Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 03 Sep 2013 9:13 AM | Anonymous

    I never would have believed I would be grateful to see a hand rail beside a toilet seat. Or feel cared for by a woman’s voice somewhere in telephone never never land instructing me on how to fix my TV. Nor could I have imagined the comfort felt in a nurse’s touch. 

    Such are the surprises when you fall and break your hip. Surprised by facts you knew long before but which must be lost and found again and again. 

    Six weeks after the “accident” it is hard to write about what happened, difficult to visit the scene, and remember again the details. It is nothing that dramatic really- a fall on the cement walk resulting in a clean break in the hip. Far worse things befall us. Nevertheless there is a darkness about it, images the mind resists. It is as if your system has been frightened and is trying to protect itself, still wanting to be done with the whole thing. Put it all out of mind. 

    Coupled with this reluctance, however, there is also the embarrassment of it all, the difficulty of facing the fact of your own carelessness. One old man in a rain storm on a step ladder. Could disaster be far off? It will be referred to as an accident but in your own mind you know it wasn’t; it was carelessness. And however many times you go over the details the end of the story is always the same. So you put on your hair shirt and beat yourself up about it. 

    But time passes and if you watch there are other moments, openings that arise as if by chance, that will not be sent away.

    By good fortune Norma was able to get me gathered up off the walk, into the car and to the emergency ward where the system worked –chaotically but superbly. In retrospect we should have called an ambulance but we didn’t. Within 24 hours, however, I was through surgery and repaired -pin, plate and all, forever after able to set off the beepers at security and give all the little folk in charge reason to be suspicious and feel useful. A live 77 year old terrorist. Even more fortuitously after a few days the hospital needed my bed and it was suggested I be shipped out to a physio program. Done. And here I am home -all in just over 3 weeks, getting better. Recovering to some state of normalcy will take longer but it will happen.

    I wouldn’t recommend the experience to anyone but now that it has happened and I have time to reflect on events there are stories to be told. There are three that I would share with you.

    1.Throughout the hospital stay and since then, besides expert medical attention, perhaps the most reassuring aspect of the treatment was what I would term the intimacy that prevailed at unexpected moments. That is to say nurses, doctors, physios, family members, yes and the cleaning lady and the barber, were able to come close, speak and most importantly touch, in ways that lifted the spirit. 

    The young doctor in the emergency room who came close, put his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eye and said “I think it’s broke but we will make sure and fix you up”, the nurse in the night who stood by the bed and rubbed my arm and asked what I needed, visitors who sat near my bed, hand outstretched to stroke my hand, the presence of my family –confirmed what I had known and talked about and even tried to teach but now knew as if for the fist time. 

    When you are lying in your bed in the night, troubled by what has happened and wondering how healing will occur, when you can’t take care of basic functions on your own and there is no alternative but to call for help, it seems to me you are returned to a state of early childhood. Certainly you are afraid, feel alone. One of the things that occurs on the battlefield is that a wounded soldier will be heard to call out for his mother. I don’t want to suggest that my state was near that severe but something of the same atmosphere prevailed. The usual layers of protection, bravado, assumptions about one’s dignity, were peeled away and like an infant in the arms of its mother I was grateful for a nurse stroking your hand and calling me by name.

    2. Soon after discharge from the physio program there was a dinner to which we had been invited honoring a friend for her accomplishments in the community. There was some doubt I would be mobile enough but, with a walker and some caution, we loaded up and departed. I should say that in an event like this suddenly little things assume an importance you don’t realize under normal conditions. Getting over a door step, up a stair or two and above all, navigating toilets become issues. How do you go to the toilet with some degree of dignity? The basic issue is how do you lower yourself onto a toilet seat and then raise yourself from it. Under normal conditions nothing to it. But in a public washroom with your pants at half mast and your hip complaining bitterly and with no nurse to give you a hand it’s different.

