plenary chaplain would not be able to join us as we gathered. However, I remembered his words from the previous year; they left a mark on my soul. Myron wrote, “I have struggled to make my ministry one of bringing blessing to the lives of others. But you can never be sure if you have succeeded unless it comes back in a form of some real human affirmation from others. You as a group in CPSP have so affirmed me that I can go in the strength of that gift even as the body stretches toward sundown.”

Is this not a struggle we each tend to bear? Yet, real human affirmation is what I gain from these gatherings and I think it would be fair to say the majority of our members journey back home with a similar feeling.

Further affirmation came as I listened to each of the three exceptional speakers who joined us this year; Dr. John Kinney, Dr. Esteban Montilla, & Dr. Carol Schweitzer. I would like to direct you to read Kathy Martino’s reflection on the Pastoral Report (PR); since her words echo my own. A tremendous thanks is extended to each of our speakers; your words inspired and transformed.

This year we were privileged to have The Rev. Dr. Chris Swift, the President of the College of Health Care Chaplains in the UK join us as we gathered. Dr. Swift joined a small group during his visit and later commented that his experience was a bright point during the conference. Chris affirms the value of these small group meetings. Be sure to watch the brief video on the PR, where Chris makes his closing remarks; his words speak to the true value of the work we do as chaplains.

Jim Gebhart, our President, addressed the community with passion as he spoke of issues facing our world: the war, the economy, the health care system and global warming. Jim’s words brought to mind a quote by Norman Cousins, “Nothing is more powerful that an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.” Your words have enlightened us, Jim. Thank you.

Our General Secretary, Raymond Lawrence spoke about the evil winds blowing in the clinical pastoral movement. His words brought us up to date in relation to who and where we are as a community. As always, Raymond offers an exceptionally distinctive point of view. Be sure to look for both of these addresses in the PR, they will be published soon.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to create this outstanding gathering, especially John Edgerton who planned the 2007 CPSP Plenary and who served as our host. Our Annual plenary gifts each of us with an opportunity to look more deeply at who we are; giving us an occasion to gather and grow. As a community we are truly set apart.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:41 PM

April 9, 2007

John Edgerton 2007 CPSP Plenary Host

Dr. John Edgerton, who planed and who also graciously hosted the 2007 CPSP, can be viewed in this brief video clip as he brings words of wisdom and humor as well as welcoming Denominational Representatives. As the viewer can see, John was enjoying himself as he set a relaxed and casual tone of hospitality that permeated the entire Plenary.

-Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:45 PM

April 8, 2007

Reflections of the 2007 CPSP Plenary by Kathy Martino


If I were to say one word to describe my Plenary experience in Raleigh, NC this year, it would be a resounding, “WOW.” If I were to give an equally descriptive analysis, “it rocked..”

Now that my feelings of appreciation are on the table, I hope to reflect the “why” of such enthusiasm. Highlights include, over and above all others, the joy of camaraderie in being with colleagues from the East and West united together in celebrating who we are as a community. This is not easily explained in words but realized in experience – an expression of joy and wonder, communion and rejuvenation, a sense of “coming home” after a long day or year’s battle with whatever is encountered in our daily lives and struggles. The faces of my colleagues said it all as I viewed them, i.e., “we are alive, we have survived, we are a community of professionals, with a soul that thrives, suffers, recovers and rejoices no matter the circumstance.

Events of note were the dynamic keynote speakers, the Tavistock Experience , the presentation to the community by our President, a sharing from the General Secretary’s new book, the small group experience, the celebration with our newly certified members of their achievements, a more intimate celebration with Episcopal Health Services, Inc.’s new diplomates from Singapore, display of a CPE pilot program for women in a maximum security prison, and great food and hot coffee (along with stronger drinks in our own refreshment space, the Governor’s Room).

Keynote Speakers:
Rev. Dr. John W. Kinney gave an animated talk on Recovery of Soul. His story of Nelson Mandela’s national inauguration after release from prison found a resounding “yes” in me and most assuredly in others. The story relates the overwhelming joy of his people expressed in their stomping of feet. The elitist commentator rejected this instinctual, “unsophisticated” display. Nelson came forward and responded appropriately; he stomped his feet!. Bishop Tutu was pleaded with for his comments on this ungodly behavior. He came forward, also commented appropriately, and likewise, stomped his feet! This stomping is a real expression, beneath words, of my own view of CPSP’s call into being. One of our newly certified members expressed this well when, upon receiving her certificate, stomped her way back to her seat. In so doing she affirmed another story of the first Keynote Speaker: we are not boxed in as “square watermelons” – our seeds are indeed round.

The second keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Schweitzer, spoke of Pastoral Wisdom: Understanding the Relationship Between Loss and Personal Vulnerability in Conflict Situations. Dr. Schweitzer presented a case study on incest which I found intellectually provocative. How blessed and fortunate are we to have access to this document on CPSP’s Pastoral Report so as to use it as reference tool and guide. I appreciated Dr. Schweitzer’s explanation of the efficacy of the counter-transference experience as a tool for gleaning data, as well as her own creative, innovative theories.

