Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 24 Oct 2016 10:51 AM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    Twenty years ago, a truck bomb went off outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds. CPSP Chaplain Kenneth Blank talks with Chaplaincy Alive! podcast host, Susan McDougal, about the day of the bombing and the days following that historic event, and discusses how it impacted his life, and the lives of his fellow-chaplains, and the lives of the people living in Oklahoma City. 

    In his interview with Susan McDougall, Ken Blank mentions a paper he wrote, "Pastoral Care and Response to Disaster - The Oklahoma City Experience", and readers can download the paper by clicking HERE.

  • 17 Oct 2016 1:21 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    I want to thank all those who have volunteered so much of their time performing essential tasks for this community. We have prospered for over a quarter century because of volunteer labor. I especially want to single out, Charles Kirby our Treasurer, Orville Brown, Chair of Annual Chapter Recertification, Perry Miller and his Communications Committee. They are inaugurating a cyber program, Chaplaincy Alive, with Susan McDougal as host. Medicus Rentz has created our first ever Finance Committee, which is analyzing our cash flow and prognosticating our future financial condition. Many of us have toiled away, but none of the rest of us have spent so many uncompensated hours dealing with complex and intractable problems as Cynthia Olson, Chair of the Accreditation Oversight Committee and Jonathan Freeman Chair of Certification. These are huge, complex, and critical tasks and we are grateful to them for their service to us.

    After several years of hard work on Accreditation, Cynthia has asked to have the baton passed to someone else. We thank her for hard work, her leadership, and her perpetual good spirit. I don't think I have worked with anyone ever before who has been so immediately available and so consistently of good humor in the face of tough decisions. Cynthia is the real thing. And we will have other more personally rewarding waiting tasks to be put into her hands.

    I have appointed Al Henager to succeed Cynthia as Chair of Accreditation. He has agreed and we should all thank him for that. I of course refrained from telling him what he is getting into. But he'll find out soon enough. This job will either make him great or kill him.

    I have appointed Francine Hernandez, David Roth, Perry Miller and Jim Degrado to the Plenary Planning Committee, with Degrado as chair. They are currently completing those plans.


    Never before has there been such energy and activity across the community as we have had the last 18 months, which I believe is attributable to our new By-Laws which encourage participation in decision-making and determining the direction of this community.

    I want to express my thanks to Bill Scar for his leadership as President. He has put himself into the task with energy and imagination. His innovative occasional Notes to the community have enriched us all. We expect continuing leadership from him as an elder statesman when his term runs out in six months.

    I want to thank our only two paid staff, Krista Argiropolis and Charles Hicks. Each of them has carried very heavy loads over the past six months, and their energy and commitment have been instrumental in keeping together as a community.


    I have requested for Charles Hicks to set up the legal framework for a CPSP Publishing House for the publishing of books. The impetus of this is David Roth's stunning acquisition through his own initiative of the publishing rights to Anton Boisen's writings. We expect that the republication of these out-of-print books will be the first thing on the agenda.  This will be a huge contribution to the clinical pastoral movement as a whole. The fact that Boisen's books have been out of print for a generation or more is strange phenomenon, and a disgrace. It suggests that pastoral clinicians have stopped reading Boisen, just as Lutherans have stopped reading Luther, and the Methodists have stopped reading Wesley, to their great loss. And with a press in place we can publish other writings as well. Robert Powell's rich works need to be republished in a form that is easy to access. This initiative will have a substantive impact on the entire clinical pastoral field, and enable us to promote our unique philosophy of clinical pastoral work more effectively. And I thank David for moving us in this direction.

    I am appointing David Roth as Editor-in-Chief of the CPSP Publishing House, and am appointing as members of the Editorial Board: Charles Hicks, Robert Powell, Perry Miller, Cynthia Olson, Brian Childs, Bill Scar, Francine Hernandez, George Hull, Bill Alberts, Belen Gonzales and David Moss. There will undoubtedly be others who will need to be added to this board as time goes on. The structure and terms of this publishing venture will be worked out later. However, one critical objective is to have the Boisen books in hand in time for the March Plenary.


