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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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June 30, 2013

A BOOK REVIEW: Birth-Breath-Death-Meditations by Tedford J. Taylor, BCCC

The transcontinental flight home from our recent CPSP Plenary was an apt setting for immersing myself into the journey of Amy Glenn’s life: Birth, Death, & Breath. As I traveled across the continent back home to New Jersey I was also transported through Amy's heartfelt and heart-full life so far.

I met Amy over 5 years ago, as a Supervisor in Training at RWJ University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. As a new supervisor, I was blessed to have Amy under my care; the sharing of insight and wisdom was reciprocal. In the years after our work together at RWJ University Hospital we continue a relationship as fellow journeyers on the path of personal and professional growth. And she now offers others the opportunity to share in her reflective process by publishing this memoir.

Amy has a poet's heart and voice. She integrates this lyric voice into a moving memoir of life experiences: her own and those she has witnessed in her work as mother, wife, doula, teacher, and chaplain. I resonate with so much of her story, having made my own path out of constrictive religious bonds, and through my own passages of self-exploration and growth. I also resonate with Amy's ability to integrate head and heart in her reflective process.

The practice of reflective engagement is a hallmark of the clinical learning process. As a pastoral training supervisor I invite trainees to incorporate this process into their clinical practice. Amy's narrative is a clear and moving example of how transformative the experience of learning in the midst of ministry can be. It is so moving that I now give this book as a gift to my trainees upon the completion of a unit of training.

Birth, Death, & Breath is available at

Chaplain Tedford J. Taylor, MDiv, BCCC
Diplomate in Pastoral Supervision, CPSP
Director of Pastoral Care & Training
RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
One Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, New Jersey 08690

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:19 PM

June 24, 2013


The grounds of the Loyola House in Morristown were ever so inviting, as we gathered this spring for NCTS, to hear fresh information, gaze upon new and familiar faces and break bread together.

I was invited to delve into the work of my colleagues as they expressed victories and short-comings in their work of pastoral care and counseling. What a privilege to be entrusted with the vulnerabilities of my peers. There were moments of joy, sadness, disbelief and absolute silence at times, but in that we were able to hold the space sacred and build one another up with support and constructive feedback.

The focus lecture of NCTS: Hospice and Palliative care was timely. There is such a shift in the way institutions deliver care at the end of life especially hospitals and long term care facilities that it was a pleasure to know we are staying current by developing and strengthening pastoral competencies in the area of hospice and palliative care. I am hopeful moving forward we will look at the populations who are underserved in the delivery of hospice and palliative care services and discover our role as pastoral care givers.

As always meal time were wonderful. Breaking delicious bread with life giving folks is always a bit of heaven and quite energizing for relational people like me. What is Tavistock? It is freedom. As always, Tavistock never disappoints. Here’s to Rice Pudding! Once again, a gathering well done. There was something to be gained by all who dared to venture within and a bit outside of their comfort zone.


Rev Martisha Dwyer, BS MA
Chaplain Emergency Department & Community Liaison
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Pastoral Care Department

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:59 PM

June 19, 2013

Tolerance and Encouragement: Having Strong Feelings – without Being Self-Righteous--- by Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

whence you have come,
wither you go, and
Whom before you must stand.

Let us try, for a moment, to take the spirit of this admonition to heart – to keep realistic focus on
(a) whence we have come – what hard-won progress seems to have been made,
(b) wither we go – what potential progress seems to remain, and
(c) Whom before we must stand – that we are held accountable.
Yes, the ultimate “whence” and “wither” is “dust” to “dust,” but we are called upon to make a “difference that makes a difference” along the way. That is the problem – and it is not as simple as it might sound.