    As we entered the dining facility I at once took note of the toilet signs and decided to check things out to be on the safe side. It was with relief when I managed to get through the door and encountered a spacious room in which there was situated four toilets, one of which was reserved for wheel chairs. More than that in the wheel chair stall there was a toilet, raised a few inches higher than normal, beside which there was anchored a hand rail. How lovely is thy dwelling place, O lord of hosts. Under normal conditions such things don’t register, objects of interest in someone else’s world, but now you see them in a whole new light. With a handrail you can sit down with some confidence and in time raise yourself up, find your balance, and restore yourself, your pants in place and your dignity intact. 

    3. The first evening after arriving home I was all set to watch a football game only to discover that the TV was on the fritz, the settings out of order. There was no alternative but to phone the satellite company and get help. At the best of times this can be an ordeal. To begin with you often make contact with someone on the other side of the world whose English is often on a par with your ability in their native tongue. Or, equally difficult, you are greeted by a computer geek who speaks computerese well but English is quite another matter. 

    To my delight, akin to seeing a toilet with a hand rail, I was greeted by a woman’s voice, middle age I would say and who I could understand perfectly. She asked a question or two and then said to go to the machine and turn off the power. I told her she would have to bear with me as I had just returned from hospital with a broken hip and movement was an issue. As if she had just graduated from a course in pastoral care she stopped and asked what had happened, a note of concern in her voice, and went on to enquire as to how I was and to reassure me that I would not have to move again. She didn’t know what she had done and I did not try to tell her. 

    So what am I to conclude from all this? I could wax eloquent on the meaning that lies here. The theological openings, the opportunity to put in a good word for God, are endless. But I will spare you that. Rather I wish to express gratitude for friends and family, for professionals with a job to do, who were there, able to come close and touch and give expression to that inexpressible other that lies between us.


    Ron Evans is a CPSP Diplomate living in Saskatchewan, Canada is a a published author. He has frequently presented his poetry and prose at meetings of the CPSP Plenary as well as contributed articles for publication in the Pastoral Report.

    The following are two of his recent book publications:

    Coming Home: Saskatchewan Remembered

  • 25 Aug 2013 9:17 AM | Anonymous

    Pictured from left to right: Patricia DeHart, Mac Wallace, Marcelle Brathwaite,
    David Franzen, Matthew Rhodes, Maria Sobremisana, Cesar Espineda, 
    Emma Wallace, Joan Alevras, Emeka Nwigwe, Phillip Pinckard, Joel Harvey, 
    and Robert Griffin.

    The Institute for Psychodynamic Pastoral Supervision ) met for its second annual Summer Intensive week of study at Avila Retreat Center in Durham, NC. Present were the four faculty members: David Franzen, Joel Harvey, Cesar Espineda, and Mac Wallace, four doctoral student in the first cohort, and five doctoral students in the second cohort. These students are enrolled in the Doctor of Psychology or Doctor of Ministry degree program in pastoral supervision offered by IPPS and the Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF).

    The first cohort of doctoral students focused on cultural understandings and misunderstandings that are inevitable working with international and intercultural students. The second cohort focused on understanding and using Tavistock methods of group leadership. Additionally, the daily Group Relations Seminars involved both cohorts and the faculty members. These were rich and intense sessions that provided the participants an opportunity to work with some intimate, interpersonal dynamics along with consultation from the faculty.

    Following this Summer Intensive Week of Studies, each cohort will meet weekly for 2-hour videoconferences for 16 weeks in the fall semester and 16 weeks in the spring semester. These classes will use classical texts and case studies to study psychoanalytical theories of human development, theory and practice of psychodynamic supervision, theological integration, and will emphasize the integration of theory and practice.

    The first cohort will complete its coursework with IPPS in May of 2014. Then they will take a prescribed course of studies with GTF and complete their doctoral project with materials they will use to present for certification as a Diplomate in CPE/T supervision. The second cohort will have its second Summer Intensive week of study in August of 2014 along with a group of new students to be selected for the next (third) cohort. Applications are currently being received for the third cohort, and the deadline for these applications is June 1, 2014.