    Eric Hall, recently appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN), announced earlier this year that HCCN was creating a new subsidiary organization carrying the label Spiritual Care Association (SCA). The objective of this initiative as we understand it is, among others, that of bringing together the disparate groups in the field of pastoral care and counseling. At the HCI annual gathering in San Diego in the spring, where Eric Hall unveiled the new organization, he approached David Roth and signaled that he wanted a meeting with CPSP leadership, and David communicated that message to me. Subsequently I appointed Perry Miller, Brian Childs, and Charles Hicks to join me in conversations with Eric and members of his staff. We have had several discussions, both in person and electronically.

    I think I speak for others on our team in reporting that Eric Hall seems to be the real thing. He is gracious, generous, conciliatory, negotiable, and I believe he understands what CPSP represents and what we are committed to, as well as what we would not want to be involved in.

    The introduction of a new player in the larger clinical pastoral movement seems to me to bode well. I have hopes that it will result in more serious conversation and debate in the movement at large, and that this initiative will open more candid and generous conversation in the wider clinical pastoral world. I think I speak for my colleagues who have been in conversation with Eric when I say that. Furthermore, we understand that his principal objective is to create a multi-organizational association. And that seems to us to be a promising direction. While it is not entirely clear what shape all this might take, his vision of a big tent is commendable.

    He also proposes that SCA itself certify clinician chaplains. How that initiative will mesh with CPSP is not yet clear. Certainly we can have no objection to his organization offering certification. We have had lengthy discussions with him about his proposed process of certification.  And it is noteworthy that Eric listens to us when we have made suggestions and criticisms.

    The five of us who have been in conversation with Eric Hall believe that it will serve our interests to build some kind of working alliance with Eric and SCA, and we propose to move in that direction.

    We have made no official agreement with him, but we like what he says, what he is, and what he has done thus far.

    Perry has pointedly observed that Eric Hall is shaking up the larger clinical pastoral world - the current stalemate - and we certainly cannot be opposed to that. We welcome it. I believe the five of us concur in that regard.


    Someone - I believe it was Santayana - once said that those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. I want to set Eric Hall and the SCA phenomenon in historical context.

    Please indulge me for a moment a few words of reflection on history. I think it is relevant.

    The encounter of two radically different personalities was the occasion of the creation of the clinical pastoral movement almost a century ago: an egotistic physician and preeminent clinician, Richard Cabot of the Boston Cabots, and a sometime psychotic and dissident Presbyterian/Congregationalist minister, Anton Boisen. Boisen was inspired by his own personal history of psychosis, and later his study of Sigmund Freud's writings, and his inspiration led him to undertake the training of ministers in therapeutic work with disturbed persons. He sought out Cabot to acquire expertise in the clinical method. With Cabot's assistance Boison got off to an impressive start in 1925. He was joined immediately by a psychiatric genius, Helen Flanders Dunbar, and soon by several others. They radically changed theological education forever. In the fifth year of this incipient movement its leaders, in the very same year that they had incorporated, separated into two camps on not-so-friendly terms. In one camp following Anton Boisen was Helen Flanders Dunbar, Carroll Wise and others, who continued to constitute the Council for Clinical Training. In the rebel camp was Richard Cabot, Philip Guiles, Russell Dicks and others, ultimately constituting what in 1944 officially became Institute for Pastoral Care.

    As it turned out, against all expectations, (and this is my point) these two competing and philosophically opposed groups enriched each other through trenchant debate for a generation. Once the heat was turned down a little, after a couple of years, their different ways of seeing things and their opposing approaches to training enriched each other, and kept each other honest.

    The two groups eventually merged in 1967 to form the ACPE.  And the movement has gone downhill since.

    My contention is that the period 1930-1967 was the golden age of the clinical pastoral movement. The conversation and competition between the Council and Institute was intense - and not entirely friendly - but ultimately it was respectful, and through the years each group evolved in significant ways. Both groups were held in esteem by the seminaries and the various religious communities. But most importantly, they learned from each other.

    I also contend that the merger of the two in 1967 was a error of historic proportions, putting an end to serious dialogue and establishing group-think in its place. And the merger - and the univocal result - prepared the necessity for the emergence of CPSP in 1990.