The third keynote speaker, Dr. Esteban Montilla, Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at Driscoll Children's Hospital, Corpus Christi, Texas presented Counseling and Supervising Latinos. Dr. Montilla, in noting the fatigue of his audience (as he subsequently related) decided to lace his address with humorous anecdotal comments, with the achieved effect of an animated, engaged community. However, I am pleased to note his twenty-page written address will be posted on the CPSP Pastoral Report for all to read and study. It is with deep appreciation that I express my thanks to Dr. Montilla for his presence with us “in the moment” and for making available his extensive experience in the field of supervising and counseling Latinos.

Tavistock Experience
“Marginalization” was the theme of this in-depth expression of community coming together as a whole of many parts. Individuals shared their expressions of marginalization which ranged from political views other than those of the majority, military troops in need of our support and affirmation, to personal and cultural experiences of marginalization. My sense was this is a respectful community which honors the one who may reflect a different stance than that of the larger community. Rev. Dr. John Kinney’s story of “Timmy” comes to mind in that the boy could have turned out otherwise than that of graduating first in his class at medical school were it not for a caring teacher. The Plenary Tavistock session brought out that we, as a community, do care for the marginalized among us, and that we are all individually marginalized in one way or another.

Address to the Community by CPSP President, Jim Gebhart:
I trust this important address will be presented on the Pastoral Report. It is edifying to experience the passion in which it was delivered – the passion that is symbolic of CPSP’s origination and continuation. It contains the political voice of the majority and it is our tradition to hear this voice as well as that of the minority. Thankfully, we care enough about our world to speak “heart to heart” to one another and to the greater community of the world in which we live.

Raymond Lawrence’s Book Sharing: Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom
What can I say? Surprise of surprises, my heroine, St. Teresa of Avila was notably commended in chapter thirteen which was read by the author. Money could not buy the joy this brought me. Teresa is a woman who outwitted the Inquisition of sixteenth century Spain – outcrafted the men who would burn her writings and her body. Although I have not read the book, I do intend to do so and recommend it (from chapter thirteen alone) as a book that may surprise, edify, amend and elucidate the judgments of the historical Church in its views on women and sexuality.

Prison Ministry
SIT.Maria Lopez of Episcopal Health Services, Inc.’s creative CPE pilot program: women inmates ministering to women inmates was displayed at the Plenary. After visiting the women at this prison in February, I was delighted to see her presentation. If you are interested in learning more, receiving materials, or contributing financially/professionally to the program, kindly contact Maria or her supervisor, Richard Liew.

Small Group Experience
And now, last but definitely not the least highlight, is the experience of our small group. Eight colleagues met regularly until the last session of six members. The group shared intimately, courageously, felt safe enough to put our lives on the line, and received feedback which was meaningful, respectful, caring and knowledgeable of the needs presented. We were “there” for each other. I wish I could share the details of this wonderful experience – but confidentiality affirms and secures the safe place we encountered. I personally received feed back that was “right before my eyes” but did not see it. One member shared the beauty of a soul experience that read like poetry, another – his faith journey. We were unafraid to share which may seem “impossible” for persons who do not know one another intimately or even professionally. And yet, once again, where two or three are gathered....eyes are opened....bread is broken, stories shared, zeal rekindled.

I look forward to a continuation of our gathering as a community at the National Clinical Training Seminar in Mahweh, NJ. where I trust the marginalized are welcome, and education is the order of the day. Thank you, CPSP!

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:16 PM

April 7, 2007

Video: The Rev. Dr. Chris Swift, President of College of Health Care Chaplains, UK

The Rev. Dr. Chris Swift, President of the College of Health Care Chaplains located in the United Kingdom, brings greetings to the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) during its 2007 CPSP Plenary held in Raleigh, NC this spring.

If you are not able to view the video, it means you do not have Adobe's Flash Player (Free) installed and/or your Internet connection is not fast enough.

If you click on "Google Video" located on the bottom right side of the video screen you can go to Google Video in order to view this video on a larger screen and even post the video on your personal blog or website.

Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:09 AM

April 2, 2007

The UK's President of the College of Health Care Chaplains in Dialogue with the CPSP


The Reverend Dr. Chris Swift, President of the College of Health Care Chaplains located in the UK was the Guest of Honor at the 2007 CPSP Plenary held in Raleigh, NC. Although there are differences, there are many similarities shared between the CHCC and the CPSP.

Dr. Swift participated fully in the CPSP Plenary where he shared his thoughts and ideas in both formal and informal contexts. He is wise about and appreciative of the challenges of chaplaincy in an ever changing and complex world.

This past summer the Rev. Dr. Perry Miller represented the CPSP as a guest of the CHCC during their Annual Course of Study held in Durham, England.


The CPSP is appreciative of the continuing rich dialogue between the two organizations and the relationships that are being developed. Clearly we have much we can learn from one another as we continue to dedicate ourselves to care for those who are broken in body and in spirit.

-Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:27 PM


The National Clinical Training Seminar will be held at the Carmel Retreat Center in Mahwah, New Jersey on May 7-8, 2007. Please register now.

You may download the registration form and mail it to: New York Presbyterian Hospital, Dept. of Pastoral Care, Attn: Rev. Francine Angel, 622 W. 168th St. New York, New York 10032.

Don't forget, the NCTS is not only for Supervisors-In-Training but also represents a rare opportunity for Clinical Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, Pastoral Psychotherapist and CPE Supervisors to engage in a mutual educational and consultation process.

More information will follow this announcement!

Download NCTS Registration Form

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:26 PM