Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 18 May 2017 4:57 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)
    The Plenary Planning Committee consisting of David Roth, Perry Miller and Raymond Lawrence is delighted to announce that the 2018 Plenary will host two extraordinary women at its Oakland meeting March 18-20, 2018

    Kerry Egan, the hospice chaplain whose monumental book, On Living, was published last year to wide and well-deserved acclaim will be with us. 

    And Pamela Cooper-White who is the widely-published Professor of Psychology and Religion at Union Theological Seminary will also be with us. 

    Details on the specific schedule will follow.

    Visit the 2018 Plenary event page for more information - registration will be open soon. 


  • 14 May 2017 9:11 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    "Every human being is legal."

    Dr. Jim Rigby, Pastor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church - Austin, TX, offers sanctuary and humanitarian relief in his church to immigrants. He talks with our host, Susan McDougal, about his work and the sanctuary movement. 

    Subscribe to Chaplaincy Alive! through iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, or Overcast (app):


    Or listen on PodBean: 

  • 07 May 2017 9:27 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    In June, 2016, the CPSP Communications Committee  announced Chaplaincy Alive!, a video podcast addressing issues of interest to those in the field of pastoral care and counseling.   Seven episodes have been released, covering a broad range of topics: trauma chaplaincy, social justice, and clinical chaplain training.  Since its inception the series has been viewed by over 1,500 unique visitors, watching some 9,100 minutes of  broadcast.  

    Given the interest in the Chaplaincy Alive! series, the CPSP Communications Committee announces the addition of the audio podcasts of Chaplaincy Alive!, now available on your phone or tablet via iTunesGoogle Play, InTune (Amazon - Alexa) and podcast apps like Overcast. The subscription is free and it will allow you to listen-on-the-go, where ever life may take you!

    iTunes Logo  Google Play Logo  TuneIn Logo   Overcast App Logo

    CPSP Communication Committee Chair, Perry Miller, spoke about the history of Chaplaincy Alive! and the development of the podcast:  "I’m ecstatic about Chaplaincy Alive! hosted by Susan McDougal and produced by Krista Argiropolis. CPSP’s Communication Committee is to be commended for its creative vision and continuing support for this significant contribution to important dialogue in the clinical pastoral field.  I searched for similar  podcast  and found nothing even close to the quality, depth and relevance of Chaplaincy Alive!"

    "Chaplaincy Alive! is not supported  by grant money, CPSP budgeted money or the use of out-side 'experts'.  It remains true to CPSP’s commitment to 'travel light'. It was birthed by creative and committed CPSP members (of which CPSP has an abundance) who believe in CPSP and its unique mission and commitment to make a difference in the clinical pastoral field."

    "In no way, however, is Chaplaincy Alive! solely a CPSP enterprise and only about CPSP. Frankly, I’m wearying of all the self-promotion and territory protection that is so prevalent in the major clinical training and certifying organizations in our field. It is time for all of us to rise above self promotion.  Chaplaincy Alive! produces in-depth interview podcast with all who are making significant contributions to the field of clinical chaplaincy, regardless of their organization affiliation. We hope Chaplaincy Alive! will inspire others to produce their podcast. Also, we welcome your ideas for future podcasts."

    Two new episodes of Chaplaincy Alive! are now available, by video and audio podcast:

    In episode 6, Host Susan McDougal talks with the Planning Committee about the opportunity and challenges they found in organizing the 2017 CPSP Plenary in Orlando, FL.  The local committee determined they would pull out all the stops to show the attendees of the 2017 Plenary, in their words, "a heapin' help of Southern hospitality." They succeeded, and it was by all measures an outstanding event.

    In episode 7, Raymond Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary, talks candidly about the future of chaplaincy and pastoral care.  He also discusses his recent book, Nine Clinical CasesThe Soul of Pastoral Care and Counseling.  It’s a must read for all those in the field of Clinical Pastoral Counseling.  

    The CPSP Communications Committee members are Perry Miller, Chair; Susan McDougal, David Roth, Missiouri McPhee, William Alberts, Charles Hicks, and Krista Argiropolis. 


    Perry Miller, Editor and 
    Chair, CPSP Communications Committee

  • 20 Apr 2017 8:00 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Dear Members of CPSP and Friends,

    The recent 2017 Plenary of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy in Orlando, FL, is still very fresh in our memories, and we want to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the Local Planning Committee in Orlando for their dedication and spirited energy. 