    But CPSP has not succeeded in restoring the dialogue of what I call that golden age, 1930-1967. It has met a wall of resentment over the fact that we broke the unity. The years of 1990 to the present have been years of bitterness over the destruction of the sacred monolith.


    So now comes the wild card, Eric Hall. I propose that he may be able to do what CPSP has not been able to do, bring all parties back into dialogue, with mutual respect and mutual criticism. And criticism is the life blood of any authentic clinician.

    Therefore I propose to continue our conversations with Eric Hall and the SCA and to join with them in any way we can as long as our integrity is protected. I emphasize that we are not at the stage of closing any monumental deal, but rather in the beginning of what I see as and certainly hope is a promising courtship. And courtships sometimes have happy endings.

    My vision is that of another golden age where serious pastoral clinicians will engage each other critically and with respect, strengthening in the wider community the clinical vocation of pastoral care and counseling. Let's find out, as we move forward with Eric Hall, if my vision is a delusion or a harbinger of great things to come.

    Raymond J. Lawrence
    CPSP General Secretary

  • 16 Oct 2016 2:29 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    Two nieces sent us a dour reflection on winter. Literally slouching toward 87, I wrote an encouraging reply instead of quoting Ecc. 3:1-8. No go. The idea of turning 60 still freaked out Niece 2, who still can't believe another decade has passed. Neither can we. Nor could we have imagined what has occurred since Age 60. It seems just days ago that our daughter met this tall guy -- our long drive West to the wedding; driving through Colorado, and moving here; Chaplain training; and our 60th wedding anniversary.

    A witty in-law who lived in these mountains a long time claims our real seasons are Snow, Hot, and Mud. Hmm, Snow on the way! Dig out those boots/togs or buy new ones. "Enough already!" as Mud arrives. Squish squish: shall we add to the wet by crying over what we used to be able to do, even if it was stupid? We do regret that we had not been kinder and quieter. Others remind us. We try again because we tend to forget good advice in the face of the "reality" of daily living -- as we forget how long Hot lasted as we approach Snow again. 

    As in film, one season fades into another -- Mud with Snow, a touch of Hot with Mud. We do cherish a brief period this time of year -- the wondrous colors  of quaking golden Aspen against green Pine, with a touch of white. Too soon all is as white as the color of our thinning hair. We wish that we could extend the period of Aspen in our mind by calling it Now. We vow Now to be kinder and quieter through the rest of the seasons no matter their names. 


    Domenic Fuccillo is a retired Clinical Chaplain who lives in Littleton, Colorado and a regular contributor to the Pastoral Report. 

  • 13 Oct 2016 11:17 AM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    The CPSP Communications Committee is pleased to present the first edition of cpspnewsnotes, a series of brief headlines about recent news items that are linked to in-depth articles. Readers are encouraged to skim the headlines and to click on the articles that interest them to learn more. We hope you enjoy reviewing and reading this first edition!
    -- Perry Miller, Editor, Pastoral Report and Chair, CPSP Communications Committee



    The Governing Council of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy completed their online, bi-annual meeting

    Cynthia OlsonAccreditation Committee Chair, Cynthia Olson steps down

    Jim deGradoMembers of the Plenary Planning Committee named

    CPSP Publishing House announced

    CPSP in conversations with Spiritual Care Association

    CPSP President Bill Scar spoke about the General Secretary's Report, "Raymond was expressive and assertive and creative, and even confessional.”

    Perry Miller, Communications Committee Chair, on the committee's steady progress

    Standards Committee Chair, Ed Luckett, presented his report 

    Jonathan Freeman, Certification Committee Chair, announced that there were updated certification forms now available online and a Certification Manual

    Roberta Winn, Finance Committee member, presented the report and requests of her committee

    Time-line for preparation for upcoming Governing Council meetings

    The Chapter of Chapters discussed the development of building stronger relationships with members and Chapter

    Bill Scar, President: “The Governing Council is truly growing into its responsibilities according to our new governance.”

    Michael Eselun thanked for his role as Chaplain for the Fall 2016 Meeting of the Governing Council.

  • 22 Sep 2016 4:49 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    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 | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    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 | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    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