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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.

« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

October 28, 2008

Little Rock for Mid-South Regional Fall Pastoral Care Institute

Chaplains, pastoral counselors, pastoral psychotherapists, and other pastoral care providers from across the South will gather in Little Rock for the Mid-South Regional Fall Pastoral Care Institute. This educational event, begins at Noon Thursday, October 30, with workshops followed by a dinner and speaker that evening. The Institute continues with a day of educational seminars on Friday, October 31.

The Little Rock Chapter of CPSP (the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy), the Deep South Chapter of CPSP, the Arkansas Association of Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors, the Mississippi Chaplains Association and several hospitals are sponsoring the event.

“Those of us in CPSP are committed to affordable, high quality educational events that are open to everyone regardless or organizational affiliation or certification,” said Al Henager, director of the conference and convener of the Little Rock CPSP Chapter. “We trust that if we do a first class job here, it will catch fire as a model for others to follow.”

<imgDr. James D. Hester, a world renown scholar in New Testament Rhetorical Criticism, will deliver the first plenary address on Thursday evening. He will be presenting Jesus the Healer: The Peasant from Nazareth as Model for Chaplaincy.

<imgFriday morning, Dr. Micah Hester’s will present Can't We All Just Get Along? – Considering the Ethics of Goods, Duties, and Virtues. Dr. Micah Hester is a clinical ethicist for Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Medical Humanities and Pediatrics for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is also Dr. James Hester’s son.

In addition to the plenary speakers, four 90 minute workshops will be offered. The titles of the workshops are Compassionate Communication, Spirituality Issues: Veterans at the End of Life, Spirituality and Body Image Following a Medical Crisis, and Elder Abuse and Prevention.

To keep everyone updated, Al Henager, convener of the Little Rock Chapter of CPSP, will be “Blogging from the Spot” for Pastoral Report. There is some possibility that he might also have the time to communicate on the spot using Twitter. All of the sessions will be video recorded and posted on the CPSP Pastoral Report to share with those who cannot attend so they, too, may benefit from the quality presentations.

Conference participants will earn 9 contact hours of continuing education credits.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:19 PM

October 21, 2008

American Red Cross Invitation to CPSP

Chaplain Linda Walsh-Garrison, CPSP's Red Cross representative, announces that Board Certified CPSP Clinical Chaplains are invited to join the Red Cross' elite “Spiritual Response Team”; expanding CPSP's relationship with the American Red Cross in response to national events. (See “A World Without Grounding" by Joel Harvey, PhD)

She provides the following information from the Red Cross national headquarters:

The American Red Cross Spiritual Care Response Team (SRT) is an integral part of the ARC Critical Response Team (CRT) and is deployed following aviation and other transportation disasters, mass casualties, WMD/Terrorism events, and by government request. Non-traditional deployments have included natural disasters with mass casualties. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the SRT, and, a compassionate legacy of over 20 aviation responses, 9/11, and, catastrophic hurricane response. SRT’s are deployed as spiritual care managers and assist our federal government partners, including in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Office of Victims Assistance of the FBI. SRT’s are expected to serve one month each year on call, and, be deployable within four hours to travel to site of the disaster and set up support services. The SRT is a part of the larger Critical Response Team (CRT) and collaborates with ARC Disaster Mental Health and Health Services and Disaster Childcare.”

Six or seven applicants from each cognate group partner may be accepted for the upcoming two-day SRT training in Orlando, FL in January 2009. Board Certified Members in good standing and the support of their chapters, may apply by October 27th, 2008.

Pre-application required. “Those selected for the ARC SRT training will be notified by November 1st. Although all American Red Cross disaster training is offered free of charge, participants will be responsible for their own travel and maintenance. You will need to travel to Orlando on January 28, 2009, so that you will be available for the training on January 29 and 30, 2009.
Chaplain Walsh-Garrison urges CPSP Chaplains to take advantage of the free training offered at the local ARC chapters and become credentialed members of the ‘Critical Response Teams’ (CRT) locally and nationally.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Walsh-Garrison

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:05 PM

October 16, 2008

A World Without Grounding by Joel Harvey, PhD

In early September, I went to Baton Rouge and Houma, Louisiana to serve on the Spiritual Response Team (SRT) in support of the American Red Cross operation after Hurricane Gustav. The SRT is made up of board-certified chaplains from a number of chaplain organizations who have received intensive specialized training by the Red Cross. I have been a member of this team for several years and I have been deployed on several other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina.