    From the plethora of logistics for this event registration, hospitable accommodations, and even to providing nourishing meals in the hospitality room - everything went smoothly and was accomplished without breaking stride.  We offer our sincere gratitude and heartfelt admiration to Missiouri McPhee, Jacob Cuthbert, III, Arnold Porter, Richard Smith, John Williams, and Scott Fleming for their dedicated and unprecedented level of service. We also thank Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary, Krista Argiropolis, Administrative Coordinator, and Charles Hicks, Administrator and Legal Counsel, for their work and support of this event. 

    We congratulate and welcome CPSP’s newly Board Certified Clinical Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, Diplomates, Clinical Fellows in Hospice and Palliative Care, those beginning as supervisors-in-training, and our newly accredited training centers. We stand ready to assist you in your professional and personal growth as members of a vibrant CPSP community.  

    During our time together at the Plenary, there were separate meeting spaces for board certified clinicians and Diplomates to address matters of concern amongst like professionals.  

    At the Board Certified Clinicians' meeting, issues were raised relating to chapter life, chapter membership, and certification. Candid discussion of these issues spurred energetic collaboration.  Those who attended left with valuable information that they may share with their chapter members. 

    Similarly, the Diplomates discussed their obligations to be bearers of truth and tradition. They also discussed the importance of quality supervision, the quality of chapters and chapter life They discussed their need to participate regularly in national clinical training seminars and other CPSP events. There was a stimulating conversation referencing the Covenant’s declaration that, “…even the institution of CPSP itself must be carefully monitored lest it take on an idolatrous character....” Given CPSP’s expansion, Diplomates want to encourage CPSP to insure we are raising up new CPE Supervisors to fill the demand. 

    We believe that their meetings were very thought provoking and we hope that there is space at our next Plenary for the conversations by both groups to continue. 

    We look forward to collaborative and creative leadership, as we work to address the needs of our vibrant, diverse, and growing community.  We invite you to share your thoughts with us, and we have an email address now,, that will send your emails to both of our inboxes. 

    We look forward to serving you.


    David Plummer & Ruth Zollinger
    CPSP Co-Presidents

  • 19 Apr 2017 7:36 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Chaplain Richard Joyner

    WUNC Public Radio’s The State of Things in its April 3, 2017 broadcast featured an hour long interview with the The Reverend Richard Joyner, a Board Certified Clinical Chaplain with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. He is the Director of the Department of Pastoral Care at UNC Nash Health Care located in Rocky Mount, NC. In addition, he is the pastor of the Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, founder of the Family Life Center and creator of the Community Garden. 

    The State of Things on its website introduces Rev. Joyner: 

    For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic inner justices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

    Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

    The success of the Joyner’s Community Garden has been written up nationally due to its uniqueness and the impact on the community's health and well being. Reduced usage of the Emergency Department due to the Community Garden and Life Style Center has been documented. Also, school dropouts have been significantly reduced. Joyner’s program, a unique and valued health resource, feeds and educates a rural NC community.

    Listening to the Interview one can easily see how his training as a clinical chaplain has influenced the development of the program. Amazingly, he is not only a clinical chaplain in a medical center but also an innovative clinical chaplain to a whole community. CNN in its CNN Hero Series captures the essence of Chaplain Joyner’s community program. 

    Many of the Pastoral Report’s readers will appreciate the richness of Chaplain Joyner’s life story he tells with self-compassion and insight. The transformational influence of his CPE training experience  will not be missed by the listener. 

    Danita Maria Perkins, a CPSP Diplomate, is a colleague of Chaplain Joyner's at UNC Nash Health Care. As Director of Nash’s CPE program, Chaplain Perkins provided the following observation

    As a result of CPE’s transformative impact on Richard’s life, he helped to start a CPSP CPE/training program in 2015 that is building bridges between hospital and community care. His vision is that trainees will explore what the chaplain’s role can be in discharge planning, transitional care, preventing 30-day readmissions, health education, discouraging the use of the emergency department as a means of primary health care, and building self-sustaining communities by tending the soil of the land while caring for the soul of humanity.

    Although not mentioned in the interview, Chaplain Joyner’s dedication to developing his clinical pastoral acuity and craft led him over time to have amassed 15 units of clinical pastoral education training. CPSP’s Dr. John Edgerton, Past President of CPSP, now deceased, and Dr H. Mac Wallace, CPSP Diplomate and Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Campbell Divinity School, served as two of his CPE training supervisors. 

