Taking up the Mantle

by David Roth


David Roth and Perry Miller

For as long as there has been a Pastoral Report (PR) its editorship has been in the hands of CPSP co-founder Perry Miller, who has also served continuously as the chair of the Communications Committee. No wonder then that I as his successor might feel a deep sense of humility in taking up the mantle.
Over the years Perry has published countless pieces from his own hand and innumerable ones by others. These have included short pieces of mine on an array of subjects including our chapter-based governance model, the West Coast NCTS, group relations events, CPSP’s 25th-anniversary Plenary, the 50th anniversary of the death of Anton Boisen, and what it takes to succeed at certification. All in all, my PR contributions have been few in number and, while timely, they have been admittedly undistinguished. In other words, I have some big shoes to try to fill.
Pastoral Report has hardly been Perry’s sole contribution to our community over three decades. I would no doubt fail were I to try to summarize the singular significance of the role he has played. He is a towering figure in CPSP and has been ever since our founding more than three decades ago.
My own appreciation for Perry is captured in two memories. The first was when I became a CPSP diplomate. The certificate was handed to me signed by three of the four designated persons—the general secretary, president, and treasurer. A fourth spot is reserved for the chapter convener. I was at the time the convener of my chapter and not about to sign my own certificate. Since Perry was (and still is) the convener of the chapter that hosted my certification review, I asked him to sign it and he did. I will forever feel a deep sense of gratitude when I look up from my desk and see his very legible “Perry N. Miller."
The second memory is from our 25th anniversary Plenary in Chicago in 2015 that focused our attention on CPSP's connection to the father of the clinical pastoral movement, Anton T. Boisen. At the closing banquet, we held a drawing for an autographed copy of Boisen's first book, The Exploration of the Inner World. The name pulled was Perry Miller. I announced his name and presented the book to him. Nothing could have made me happier.
It is my hope that under my editorship Pastoral Report will continue the fine tradition Perry established. My intention is that PR will be a forum where meaningful ideas and issues of significance about clinical pastoral care, CPSP, and the world where we do our work are expressed. If PR is thought-provoking, helpful, and found to be relevant, with support from the members of the Communications Committee, I will have done my job. And if Perry in his retirement continues to be a reader and shares with me his wisdom, I expect a very fruitful future for Pastoral Report.

David Roth is a diplomate member of the Nautilus Pacific Chapter.