Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 22 Sep 2016 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    In an effort to improve the certification experience, the CPSP Certification Committee has worked to make changes to the process that will help to support our certification candidates and organize the way we share information.  

    The most significant change in the certification process is the streamlining and merger of the forms that we used in the past, the Chapter Recommendation for Certification Form and the certification facesheet, into one form.  The new forms are on the website at CPSP.ORG, under the Certification menu.

    Our most recent edition of the Standards includes a review process for all Supervisors-in-Training, Training Supervisors-in-Training, and Training Supervisors.  The revised forms include the required materials for these categories.  Note that Supervisors-in-Training and Training Supervisors-in-Training will, in addition to the requirements at the Chapter level, be required to consult with the Certification Committee to determine readiness to begin training.  The consultation with the Certification Committee will occur via Zoom video conferencing.  Those seeking to be certified as a Training Supervisor would complete the certification process including the review with a Certification Review Panel at one of its scheduled reviews.  

    All documents and interaction regarding certification are located on the website at  All candidates and chapters are encouraged to review these resources well in advance of a candidate's certification process.  It is the candidate's responsibility to know the steps involved in their process and it is the chapter's role to assist the candidate with ongoing consultation regarding the candidate's preparation for certification.

    A centralized and shared Dropbox folder will still be utilized in the certification process, and candidates should be aware that their supporting documents should now be submitted as one document, a pdf, to their folder (similar to the submitting of an academic research paper).  This is to help streamline the review process and to keep the files manageable for the review panels.

    In addition to online certification forms and the centralizing of the Dropbox folders, members of the Certification Committee have recently completed the first CPSP Certification Manual, a resource manual for candidates, conveners, and Chapters.  The committee has spent many hours reviewing documents, forms, and articles to provide this first addition of the manual.  

    As CPSP utilizes this process, updates our governance documents and forms, we will also update the manual.  This is a working document.  We hope you find the new manual helpful and we welcome your feedback.   


    Jonathan Freeman
    Chair, Certification Committee

  • 20 Sep 2016 9:08 PM | Anonymous

    Chaplaincy Alive! is a new podcast production by the CPSP Communications Committee, featuring the work and expertise of the members of CPSP, as well as distinguished members of the broader clinical pastoral community and beyond.

    Communications Committee Chair, Perry Miller, says, “The creation of Chaplaincy Alive! is an exciting venture.

    As strange as it might sound, the CPSP Communication Committee does not want CPSP to own this podcast as our very own. Equally, it is not to be a public relations promotional tool for CPSP. It is not in CPSP’s well being nor that of the wider clinical pastoral community to create a CPSP silo that might further separate the various clinical pastoral organizations and the valuable work and ministry of those under their umbrellas who offer care and counseling to the many who are disturbed in life and relationships.

    We plan to work hard to make it a forum for all clinical pastoral organization and those in other fields such as the humanities and social sciences who have exciting ideas, creative visions, life stories, etc. that have the potential of advancing the whole clinical pastoral movement.”

    Susan McDougal, CPE Supervisor at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, will be the host of Chaplaincy Alive! Krista Argiropolis provides the role of the show’s producer.

    The first episode of Chaplaincy Alive! features four chaplains from Orlando, FL discussing their experience, thoughts, and emotions, as they provided response to the tragic shooting at a local night club, earlier this summer.

    Chaplaincy Alive! host, Susan McDougal, says, “This interview highlights the work of CPSP chaplains who responded to the Orlando tragedy, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. It is important for all of us who work in this field to hear them.”

    Contact Krista Argiropolis, Administrative Coordinator and/or podcast host, Susan McDougal to provide feedback and ideas for the podcast. 

    Chaplaincy Alive! is produced in both an audio and video format, and will be available on iTunes for download to your favorite podcast application soon.


    Perry Miller, Editor
    Communications Committee Chair

  • 09 Sep 2016 8:38 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    As I prepare for a new group of CPE residents and interns, I pause for a moment in reflection upon the outgoing training group that has just completed a year of clinical pastoral training.  I appreciate their struggles over the past year as they engaged the many challenges and opportunities afforded them in clinical pastoral training.  In honor and with gratitude I wrote the following short poem in celebration of their engagement of each other in the dreaded clinical case study seminar.  

    Through a Glass Darkly
    Forged by experience of confrontation and challenge
    Shaped by critical reflected accountability
    Disarmed resistance yields to midwifed transformation
    Fledgling self-awareness for the first time born!

    1st Corinthians 13:12:
    For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
    then we shall see face to face. 
    Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
    even as I am fully known. 
    (New International Version)


    George Hull, Director
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

  • 14 Aug 2016 9:40 PM | Anonymous

    A member of our CPSP family achieved an extraordinary accomplishment this past Saturday. Asha Allen successfully swam across the English Channel. This she did in thirteen hours, 3 minutes, in Force 5 conditions! 

