Pastoral Report Archives:

February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014





The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy is a theologically based covenant community, dedicated to "recovery of the soul" and promoting competency in the clinical pastoral field.



February 21, 2015

New CPSP Governing Council Members Selected

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CPSP’s chapter conveners and diplomates have nearly completed the process of selecting representatives to the new Governing Council.

The Governing Council will meet for the first time on March 18, the day after CPSP’s 25th anniversary Plenary.

New Bylaws, adopted by consensus at a Governing Council meeting in November, establish a chapter-based form of governance that includes a Chapter of Chapters (CoC), a Chapter of Diplomates (CoD) and an Executive Chapter (EC), with an Administrator.

The CoC and CoD representatives were selected by their peers. Selection was regional, from among the chapter conveners, for the CoC, and “at large” for the CoD.

The two groups are both scheduled to meet for the first time within the next week.

The next step leading up to the Governing Council meeting on March 18th is the collaborative process of setting an agenda. Cynthia Olson, the interim Administrator, will coordinate the meeting.

Rounding out the Governing Council, the Executive Chapter (EC) will include the General Secretary, Treasurer, and President, along with three Chairs of Standing Committees.

Continue reading "New CPSP Governing Council Members Selected"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:24 AM

February 15, 2015

FIVE REASONS TO GO TO THE PLENARY IN CHICAGO …besides the usual Plenary By David Roth

Every Plenary is special but this is CPSP’s 25th anniversary. It’s going to be a gathering unlike any before. If you’re still undecided about going, or simply haven’t made your plans, here are five more reasons to come to Chicago besides what brings us to the Plenary year after year.

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1. BOISEN This year marks not only only CPSP’s 25th but also the 50th anniversary of Anton T. Boisen’s death. A full day Sunday is being devoted to the legacy of founder of the clinical pastoral care movement and his significance for our work today. Glenn Asquith will speak and receive the Dunbar award and Dr. Robert Charles Powell will offer a workshop on “Boisen as Clinician.” A special exhibit from the Boisen archives will be on display. A very special bonus: one lucky Plenary participant will be given a copy of The Exploration of the Inner World actually signed by Boisen.


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2. FOOD (and ENTERTAINMENT) Chicago is a foodies paradise and the food at the banquets on Sunday and Tuesday will be excellent. But for the free meal times, within a block of the hotel in any direction, there are more outstanding places to eat than you could try out in a dozen Plenaries. The Weber Grill is literally right across the street. So is the famous Redhead Piano Bar (no food served here, just music and libations, no cover charge). Around the block is the Hard Rock Café. And the list goes on and on and on….


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3. PARTY! Some loved karaoke at Plenary in years past but more than a few hated it. This year after Tuesday’s banquet there will be music and dancing as usual but it isn’t karaoke, it’s not old 45s, and it’s not a cheesy lounge singer. One Night Band, Chicago’s premiere cover band, will be playing Sinatra, Lenny Kravitz, Bruno Mars, James Brown, Elton John, Aerosmith, and more – and they’re really, really good!

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4. ART Considered by many including TripAdviser to be the best art museum in America, the Art Institute of Chicago is just minutes from the site of the Plenary. This is not just another great art museum in a great city. Every painting at the Art Institute is considered a world-class masterpiece. Even if you can spend just a couple of hours there on your way back to the airport, don’t miss it.

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5. FREEBIES No CPSP ballcaps this year. Instead, there’s a 25th anniversary coffee mug (with Anton Boisen’s image on it). A 25th anniversary Plenary poster (with Boisen’s image on it). And a free copy of Glenn Asquith’s book Vision From a Little Known Country: A Boisen Reader. Did we mention Boisen yet?

25th CPSP Annual Plenary

Download CPSP Plenary Brochure:

REGESTER FOR THE PLENARY

Continue reading "FIVE REASONS TO GO TO THE PLENARY IN CHICAGO …besides the usual Plenary By David Roth"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:38 PM

January 20, 2015

Tavistock Group Relations Conference April 27-29, 2015

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The AK Rice Institute (AKRI) has announced a three-day group relations Conference in Chicago, April 27-29.

The experiential group relations conference, commonly referred to as Tavistock, is a requirement for all SITs to be certified as diplomates in CPSP. It is highly recommended as continuing education/training for diplomates and others.

The Conference titled "Leadership, Learning, and Change. Who's in Charge? Why Listen to Each Other?" precedes a major four-day event called The AKRI Dialogues 2 open to all those interested in group relations. CPSP members are invited to register for and attend both events but only participation in an actual Conference is a training requirement for SITs.

There will be other 2015 group relations conference opportunities. The 51st annual six-day AKRI conference, themed "Living with Differences," will be held in Dover, Mass., this June

Also, GREX, the West Coast branch of AKRI, expects to offer a three-day conference in the Bay Area in the Fall. Dates have not yet been announced.

For more information about the April conference, and to register: http://grouprelations.us/preconferencebroch.pdf

For information about the full seven days, including the Conference and the Dialogues: http://grouprelations.us/

About the AK Rice Institute for Social Relations: http://akriceinstitute.org/

For an article by CPSP trainee Bill Sewall following his participation in the AK Rice 6-day conference: http://www.pastoralreport.com/the_archives/2014/09/first_impressio_1.html

Continue reading "Tavistock Group Relations Conference April 27-29, 2015"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:41 PM

January 16, 2015

Chaplaincy Care for Veterans

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network will launch a web site called Chaplaincy Care for Veterans in early February. We are seeking military chaplains, VA chaplains, and other board-certified chaplains who have experience with Veterans (or who are veterans themselves) to staff our Chat With A Chaplain support line. Qualified candidates would need to be available to respond to requests for spiritual support through email, telephone and web cam. See attached job description for details. Interested applicants should submit their resumes to Ed Haran, VP of Human Resources at HCCN, via email at eharan@healthcarechaplaincy.org.

Continue reading "Chaplaincy Care for Veterans"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:49 PM

January 15, 2015

IMPORTANT GOVERNANCE UPDATE: Check your CPSP Directory Entry

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The Operations Team is working diligently to involve the CPSP community in forming the new Governing Council but to do so we need to be certain that everyone's personal and chapter information is current in the Directory.

Every chapter and each diplomate has an opportunity to participate in selecting representatives for the Chapter of Chapters and the Chapter of Diplomates, respectively. But this is only possible if we can reach you.

Please check to see that your email address is current. It is the only way we will be able to reach you. If your email is not current, please contact Krista Argiropolis to update it. And while you're at it, update anything else--snailmail, employment, phone, etc.--that may be out of date or incorrect.

Also, please check to see that your chapter convener is listed as such. You can do that by searching for their name in the directory. If the Convener is not identified as such, please contact Krista Argiropolis and let her know. If we don't know who your convener is, your chapter will not be able to participate in the governing process.

We will begin the new governance work within a week. Do not delay.

Many thanks.

David Roth
drdavidroth@gmail.com
for the Operations Team

Continue reading "IMPORTANT GOVERNANCE UPDATE: Check your CPSP Directory Entry"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:28 PM

January 15, 2015

Summer and Fall National Clinical Seminar Dates Announced

Francine Hernandez, Convener of National Clinical Seminar - East, announces the dates of 2015 National Clinical Training Seminar- East training events: May 4-5, 2015 and
Monday, November 2-3, 2015. The venue will be Loyola Retreat Center in NJ.

NCTS- East, as always, participants will be involve in small psychodynamic group participation where clinical cases and life issues will be shared by all participants. Training Supervisors are expected to refer their trainees to the NCTS- East or NCTS-West training seminars.

Please enter these dates on your calendar.

Check back with the Pastoral Report for more details.

Continue reading "Summer and Fall National Clinical Seminar Dates Announced"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:44 PM

January 11, 2015

Update on the New CPSP Governance Plan by David Roth

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The Governing Council met last November in Chicago and adopted a framework for a new chapter-based form of governance of CPSP. By consensus, forty-five of our leaders, most of them conveners representing their chapters, accepted the proposed bylaws that were developed by my colleague David Baker and me at the request of the Governing Council when it met in Virginia Beach in March 2014.

The members of the Governing Council also delegated to the working group referred to as the Operations Team, which is led by me, short-term authority to act in its behalf as well as some additional work. We were asked to review, decide upon and make certain modifications to the bylaws and then to implement the governance plan by our Plenary in March.

