Pastoral Report Articles 

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  • 21 Nov 2017 6:47 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)
    Katie Boner was named President-Elect of the Utah Hospice and Palliative Organization at its two-day annual annual conference on November 8. 


    She is the first chaplain to be selected for the top leadership role in the organization whose membership includes nurses, physicians, social workers and others in the specialty organization devoted to alleviating suffering and providing end-of-life care. 


    Boner is a board certified clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor, a member of the Salt Lake Avenues Chapter of CPSP, and serves at OneCare Home Health and Hospice in Draper, UT.


  • 15 Nov 2017 8:37 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The NCTS event held November 6-7, 2017, was designed for supervisors-in-training, pastoral counselors, psychotherapists, CPE interns and residents, clinical chaplains, and CPE training supervisors to examine behaviors and practices as it relates to living in a world turned upside down by political, cultural, racial and social change.  As care givers, trainers and supervisors in institutional and congregational settings the CPSP membership were invited to examine our use and understanding of authority, leadership and meaning in a world of radical change.  Guest presenters from the A.K. Rice Institute included Howard A. Friedman, PhD, Frank Marrocco, PhD, and Kimberley A. Turner, PhD, M.Div.  While exploring the unconscious life of social systems was the primary focus of this year’s gathering, particular attention was given to engaging the unconscious and covert processes in group and organizational life; the dynamics of authority and authorization; power and other differences within and among diverse groups; and the group processes of negotiation and interpretation to facilitate collaborative learning.

    I imagine that the learning varied among individuals, as well as, among the different groups.  For me, this event’s learning surpassed that of any of the previous ones I have attended. This time, it had more to do with me being better able to know and claim my own identity and authority as opposed to previous times when I may have quickly agreed with a group in order to belong.  Here is how I understand my unconscious process.  I spent the majority of my professional life as part of a professional culture that practically demanded compliance in order to be successful. Selection for promotions and positions were based on a perceived common value and divergence was not tolerated inside the structure. It has had a profound effect on how I see the world and how I engage the professional world around me.  Then, I understood power as hierarchically formed in a system in which people and positions are arranged according to their importance and perceived value.  Today, when I consider cultural differences and individuation it gives rise to creating new understandings and in some cases, some misunderstandings. New understandings and misunderstandings makes it difficult to hold boundaries established in a context of conformity; it makes the world appear up-side down.

    NASA astronauts train for the challenges of living and working in space. They become accustomed to the effects of weightlessness and often work up-side-down in and out of the space station. Astronaut Scott Kelly now officially holds the record for the longest consecutive amount of time spent in space by an American astronaut.   He spent a total of 342 days on the International Space Station before returning to earth.  Unlike astronauts, we don’t train for living in an up-side-down world. Perhaps we should.  Drs. Friedman, Marrocco, and Turner successfully created a training environment that simulated a world turned up-side-down. There were no clear levels of power and no structures to promote boundary setting. But the groups soon began to create boundaries based on the cues that were being transmitted and interpreted internally. It didn’t take long before groups formed around ideological likenesses and in some cases dislikes. Even at the invitation to break free of a group boundary to form a different boundary, groups were reluctant to do so. Without exception, the values that the groups initially formed around remained the values that held the group together.

    Scott Kelly is no longer in space so he doesn’t exercise on a treadmill turned upside down.  I imagine he, like me, will never see the world the same again.  Good teachers understand the power of altered perspective. Perhaps ours is first and foremost a profession about teaching others to embrace versions of a world up-side-down to show how it can be understood by exploring the different connections between people, culture and society.

    ------------------

    The Reverend Dr. George Akins, Jr., is a recently credentialed Diplomate Supervisor in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. He is also credentialed as a Clinical Chaplain and as a Pastoral Counselor at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Trenton, New Jersey.  Reverend Akins is an ordained Elder in the Church of God in Christ and currently serves as senior pastor at the Refuge Temple Church in Englewood, New Jersey. He earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Drew University, a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Masters of Science in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He spent over 26 years in the US Army as a communications officer and as a program manager for new systems acquisition.