    The IPPS and GTF doctoral degree program began as a dream of David Franzen, the late John Edgerton. The Chapel Hill chapter and provides doctoral students a constant source of support and consultation. After several years of planning, it has become a reality, and the chapter continues to provide consultation for the faculty around student selection and curriculum development along with assistance with review of applications for admission. Interested applicants to IPPS should contact Dr. David Franzen, 12 Winthrop Court, Durham, NC 27707; phone, 919-493-7177; email,


    H. Mac Wallace, D. Min.
    CPSP Diplomate
    Board Certified Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor

  • 16 Aug 2013 9:21 AM | Anonymous

    Frederick Memorial Hospital, the Reverend Kay Myers, PhD, certified CPE supervisor,
    the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, DC, Rabbi Jim Michaels, D.Min., certified CPE supervisor,
    Hospice of the Panhandle, satellite site of Meritus Medical Center, Martinsburg, WV,
    Hospice of Washington County, Inc., satellite site of Meritus Medical Center,
    Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown, the Rev. David C. Baker, PhD, certified CPE supervisor,
    Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH), the Rev. C. K. Sim, D. Min.,certified CPE supervisor.

    On June 20, 2013 Frederick Memorial Hospital and the Pastoral Care Department hosted Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) day, sponsored by the Baltimore Chapter, College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. Approximately thirty six participates attended from four accredited CPE sites and two satellite centers attended. 

    Also participating was a 50 hour Clinical Pastoral Orientation program at Western Maryland Hospital Center led by the Rev. Richard Bower.

    The morning presentation was Responding When the Family Wants a Miracle, Presenter: Phil Pinckard, Chaplain, Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown, MD . The afternoon presentation was The Ethics Committee as a Venue for Pastoral Care, Presenter: James Michaels, Director of Pastoral Care, Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, DC . The morning and afternoon presentations were followed by 90-minute small groups of students, diplomates and supervisors-in-training in which students presented case presentations.

    Kay Myers, PhD
    Director, Pastoral Care Services
    Frederick Memorial Hospital

  • 08 Aug 2013 9:25 AM | Anonymous

    Francine Hernandez, NCTS-East Coordinator, announced that the National Clinical Training Seminar-East will meet Nov. 11-12, 2013 at San Alfonso Retreat Center, Long Branch, New Jersey. She encourages all to mark these dates on your calendar and plan to attend.

    Check back with the Pastoral Report for further information as it becomes available. 

    For additional information, contact Francine Hernandez, NCTS-East Coordinator.

  • 05 Aug 2013 9:29 AM | Anonymous

    NCTS-West is just a month away. We are pleased to announce that Jack Lampl and Charla Hayden, international leaders in group relations theory and practice from the A.K. Rice Institute, will be presenting and consulting to the September 8-10 seminar in Citrus Heights, California, just outside Sacramento.

    Those who attended the 2013 CPSP Plenary in Las Vegas have already met Jack and Charla. Jack is the president of the A.K. Rice Institute. Charla is co-author of the foundational introduction to group relations process, The Tavistock Primer.

    This NCTS will be especially valuable to new Chapters and those looking to improve their chapter life, as well as to those involved in offering training such as CPE supervisors and SITs.

    Registration is limited. Register at:

    -David Roth


    For more Information: -David Roth

  • 31 Jul 2013 9:35 AM | Anonymous

    After retiring, in 2011, as a chaplain at Boston Medical Center, I was later rehired to provide coverage, as needed, for the present chaplains. My most recent work led to an encounter with a person that brought to the fore the transforming power of human love. The interaction was not with a patient, but with a staff person.

    She is a white woman, about to retire after many years of service to the hospital. As we reminisced about our relationship over the years, she said, “Would you like to see a picture of my new granddaughter?” “Sure,” I replied. With that, she took an album from her purse, and proudly showed me photos of a beautiful little black baby. She then handed me pictures of her white daughter and black son-in-law. As I admired the photos, she lovingly said, “Mixed children are beautiful.” I enthusiastically agreed—marveling at the power of her love that transcended the once- traditional non-black enclave in which she lives.

    This proud grandmother reminded me of certain retired ministers in the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church, who, in 1998, formed a Conference-wide group called Reconciling Retired Clergy—with their number growing to 100 over the years. Their mission: to work for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) persons in the life of The United Methodist Church. It meant challenging The Church’s Book of Discipline’s belief that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” They supported ministers who were brought to church trial for being gay or lesbian, and those brought to trial for performing same-sex marriages. They also began performing same-sex marriages, and called for the ordination of LGBTQ persons. Their work, and that of other reconciling ministerial and lay groups in Methodism, has made performing same sex marriages more tolerated. They have helped to turn United Methodism’s exclusionary policies into a state of flux, with their influence also seen in several United Methodist bishops now openly challenging the Church’s anti-homosexual doctrine—enabled, no doubt, by the influence of same sex marriages becoming legal in several states.

    What led some of these Bible verses-influenced, culturally-conditioned, United Methodist Book of Discipline-believing ministers to change their minds? In time, certain of them discovered that they, themselves, had a son who is gay, or a daughter who is lesbian—or the son or daughter of a relative, or ministerial colleague, or family friend. The issue had hit home—or close to home. It was now about bonding, not The Bible or The Book of Discipline. Their heart told them that sexually “mixed children are beautiful .” Just as “beautiful and loved and worthy and creative and moral as any other child—or adult. 

    Appreciation is expressed to friend and colleague Rev. Richard E. Harding, founder of the New England Conference’s Reconciling Retired Clergy, who contributed information for this article


    Bill Alberts, CPSP diplomate and member of the Concord, NH chapter, was a hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center from December 1992 until he retired in July 2011. His book, A Hospital Chaplain at the Crossroads of Humanity, based on his visits with patients at BMC, is available on An occasional contributor to Counterpunch, the ramifications of the gay marriage he performed at Boston’s Old West United Methodist Church in 1973 are detailed in “Easter Depends on Whistleblowers: The Minister Who Could Not Be ‘Preyed’ Away,” Counterpunch, March 29-31, 2013) The photograph is of Bill and his almost two-year-old granddaughter, Aoife.


  • 29 Jul 2013 9:39 AM | Anonymous

    The Rev. Doctor Steven Voytovich, a CPSP Diplomate in Psychotherapy and Clinical Pastoral Supervision, was recently appointed dean of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, effective August 18.

    Bishop Michael, Ph.D., Rector of St. Tikhon’s Seminary and Bishop of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, made these comments:

    “I am well pleased that Fr. Steven will be joining St. Tikhon’s Seminary as our Dean. His pastoral, leadership, academic and work related credentials are superb and we look forward to Fr. Steven moving St. Tikhon’s to new heights. On behalf of the board of trustees, faculty, staff and students we welcome him and offer our prayers for his new ministry.”

    When the Pastoral Report made contact with Dr. Voytovich about this development he remarked:

    "This represents a new chapter in my vocational journey that I am excited about, including some dimension of clinical training in the Orthodox Church that I have represented in the greater pastoral care and counseling community for fourteen years.

    Though I attended St. Vladimir's Seminary for my own theological formation, this represents a form of a homecoming to bringing my chaplaincy journey to be accessible to those preparing to serve as pastors."

    St. Tikhon’s Seminary appointment of Dr. Dr. Voytovich whose major professional strengths are in the clinical pastoral care and counseling field is refreshing.

    We of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy wish both Dr. Dr. Voytovich and St. Tikhon’s Seminary well in this new and exciting partnership.

    Perry Miller, Editor

    Steven Voytovich can be contacted at:

  • 12 Jul 2013 9:42 AM | Anonymous

    The more time I spend in the world of chaplains, the more I hear that the chaplain’s job is to “show up…(dead stop).” That’s it.

