Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 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. 

  • 21 Aug 2019 7:07 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Editor’s note: Stephen Faller is a Board Certified Clinical Chaplain/Pastoral Counselor and a Diplomate Clinical Education/Training Supervisor with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. He is the manager of the Department of Pastoral Care and a CPE Training Supervisor at Capital Health in Hopewell, NJ.

    The description provided for Christianity and the Art of Wheelchair Maintenance on Chaplain Faller’s Amazon page, posted below, suggest the reader will be in for a treat: 


    After twenty years, Stephen Faller shares his journey into seminary and ordained ministry. CPSP’s Stephen Faller, Diplomate, BCCC, BCPC, publishes his fourth book, Christianity and the Art of Wheelchair Maintenance, which reveals the story of how someone with a lifelong disability, cerebral palsy, might find his way into ministry as a hospital chaplain; there is a certain irony in that. While particular in its own right, this story will speak to anyone in college or graduate school studying one of the many disciplines hoping to make the world a better place. 

    Through both narrative and dialogue, Faller engages philosophers and theologians alike. This is an intimate text that seeks to integrate mind, body, and spirit that situates itself more beyond the margins than as marginalized. 

    Just as Faller’s own narrative is contextualized by disability, this personal work is contextualized in our polarized and politicized culture, as it considers the meaning of ministry for a contemporary time. Faller's is an embedded text that speaks to a multicultural society, even if that body carries brokenness and even if that society is divided. 

    Stephen Faller is also the author of Beyond the Matrix (2004), Reality TV (2009), and The Art of Spiritual Midwifery (2015). He has a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He can be reached at

  • 13 Aug 2019 4:10 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Micheal Eselun at TEDx UCLA - click the photo to view the video

    Michael Eselun, CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplain, was recently selected as a member of the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) Eudaimonia Society. His presentation is linked to the photo, above, or click HERE to view Michael's TEDx UCLA talk associated with this award.

    The organization at the University of California, Los Angeles  focuses on food, built environment, physical activity, emotional and social wellbeing through innovation around curriculum, programs, policy, and infrastructure. 

    Michael was nominated by ten members of the UCLA community and selected for his compassion to help cancer patients find meaning and hope in their experience. He was inducted into the Eudaimonia Society on April 29, 2019 and honored along with six additional UCLA students, faculty, staff, and alumni, who each uniquely embodied Eudaimonia in their own lives and serve as an inspiration to the campus. 

    Michael serves as the chaplain for the Simms/Mann‐UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, serving those touched by cancer at UCLA in the outpatient setting. He has worked extensively in palliative care, hospice, and acute adult psychiatric patients. Highly regarded as a keynote speaker, Michael speaks extensively to healthcare professionals, patient populations and faith communities across the country. Michael weaves stories with vulnerability, insight, and humor– stories that reflect the deeper questions of life, mortality, and meaning.  He’s been widely published in journals, and Michael also has a TED talk available via YouTube called, “It’s Magic.”

    Michael was featured in CPSP's podcast, Chaplaincy Alive!, in December 2016where he spoke about his work with hospice and palliative care patients, his TEDx talks and lectures, his writings, and his background working in the entertainment industry. You can learn more about his work or contact him through his website at

  • 06 Aug 2019 9:25 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Editor's Note: 
    Chaplain Patty Berrón, BCCC, BCPC, and a member of the Dallas Metroplex, TX Chapter, who along with colleagues, is providing leadership clinical care and counseling to those who are suffering in this tragic national crisis. 

    Here is Chaplain Berrón's report to the CPSP Community.

    To the CPSP Community; 

    With sadness and hearts that are broken, we unify ourselves with the communities that suffered these pass mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. We, like they, are in shock looking for answers. 

    So far, what the investigators found is that both are hate terrorism crimes with access to weapons of mass destruction.

    Families of the victims are mourning while putting crosses with the names of their love ones in public places. The  communities on both sides of the border are responded by bringing flowers, donating blood, donations, and meeting in prayer. In addition, the communities are also calling their representatives demanding action to prevent what is preventable. These acts of terrorism are outrageous, we should not tolerate them.

    Clinical Chaplains, and other mental health professional, are providing counseling to the individuals and families who have been impacted by the shooting and human slaughter.

    We need to stand up and advocate what our country is meant to be: a place that is welcoming, accepting and protecting. We need to raise our voices to make a statement that the lives of people are more valuable than guns.  

    We must unify ourselves to make us stronger and collaborate on all the different ways available, face to face or at distance. Let’s stand and work together. 

    Below are some of the links that you might use:

    The El Paso Community Foundation has set up an online fund to help those impacted by the shooting. The foundation said it will waive administrative fees and pay credit card fees associated with fundraising for the victims, and that it will work with the city of El Paso and the county to disburse funds.