    Obviously Asha has a love of swimming and is extraordinarily talented. It takes a lot of courage and joy to engage in such an adventure There is more to her story, however. What else drives her to embark upon such a journey, a journey that some would think impossible? It is her caring heart. I quote from her website, AshaSwims: 

    In 2014, Asha and her husband David Roth, working alongside local people, made a specific commitment to help support elderly widows in the village of San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala, with their dietary and other basic subsistence needs. These are women who suffered greatly and lost much during a civil war that took the lives of hundreds of thousands, especially the men.  

    Her website provides further information about this human tragedy and about people who desperately need help. 

    I hope you will send Asha your congratulations, consider contributing to the cause for which she swims and offer good vibes to her supportive husband, David Roth. 


    Contact Asha via her website: AshaSwims

    Perry Miller, Editor

  • 02 Aug 2016 9:21 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    If you are writing theory papers, or if you are supervising trainees in this process, a new resource is now available for you to explore. The Rev. Dr. David Franzen has just published an article on theory of pastoral supervision that is the fruit of an extensive career as a supervisor of trainees in both CPE and Pastoral Counseling.  In June of this year his theory paper was published as the AAPC Theory Paper of the Year” in volume 36 of the journal, Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry.  This journal is now an online, open-access publication that appears annually.

    David has held positions as a CPE Supervisor at Duke University Medical Center, as a pastoral counselor at Counseling Services, Inc. and at the Pastoral Care & Counseling Institute in Durham, NC.  He also served for a decade as Director of the Pastoral Care & Counseling department at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington NC. There he and a colleague developed the Alamance Institute for Pastoral Counseling, an AAPC accredited doctoral program in Pastoral Counseling working in conjunction with Graduate Theological Foundation.  David has been a Diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy for fifteen years.  


    Dr. David Franzen  

  • 28 Jul 2016 1:54 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)
    I just returned from the 52nd Annual AK Rice Residential Group Relations Conference, Improvising with-in the Shadows, Exploring Authority And Leadership in Our Organizations and Communities, held July 15-20, in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to Conference Administrator, Jack Lampl, the group of almost forty participants was one of the most diverse groups to ever attend a group relations conference. 

    The timing of this conference could not have been more appropriate. The intense heat and humidity of New Orleans in July, matched the torridity and oppressiveness of recent world-events.  At the start of the Republican National Convention, shortly after shootings in Dallas and Orlando, terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Medina and Bagdad, and the on-going violence against African-Americans that is being protested by the activist group, Black Lives Matter, this conference brought together people from a spectrum of backgrounds, ages, races, socioeconomics, sexual identities, faith groups, and so on -- to create moments of inspiration and learning, as well as to explore the uncertainty and turbulence we are experiencing in the world today. 

    Stating that the conference was also hard work is an understatement. 

    Over the course of six days, we explored what it was like to work in a large group, and in smaller sub-groups that we were assigned to, such as our Review and Application Group, or chose to belong to, such as our Community Group. We were given opportunities to speak our minds, express our individuality and uniquenesses, while trying to identify the purpose and work of the group, and while flexing our own authority and influence. Our days started at 8:30 a.m., and ended around 9:30 p.m., with fifteen to thirty minute breaks, and ninety minutes for meals. The schedule was rigid - time boundaries were honored, but other boundaries were up for question or navigation. 

    At times, the work was exhausting and there were moments when I had to openly wonder how I would ever use what I was learning in real time. The connections I made with several of my fellow-conference-attendees was rewarding. During the conference, I felt more aware of my own words and actions, and the impact they had on our temporary organization, more than ever before, and how others perceived me.

    To go on to try to describe this experience, would be to place it in a box and confine it. I am certain that the impact of this conference will be realized more over time; however, I see the impact that this has had on me already, as I return to my work with CPSP, with fresh skills and insights, including a better understanding of how an organization works. To understand this better, you'll need to experience it for yourself. 

    If you haven't had the opportunity to attend a residential group relations conference, I highly recommend it. I can absolutely promise it will not be easy and I can also promise that it will be rewarding - even if those rewards continue to manifest themselves over time, long after the conclusion of the conference. 


    Krista Argiropolis
    CPSP Administrative Coordinator

  • 29 Jun 2016 11:09 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Insights Into Cancer June 14, 2016 from Simms/Mann UCLA Center on Vimeo.

    Michael Eselun is a CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplain and a member of the Los Angeles, CA Chapter. He serves as the interfaith chaplain for the Simms-Mann/UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. 

    He recently hosted and presented at the first Spirituality and Medicine Conference at UCLA to an interfaith group of community religious leaders. He’s been invited many times to speak to students, doctors, nurses, social workers, and faith communities about his work as a chaplain and the spiritual dimension of the cancer experience.


    Michael Eselun

  • 27 Jun 2016 1:17 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    There has been an increasing trend in the pastoral care movement to move away from chaplaincy and pastoral care in favor of promoting and providing "spiritual care." Many hospital departments have changed their names to reflect this shift in philosophy and practice.