    I continue to hear, “Our job is to just be there with them and be present to them." I lean forward expecting to hear more, but the punch-line has already been delivered. Needless to say, this phenomenon has seemed quite strange to me.

    What I am more surprised of is that we expect to get paid for this. What other profession presumes that all they have to do is show up and they should be paid a decent middle-class wage?

    Even more, when we hear the woes of chaplains who do not feel as though they are given enough authority and responsibility as part of the Inter-Disciplinary Team, there seems to be a cognitive dissonance of the highest order.

    Picture this--perhaps the physician says, “Ok, chaplain. We understand that your feel that your work is very important. What will your role be on the team? What is it that you do with the patient?”

    “Oh,” says the chaplain, “I plan to show up.”

    Can you feel the expectant stares from the rest of the IDT? “What else, chaplain?” They all seem to wonder. (End scene.)

    And if we were to show up and have all this responsibility and authority on the IDT, what would we use it for? If a world would be better if chaplains had more of a spot at the table, more responsibility and authority regarding the patient’s plan of care, how would we exercise that authority? Such a role would require an intervention and leadership, not just presence.

    You likely are wondering, “who is this jerk writing this?” Well, maybe I am. Or maybe it is that our patients need more than presence. Maybe what they need is healing. But for us to bring them that, we have to risk something by going beyond mere presence.

    I write this piece with only part of my tongue in my cheek because most of us chaplains have a 3-year masters degree. Many of us have done 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Training, perhaps completed a residency. Then, there is all the experience that many have beyond that formal training.

    I have to imagine that it didn’t take 3 years of masters degree coursework (not to mention the 10’s of thousands of dollars), a year-long residency, and Lord knows what else you have laid at the altar in order to become a chaplain—you didn’t have to do all of that just to learn how to show up.

    I propose that we put a moratorium on saying that all we do is “just show up.” That is absolutely something that we do, and we do that much better than other professions precisely because we have been forced to deal with our own “stuff.” But what I am really curious about, where I want the dialogue to go, is “what do we do after we show up?” “How do we bring healing to people in deep pain?” “How are their (and our) lives transformed?”

    I think we would be surprised to uncover that a lot of us are already doing it; we just aren't talking about it.


    Matt Rhodesis a chaplain resident at Capital Health in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and was recently ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

    Currently he is enrolled in Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Pastoral Supervision with The Institute for Psychodynamic Pastoral Supervision.

  • 05 Jul 2013 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    Palliative Chaplaincy at PACE

    In 2009, Palliative Chaplaincy had not yet emerged as a specialty to be certified. Chaplains in a variety of settings had some occasion to provide Palliative Chaplaincy. Some settings call primarily for Palliative Chaplaincy. One setting that requires only Palliative Chaplaincy is a program called “PACE” – “Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.”

    PACE Centers work with people who are elderly, frail and poor. The goal is to keep them living in the community as long as possible. Besides spiritual support, PACE provides comprehensive care: medicine, social work, nutrition, transportation, and recreation.

    PACE attempts to create the kind of natural community in which people care for one another through natural bonds. A Cambodian community in San Francisco, On Loc, provided the model. People who feel a sense of community tend to live longer. People who live independently tend to need less costly care. PACE promotes caring that makes good sense to everyone involved.

    We call the people in the program “Participants.” The term “patient” implies passivity and denotes people to whom things happen. The term “participant” implies freedom of choice and denotes people in charge of their own lives. Our members participate in all phases of the program: d\Do I want to join? Do I want to come to the Center? How often? Do I want to join in any, some or all of the activities? 

    The National PACE Association describes the average PACE Participant in this way:

    In order to qualify for PACE, a person must be 55 years of age or older, live in a PACE service area, and be certified by the state to need nursing home-level care.

    The typical PACE participant is very similar to the average nursing home resident.  On average, she is 80 years old, has 7.9 medical conditions and is limited in approximately three activities of daily living.  Forty-nine percent of PACE participants have been diagnosed with dementia.  Despite a high level of care needs, more than 90% of PACE participants are able to continue to live in the community.