    The Veterans Affairs of El Paso urged any victims, or family of victims, who are veterans to call the Veteran Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

    Perches Funeral Homes will provide free funerals to the victims of the mass shooting. To learn more, call (915) 532-2101.

    Operation Hope will be partnering with Sunset and Martin Funeral Homes to assist victim's families with funeral expenses, according to ABC News affiliate KVIA.

    The family assistance center is up and running at the Convention Center. Family and friends looking for information on loved ones can come to the Convention Center or call (937) 333-8430.

    Please know that there is a great need for blood donors across the nation and the sad events in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, Ohio have greatly increased this blood need. We give you an attentive invitation to make an appointment to donate blood, you can go to or and put your zip code to find the blood banks closest to your area. In advance, we appreciate your collaboration.

    Peace to all.

  • 23 Jul 2019 2:31 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    We're pleased to announce that registration is now open for the National Clinical Training Seminar - East (NCTS-East) event, November 4–5, 2019 in Morristown, NJ. The theme of this Fall's event is: "Pastoral Aesthetics: Ministry as Subversive Imagination in the Age of the Overwhelm."

    We're even more excited to tell you about our guest speaker, Robert C. Dykstra, Ph.D., a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and author!

    Dr. Dykstra is on the editorial boards of Pastoral Psychology and the Journal of Childhood and Religion and he is the co-founder of the annual scholarly conference “Group for New Directions in Pastoral Theology.” His books include Finding Ourselves Lost: Ministry in the Age of Overwhelm (Cascade Books, 2018); The Faith and Friendships of Teenage Boys (Westminster John Knox Press, 2012), with Allan Hugh Cole Jr. and Donald Capps; Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of Boys, also co-authored with Cole and Capps (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007); Images of Pastoral Care: Classic Readings (Chalice Press, 2005); Discovering a Sermon: Personal Pastoral Preaching (Chalice Press, 2001); and Counseling Troubled Youth (Westminster John Knox Press, 1997). CPSP honored Dr. Dystra's significant contribution in the field of clinical pastoral training, awarding him with the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award in 2005. 

    This event will take place at the Loyola Retreat Center in Morristown, NJ. Registration is open for everyone - non-members of CPSP are welcome to join us for this special event. The deadline for registration is October 25 and we're anticipating a big turnout for this event. 

    For more information please visit the event page (link).

    Register NOW!

  • 26 Jun 2019 4:13 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The poet Emma Lazarus, who lived in New York City and died in 1887 at the age of 38, wrote the brief poem that is inscribed on our Statue of Liberty:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    The new, 2019 version:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, 
    And I’ll see that they drown with their children in the Rio Grande."

    Photo Credit CNNPhoto Credit: CNN
    "Cuomo and Lemon Discuss Border Photo of Dead Man and Daughter",, 06-26-2019.
    CNN's Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon discuss the shocking image of a drowned man and his daughter at the US border.


    THE NEW COLOSSUS by Emma Lazarus

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips, "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary

  • 30 Apr 2019 9:56 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    (L-R): Fran Nichols, Scott Smith, Dr. Larry Moss, Jane Mericle, Dr. Mary Lee, Dr. Roy Proujansky, Kelly Thompson, and Dr. Al Carden 

    When Kelly Thompson's fourth child was born, she was not expected to survive a year, a month, or even a week. With such devastating news, Kelly had to dig deep to be strong for her family. She leaned on her faith with the support of Chaplain Scott Smith, who was by her side through some of her darkest moments, and the Pastoral Care team at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (N/AIDHC). Her daughter Kara is now six years old.

    Today, Kelly shared her experience and appreciation as she joined Dr. Larry Moss, Nemours President and CEO, and Dr. Roy Proujansky, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive of Delaware Valley Operations, in a ceremony in the Atrium of N/AIDHC to recognize and celebrate the Pastoral Care team for their seven-year re-accreditation of the Clinical Pastoral Education/Training (CPE/T) program. 

    "To put this in perspective," said Dr. Proujansky, "this is like the Chaplaincy equivalent of achieving Magnet status." 

  • 15 Apr 2019 9:06 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Authority, Leadership and Spirituality

    In A Culture of Nationalism

    A Group Relations Program
    at the
    National Clinical Training Seminars (NCTS) Conference

    College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
    Loyola Retreat House, Morristown, NJ
    April 29-30, 2019

    This program provides members with opportunities to experience and study the nature of authority and the interpersonal and intergroup problems encountered in its exercise. The ability of individuals to work effectively in groups and organizations is influenced by the way in which authority is vested, and how responsibilities for leadership and followership are assumed. The forces which influence this process can best be understood when they are seen in actual operation. Therefore, this program offers the opportunity to study what happens in and among groups at the same time it is happening. Consequently, the learning which takes place occurs from the direct experience of the individual. The aim is to bring together experience and thought, emotion and intellect, without neglecting one for the other.