I arrived in Baton Rouge with several other chaplains: a Presbyterian from New Mexico and a U.C.C. pastor from Massachusetts. Within a few days we were 13—one of whom was the “lead.” He was a young Roman Catholic layman from the state of Washington. In total we were 10 men and 3 women; in addition to the 3 of us mentioned above, we were 5 Roman Catholics, 1 American Baptist, 1 Buddhist, 1 Methodist and 1 Church of the Nazarene. We lived in staff shelters which were large rooms—mostly gymnasiums in churches. We all slept on cots or on the floor, in places that sometimes had electricity—and air conditioning!—hot water (in gang showers) and all in all it was described as “hardship deployment.” We all were advised of this beforehand—there were no surprises regarding our accommodations and we were all grateful for what we had because we encountered thousands of people who had less than we.

Firstly, let me say that the Red Cross volunteers I met came from every state including Hawaii and Alaska, and also from Puerto Rico. These men and women were absolutely professional; they delivered food, water and ice to shelters, and there were many others who set up and ran these shelters where the evacuees were treated courteously and with respect.

Secondly, the evacuees were terribly needy. The national media ignored us. Now I know how the people in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida must have felt during Katrina. New Orleans was spared a frontal assault and there were no fatalities and we became p. 85 in the news and non-existent in the broadcast media. However, Baton Rouge suffered the worst from Gustav—damage was far worse than any other storm in its long history including Katrina.

When we arrived (9/4) almost all of the city was without electrical power. The street lights were not working, most telephone service was interrupted and only a handful of service stations had the power to pump the gas—causing lines for gas that exceeded 5 hours in some places. There were thousands of trees down; some had fallen on houses and churches, some across streets and roads, and the city of over 400,000 people was crippled. By the time I left (9/13) most of Baton Rouge was coming along. Southern Louisiana was still struggling and also suffered considerable surge from Hurricane Ike.

In Houma, largest city in Bonne Terre Parish, I met some people whose lives will not be comfortable anytime soon. I met and prayed with a woman who lives on the Bayou. She has a small 16-unit motel and a 2-bedroom house—all only 17” above sea level. I encountered an 8 year old boy in a shelter who was drawing. I asked him to tell me about his picture. He had drawn himself and a leprechaun (his alter ego) very small and their world was a very large mushroom; neither he nor the leprechaun had legs in the picture. It showed me that he was small and weak in a large and powerful world. The “no feet” usually indicates a lack of grounding. I hope that this youngster gets lots of TLC soon, but I doubt he will.
Contact Joel Harvey, PhD

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:19 PM

October 14, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall... by Bill Scar

When faced with another Orwellian verbal distortion from representatives of the Spiritual Care Collaborative (SCC), we in the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy (CPSP) are the ones discussing with one another the best action to take in the face of the latest rebuff from the SCC.

The "collaborators" will not collaborate, at least not with the CPSP, and the only "working together" being done is by those who work together to exclude others. Such behavior at a minimum is the hallmark of those engaged in creating a monopoly among professionals. This denies our common ministry and is a regrettable and disrespectful stance in the clinical pastoral field in this time of human suffering and struggle.

Secrecy is essential to such enterprises, if only for the purpose of maintaining the impression that things are not what they seem. In the case of the SCC, it seems that it is not allowed to discuss openly what the real issues are.

Sadly, we are left with the conclusion that the SCC does not understand the basic fundamentals that are required for integrating the insights and needs of caregivers representing the vast range of cultures. For the CPSP leaders whose work prospered and who have been conferring with other groups since the mid 1990s, it must seem that we are all the way back to the mid 1980s, when the needed changes in our field were not being made.

