Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 12 Sep 2017 7:57 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Hurricane Harvey shifted my attention from home projects again to the sky. After the eclipse and in between watching weather reports, I finished reading a new book by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who explains the stars. He also says a few things about our situation on earth. 

    We do not ponder the universe on a daily basis. No patient I have visited talked about the physical heavens, although not a few spoke of the other kind, sometimes in more detail than I could bear. Mostly they talk about getting well and leaving the hospital. Tyson says, "The cosmic view comes with a hidden cost. … sometimes I lose sight of earth." Natural disasters caused by Harvey and eclipses do make us look up. Usually, though, we do not lose sight of earth, and we try not "to space out" as others talk about their problems here-- a good listen helps them.

    "Sometimes," Tyson continues, " I forget that every day -- every 24-hour rotation of the earth -- people kill and get killed in the name of someone else's conception of God, and that some people who do not kill in the name of God, kill in the name of needs or wants of political dogma." As chaplains we're well aware of these earthly concerns, including the fact that suicide is also a killing. 

    He also forgets that "powerful people rarely do all they can to help those who cannot help themselves. As citizens we witness that indifference and, as chaplains, we intervene on behalf of the weak; all too often as both we fail to convince. 

    "However big the world is," he concludes, "-- in our hearts, our minds, and our outsized digital maps [including those of Harvey] -- the universe is even bigger. A depressing thought to some, but a liberating thought to me." And he liberates a problem I think is as difficult to solve as the math he so easily explains: "Children do not yet know that the world doesn't revolve around them. … Part the curtains of society's racial, ethnic, religious, national, and cultural conflicts, and you find the human ego turning the knobs and pulling the levers." As a first step toward its solution, I would suggest, as he does, to imagine a world in which this problem would shrink  -- or never arise -- so that "we could celebrate our earthly differences while shunning the behavior of our predecessors … ."

    Because I love celebrations, I hope that we will soon get to work on planning that one. 


    Dominic Fuccillo is a retired Clinical Chaplain who lives in Littleton, Colorado.

    Dr. Tyson's book is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Norton, NY, 2017. He writes about the matter discussed here on pages 194-197.

  • 07 Sep 2017 11:10 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Dear CPSP Community,

    With all of the natural disasters happening in our world at an alarming rate we cannot begin to imagine the full impact.  We hold you all, and especially those who are directly and immediately affected, and those of you deploying to serve at the location of theses events, in our hearts and thoughts.

    Everyone deals with such devastating and traumatizing events with incomprehensible amounts of loss and grief.  As professional chaplains and pastoral counselors, listening to people’s stories is worth more than words can say.  Allowing the inconsolable to be heard is healing, listening conveys sympathy, and is a first step in helping someone heal.

    We, as chaplains, are a sounding board to those in need, and we thank the chaplains who are responding at this time to the events of our world, whether it is the pending impact of Hurricanes Irma or José, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, or the fires raging in Oregon, the quiet counsel we provide, the listening ears or the sympathetic presence, is more valuable than ever.

    Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, always.


    Ruth Zollinger and Dave Plummer
    CPSP Co-Presidents

  • 07 Sep 2017 10:26 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. The hurricane made landfall near the Texas Gulf Coast on August 25, and it meandered over eastern Texas for four days, with many areas receiving more than 40 inches of rain, causing catastrophic flooding, displacing over 32,000 Texas residents, and causing over 70 deaths in the United States. In response to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, non-government organizations such as the Red Cross have worked to provide relief.

    In this segment of Chaplaincy Alive!, host Susan McDougal talks with Patty Berron, Red Cross Mental Health Disaster Relief Responder, about her work and training with the Red Cross and the dramatic impact that Hurricane Harvey has had in her area. Patty is a member of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, Board Certified Clinical Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor.

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  • 05 Sep 2017 11:55 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The Ministers’ March on Washington marked the 54th anniversary of the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, "I Have a Dream,” which was a call to end racism in the United States of America and a call for jobs and economic rights.  This march in 2017, punctuated this era as a time that, “things are the same,” that we are still fighting for jobs, freedom, economic rights, health care and the ‘right to vote.’

    Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network (NAN), called for 1,000 ministers to march on Washington for justice, and stated, “This opposition to the new administration is not about politics, but the moral corrosion of the country that has become increasingly evident under President Trump.” We were called to commemorate, remember and continue making Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream a reality.  

