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May 27, 2015

Committee on the Promotion and Certification of Chapters ----By Miriam Diephouse-McMillan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Committee for the Promotion and Certification of Chapters:
Orville Browne (chair)
orvant.browne@gmail.com

Parthenia Caesar
partheniacaesar@gmail.com

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

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

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at May 27, 2015 9:39 PM

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