    He enjoys his pastime riding his Yamaha V-Star Cruiser or in the cockpit of the flying club airplane. He and his wife, Lisa, parent three adult children and three grandchildren who live in Henderson, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee and Manassas, Virginia.

  • 14 Nov 2017 9:28 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    “Individuals are stormed at, from the outside as well as the inside, by random cultural snippets of belief, disbelief, and unbelief. Their … consciousness … becomes a battleground on which …  [these] shiftingly contend.”  [Paul Pruyser]

    Between June 2011 and September 2013, Pastoral Report published five of my essays on “Tolerance and Encouragement” – essays that were hoped to help the clinical pastoral field move ahead – out of a time of turmoil and toward a time of renewal. As context for the current essay, I encourage you to take a new look at the previous essays.

    I just finished reading the closing, summarizing section of Paul Pruyser’s Between Belief and Unbelief (1974) – a section titled, “Toleration of Beliefs and Belief in Tolerance” – and realized that I had to try conceptualizing one more essay. Notice that I said “try” – as I am having difficulty wrapping my mind around the task.

    Clinical pastoral chaplaincy is charged with ministering to all who are suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable – regardless of faith or lack of faith – regardless of belief, disbelief, or unbelief. The field seems to have mastered that task in regard to religion. A new question – that has been growing louder over the last two decades – is can the field lead the way – at least in some small part – in regard to politics – again, regardless of belief, disbelief, or unbelief. Can clinical pastoral chaplaincy indeed be called upon to engage all? – or, at least, make an effort to engage all? “All” includes both the entire world’s people – from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria to North Korea and everywhere else – and the entire country’s people – from conservative to independent to moderate to liberal and every viewpoint between.

    Pruyser telegraph’s his thesis in the very opening pages of his book, but the message really hits home in the concluding pages, from which I would like to quote.

    “On what grounds is toleration to be fostered, given the fact that the very word ‘toleration’ implies an attitude of disapproval, dislike, or condemnation of the things one is asked to put up with under its banner? Indeed, how can toleration be fostered if all of us treat our own beliefs as love objects and the divergent beliefs of others as objects of hate? …”

    “Noble as patient forbearance may be, it falls short of espousing tolerance as a positive virtue in its own right. I sense a difference between toleration and tolerance: the former is ‘putting up with something despicable,’ and the latter is ‘letting be with respect to the nature of divergent states of being.’ … What is the source of the reverence toward otherness that is implied in ‘letting be’? …”

    “Tolerance can be born only from some such confrontation [with ‘the ultimate power of the cosmos, of G-d, of fate, or, in abstract terms, the noncontingent’] in which the person gains insight into the extent of his [/her] self-inflation, the tenacity of his [/her] omnipotent strivings, and his [/her] penchant for one-upmanship over his [/her] fellowman – and grants other people with other beliefs the respect they deserve. …”

    “Such an affirmation of reality, with the humility and renunciation it entails, is an important condition for the practice of tolerance taken in the positive sense of willingness to let be – for some things simply must be, such as an enormous diversity of belief systems.”

    As I suggested above, the question of tolerance – broadly conceived – has been growing louder over the last two decades. Pruyser named the problem almost five decades ago. Certainly, the question did not pop up just this last year or so.

    I’ve given the previous essays as well as this one the covering title of “Tolerance and Encouragement”. In the previous essays, the word “encouragement” was meant to suggest support toward positive transformation and growth. That does seem to be the challenge. Can we reorient our thinking toward cooperative productive change? How can we, in this time of widespread turmoil, engage the entire world’s people and the entire country’s people in positive transformation and growth?

    #

    Endnotes:

    The photo is from the year of my first public lecture about the background of clinical pastoral chaplaincy:

    1972, “From Religious to Medical Psychotherapy: The Emmanuel Movement, Boston, 1906 to 1910.” presented before Cheiron: The International Society for the History of the Behavioral & Social Sciences, Calgary, Alberta.

    2011, “Tolerance and Encouragement [I]: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” on the internet at   http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3778977
    [explores the intriguing circumstances of the contested ordination of Anton Theophilus Boisen, founder of the clinical pastoral chaplaincy movement]

    2011, “Tolerance and Encouragement [II]: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3778990

    2011, “Tolerance and Encouragement [III]: Within a Covenant of Mutual Accountability.” on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3778990 .

    2013, “Tolerance and Encouragement [IV]: Having Strong Feelings – Without Being Self-Righteous.” on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3667535 .

    2013, “Tolerance and Encouragement [V]: Making Room for Divine Presence – instead of ‘Paging’ Him or Her; Interfaith? Multifaith? Engaging Others in Their Faiths.” on the internet at 
    http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3667301 .

    --------------------

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    Editor's Note: 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. Readers can use the search field, located in the upper right corner of the website, to locate his articles. 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 his name, above. -- Perry Miller, Editor

  • 23 Oct 2017 8:20 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    A new voice has suddenly appeared on the pastoral scene - or new to me at least. Susan E. Myers-Shirk, professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University, with the imprint of the prestigious Johns Hopkins Press, has written Helping the Good Shepherd: Pastoral Counselors in a Psychotherapeutic Culture 1925-1975. The work has a publication date of 2009, which is puzzling, making me feel like Rip Van Winkle. The book has been circulating for about eight years but I cannot find any significant evidence of its effects on either the clinical pastoral or the academic world, which I consider regrettable. This a very important book.

    Myers-Shirk is not a clinician, but an academician. We can hope that this fresh new face in academia will signal the beginning of a new era of conversation between clinicians and academicians. I recall the old days when Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, Seward Hiltner and many others from their academic perches enriched the clinical world with their support, consultations and dialogue. Those days seem to be history. But clinicians need academicians. To keep themselves honest. And academicians need clinicians to help keep their feet on the ground, not an easy assignment in either case.

    A major fault of clinicians is that they do not read. But they do need to know the historical sources of clinical training, just as Christians need to know the Bible and church history. People are continually reenacting the past when they do not know the past. And reading Myers-Shirk is a good place to start for accessing clinical pastoral history. In reading her they will meet their forefathers, warts and all. Catching a glimpse of Carl Rogers, John Sutherland Bonnell, Rollo May, the Menninger brothers, Charles Holman, Harry Stack Sullivan, Carroll Wise, Eric Fromm, Hobart Mowrer, Samuel Southard, Knox Kreutzer and countless others of our academic progenitors is important and edifying for every pastoral clinician. They were not all in agreement by any means. Some of them were out in left field for sure, but they attempted to speak to pastoral clinicians. Reading Myers-Shirk is an inexpensive way to briefly meet these luminaries and others, and to catch their drift without spending a year in the library.

    But the most blessed aspect of this work is that the author does not run down the vacuous rabbit trail of the recent frenzied spirituality movement. She sticks to concepts and approaches to pastoral work that can be identified concretely, and as she would say, in a manner of speaking, “scientifically.” There of course can be no science of spirituality. There is no there there. I have hopes that Myers-Shirk will be the prophet many of us have longed for, one who will help restore meaning to pastoral, as well as thinking, to the work of the good shepherd.

    Of course I cannot put all the blame on clinicians for their failure to attend to the academicians. The charges can go both ways. Academicians have in turn generally neglected to accredit clinicians. Even Myers-Shirk neglects to mention the three preeminent clinician writers who worked within her stated time boundary, namely Edward Thornton, Robert Charles Powell, and Allison Stokes. The time has come to end the Cold War between pastoral academicians and pastoral clinicians.

    Myers-Shirk acknowledges that she follows in the tradition of E. Brooks Holifield, and we have to presume that she adopted his practice in giving a wide berth to clinicians generally, including Boisen himself, whom he awards only a few desultory pages in his well-regarded A History of Pastoral Care in America. To her credit, and to my surprise, Myers-Shirk on the other hand gives Boisen by name the entire first chapter of her book, and fully ten percent of its pages. While she does not own this as a revision of Holifield, the words speak for themselves. 

    In one important matter, however, Myers-Shirk is simply incorrect, having I presume listened too credulously to Holifield. She contends that Boisen was negative toward Freud and the psychoanalytic approach. She missed the fact that Boisen’s reading of Freud’s Introductory Lectures while in psychiatric confinement changed his life and led to the creation of the clinical pastoral movement. (But who would guess that a sometime psychotic would be reading Freud in psychiatric lock-up? And who would guess that this would change his life permanently and for the better?)

    Boisen was very uncomfortable with the implication of sexual liberation in Freud, but even more troubled by evidence that pastoral clinicians became more liberated than Freud himself. That development threatened the abstemious Boisen mightily, and made him quite uncomfortable with Freudians, but never enough to dislodge him from a commitment to Freud’s therapeutics nor to the abstemious Freud himself. In the post Boisen era the negativity toward  sexual freedom - or should we say male sexual freedom - and Freud, spread like a virus. Myers-Shirk seems to have picked up some of that virus from her mentor, Holifield. And we note that Myers-Shirk ends her book with a paeon to Howard Clinebell who was the chief symbol of the rightward drift away from both Boisen and psychoanalytic theory. 

    Another criticism I have, though somewhat minor, is that Myers-Shirk misses the dialectic between training and education that was at the heart of the Boisen movement from the beginning, and remains today a key to the riddle of the movement’s internal struggle. Boisen instituted clinical training. Cabot and his followers, who are dominant today, instituted clinical education. The contrasting innuendo of these two key concepts is a golden thread for understanding the strife that is currently taking place among pastoral clinicians. 

    One could say that the central story of the clinical pastoral movement is what to do with the inconvenient bodies of Boisen and Freud. The history of the movement is an explosive mixture of profound indebtedness, profound resentment and deep denial about the importance of both men. Boisen and his mentor Freud are dead, but they simply won’t go away, or stay dead.

    Clinicians don’t write and academicians don’t make a vocation of relating to suffering persons. Thus clinicians and academicians do not easily engage in conversation. But both tribes benefit by engaging the other with seriousness. The first thing that we clinicians can do to promote this reunion is to do more reading. And a good place to start is with Myers-Shirk.

    I see this work as an excellent companion to my own soon-to-be published work which is a perspective from inside the clinical world, Recovery of Soul: A History and Memoir of the Clinical Pastoral Movement. One could say, I believe, that Myers-Shirk as an academician gives an outsider view of the clinic that correlates with my insider view. And like any outsider, she misses some important matters. But like any competent outsider, she also provides a valuable wider perspective.

    Clinicians will not assent to all her claims. Who would expect that? However, they will find her breadth of reading and her wide knowledge of the field mostly correct, quite constructive and edifying. This book should be required reading for every member of CPSP, and indeed every pastoral clinician.

    Overall, Susan Myers-Shirk presents herself as an emerging and promising authority in the field of pastoral care, pastoral counseling and pastoral psychotherapy.   

    ---------------------

    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary

  • 20 Oct 2017 6:56 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)
    Suddenly day turned into night and the wind began to blow as never seen and heard before. We have experienced many tropical storms through the years, sudden winds of 45-miles per hour are not uncommon. But this was different, the fury of nature seemed unstoppable and relentless. For almost 24-hours the sound of the steady wind hitting and breaking windows, trees and electric poles, blowing branches, walls and ceilings made us believe that we were living an alternate reality, a nightmare. Not a moment of truce in the midst of the fury of the forces of nature. Nature does not make reasonable decisions, does not measures its forces or capability for destruction, it just does what it was created to do in order to maintain ecological balance. We were hostages, victims, while guilty of the magnitude of a hurricane that feeds itself from the hot waters of the ocean caused by the global warming.