    Since the exercise of authority is dependent upon the presence of others, the program’s focus of study is upon groups rather than individual personalities. Although the individual is important, it is our experience that the complexities of group life are best examined and understood when the attention shifts from the narrower perspectives of the individual to the group as a whole. This broadened perspective, shifting the emphasis from the individual to the group, distinguishes this program from sensitivity training or encounter groups.

    The program is open-ended in that that there is no attempt to prescribe what anyone shall learn. The intent, rather, is to provide an institutional structure within which program participants can experience and examine the many dimensions and aspects of authority in a variety of contexts. Participants will have opportunities to:

    · Examine the nature of leadership, authority and spirituality in diverse groups and organizations;

    · Explore the development of collective dynamics, overt and covert, in group settings, and examine the influence of such dynamics on the life of the group-as-a-whole and on individual group members;

    · Explore questions about leadership, authority and spirituality, membership and participation, sub-group formation, issues of social identity, as they emerge; and 

    · Examine the concepts of boundary, authority, role and task as they relate to the work of diverse groups and organizations.

    Program Events

    Program Opening:  As the initial event of the program, the Opening involves all members and staff.  The Program Director will introduce the task, provide a brief theoretical framework for our work, and review the events. 

    The Large Group: All members and staff of the program will comprise the Large Group in a here and now format. The task of the Large Group is to study the group’s behavior as it occurs, with the assistance of the Program Director. While the Large Group also provides opportunities to explore both the overt and covert factors influencing behavior in groups and how members take up personal authority, it highlights dynamics that may occur in large assemblies or in crowds or mobs, where face-to-face interactions are limited. The formation includes a spiral of participants in the center of the room who will actively participate as they are encircled by an outer ring of participants who will serve as silent observers. All members will take up both roles. In these dual roles members and staff will have the opportunity to experience and examine aspects of the system as they occur in the “here-and-now.”

    Program Discussion: Following the fourth Large Group which is the last “here-and-now” event, this event provides an opportunity for everyone to speak and reflect on the program experience together.


    Kimberley A. Turner, PhD, M. Div., Consultant. Associate Minister, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, DC; Program Manager, D.C. Health Department; Past President, the Washington-Baltimore Center for the Study of Group Relations, and Associate, A.K. Rice Institute.


    The Loyola Retreat House is at
    161 James Street, Morristown, NJ 07960,
    and can be reached by calling (973) 539-0740. 

    Registration deadline is 20-April 2019. 

    Please read the registration options carefully - if you need to arrive the night before the conference, there is an option for early arrivals on Sunday, 29-April after 3 PM. 

    There is a $50 non-fundable deposit for cancellations. 

  • 07 Apr 2019 11:53 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    On the 95th anniversary of Dunbar’s study on “The Medieval Mass in the West.” 1924  

    [she entered seminary soon after writing this]

    On the 90th anniversary of Dunbar’s 1st of 3 doctoral dissertations: Symbolism in Medieval Thought …, 1929.

    On the 85th anniversary of Dunbar’s quite poetic – and still widely cited – article,

    [“What Happens at Lourdes: Psychic Forces in Health and Disease,” 1934 1. ]

    On the 80th anniversary of Dunbar’s founding of the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.

    On the 75th anniversary of Dunbar’s – oddly enough – breakthrough – and still widely cited – article, “Effect of the Mother's Emotional Attitude on the Infant,” 1944.

    On the 60th anniversary of the death of Helen Flanders Dunbar, BD, PhD, MD, MedScD  

    [despite her Bachelor of Divinity degree, Dunbar did not have ordination as an option within her faith group – although at least one of her theological school classmates was ordained within another faith group]

    [her BD thesis concerned “Methods of Training in the Devotional Life Employed in the American Churches,” a study on the use of symbolism and ritual]

    On the 95th anniversary of the appointment of Anton Theophilus Boisen, BD, as chaplain at Worcester State Hospital.

    On the 90th anniversary of Boisen’s article on Mary Magdalene: “The Woman to Whom Jesus First Appeared,” 1929. 2

    On the 5th anniversary of the beginning of “The Boisen Books Project” –   for the fresh republication of at least three of the five classic writings by Boisen. 3

    “Praise be to G-d for giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this day.” 4  

    G-d only knows if any of us will be here tomorrow.

    The original calculation was that I would be dead by now. I am not.

    After brooding about it for five years,

    I finished writing, five years ago, When Death Is NOT Theoretical …. 5

    The book was about many things, but specifically about death from an illness with a somewhat known, non-immediate time course – that is,

                      death that is


                                        slow in coming,

                                        with an anticipated likely time, and

                                        unlikely to make the headlines.  [p.6]

    That is, the book was about “death on the horizon” – “death on the calendar”.