    I encourage you to download the State of Things Podcast (available on iTunes or Google Playor go to the State of Things webpage and listen to this innovative and soulful clinical chaplain and pastor tell his story. 

    Perry Miller, Editor

  • 07 Apr 2017 6:21 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    In 1984 Glenn Asquith went on sabbatical for a year of study away from Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem,PA. If I recall he went to Europe for a while and also worked on his Boisen project. The president of Moravian College of which the seminary was a part, asked Seward Hiltner to drive from Princeton to Bethlehem to stay for two days and teach the courses and advise in the Th,M. program which Glenn would normally do. Seward agreed so long that if he needed backup I would come in to take over. At that time I was a lecturer at Princeton Theological Seminary and director of clinical training at the Trinity Counseling Service. 

    The Tuesday before Thanksgiving of that year I got a call at my office at Trinity from Helen Hiltner telling me that she and Ann, their daughter,  had come back from Thanksgiving grocery shopping and found Seward dead on the recliner in the living room. There was a flurry of activity and one of the responsibilities was a call to Moravian and my being told to come to the seminary on Tuesday of the next week to assume my responsibility in Seward's stead.

    It was a long and cold two hour drive in my heaterless VW Beatle convertible over the mountains of Northwest New Jersey to Bethlehem. I was ushered into Glenn's office by a secretary and I sat there for an hour before my first class. I went over Seward's syllabus for that particular course. I was in a fugue state and for all the world just went through the motions. I was not at all sure I was up to the task. I actually sobbed until I was interrupted by the Dean who came to introduce himself. He was noticeably uncomfortable with what he found.

    I decided to process Seward's sudden death with the class. Seward in just that brief period of time, maybe five weeks, made quite an impression on the students, not all of it good because I suspect that these good and gentle Moravians and Mennonites were not used to the direct and brusk  Seward Hiltner in comparison to the gentle soul that was Glenn Asquith. Glenn, though, had one very dry and wicked sense of humor. He had a chuckle that was endearing.

    I spent the year teaching there and much to my surprise I was invited deliver the commencement address of the seminary in May 1985.

    I was wise enough to take the offer of one of the old Council hands who had retired from Allentown State Hospital, Dean Bergen, to meet with him every Tuesday for lunch before my first class that day. Dean was trained by Guiles and of course worked with Hiltner in the early days before the making of ACPE. Dean was of that old school, two martini lunch kind of guy  who really cared about me and the students at Moravian and was a real mentor and help in my own grief. I owe him and indirectly Glenn and of course Seward for any contribution I have made to the cause.

    I felt a strong need to leave Princeton after that and was offered a position as associate professor of pastoral theology at Columbia in Atlanta and joined their faculty the summer of 1986. That same year a number of us, about twenty, founded the Society of Pastoral Theology and had our first meeting in Denver at the Brown Palace. Chuck Gerkin, Charlie Brown, Sandra Brown, Don Browning, Jim lapsley, Emma Justice and the other leaders of the field were among the 20 or so. Glenn was there and I shared with him what I have shared with you now.

    When we gave Glenn the Dunbar award in Chicago I reminded him again about our Moravian connection and we reminisced a bit about those days. I knew Glenn was ill and sensed I would not see him again.  Aeternum vale.


    Brian H. Childs

  • 06 Apr 2017 12:18 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    A giant in the clinical pastoral training movement died April 4. Glenn Asquith was a prolific contributor to the literature of the Boisen movement. His anthology of writings by and about Anton T. Boisen, 
    Vision from a Little Known Country, is the primary source by which the founder of the clinical pastoral movement is known to readers today. 

    Glenn was the recipient of the 2015 Helen Flanders Dunbar Award on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary Plenary of CPSP in 2015. He was emeritus professor at the Moravian Theological Seminary where he developed and nurtured the pastoral counseling program and taught for 31 years.

    Glenn was a good friend and colleague of CPSP through the years. We extend to his wife Connie, who joined us in Chicago two years ago, our heartfelt condolences. His passing is a loss to us all.

    Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary

  • 30 Mar 2017 9:13 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Richard Smith, John Williams, Missiouri McPhee, and Scott Fleming(left to right: Richard Smith, John Williams, Missiouri McPhee, and Scott Fleming)

    Dear CPSP Community:

    Please allow us to take a moment of your frenzied day to take the opportunity to express our profound appreciation for the privilege you afforded us in hosting our 27th Annual Plenary in Orlando, FL.