    While the wind kept blowing indiscriminately, many people had to fight to keep the water out from their houses, others had to evacuate in the middle of the 140 to 175 miles per hour winds frightened by the threat of drowning in their own homes; others had to resist with all their strength for hours to protect windows and doors that were pulled by the wind like a mighty powerful giant who had clung to it without letting go.
    When the wind and the rain had stopped we decided to go out of the house; devastation, deforestation, and desolation was the view all around. Streets were inaccessible by flood or debris. With only one radio station transmitting in the island, news started flowing slowly. Thousands of people had lost everything, no electrical power, and water in 100% of the country. A sense of desperation, frustration, and impotence felt over everyone like a heavy cloth imposed by inevitable circumstances. But in the midst of this terrible experience, a question arises: where is God and what does he intend with all this? A brief and obscure moment of grieve was interrupted by the decision to stand up resilient.

    When existential questions arose the book of psalms whispered in my ears: "I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalms 27:13) CPE’s emphasis on helping people find God in the midst of their moment of sorrow will be instrumental for our patients and everyone touched by our pastoral care. Confronting our difficult situation with the assurance of God’s presence may make a difference between hope and despair, resilience and surrender.

    Nonetheless, we have witnessed a reborn spirit of solidarity, a new sense of gratitude, a spirit of compassion that transcends differences and physical obstacles. Families have been reunited and neighbors have reconciled differences. People share the only gallon of water they have and shelter neighbors and friends even when they have been laid off from their jobs and have not received a paycheck in weeks.

    Two weeks after the hurricane we were able to reposition our CPE Interns in their practical scenarios, but this particular situation demands that we take CPE and our pastoral duties also to refugee sites and other communities with special needs. We have also incorporated to our curriculum readings in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in Disasters.

    Our CPE Interns, Chaplains, and Pastors are doing an enormous effort to accompany people in their moment of loss while they carry their own burden. That is why we would like to broaden our efforts to offer conferences and small group therapy to avoid and treat compassion fatigue.

    Our resources are limited but along with an ecumenical effort and the help of the municipal government of Toa Baja we were able to distribute hundreds of ”care kits” and food to those who have lost their houses. Our next step is to raise resources to schedule free conferences to train ministers and lay leaders with basic technics and resources in pastoral care in disasters and also to continue giving out “care kits” and food among those severely damaged. Any contribution you would like to send will be distributed through the Accredited CPSP Training Center ICET and the Church of the Nazarene at Levittown. To donate please follow the link below.

    Let us not become weary in doing good,
    for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
    if we do not give up." -- Galatians 6:9

    ------------------

    Rev. Dr. Ivelisse Valentín Vera
    CPSP Diplomate CPE Supervisor

  • 10 Oct 2017 8:36 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)


    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," came to mind during the shocking news from Las Vegas. Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor, wrote, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 

    Comebacks take a long time. Facing fear and "doing the next thing" sounds old and hollow in the midst of tragedies we are now facing. Fear last Sunday seized 22,000 at a concert, and the next thing was blood. How long it will take survivors and loved ones to recover is hard to know. It has been a  long time for those in my community of Columbine. Many have helped them with the next thing.
    Knowing that we can help makes Eleanor's and Franklin's fear advice sound better. We're the next thing after an attack of fear. If we only knew how to prevent an attack, we could be the thing before fear. 

    _____
    Dom Fuccillo is a retired chaplain who lives in Littleton, Colorado. Eleanor Roosevelt quote from, You Learn by Living. Westminster John Knox Press, 1960.