    Spirituality circumvents religion and promotes chaplaincy as a generic practice. Religions are messy. They have rules, doctrines, beliefs, ethics---some of which are flawed to be sure. But religions usually stand for something. Spirituality is an amorphous thing, an oblong blur, with implications of cosmic connection, but with no price tag---no demands no dogmas, and no ethics. Not even a dogma demanding justice and mercy. The only perceptible doctrine promoted by the spirituality movement is that people should feel good about themselves.

    At its best the clinical pastoral movement teaches religious professionals to be available to everyone. It also teaches them to be critical of all religion---but dismissive of none. Religion has caused considerable mischief throughout history. But religion at its best calls forth some of the noblest behavior of which human beings are capable.

    The clinical pastoral movement has been correct to be critical of each and every specific religious practice; within the limits of mutual respect and decorum. At the same time, however, it must take a permissive posture toward the various idiosyncratic manifestation of religion, giving them the benefit of the doubt. That is the basis on which the clinical pastoral movement began in the early 20th century. The movement did not attempt to create a new religion, particularly one that by implication would be superior to all the other "flawed religions" of the world. The promotion of spirituality results in diminishing the role of the hospital chaplain as a religious professional in favor of that of a generic approach which in the end a social worker or nurse can provide.


    George Hankins-Hull,  Dip.Th., Th.M​ 
    Director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

  • 20 Jun 2016 10:35 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    On Sunday, June 12th, many of us here in the Orlando, Florida community awoke to the local news that twenty persons had been shot in a popular Orlando nightclub during a Latin night event. By the time the majority of us were finishing up early morning service or preparing for mid-morning service, the number had increased to fifty, and the national media had descended on the Orlando. Chaplains across the area began to coordinate a mass casualty response that included deployment to the family staging area, which had been set up in the Hampton Inn adjacent to Orlando Regional Medical Center (Level I trauma facility).

    Words cannot begin to describe the experience we were about to embark upon. Upon arrival, the atmosphere was wrought with tension and saturated with every emotion imaginable. Hope and optimism occupied the same sacred space as anxiety and fear. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, young and old, gay and straight, were all on that desolate and lonely road called grief. Hitherto fore, nothing in our collective fifty years of chaplaincy experience had prepared us for grief on such a massive scale. 

    The Chaplains were charged to provide pastoral and crisis intervention during this mass casualty incident. Chaplain Torres, who serves as an Orlando Police Department Chaplain, functioned in the role of the Incident Chaplain. We took inventory of the strengths and weaknesses of the chaplains that had assembled, as we are all at least familiar with each other. There was a need to call up Imams, Rabbis, and Catholic Priests to function as our Resource Chaplains. Chaplains with specialized training such as Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), Pastoral Crisis Intervention (PCI), and thanatology were dispatched to the epicenter and to a few homes to make notifications. After the team was assembled, we set about the task of triaging the many families that had assembled. Ascertaining religious preference and medical conditions that may be exacerbated by stress became important pieces of information. While community clergy from all over, all with the best intentions, came to offer support in whatever way they could, it proved to be challenging. Some of the clergy set about laying hands on the families in the name of Jesus. To manage them and to attempt to instruct them as to how they might create sacred space where there may be room for their brand of pastoral care proved to be challenging. Chaplains were reminded of what binds us together; our shared heritage and a burden to extend genuine grace and mercy to those in pain and to each other. 

    But, in the midst of such emotional chaos, we began our ministry of care and counseling; walking among the emotionally and spiritually wounded. For Chaplains Torres and McPhee, walking among the dead became a necessity as they reached out to be of comfort to law enforcement at the epicenter. As the news broke to the anxious families (whose loved ones were not among those read from the hospitalized list) that their loved ones could be presumed dead, pandemonium set in.  The chorus of collective wailing became deafening. The stench of raw emotions became unpalatable. The physical environment became threatening.

    After an incredibly exhausting day of ministering to the bereaved, the hysterical, the frantic, the anxious, the horrified, the terrified, the hopeful, and the hopeless, the psychological injury to the chaplains is undeniable. However severe that injury, it pales in comparison to the indelible scars this act of terror and hate has left upon the souls of the fifty families of the deceased as well as the survivors themselves. 

    As we concluded our time at the family staging area, and people began boarding buses to be transported to the next location, it was suggested that we conclude our time in prayer. Chaplains from every agency involved, counselors, community clergy, other professionals, and family and friends, gathered to form a circle uniting their hearts and their voices as one in love. Chaplain McPhee opened the time together, and Chaplain Torres concluded by offering a prayer in Spanish.  

    We would like to take this time to acknowledge our CPSP colleagues who ministered side-by-side with us in the trenches: Jim DeGrado (at the family staging area); John Williams, Sr., Steve Binkley, Phyllis Fitzwater, and Rich Behers (at the trauma center). May God continue to bless the work of our hands.


    Scott A. Fleming

    Missiouri McPhee

    Arnold Porter

    Angel Torres 

  • 16 Jun 2016 8:42 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The CPSP Communications Committee is producing a new video and audio podcast series, "What CPSP Means to You", and committee member, Susan McDougal, is here to tell you more about it: