Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 27 May 2020 8:49 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    We have all known that a poisonous racism resides deeply in the DNA of the people of our country. But the event in Minneapolis on Tuesday brings in focus our sickness in the shockingly vivid video. We have always known that racism has led to insidious actions against non-whites, and especially African Americans, but also Hispanics and Asians as well, if in a less virulent form. We also know that most of the brutality has occurred behind closed doors, or in the darkness of night, or in jails and prisons. But the scene in Minneapolis defies analysis. In broad daylight on Tuesday, in full view of an audience, showing how far we have fallen into darkness and evil. It is hard to imagine what every African American must be feeling today. 

    The police officer who had his knee pressed on the neck of his victim, George Floyd, ignored Mr. Floyd’s cries that he could not breathe and did not respond to by-standers pleading for mercy. All the while, the officer assumed a posture of seeming boredom, and finally, the subject of the arrest indeed could not breathe. 

    What has the Minneapolis Police department come to? And this isn’t even Alabama. What have we as a people come to? This episode portrays a new intensity of racial hatred and a new level of white abuse that must bring a chill to us all. It is beyond comprehension that such open brutality could take place in broad daylight. 

    I have no proposal for what we might do about this. Perhaps if we all reflect on this event and its horror, we will agree together on some action. For the time being, I believe all we can do is to grieve for what we have become, and what has become of our fellow citizens who are not white.

    There is a time to grieve and a time to act. Today we may need simply to grieve. But tomorrow we must take action. Otherwise, the forces of hatred and racism will consume us.


    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary

    Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue / CC BY (

  • 21 May 2020 4:00 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    On 19 May, Professor Austyn Snowden of Napier University Scotland (and part of ERICH - a research institute initiated by chaplains for chaplains to enhance spiritual care practice) invited CPSP-affiliated chaplains to join in a major world-wide research project about chaplains serving during the pandemic.  Specifically, he writes:

    “The worldwide pandemic has influenced the way spiritual care has been delivered in health care. Some even say that spiritual care will never be the same after we have been forced to find other ways to connect with people, to do rituals, to support staff, and so on. 

    With your help, we would like to get a better insight in how the pandemic influenced you and your spiritual care. Having a better understanding of this will help us better advocate for chaplaincy and spiritual care during future pandemics or other crises. It will also help us keep new practices that may have been beneficial in the ‘new normal’.

    This survey was put together by teams in Europe, the USA, and Australia, led by the European Research Institute for Chaplains in Health Care (ERICH Thanks also to our colleagues from professional associations and research organizations around the world who have been happy to promote and disseminate this survey as widely as possible.  It is open for chaplains of all continents.

    We have the approval of the university ethics committee of KU Leuven, Belgium, to conduct this research. The survey doesn’t ask for any personal data, and your anonymity is guaranteed. You should know that the data from the surveys will be held securely, but that it will also be analyzed by the teams in Europe, the USA, and Australia. This is so we can maximize our understanding of what we sincerely hope will be a very large dataset.

    Please take some time to fill in the survey which you can find at:

    It will take you 20 to 30 min. If you wish, you can answer the open questions in your own language.*

    Finally, we would like to thank you for all you did and are doing for patients, their loved ones, and staff." 

    With respect and gratitude, 

    David Plummer, Chair
    Accreditation Commission
    CPSP Past Co-President [Diplomate]

    *Al investigar un poco el sitio de ERICH, han publicado el siguiente YouTube que describe su proyecto en español:
    In probing the ERICH website a bit, they have posted the following YouTube which describes their project in Spanish.]

  • 03 Apr 2020 11:30 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    CPSP Chaplain Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox was interviewed recently for a New York Post article about his role as a hospital chaplain during the coronavirus pandemic.

    You can read the full article here: "NYC hospital chaplains detail emotional toll of new coronavirus reality" 

    Hillel is a Diplomate Supervisor and  a member of the Spuyten Duyvil, NY Chapter. He is the Director of Chaplaincy Care and Education at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY. 

  • 24 Mar 2020 2:48 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    In December, Joanne Greenberg published a novel entitled Jubilee Year, based on Leviticus 25:4,10. When I finished reading it, I had thoughts of the story as a fantasy of what the end of civilization might be like.