    Understanding the trials and triumphs associated with the work of our colleagues, we were intentional about creating a nurturing and caring environment; one conducive to collegiality, leisure, and above all, renewal of spirit. We had an awesome time hosting you, and truly enjoyed making meaningful connections with each of you. This Plenary has caused us to view CPSP not just as a cadre of colleagues who gather together to exchange ideas and information, but as family that is supportive of each other. Our lives are richer for you having passed through it.

    It is our sincere hope that we not only met, but exceeded your expectations in creating an unparalleled plenary experience. We look forward to seeing you all in Oakland, CA in 2018.

    Continuing in the tradition of “recovery of soul”, we remain,
    Serving with Gladness, 

    The 27th Annual Plenary Host Committee
    Scott Fleming
    Missiouri McPhee
    Arnold Porter
    Richard Smith 
    John Williams, Sr.

  • 29 Mar 2017 2:37 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    CPSP’s National Clinical Training Seminar-East (NCTS-E) will be held May 8–9, 2017 at the Loyola House of Retreats located in Morristown, NJ. The Coordinator of the event is the Rev. Dr. Francine Hernandez. 

    The theme for this gathering is “Transference and Countertransference in Pastoral Care, Counseling & Supervision,” with Dr. David Franzen as presenter. 

    The NCTS-East is open to all who are invested in the clinic pastoral field: Clinical Chaplains, CPE Trainees, CPE Supervisors, Pastoral Counselors and Psychotherapists, Parish Pastors and others seeking to explore the field. 

    In keeping with CPSP’s tradition and commitment to clinical acuity and consultation, all participants are to come prepared to present in a small working group a clinical case or something of of their life and/or work for consultation. 

    NCTS-East Schedule

    Register for NCTS-East, May 8–9, 2017

  • 27 Mar 2017 12:54 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Dear Friends and Colleagues -

    I am pleased to say that we, the CPSP, are truly progressing. And this is not "fake news"!  At a time when truth is at a premium in so many areas of life, we are actively addressing the factors that affect true quality of care for the many children of God, the living human documents, we encounter every day.

    In clear terms, our progress is measurable in different areas other than our internal discipline and nurture.  Our collegial outreach, the Commission on Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training, has been actively reviewing many of the programs that deserve scrutiny and review.  Our CPSP leadership has been in ongoing communications with our historical cognate groups, the ACPE, the AAPC, and the AAMFT, and many opportunities for growth and relationship are possible.  It should be noted that all three of these organizations are experiencing major restructuring…and all three are in the process of adopting local and regional structures that are analogous to the Chapters and Chapter Life patterns that the CPSP established 27 years ago.  We knew then that we were embarking on the future that would become essential to the survival of our missions.  And, we have invited more communication with the emerging Spiritual Care Association, evidenced by our invitation this week to its President, the Rev. Eric Hall.

    As a guild devoted to clinical pastoral care, collegial support and supervision are our most basic tasks as an organization, and we have stepped forward with more accountability for training programs and greater clarity for the paths to certification. A guild carries the torch for the beliefs they share and the skills they bring forward.  A guild also advocates for its worth in the community and points out the challenges faced by the people whom it serves.  At this time in our history, it is important to reflect again on our place in the field of specialized pastoral care, and our role in the culture of those we serve.

    When I was installed as your President two years ago, I said that I had two major goals/priorities/responsibilities in my tenure. The first was to support the implementation of the new governance model adopted by you. The second was to address the lingering concerns described variously as a lack of transparency and openness about how we do what we do, and how decisions are made, in the CPSP.

    Yes, these ultimately concerned the issue of trust, the trust of the members in our leadership and the trust of our leadership in the commitment of our members. The governance itself addressed some of this in the ways that more and more members were involved in Chapter development and the effectiveness of supervisors. Part of the governance was to be the Chapter of Chapters, and another part would be the Chapter of Diplomates. The third leg of the leadership stool would be the Executive Chapter, which would properly formalize what was sometimes called the leadership team. This new structure assured more total participation, and also provided greater accountability for these representatives and their efforts.  Our new governance is working better and better at fulfilling our duties to serve and represent our members.