We will be judged. In advocating for a cause, in formulating a purpose, we, too, must make judgments. We must try, however, to avoid assuming that the ultimate standard by which the world will be judged is known. Some have sought to see “the judgment of G-d.” Talk about an elusive goal. The prophet Jonah, too, had sought to see the judgment of G-d – upon Nineveh – but, as a mere mortal, he was unable to anticipate – or appreciate – the breadth – and depth – of that divine judgment. Seeking theological insight is important. Fostering others’ seeking may be even more important. Knowing with certainty that you or I have found and understand the answers may be something else.

We are called upon to act in the face of uncertainty, knowing that we are inadequate – but probably the best available – knowing that we do not know the end of the story – or even where it lies. All too often religious organizations have marched confidently forward, under-appreciating that mortals might not have all the answers – let alone even know all the questions. The world is complex – especially once we get down to working side-by-side with individual people – and we need gadflies from all sides to remind us, about what we do and do not know.

That, to me, seems to be a recurring, underlying theme of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy plenaries: our need for gadflies – preferably humble ones. Anton Theophilus Boisen, who founded the movement for professional chaplaincy, considered it

ever the task of the church to
disturb the consciences of men [and women] in regard to
the quality of life they are living … .

awakening the careless and indifferent to
the deeper meaning of life … .

in order that they may
turn before it is too late and
be made whole.

But, turn toward what? turn whither? It is easier to fulfill exact commandments – to obsessively tithe of mint, anise, and cumin – the minutiae – to act as if we know with certainty what to do. It is harder to fulfill inexact commandments – to faithfully perform mitzvah – gut-level efforts of justice and mercy – to act even while accepting we do not know for sure what to do. We must act – but in a world of “unknown unknowns,” with minimal reassurance that what we do is right.

Perhaps it is but human nature to move on from addressing the most obvious national – and international – crises toward more circumscribed societal crises. Perhaps at times we seem to have fallen into the trap of becoming more focused on abstract populations rather than on individual persons of flesh and blood. Certainly Boisen and his colleague, Helen Flanders Dunbar, tried to avoid that trap. The CPSP held its first plenary meeting twenty-one years ago, having begun organizing – looking for that “something” not to be found elsewhere – two years earlier. Those “spiritual pilgrims” who banded together in the CPSP sought to help each other in a very personal way to work toward a difficult to define “recovery of soul,” so that they could better serve their people, better handle crises big and small. Theirs has been a messy journey – but a real one. While earlier generations of the faithful could feel they were standing on the “solid ground” of their religious traditions, the recent generations were coming face to face with a recognition that religious traditions themselves might be in crisis. Can we not at least try to work with each other and the world as it is within our uncertainty? I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps you need to consider the possibility that you don’t either.

May the CPSP be blessed with a multitude of “productively disturbed believers” – open to exploring crises both within and without – struggling within an awareness of what they do not know!


During the 2006 plenary of the CPSP, when an earlier version of these thoughts was presented – in the midst of a somewhat heated discussion about a then current event – “the war” – that was impacting most if not all of us – an experienced chaplain raised a hand and commented:
I think what you’re trying to say is that
we need to figure out
how to have strong feelings
without being self-righteous.

That chaplain knew better than I did at the time what I was trying to say. Some of these ideas – especially Boisen’s views – were explored in a much lengthier essay presented the year before: “Religion in Crisis and Custom: Formation and Transformation – Discovery and Recovery – of Spirit and Soul.” [click on “Materials”]; [click on “Materials”];;
(translated [2011] by Chaplains Rafael Hiraldo Román & Jesús Rodríguez Sánchez, with the assistance of Chaplain R. Esteban Montilla, as “Religión en Crisis y en Costumbre: Formación y Transformación - Descubrimiento y Recuperación - de Espíritu y Alma”; .)