    Over 3,000 attendees, religious leaders from all over the United States of America, marched from the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument to the Department of Justice. My heart rejoiced to see the assembly of people! There were as many white folk as there were black folk at the march. In attendance were gays, straight, same gender loving, leaders from Islam, Judaism, Christianity; a rainbow of clergy, some in vestment, clerical collars, some wore kippahs and taqiyahs; some even wore t-shirts and jeans.  Speeches were delivered by Imams, Rabbis, Christian leaders and leaders in the gay community. All had gathered with one hope and one call for justice and for justice now!

    One sign that struck me was held by a little white boy no more than five years old that read,  “Hate stinks worst than monkeys’ doo-doo.”  His mom made him scratch out ‘monkey’ but the sentence did not lose its meaning.  As an organization of clergy of all walks of life, my dream is that we too will claim as a mantra, “Hate stinks!”  

    As an African American woman who participated in civil rights gathering in the 1960’s, it is a travesty that we have a president bent on erasing and eradicating every thing that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, marched and died for.  The president talks about making America great again, when America belonged to the Cherokee Indians, not white supremacists, however, the healing of this nation has to begin with those of us who claim an allegiance with God and believes that God calls us into this ministry. The pulpit is a safe place, but the problems are on the streets, in communities where violence seems the order of the day.  This march helped to refocus us and it energized us to work together to make a difference. There were ministers from all over the United States, united in one cause: Justice!

    “We want justice, when do we want it, we want it now!” was the chant throughout the day!

    Francine Hernandez

  • 03 Sep 2017 11:29 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The Red Cross has immediate need to deploy 40 trained Disaster Spiritual Care (DSC) Volunteers. If: 1) you have completed DSC training; 2) you are already registered with the Red Cross and 3) you are willing and able to deploy immediately for up to 14 days, then send the following information to: This temporary email account has been created specifically for this deployment only for those able to immediately deploy.

    1. NAME as it appears in your Red Cross Volunteer Connection account

    2. Red Cross Region (required): 

    3. Red Cross Member Number (required):

    4. Can you deploy/travel within 24-hours? Yes/No

    If you are not currently registered with Red Cross - please call your local chapter to begin the process. 

    Thank you,

    Linda Walsh-Garrison, BCCC, MTh
    +American Red Cross
    Disaster Spiritual Care - SWARM Division Advisor
    Service to the Armed Forces
    (917) 597-6319

  • 13 Aug 2017 8:11 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    I hear from colleagues that they are not sleeping well these days but wake in the night reflecting on the seeming madness coming from international exchanges, specifically from the political leaders in Washington and Pyongyang.

    If we can believe the current consensus of reliable reporters, the murderous bully in power in North Korea is a serious psychopath and a threat to world order. Our hearts should go out to all who live under his domination. But for the grace of God, we might ourselves live there.

    A bully with considerable power must be restrained by wise, considered and judicious leadership when there are those who have the power to do so. The United States and some of its allies have ample power to do so in a careful and just manner.

    Our own country is the strongest of world powers, at least today, but is governed by a president who is also a bully. Instead of building a responsible coalition among rational and wise leaders in the community of nations, the bully in the White House elects to focus on the fact that his own finger is on the trigger. He assumes the role of a lone cowboy of western myth, ready to solve a complex and dangerous problem with a few bullets. In this instance, potentially very large bullets.

    Wise and competent leaders do not engage in hurling threats at bullies. Rather they mobilize available resources to contain them and their threats.

    We must hope and pray that others in Washington who may have bits of power around the center will be able to restrain the bully in the White House. The great irony is that the White House bully is more of a threat to our life and limb than the punk bully in Pyongyang.

    In the 1930's in Germany, the great majority of religious leaders in that country decided not to dirty their hands in politics. They were mostly quiet in the face of murderous bullying by those in political power. Only Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and a handful of Confessing Church leaders openly charged their government with criminality. They were rewarded with exile or death.  Most of us have little influence in Washington, but each has a voice of some sort. We can each make ourselves heard to some extent. And this we surely ought to do.

    Wisdom and courage seem not to be plentiful in the centers of power where monumental decisions are made. We must hope that it is there, simply waiting its moment to weigh in for the good of the entire human community.

    And now, in the midst of this ongoing international crisis, it should be no surprise that the American Nazis and their kin have heard the dog whistle from the White House and have wreaked their murderous mischief in Charlottesville. The times are heavy with danger, from within and from without. We are desperate for courageous leadership.