    The PACE Center where I was Chaplain served Participants ranging in age from 58 to 101. Most chose to stay in the program until they died. This gave us an average of about 2.8 years to work with each of them. It also required us to deal often with death and bereavement.

    The program was called “Finishing Well.”

    The frail elderly we serve tend to experience their lives as in retreat: physical health wanes, mental acuity dims, social relations fade. Even those with strong family support tend toward depression and are tempted to despair. They may feel they are losing slowly the last battle, with death. They could see themselves Finishing Well the last phase of life.

    PACE can help transform this worldview. Our colonial forebears called it Dying Well. I prefer “Finishing Well” to make clear to our generation what was obvious to theirs: the last phase of life is only partly something that happens to us, but also something we do, and can do well. The tasks of the last phase of life include:

    Cultivating gratitude resting from labor reflecting on what “is very good” savoring an inventory of memories Making peace forgiving oneself forgiving others asking forgiveness, directly or symbolically preparing to meet one’s Maker Providing legacy passing on property to do no harm passing on stories as heritage family stories community stories Passing on character as blessing dispensing wisdom reflecting on life lessons distilling wisdom in story or saying Offering wisdom to those who will hear dying well arranging the Family Vigil tradition expressing the Last Words tradition

    We may not help any Participant achieve all of these, but we can help every Participant achieve some of these.

    We look pro-actively for opportunities, and work as a team, to fulfill the spiritual/religious component of our “all-encompassing care for the elderly.” As your Chaplain, I will serve you any way I can.

    The Finishing Well program was well received by the Staff. National PACE Association selected it for presentation at the National Meeting in 2010.

    To implement Finishing Well, I developed four programs:

    I am like I AM – for individual spiritual care

    Songs and Stories – for corporate spiritual care

    Finding Meaning in Suffering- for end of life counseling

    We Remember – for bereavement

    While doing so, I began to wonder what programs in Palliative Chaplaincy were being developed at other PACE Centers across the nation. Were each of us trying independently to invent the wheel?

    From the National PACE Association I obtained a listing of all PACE Centers in the country. (There were then 77, and are now 92). I e-mailed “Chaplain” at each Center. Results were spotty. I then e-mailed the Director of each site requesting the name of the person in charge of spiritual care. After several rounds of correspondence, about half the PACE Centers were found to have chaplains. About a quarter had someone else – a social worker, the compliance director, whomever – tasked with handling spiritual care in addition to their full-time responsibility. About a quarter provided no spiritual care to speak of, or at least mentioned none.

    National PACE Association sponsors a Colloquy for each profession to promote collaboration and excellence. Through National PACE, I sent to all known PACE chaplains an invitation to share their best practices for palliative chaplaincy.

    Several dozen “best practices” arrived. Some seemed a little sketchy. From those chaplains, I requested a program description detailed enough that another chaplain who valued the program could replicate it. I offered this framework for presenting best practices:

    Dear Fellow PACE Chaplains:

    Thank you each for responding. Having read through your ideas, it seemed helpful to find a way to order them. The definition of spirituality published in The Journal of Palliative Medicine offers a foundation:

    “Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose, and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”

    “Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference”

    The Journal of Palliative Medicine, Volume 12, Number 10, 2009

    This definition refers to meaning and belonging.

    PACE can benefit Participants as much spiritually as medically. Many of our folks spent their days mostly alone, watching TV. As one of them told me, “Those people on TV talk a lot, but they never listen.” Coming to PACE can help Participants to have friends, community, and encouragement. Some lost fifty or a hundred pounds that needed to be lost. Some learn to walk again. They get a life.

    Their experience in PACE can be described as

    Getting a life (joining)

    Living the life (participating), and 

    Finishing their life (dying).