    The novel is situated in the high Colorado mountains, where the author herself now lives. A collapse of one side of a mountain strands a small high-altitude village, and leaves the population without access to any of the blessings of civilization, including food, medicine, electricity...and news. A weekly helicopter brings in basic foods and medicines, when the weather cooperates. Some few manage to escape by climbing the rugged terrain, but most can only stay put and wait - and eat lightly. And they wait quite a long time.

    Greenberg is not a cautious or prissy writer. She puts it out there. Aggression, sexuality, venality, and other unmentionable human activities are vividly portrayed in the story. Nobility and compassion also make appearances from time to time. One of the more vivid and humane characters is a Protestant minister, the only religious authority within the small the locked-down town. The author herself is Jewish, and is observant, but who also, as I understand it, currently sings in a Methodist Church choir. She is also a lay psychotherapist, or should I say, more correctly, a lay psychoanalyst.

    I no sooner finished reading the book than news about the new coronavirus began circulating. As each day passes I am feeling more and more like those isolates in that Colorado village named Gold Flume. A flume is a ravine or gorge with a stream.

    For those who take to fiction and need something stimulating to occupy themselves in the current coronavirus quasi-isolation, I recommend this book. I propose that readers will begin to think they are reading about themselves.

    Greenberg is also the author I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, half a century ago. It is an autobiographical account of her own experience with psychosis during her teen years, and her therapeutic experience under the care of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. She is also the author of a dozen or more other books which can be found for sale via the internet and Amazon.

    The author has also agreed to be the featured principal guest at the CPSP 2021 Plenary, scheduled to be held in the Denver area next spring.

  • 14 Mar 2020 7:10 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    The current coronavirus crisis has left the nation, the world and the CPSP community in a state of confusion and some degree of anxiety. No one knows how bad or how long this pandemic will last. The only thing that is quite clear is that it is a pandemic that should not be trifled with. Our best hope is that this virus will be contained, as China is succeeding at, though at great human cost.  

    Many of our members in CPSP are working the front lines of this crisis, holding staff positions in health care institutions. It seems probable, if the pandemic seriously escalates here in the U.S., that some of our members will be infected with the virus. Service Chaplains do not have the luxury of working from home. We have to be aware that many in our community are at least to some extent at risk, and the risk may very well escalate.

    I refer you to the nature of the risk as described in The New York Times article, Two Women Fell Sick from the Corona Virus. One Survived., from March 13, 2020.

    Anyone in our community who becomes aware of a member of the CPSP community infected with the virus should communicate that information to Krista Argiropolis ( We may not be able to take action that ameliorates the risk or the suffering involved, but we certainly would want to know the identity of any of our people who are in distress.

    I wish you all peace and good health in this crisis. 

    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary

  • 20 Jan 2020 5:01 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Editor's Note: In this time of division, even with forces designed to legitimize expressions and actions fueled by hate and racial discrimination, we need to hear and re-hear the voice and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but more is required. We must commit ourselves to an activism that aligns ourselves with the redeeming power of justice articulated by the inspiring dream and hope of Dr. King. 

  • 20 Oct 2019 6:59 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Raymond Lawrence approached me to chair a working group promoting Women in Leadership (WIL) within CPSP.  Raymond spoke of the “vagueness” of this initiative which I embraced as an opportunity and a challenge to reach out to women in CPSP across many time zones and experiences.  From the beginning I saw this as a ‘we’ endeavor. 

    The initial response to the debut of Women in Leadership was encouraging.  A survey was developed and sent to all the women the CPSP directory at that time to assess the level of interest in providing a platform for their voices to be heard.  The survey focused on interest level; interests, skills and experiences you could bring to this committee; and the goals and purpose you would like WIL to concentrate on.  There were numerous responses to the survey.

    In addition, we gathered at the 2018 Plenary to meet in-person with women members and to gather additional data.  The gathering was led by me to share possibilities and explore where WIL was in the moment.  Approximately 30 women attended.   They appeared open and engaged in sharing their thoughts and experiences.

    The data gathered from the survey and Plenary was categorized in three areas: Organizing, Focus and Opportunities.  Two working groups were created Organizing led by Lori Whittemore and Denise Parker Lawrence and Focus/Opportunities led by Marta Gordon Dufis and Elaine Barry.

    Through Zoom meetings we established our mission statement:

    Our aim is to inspire and empower persons for community growth through relational nurturing, conviction, and confidence.