The following are the bibliographic details of the cited items:
The opening quotation is from Akavia ben Mehalalel, Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of the Fathers”) 3:1; the passage is included in most Jewish prayer books.
In the 1st paragraph, the allusions are to The Bible, “Genesis” 3:19 and to William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, “Lecture XVIII” (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1902).
In the 2nd paragraph, the reference is to The Bible, “Jonah” 4:5.
In the 4th paragraph, the patched together quotation is from Anton Theophilus Boisen, “Evangelism in the Light of Psychiatry,” J Relig. Jan 1927;7(1):76-80, p.76; Boisen’s language comes from a well-known 19th century paraphrasing of The Bible, “Romans” 13:11– for example, in the work of evangelist Charles G. Finney [Lectures on the Revivals of Religion, “Lecture X: To Win Souls Requires Wisdom” (NY: The New York Evangelist, 1835)].
In the 5th paragraph, the references are to The Bible, “Matthew” 23:23 and “Micah” 6:8, plus to Donald H. Rumsfeld, US Department of Defense news briefing, 12 Feb 2002.
In the 6th paragraph, the allusions are, of course, to “The Covenant” of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.
Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth essay in a series -- and one might want to take a second look at the earlier three published during 2011:
“Tolerance and Encouragement: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” on the internet at

“Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” on the internet at

“Tolerance and Encouragement: Within a Covenant of Mutual Accountability.” on the internet at

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:28 PM

June 17, 2013


June 15, 2013

Out of our great love and respect for Myron C. Madden, the genuine patriarch of CPSP, and our love for his wife Ann, four members of the CPSP community attended his Memorial Service, held in historic St. Charles Street Baptist Church in New Orleans. They were Brian Childs, George Hankins-Hull, Pat Davis and I.

Myron was pastor of St. Charles Street Church before he became director of Chaplaincy at New Orleans Baptist Hospital, and began his clinical career. He was a member of that church when he died.

Former colleagues from Baptist Hospital and the St. Charles Street Baptist pastor conducted the service. A full choir sang, and a reception followed. Robert Pearce, who succeeded Myron as Director of Pastoral Care at Baptist Hospital, was the master of ceremonies. He pointed out that three giants in our field had died within one week, Myron and Will Campbell, who was Plenary speaker in 2006, each died on June 4, and the radical Catholic priest Andrew Greeley on May 30.

Ann greeted us warmly at the reception, and told us again how much his participation in the CPSP community meant to him. Myron was our perennial Plenary Chaplain until very recently when he became unable to travel.

The CPSP delegation warmly reconnected with former ACPE colleagues and friends in attendance: Robert Pearce, Gene Huffstutler, Bill Carpenter and Jenny Thomas.

The Memorial Service bulletin included the following words written by Myron in To Love and Let Go:

“Love carries the pain of separation; the sweetness of the present is shadowed by a divided path ahead... Love yearns to own and possess and control and hold, but love knows it must yield, and loose, and unbind, and let go.”

Myron now belongs to history, but the memory of him will remain in our hearts.

Raymond J. Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:00 PM

June 12, 2013

MARRIAGE DECLARATION--A BOLD RESPONSE By Paul W. Dodd, Chaplain (Colonel), U.S. Army (Ret) and Tom Carpenter, Esq. (CAPT USMC)


Thank you for the bold and prophetic declaration CPSP has released regarding marriage equality. Your public dismay over the injustices of DOMA, and the compelling ethical principles included in your statement will serve as a witness to truth and justice. You have taken a timely and courageous action which will embolden other pastoral care providers to join hands and hearts in the pursuit of marriage equality and family values.


Paul W. Dodd, Chaplain (Colonel), U.S. Army (Ret)

Tom Carpenter, Esq. (CAPT USMC 1970-1982)

Co-Chairs, The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy


Tom Carpenter is a former Marine, an A-4M and airline pilot, attorney, consultant and blogger. He served on the SLDN board for 16 years and was co-chair for 6 years. Tom is an Honorary Lifetime Member of OutServe and is presently co-chair of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy. Tom lives in Los Angeles with his husband of 20 years, Art.

Chaplain (Colonel) Paul W. Doddd, U.S. Army (Ret) served 31 years as a military Chaplain. He has served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Area II Support Activity-Korea, Military District of Washington, 130th Station Hospital in Heidelberg, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Brooke Army Medical Center. He retired as Command Chaplain of the U.S. Army Medical Command.