  • 09 Oct 2017 4:59 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Leadership and Followership: The Exercise of Authority in Turbulent Times
    A Conference in the Tavistock Tradition
    January 17 - 21, 2018
    Dover, MA

    Leadership in organizations—businesses, schools, hospitals, agencies, places of worship, government—can be invigorating, compelling, bewildering, and maddening.

    What may be too often overlooked or misunderstood is the role of powerful emotional experiences in leaders and their followers. Passionate commitment, indifference, and a range of other emotions play a more significant role than we might appreciate.

    Imagine that we could build a temporary institution where we could learn about the “under the surface” forces that influence how we come alive at work or find ourselves less present and engaged. What would we learn about the complexity of group membership and institutional dynamics? What new perspectives would we have on how we might take up leadership roles?

    Working over five days, we will create this special institution together to explore how group and institutional pressures influence how we lead and exercise authority.

    Join this intensive conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems (the Boston affiliate of the A.K. Rice Institute). 

     

    For more information and to register please see the attached brochure or visit the website: https://www.leadershipcsgss.org/

    This conference is endorsed by the A. K. Rice Institute as consistent with its educational standards for Group Relations training in the Tavistock tradition.


  • 27 Sep 2017 9:18 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)


    The Congress of the APCPCC meets every four years and this year met in Jakarta, Indonesia. Once again it was a treat to be in a country where I was typically the tallest man in the room. The next such meeting will be in Australia, in 2021, where there will be more very tall registrants. There also will be other gatherings of pastoral clinicians scheduled in the interim.

    I was very wary of attending the meeting at all. Given the current White House resident and his pronouncements on Muslims, I was not sure I wanted to be a visitor in a country with an 85% Muslim population. And initially I was very wary of walking the streets alone. But what I found was that the Indonesian people generally were exceedingly hospitable and cordial, and that even strangers on the street, most of them Muslim, recognized me as a Westerner and greeted me warmly.

    On the plane to Jakarta I was seated next to an Indonesian woman named Liana who befriended me, generously sharing her snacks with me. As the flight was ending she offered to have her son, who was picking her up, deliver me to my hotel, an offer I could not refuse. I was already wary of this strange country with a language I knew nothing of. The drive to my hotel was at least an hour in heavy traffic. Jakarta with a population of about 20 million is the third largest city in the world.

    Rather than dropping me at the hotel door, as they well could have, Liana and her son escorted me to the check-in desk. On reporting that I had arrived for the APCPCC meeting, the clerk responded that the meeting had been canceled. The desk clerk had no other details. As my mind was spinning, wondering how I would spend the next week alone in Jakarta, Liana's son had the presence of mind to peruse my stack of documents and managed to find the phone number of the president of the APCPCC. He phoned him. The conference had moved. The new hotel was more than an hour's drive to another part of this enormous city. 

    They might have put me in a taxi, but they drove on. To be taken care of in such a generous way by strangers was humbling and astonishing, and especially in a country I had been wary of visiting. When we finally arrived Liana and her son escorted me in. The Secretary General of the APCPCC was waiting for me at the entrance, another warm act of hospitality. I will never forget such treatment by strangers. 

    Another little vignette also lodges in my memory symbolizing my visit to Jakarta. I went to a park concert of Muslim music with some of my pastoral colleagues, and during the intermission a young man brought his infant daughter up to me and asked if he could make a photograph of the three of us seated together. Of course, I agreed. Then I asked one of my colleagues take a similar photo with my own camera as well. (See below.) What this meant to this young father is passing comprehension, but I was very moved. The toddler was friendly as well, cooing at me and laughing, likely picking up something unconsciously from her father. English was not spoken; the non-verbal communication was powerful. This young father seemed to be expressing some kind of trust in and affection for a strange American he had never before met. Was this a blessed counterpoint to the vicious anti-Muslim rhetoric coming out of Washington? 