  • 03 Aug 2017 7:42 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    C/O Charles Hicks
    111 Center Street, Suite 1200
    Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

    For Immediate Release

    Brian Childs, former Chair, CAPPT Board of TrusteesThe Board of Trustees at its August 1, 2017, meeting accepting the resignation of Brian H. Childs as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Commission on Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT) and elected George Hull to succeed him effective immediately. Childs will remain on the Board of Trustees as an active member.George Hull, newly elected Chair, CAPPT Board of Trustees

    Childs was the inaugural Chair of the Board of CAPPT with its founding in 2015. Hull has served on the board since its inception. Childs expressed his gratitude to the board for its work on behalf of the accreditation process for pastoral and psychotherapy training and he looks forward to continuing to make a contribution.

    CAPPT is an independent accrediting body that performs site reviews, training program self-studies and recommends accreditation for seven-year terms. CAPPT reviews CPSP programs for accreditation and presents its results to the Executive Chapter and the Governing Chapter for affirmation of program quality. CAPPT works closely with the CPSP Accreditation Oversight Committee.

    The CAPPT website is

  • 29 Jun 2017 9:01 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    “The fields are white unto harvest but the laborers are few.” “There is more work that needs to be done than all of us can do. So why are we so competitive?” “ Why is it that 83% of the persons in our county seeking mental health services either do not get seen or do not get their needs met?” (Research data) “ Why do I spend more time doing paperwork and having to justify seeing people than actually being able to care for them?” Such words depict the cofounding circumstances in which so many seek to serve in the “care of souls’ tradition.”

    Friday, August 4, 2017, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, a county where the above 83% rate applies, a clergy couple Drs. Jim and Jean Pruett will be leading a bio-psycho-social-cultural-spiritual- workshop at their “home church”: Fernwood Baptist Church.  This workshop is designed to confront these confounding circumstances by empowering the care provider to consider the relational way in which change verifiably occurs through energetic/spiritual work. Participants may discover how the most formative aspect for change often may have been overlooked at the outset of one’s clinical training or has been reclaimed later in the seasoning process.

    One exciting aspect of this workshop is that it draws together colleagues from various traditions for shared learning as they address their most difficult cases in perhaps new ways. Sponsored by the Chapter at Charlotte of the CPSP and the Southeast Region of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, additional continuing education units options are being provided for various licenses by the Emerge Family Therapy Center & Teaching Clinic {previously known as Westgate Training and Consultation Network that was co-founded by Drs. Jim Rentz and Jim Pruett which became the first Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Therapy Education (COAMFTE) post-degree program in the Southeast United States}. Dr. Jean Pruett brings experience not only as a licensed psychotherapist and chaplain but also as a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner and Instructor and Member and former Vice Chair of the Ethics Committee for Healing Touch Program (HTP), the only accredited hands-on energy modality. HTP’s curriculum is nationally and internationally accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Commission on Accreditation, and its certification credential  - HTCP – is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

    August 4 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, colleagues from many disciplines will gather, get back to the basics of relationship, share a meal, and make new energetic music together to respond to the most confounding challenges facing the healthcare marketplace. You are welcome!

    Download the Workshop Pamphlet


    Dr. James Pruett is a Diplomate Supervisor, Diplomate Psychotherapist, Board Certified Clinical Chaplain and Board Certified Pastoral Counselor with CPSP. 

  • 28 Jun 2017 8:14 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    At the 2017 Plenary of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, the first Co-Presidents of CPSP were installed. David Plummer and Ruth Zollinger talk with our host, Susan McDougal about their work in CPSP, their backgrounds and their vision for the future of CPSP. 

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  • 23 May 2017 9:00 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    An experiential group relations conference with René Molenkamp, MDiv, PhD, as director is scheduled for August 11-13 at the Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, CA, outside Sacramento.

    “The Power of Presence: Authorization and De-Authorization in the Helping Professions” ( is intended especially for chaplains, pastoral counselors, CPE supervisors, supervisors-in-training, psychotherapists, and others including social workers, nurses, and others.

    René Molenkamp is well known to CPSP members as the co-author of The Tavistock Primer and the most widely used article on boundary, authority, role and task (BART).

    The revised 2017 CPSP Standards set out expectations for all certified members concerning group relations: for Clinical Chaplains “familiarity with and an ability to utilize group relations theory in practice,” and for CPE Supervisors and Supervisors-in-Training “a working knowledge and clinical acuity to attend to psychodynamic group process, including unconscious elements as appropriate.”

    The conference is co-sponsored by Grex (the West Coast affiliate of the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Groups) and CPSP’s Nautilus Pacific Chapter.

    Sacramento’s airport is easily accessible by major air carriers and especially well serviced by Southwest Airlines.

    Three full scholarships for CPSP members with serious financial need are being funded by Nautilus Pacific. For more information about the conference and scholarships, contact Ed Luckett, Jr., the conference administrator, at