Military decorations include six awards of the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and a Clinical Member of the American Counseling Association. He has served on the Military Advisory Council for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Religion and Faith Council of the Human Rights Campaign, and is Co-Chair and Founder of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy. Paul is the father of two daughters, Christi and Jeanna, and the grandfather of three grandchildren.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:08 PM

Response to Public Declaration on Marriage Equality by Brad Kenney


I would like to second the call of Ron Fuhrman to re-examine the CPSP statement on marriage equality. To begin, I confess that whilst fairly new to the CPSP family (Centennial Chapter member 2010) and that I do not entirely understand or have knowledge about how such statements or proclamations are made there are several questions that come to my mind.

First, was the statement written by merely the two executives listed, or in some executive session, or crafted in larger, broader context of the CPSP community? Comments already made seem clear that the statement itself is not representative of the belief and value system of the entire membership of CPSP and there has been a modest decorum of response from differing sides. I also (personally) think some of the language of the statement is not well thought out and I wonder how “helpful” it truly is to those the statement is intended for. But, greater than this, the integrity of the CPSP organization is at stake when the voices (executive or not) of a few with power begin making statements aimed at being representative of a large whole without due diligence or due process. CPSP and its executive leadership down to its chapter membership is beholden to a greater sense of accountability - to one another and to the constituencies we serve.

Second, why was the statement made at this time? The answer to this question, of course, may be easily understood with a response from the executives writing and publicizing it.
But why March 14, 2013? What is the significance? What is the meaning of making a proclamation on this date? Is it in response to an offense? A reaction to another date or statement of historical import? And why are we responding now (2013) to a congressional action made in 1996? It all seems like the CPSP statement is a “Johnny-come-lately” type of action. The declaration coming before the annual Plenary raises its own questions for me as to its validity. Is it reflective of a shift in leadership? Values? Direction? Or, is it about something else?

As such, the timing of the statement is curious to me because it seemingly dwells in relative obscurity with no real meaning or purpose apparent. This leads to a third question that remains for me, and perhaps one that for the entire membership of CPSP, ought to be the most troubling. By making such a statement (without collegial collaboration and dialogue and without any seeming intentionality as to the timing or date of declaration) is CPSP cowing to the same political antics that have been characteristic of its predecessor, ACPE? Of course, this implication has huge ramifications, especially in light of the recent request for a special assessment of CPSP members for replenishing the legal fund. And, for me, it begs the question of what type of an organization am I part of? I understand that CPSP, in a sense, is undergoing an organizational-type of puberty as it grows and matures and in such times there can be misguided moments and desired outbreaks (rebellions) and undesired outbreaks (acne) that occur as part of the process. But, we do well in those types of moments to minimize exposure and strengthen and affirm the unique characteristics which set our organization apart from others. CPSP beleaguered relationship with ACPE and with the organizations and institutions from which our younger organization is attempting to prove credibility and solidarity do not need such frivolous statements made without good thinking - no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

Brad Kenney
Centennial Chapter, Colorado

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:42 PM

June 11, 2013

A Clinical Case Study: Balancing Loss with Love by Dominic Fuccillo


A Certified Public Accountant I'll call Deb recently showed me how she balanced the life score after a huge loss.

Deb lost a leg and her job as supervisor of 35 others in a large accounting firm. When I first met her she expected to finish inpatient rehabilitation in about a week, and I saw her again for the last time the day of her discharge. Having long since left her church and, she said, been "scratched," she scratching church and maybe God from her balance sheet.

Her nurse told me that Deb might benefit by talking with a chaplain, but did not say why. As directed, I donned gown and gloves to avoid infection but was told that a mask was not necessary as long as I kept my distance. I expected my first visit with her to be routine.

After I knocked, she invited me in, peeked over a laptop, and laid down half-glasses. I was surprised to see the stump of her leg, covered by elastic, propped up on the bed on a pillow in front of her.