    The local leadership of the Congress was also extraordinarily gracious. Given the fact that I showed up without registering, they had every cause to punish me. Instead they openly welcomed me and were gracious to a fault. I must especially thank John Livingstone Wuisan for his welcome. He is the secretary general of the national board of Indonesia’s Pastoral Association and chairman of the APCPCC Organizing Committee.

    The attendance was something over 100, almost all Indonesians. Two registrants were from Hong Kong, one from Australia, none from the Philippines, and as far as I know, none from Malaysia. Perhaps there were a few others from outside Indonesia that I did not meet. 

    I must be critical of the mostly top-down communication at the meeting. The several speakers had some important information to share, but generally the communication was one way. The speakers allowed for questions from the audience, where, as usual, the most verbose questioners dominated the conversation. The communication structure was problematic overall. There was no structure for peer dialogue except informally at coffee hour and meals. I made good use of those times, with pleasure.

    The most troubling part of the meeting, from my perch, was the consistent declaration of Protestant evangelism. Each day opened with an evangelical Protestant worship service, complete with sermon. This signals, at least non-verbally, that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and what have you, are unwelcome. Of course the clinical pastoral movement has traces of this kind of religious domination and exclusionism in the U.S. as well, but it is muted there. This Christian domination was overt. Americans have set the bad example in this case, and this matter needs to be addressed by all before it poisons the entire clinical pastoral movement.

    I predict that the clinical pastoral movement will die on the vine if it does not find a way very soon to embrace fully all religions of every sort. Or better still, perhaps the cure is to embrace no religion at all, but to embrace only the discipline of pastoral care and pastoral psychotherapy. This would mean relegating religion to the closet where arguably it belongs. And there is nothing wrong with closets. The Muslims of Jakarta put Islam in the closet when they so warmly greeted me on the streets, in the parks, and in the restaurants of Indonesia’s capital city. I am grateful that they did so.

    ----------------------------

    Raymond J. Lawrence
    CPSP General Secretary

  • 25 Sep 2017 9:13 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Join us for National Clinical Training Seminar-South: Who Am I? Who Are We? The Dynamics of Group Function, October 30-31, in Stockbridge, GA. 

    Informative guest speakers, case presentations, and group dynamics are some of the experiences that attendees can expect. Learn how to understand change, while further developing yourself in your role in life. Participants will learn through participation -- this is a working conference. 


    Primary Speakers

    Raymond Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary, Episcopal Priest and author of The Poisoning of Eros, Sexual Values in Conflict; Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom; Nine Clinical Cases: The Soul of Pastoral Care & Counseling; and many other publications.


    David Moss, Ph.D., Licensed Professional Counselor, Episcopal Priest, and author of The Organization & Administration of Pastoral Counseling Centers, and many articles and publications.


    Registration

    For more information about this event, the hotel, or to register for this conference, please visit our NCTS-South Event page. 

    We look forward to seeing you at NCTS-South!

  • 21 Sep 2017 9:11 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)
    We have received word of the death of Richard Liew at his retirement home in Arizona. He apparently suffered a blow to the head from a fall that resulted in fatal cranial bleeding. Life support was removed on Wednesday September 20.

    Richard was among the earliest of those ACPE chaplain supervisors who joined CPSP. He quickly became a key leader. He emerged as a key leader both personally and financially. He was made the sixth CPSP president, for the 2004-06 term. 


    Richard was a strong force for clinical pastoral training, especially in the New York area. Later in life, he directed programs at Westchester Medical Center, and until retirement at Episcopal Health Services in Long Island. Subsequent to his retirement he developed training programs in Malaysia, assisted by his new wife Annie.

    Since 2009, Richard has not been active in CPSP. My last conversation with Richard was early this year when I invited Richard to be an honored guest at the March Plenary Meeting. 

    Many of us have missed Richard in recent years. Unfortunately we will now miss him more. We extend our condolences to his wife and family.


    ----------------
    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary


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