    The book was about when

                      one knows death is

                                        coming slowly – but

                                        coming sooner than an otherwise “natural” death.

    One just does not know when.

    Dunbar knew that she was dying –

    although it does not appear that anyone else did at the time.

    If one reads closely –

                      between the lines, so to speak –

    a paragraph deep in her last book suggests as much,

                      even as she wrote extensively about centenarians.

    Indeed, she died –

    quite unexpectedly to most –

    on the day the publisher’s galley proofs of her last book arrived. 6

    Now, let us go back and,

                      instead, of considering “death,”

                                        let us consider “change”.

    Some changes are wanted. Some are not. Changes can involve both losses and gains.

    Let us consider when

                      one knows change is

                                        coming slowly – but

                                        coming sooner than what otherwise would seem “natural”.

    One just does not know when.

    It may not be death, but significant change is coming to clinical pastoral chaplaincy.  

    It may be death indeed, as the significant change that comes to many of us today in this room.              

    The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy has weathered a lot of

    internal change during this second decade of the 21st century – that is, since about 2011.

    I mention that time-frame specifically, since –

    if an historian is allowed to approach being prophetic –

    2011 is when I first became inspired to write a series of articles –

    six articles on “Tolerance and Encouragement,” to be exact –

    articles that attempted to keep CPSP grounded as it crafted a number of needed internal changes.

    CPSP indeed – slowly and carefully – modified its governance structure –

    retaining ideals while positioning itself to handle the reality of considerable growth.

    The focus today is on

    external changes –

    changes already occurring and fairly certain to accelerate in the coming decade.

    CPSP indeed – slowly and carefully – may need to modify its self-perception as a community.

    In 1999, when first I spoke at CPSP, about 40% of those in the audience were female chaplains.

    This was quite notable to my eyes, as, when I had spoken at other chaplaincy gatherings,

    only about 10% of those in the audience would be female chaplains.

    Clinical pastoral chaplains in North America at the end of the 20th century were mostly men – mostly Protestant white men at that.

    Furthermore, in 1999, most of those doing clinical pastoral chaplaincy

                      had attended seminary and had earned masters or doctoral degrees.

    Completing one unit of clinical pastoral training was viewed as mandatory – and

                      completing four units was viewed as preferred.

    As early as 1999, CPSP understood the need to encourage clinical pastoral chaplaincy at the parish level.

    Increasingly since about 2011, CPSP and other chaplaincy groups have needed to consider

                      “equivalent” credentials – as

    applicants for membership might come from faith groups that did not have seminaries –

                      or easy access to graduate school – or religious endorsing bodies.

    Applicants also might not have access to ordination.

    A lot of pastoral care – and counseling – and psychotherapy – was needed out there in the world –

    and “untraditional” candidates were stepping forward,

                                        requesting guidance on how to help

                                                          those who were suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable.

    Today’s Dunbar Awardee has been both traditional and untraditional from the beginning,

                      seeking to add new voices to the clinical pastoral tradition.

    Like Dunbar herself, today’s awardee listened closely to an inner voice –

                      and followed it “with perseverance and belief” –

                              and got things done.7                                                                                                               

    Today’s awardee suggested a new path in theological scholarship –

                      one seeking “to identify, uphold, and lift up acts of noble intention, courage, and love” –

                            positioning these “as sources of empowerment for people in their struggling”.8                              

    The title of this introduction – “Living, Dying – Gaining, Losing –

    Change (whether consciously or unconsciously)

    Always Involves Grief”

    has arisen directly out of our Dunbar Awardee’s writing across the last two decades.

    Actually, it appears to have arisen from more than three decades of discernment – and grieving – before that.

    Boisen emphasized that “no one is condemned who is in the process of becoming better” – even of becoming “best”. 9

    Today’s awardee reminds us that all “becoming” – all gain – all change – involves grieving for a loss.                                                                                                                                                                            

     “Half the work of grieving is naming and

                      recognizing that a loss

                                        has occurred or is occurring.”  10       

    Everything that the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy might gain –

                      while becoming “better” – even “best” – also will involve loss.

    Yes, today’s awardee has taken a closer look at loss –

                      including “ambiguous loss” and “linger loss”.

    As our Dunbar Awardee has noted,

                      “no matter how I try to escape from the reality of loss, 

                                        grief will find me.” 11                        

    If CPSP can remain, to quote our awardee, “centered, confident, humble, flexible, and knowledgeable”

                      its community –

                      and its individual chaplains –

                                        can handle whatever further internal and external change comes along. 12

    Please join me in welcoming our newest – and 19th – recipient of

    "The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training,”

    Dr. Roslyn A. Karaban.




    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.