"Please sit. Are you a pastor? she asked.

"No, I am a chaplain. So how are you doing today?"

"Except for missing a leg and losing my job, I'm doing fairly well."

"I am sorry to hear of those losses. What do you plan to do now? "

"My father and stepmother invited me to stay with them in Texas."

"Is that what you want to do?"

"It is the most practical thing to do. My stepmother has family there, and it will be good to have caring people around."

During this first visit and before the next, I began to imagine the hurt she was experiencing from both the loss of her job and loss of her leg. On the last visit she told me more about her job, explaining that she could not get disability income without resigning but that she would also not have been able to perform to her expectations. In both visits she talked more about her job than she did about the loss of her leg, rehab, and imminent move.

"That will help. I hope that you will receive the care you need."

"Yes, thank you! (brightening up a bit). Not to worry; I'll do what's necessary. I always have." (determined).

She told me generally about her marriage, which had ended several years ago, and how she had became successful through hard work.

"Before you move, will you talk with someone about adjusting to leaving your job?

"If you mean a pastor, no. I left my church at 23 years old. They have scratched my name from their book. I do have friends and coworkers here, though, and I have talked with them."

"Do you believe that God has also 'scratched your name from his book'?"

"I'm not sure, but it doesn't matter."

During our second visit, when she was dressed and ready to leave the hospital, we went over the same ground as my mind traveled along my friendship with a couple from Deb's church denomination. The wife, who was my secretary, had taken care of her husband, who was being treated for Wilson's Disease soon after their marriage. I mentioned something about them.

"Sure. (bitterly, I felt.) That's what the church teaches. In sickness and health."

I did not respond, but continued thinking. After the husband's recovery his wife developed MS and he cared for her and their two adopted children during her illness, until she died many years later. He lived only a year after her death.

"What happened to them?" I told her.

"Sorry to hear that you lost your friends."

"Thank you. I think of them often, of their love and the sacrifices they made."

Because her expression of sorrow sounded more sincere than I felt mine had been about the loss of her leg and job, her balance sheet seemed more balanced than mine. I replayed her replies against my own. Her losses, and how she handled them, did not seem to require support as much as did her determination to overcome them. She also expected to receive physical and emotional support from parents and friends. Leaving church had left her on her own and off the "book," and she felt that help from God did not matter to her recovery. Not being a CPA, with her losses, I would hope for the grace of God as well as help from people, some from church.

Dominic Fuccillo
Domenic is a CPSP Clinical Chaplain in Littleton, Colorado

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:05 PM

June 5, 2013



Myron Madden died peacefully in his sleep early Tuesday morning. Myron was 95 years old. He had been alert and conversant the evening before, discussing with his wife Anne the need for them to plant two new fig trees. Ever reaching out to inquire about the feelings of others, he asked Anne how she was doing with all this sickness.

Withe the death of Myron CPSP has lost its patriarch. Myron served many years, until he was unable to travel, as chaplain to our annual Plenary Meetings. He blessed us in so many ways. He urged us onward with a faith in the value of the kind of work we do that inspired us all.

The following funeral arrangements for Myron have been announced:

Visitation at Honaker Funeral Home in Slidell, Friday, June 7, 4:00-8:00 pm
Visitation at Rocket Funeral Home, Ringgold, LA, Sunday, June 9,12:30-1:30 pm
Burial at the Madden Cemetery near Fryeburg, LA, Sunday, 2:00 p.m.
Memorial Service, St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans, June 15, 10:00 a.m.


On the same day Will Campbell also died. Will was not an official part of the CPSP, of course, but he was really one of us. Will was a memorable speaker at the CPSP Plenary Meeting in Virginia Beach in 2006. His obituary can be read in the June 5 edition of the New York Times.

If you wish to send condolences to his wife Ann, the address is 805 Jefferson Court, Slidell, LA 70458 or you can Email:

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:15 PM