    Through these committees we began to hear a theme “bubbling up”: Having Our Voices Heard in the #MeToo Movement.  A workshop was held at the 2019 Plenary facilitated by Elaine Barry and Marta Gordon Dufis.   Approximately twenty women participated expressing whether they felt their voices were heard within CPSP.  We asked if their voices weren’t being heard would they be interested in participating by writing articles about this subject matter in the Pastoral Report; or maybe through participating in a program on privilege and how it impacts women in CPSP. 

    Throughout the Women in Leadership movement we continue to focus on our Action Plan (Questions to get us to the How):

                What is the impact we are looking to make?

                What is the strategy underneath and behind it?

                What does growth look like for us?

    If you have an interest in engaging in this endeavor please contact me at and let me know in what way you want to lead. 


    Nancy Schaffer, Diplomate Supervisor, BCCC, BCPC
    Member of the Central Nassau, NY Chapter
    Chair, Women in Leadership Committee

  • 09 Oct 2019 8:37 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The week of October 20-26, 2019
    represents 34 years of celebrating
    Pastoral Care Week.

    Pastoral Care Week is a time of both celebration and education.  Organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the pastoral care providers and the pastoral care given through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling within our communities.  The theme, “Hospitality: Cultivating Space” offers a rich opportunity to develop relationships and extend hospitality to those who extend pastoral care, to those who collaborate with pastoral care providers and to those who are the recipients of pastoral care.

    Pastoral care has been an important part of our society’s well-being since humanity sought meaning and connection in its life together. Religions and communities have valued its supportive influence. Hospitality as welcome and nurture requires space for people to feel free and accepted. As cultivation requires ground with which to work, the holy ground of creation is a wonderful starting point.  This year's theme might have some thinking of Community Gardens - a shared space where communities grow together as they grow together. Pastoral care takes seriously the meaningful nature of the space in which we live - its physical realities and its metaphorical meaning. Thus, there is value in providing space where one can feel safe and sheltered, space that allows dignity and creativity and spaces where reflection and worship enrich well-being and humanity.

    The offering of space can involve silence. A person can find silence in one’s space and likewise one can create space in silence. Cultivating space can be an opportunity to create something where there was once nothingness. What a person does with his or her space is personal be it reflective or shared. When space is cultivated, it is dug out, set aside, nurtured for a purpose. If someone allows you into that space it is an invitation where silence can speak and meaning can be fostered. May this year’s focus bless you with space to offer careful spirituality.

    Pastoral Care Week is supported by the COMISS Network: The Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings (COMISS).   COMISS members provide care in specialized settings such as hospitals, prisons, businesses, industries, long-term care facilities, pastoral counseling centers, hospices, military settings, nursing homes, corporations, congregations of sisters, priests and brothers, schools and universities throughout the world.  Among the variety of celebrations will be hand-blessing ceremonies for health workers; open houses; poetry jams by clients; lecture series and luncheons.  Many resources are available, including governmental proclamations, artwork, and merchandise, at or

  • 07 Oct 2019 8:39 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Editor's Note: 
    William Alberts, CPSP Diplomate, and author, is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University School of Theology. 

    Reverend Scott Campbell, who introduced Dr. Alberts, said, Whether the arena be politics, race, poverty, environment, war, economic exploitation, or a score of other affronts to justice, Bill's critique has grown more incisive, his passion for what is good more true, and his commitment to speak truth to power more consuming. 

    Bill is a courageous and prophetic voice who often disturbs we the "comfortable." His not so gentle nudge in his writing often feels like a hammer blow to the head when he addresses matters of injustice. His disturbing voice on current affairs is rarely welcomed by many but needed. 

    Below is a video of Bill Alberts' presentation at the event and a copy of Dr. Campbell's introduction

    Download: Dr. Campbell's Introduction

    Distinguished Alumni Panel, 19-Sept. 2019
    (Bill Alberts' presentation starts at 52 minutes into the video)

  • 10 Sep 2019 11:12 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    Thirty-seven members from ten chapters in Region 2 gathered August 18-19, 2019 in Gettysburg, PA to deal with recent traumatic events such as the Tree of Life synagogue shootings this past October in Pittsburgh. 

    Certified traumatologist, Dr. Patti Anewalt, led the group through large and small group exercises. Dr. Anewalt shared her experience and expertise, including the downing of Flight 93 in Shanksville on 911 and the massacre of Amish school children in 2006.  However, according to David Berg, CPSP Diplomate and Region 2 Representative to the Chapter of Chapters, who organized the event, the retreat focused much more on how all of us as caregivers deal with tragedy and trauma in our own lives.