The very first step toward this needed integration was then, and is today, the inclusiveness that comes from the intimate interaction and authority that thrives within what have become the CPSP Chapters, a small group of persons committed to supporting one another in their personal and professional journeys. Our efforts back then were not a whim, but the desire to be a reforming leaven to the field. From the CPSP point of view, our message is that the dough is short on yeast, and we are just trying to provide the yeast that is needed. The SCC sees "protestants", but we consider ourselves leaven and "reformers".

An SCC leader recently said that for the CPSP to be considered at the SCC table [i.e., to demonstrate accountability from all their members to the Common Code of Standards and the Common Code of Ethics], the issue is, "CPSP needs to be able to demonstrate how they do so at a national and consistent way." Of course, if the CPSP were to build a vertical structure and imitate the existing organizations in an effort to prove our desire to be accepted by them, that effort would totally deny our founding Covenant, which is the point. Our Covenant defines and includes our expressions of the very beliefs and actions needed to maintain vitality and integrity in the pastoral care movement.

The world does not need another Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) or Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), or another setting where only one perspective defines "collaborative". If we give others the benefit of the doubt that they would really welcome us under some circumstances, then it appears that when they would look at us they want to see themselves. We might say that is self-justification of the highest order, which is certainly needed if you live in fear and refuse to admit you are going down the wrong road. It must be painful for the mirror to tell you that you may not be the "fairest" in all the land.

In the spirit of CPSP discourse, how do we see ourselves? Our defining ethic and essence is that we are NOT structured hierarchically and that we place primary authority and accountability within the vibrant and intimate life of local/regional Chapters of colleagues, people who know one another and are committed to developing an understanding of the ministries in which their colleagues serve. We choose to function this way because we believe it provides superior accountability and support for the ministries of our Members and the training of seekers and students. And, we believe the cultural, economic, and political changes in our nation and our world support the direction in which we are moving in the CPSP.

The common standards and ethics of specialized pastoral care are NOT at issue, and essentially never have been. The inabilities, deficiencies, and inefficiencies of the hierarchical models are the issues that made the CPSP happen. If you do still believe in systems, something like the CPSP would have arisen one way or another.

We do LOOK different, and prejudice is as real within religious life as anywhere else. While in the spirit of collegiality we certify chaplains whose denominations vary in their structures of authority far more than the differences between the SCC and the CPSP, somehow that quality of mercy and openness is lost when professional competition enters the mix. The tragedy is that wisdom and opportunity are sacrificed in the process.

In God's economy, however, there is the need for the efforts of all of us. None of us own the mirror or the truth. The world has room for several "beauties" and many ministers. And the blessed outcomes we seek are always the result of the Spirit working in and through us. The CPSP does not say that the SCC has no worth, but we do say that the worth of the SCC is essentially diminished by its own refusal to acknowledge the value and validity of others who do not look like them, let alone outline a process that could lead to equal participation. They know that we will NEVER look like what the SCC wants us to look like, for all of the reasons that we affirm in our Covenant and founding documents.

With or without a place at that particular table, we remain committed to doing what we believe in and what we believe God would have us do. We do not need to be at that table to do ministry, but we mourn the lack of communion with our sisters and brothers who seem to seek to deny our worth and the work of God that we do. It would be bitter to just say that they are the losers. Since the leaven also needs the dough, we will continue to take every opportunity to engage others in the pastoral care field in any ways that serve our common goals in ministry.

The Rev. Dr. William Scar, BCCC
Diplomate, CPSP
Diplomate, AAPC
Approved Supervisor, AAMFT
Program Director, Good Samaritan Counseling Center/SCIC

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:28 PM

October 3, 2008

PASTORAL CARE WEEK: Listening Presence


October 20-26, 2008 is Pastoral Care Week. This year's theme is Listening Presence.

Since 1985 - one week has given us a dedicated opportunity to appreciate our staff, our pastoral communities and each other. It is an opportunity for chaplains and pastoral care counselors, educators and providers to share their story and to celebrate various ministries. is filled with ideas, proclamations, artwork and merchandise for organizations and institutions of all kinds to recognize the spiritual caregivers in their midst and the ministry which the caregivers providers.

COMISS and Pastoral Care Week is for you…..are you Listening?

-Linda Walsh
CPSP Pastoral Care Week Coordinator

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:11 PM