    Combining this timeline with the definition of spirituality creates this structure for spiritual care:

    Getting a Life Living the Life Finishing their life

    Meaning: _____________ ______________ __________________

    Belonging: ____________ ______________ __________________

    In trying thus to organize the spiritual practices you so generously sent to me, I soon learned that I simply don’t understand them well enough to do this. Mostly, your responses listed spiritual practices without detail about how you do what you do.

    Would you be willing to send me your best practices in detail? You can use the format above. You don’t have to detail all you do, just pick the few you think you do the best.

    I will share the results with all known PACE chaplains.

    Thank you! I’m looking forward to seeing the specifics of your best practices.



    All submitted “Best Practices” were forwarded to all chaplains. Each chaplain could learn what wheels were rolling elsewhere, and innovate rather than invent to meet the need at their center.

    I asked for volunteers to serve on a Selection Committee to select the best practices from among the submissions. Several chaplains volunteered. They considered several means of recognizing Best Practices. The first option would select a first, second and third place winner. This would make the adoption of standards a matter of competition rather than achievement, so was rejected. The second option would select a winner in each of several categories, such as Spiritual Assessment or Bereavement. This had the appeal of specificity, but the danger of becoming too fragmented, like the Oscars – “best supporting actress in a black-and-white documentary.” The third option would be to honor each submission that had sufficient detail to be replicated as a Best Practice. The committee met by conference call and selected options two and three.

    St. Martin’s Cloak

    A vigorous discussion ensued about what to call the Best Practice Awards. Etymology lifted the winner: St. Martin’s Cloak. In the IVth Century, a young Roman cavalry officer named Martin was entering the gates of Tours when he saw a freezing beggar. Martin cut his heavy crimson cavalry cape in half for the poor man. His act gives us our title as Palliative Chaplains.

    He cloaks – Latin palliare – gives us the verb Palliate.

    His cloak – Latin capella – gives us the noun Chaplain.

    St. Martin’s Cloak was printed on tabloid paper (11x17). It looks like this.

    National PACE Association framed and sent the awards to the chaplains who had developed the Best Practices.

    The PACE Center where the chaplain worked usually arranged a formal presentation by a senior official, done in the presence of the Participants. This encouraged the Participants by knowing the spiritual care they were receiving was some of the best in the nation.

    Hopefully, this also may encourage the senior officials to appreciate the value of their own chaplain in particular and the need for full-time professional chaplaincy in general.

    Looking Ahead

    Lessons learned from this project might include the following:

    1. Collegial Collaboration improves the quality of palliative chaplaincy. Rather than inventing the wheel, we can innovate to adapt and improve proven designs. 

    2. The Analytic Grid combining a standard definition of spirituality with phases of care could be useful in any institution – hospice, for example – that involves joining, participating, and leaving.

    3. St. Martin’s Cloak could be extended to chaplains in other institutions or societies to recognize and encourage excellence in palliative chaplaincy. For example, the Virginia Chaplains’ Association is considering its use. Anyone interested is invited to contact me:

    Palliative Care has become the first Board Certified Specialty for chaplains. Various certifying bodies are developing programs to that end. The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy has in 2013 allowed Board Certified Clinical Chaplains working primarily in palliative care to earn Board Certification as Fellows in Hospice and Hospital Palliative Care.

    As our population ages and technology improves, people will be living longer with chronic diseases. They will require palliative care. Palliative care was first recognized as a specialty for doctors only in 2006. Now, interdisciplinary teams of professionals certified as palliative doctors, nurses and social workers will need chaplains who are peers.


    Frederick Poorbaugh

    Following education in Philosophy (Stanford), Theology (Yale) and training in Psychology (Jung Institute), he spent ten years serving a dirt-poor parish (Appalachia) where God made him into something usable. Current palliative care tries to help patients in crises and at End of Life find meaning in their suffering.

    He belongs to the Hampton Roads Chapter of CPSP, and is certified as Clinical Chaplain, Pastoral Counselor, and Fellow in Hospice and Hospital Palliative Care.

  • 30 Jun 2013 9:52 AM | Anonymous

    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