    I also saw that I could take direct action by establishing regular communication from my positon as President to all of our members, while also inviting direct responses from every one of you. I also promised to reply to each and every response from you. Thus was born "NOTES from the President", and I have sent one of these out to you every few weeks for this entire time. I have brought forth various types of issues that bear upon our ministries as well as our organization.  Since I, too, must be accountable, every single NOTES was vetted for its legal implications and for its accuracy.  I have indeed received many responses, and I have responded to every one, to the best of my ability.  What remarkable discussions we have had, from total agreement to great disagreement and everything in between. We succeeded in creating more communication.  This is gradually building more trust among us.

    I want to lay to rest the word "transparency".  In my experiences as President, and in my observation of members with various levels of authority and responsibility, that word no longer applies negatively, if it ever truly did.  Over the years there have been some personality conflicts, which is to be presumed.  Many times the information is already out there and members just did not read our website. There are also people who don't ask and still expect to be given an answer. And then, and this is no surprise, there are those who are never satisfied, no matter what you say or how much time you spend with them.  Sound familiar?

    I must also say that there are many questions or misunderstandings that have come to me involving information that is the responsibility of the individual chapter to provide as part of its nurture and support. Again, this is despite our documents that describe chapter behavior, the responsibilities of the Convener, and the role of the Mentor in the advancement of members.

    Transparency and openness are open doors, open doors that are of no benefit if people do not walk through them.  And ultimately, every person involved with the CPSP, every Diplomate, every beginning trainee, was already a professional and mature adult before joining with us. Ultimately, professional applicants are themselves responsible to read, seek, research, and initiate inquiry into the credentials they seek. And of course, our standing committees are there to answer questions that others are unable to. Openness also means access, which we are here to provide.  The members of the Chapter of Chapters, the Chapter of Diplomates, and the Executive Chapter make this commitment to all of us.

    NOTES from the President was an essential resource to me in staying close to the needs of our members. Another significant development is our utilization of cyber resources in the past two years to enhance communication, as well as conserve both time and money. As we learned to utilize this asset, we had two very successful fall cyber meetings of the Governing Council.  Across our organization, there have been many video conferences that served to enhance our trust and decision-making, and this technology has been used all over our membership for chapter meetings, supervision, and conferences.  I am sure this will continue, but we are already seeing the limits cyber tools; these are the lack of in-person, face-to-face meeting, especially in the areas of training and supervision.  Our clinical values must continue to be met, and this cannot happen unless we spend sufficient time in the same room together.  This applies equally to our organization as a whole, and this Plenary is yet another example of being able to share both time and space.  What we “know” about each other as colleagues is always primarily in relation and in respect to the individual we have seen, felt, heard, and smelled, as well as valued in person or prayed with.

    Yes, we will continue to pursue greater accountability in all facets of our training and supervision, and our committees that oversee certification and accreditation will enhance their efforts on our behalf.  We forget that the origin of the CPSP in 1990 was not the search for license and lack of accountability…it was the search for ways of assuring better training and more effective accountability for all our ventures in the field of specialized pastoral care.  The founders of the CPSP were not seeking to lower the standards of our field and make it easier to become certified.  We were seeking the better ways to fulfill standards, and also hold individual members more accountable for their spiritual and intellectual formation.  We wrote a Covenant that would be our profession to ourselves and the world about who we strive to be and what we strive to do.  We chose to “travel light” in contrast to the expensive and obtrusive structures of the then prevailing corporations that certified and accredited persons in pastoral care. We used Boisen as an inspiration for renewing a psychoanalytic foundation for the care and counseling that are needed by the children of God when going through medical crises, in prison, in the military, and struggling in communities of poverty and chaos.  We prize being truly prepared as we encounter the living human documents wherever we serve.

    Our goals were difficult to achieve…we chose the harder and better way.  These efforts would need structures of support and nurture.  The CPSP chose the Chapter model as fundamental to these values.  Professional pastoral caregivers would engage and support one another in local groups of 12 or fewer persons.  The Chapter is the first place where accountability really happens, and if it does not happen, our entire model is in jeopardy.  That is why we are of course paying great attention what is happening in Chapters today.

    Our beloved CPSP is going in the right direction…  we have the ability to continue our prophetic and practical ministries, and make them better and more effective.  It is not our time to crow.  It is not our time to settle for less than what we believe in.  It is our time to rally and be the leader we have been for over 25 years.

    Bill Scar

    Bill Scar, CPSP President 2015-2017