My colleagues and I have taken up this charge and a finalized the text of the bylaws. We have selected one of our members, Cynthia Olson, to act as interim Administrator, a position that is defined in the newly adopted bylaws. We are about to begin the processes of selecting representatives for the Chapter of Chapters and the Chapter of Diplomates. All chapter conveners, as identified in the CPSP directory, will be contacted by email and by a member of our team to assure that the selection process for the Chapters is underway. We will also be contacting all diplomates to select their representative to serve the Diplomates. We expect these processes to be done expeditiously but responsibly.

Our new governance will be representative and the process of selection transparent. We have every reason to be hopeful that the spirit of the Covenant will pervade the process and that the results will include greater commitment to one another, to collaboration between chapters, and to seeking and promoting the highest standards of our pastoral care community. We are confident that the necessary governance groundwork will be finished in time to seat the new Governing Council by its scheduled meeting in March, following the 25th anniversary Plenary.

You will find the new CPSP Bylaws, along with a message from our team here:

Download: MESSAGE FOR OPPERATIONS TEAM

Download: 2014 CPSP BYLAWS


The Operations Team
David Roth
Orville Brown
Ed Luckett
Cynthia Olson
Ed Pehanich
Ruth Zollinger

Continue reading "Update on the New CPSP Governance Plan by David Roth"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:27 PM

January 11, 2015

Cancer: 'It Could Be Worse'-- a Spiritual Ponzi Scheme By Michael Eselun

Insights Into Cancer November 18, 2014 from Simms/Mann UCLA Center on Vimeo.

Michael Eselun is a CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplain and a member of the Los Angeles, CA Chapter. He serves as the interfaith chaplain for the Simms-Mann/UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.


May 12, 2014 the Pastoral Report publish Michael's "It's Magic".

Continue reading "Cancer: 'It Could Be Worse'-- a Spiritual Ponzi Scheme By Michael Eselun"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:56 PM

January 08, 2015

A 25th Anniversary CPSP Plenary, with Boisen Conference


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Celebrating 25 years as a community and honoring the memory of Anton T. Boisen, founder of the clinical pastoral care movement, members of CPSP and their guests will gather in Chicago from March 15-17 for the Plenary, our annual international conference.

Since 2015 is the 50th year since Boisen’s death, Sunday is devoted to "The Boisen Legacy for Today and Beyond: Thinking and Feeling Together about the Things That Matter Most." Dr. Robert Charles Powell will conduct a seminar on “Boisen as Clinician” and at the evening banquet Glenn H. Asquith, Jr., editor of Vision From A Little Known Country: A Boisen Reader, will speak on 'Anton T. Boisen: A Vision for All Ages' and receive the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award.

Monday and Tuesday will focus on small group work, with case studies and other presentations, as is our tradition, Workshops on certification, accreditation and chapter life will be offered. Plenary culminates and officially ends on Tuesday evening with a special 25th Anniversary Dinner, the presentation of certificates, and live entertainment and dancing.

On March 18, a newly formed, representative Governing Council will meet for the first time since CPSP adopted new Bylaws last November.

The Plenary is always a very special event gathering together of a diverse group of colleagues from around the world. It is an opportunity to meet, share with and learn from one another. We expect this year’s Plenary to be an event like none before. Register now and join us in Chicago!

Download: 2015 CPSP Plenary Brochure

The Plenary Planning Committee
David Roth
Krista Argiropolis
Ed Luckett
Robert Charles Powell
Scott Smith

Continue reading "A 25th Anniversary CPSP Plenary, with Boisen Conference"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:43 PM

December 08, 2014

“Spiritual Well-Being”—by Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D.

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“Spiritual Well-Being”—by Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D.
The Theme of the 2014 Pastoral Care Week


(Condensation of presentation given at the annual Pastoral Care Week celebration at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa on October 21, 2014, and at Neptune, NJ’s Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s first celebration on November 3, 2014. Photo by Chaplain Dianna S. Wentz, D.M., UPMC Mercy Hospital)

This year’s Pastoral Care Week theme is “Spiritual Well-Being.” If you Google the word “spiritual,” 18,100,000 references appear. Spirituality reveals not only the infiniteness of divinity, but the infinite varieties of humanity.

Spirituality can represent a wellspring, or a wastebasket. A wellspring of comfort and strength that enables coping and wellness and empowerment and direction and reflection and “love-your-neighbor-as-yourself” connectedness with other human beings.

Spirituality can also represent a wastebasket, in which insecurity may lead one to dumb down his or her god with absolutes that provide certainty, are dismissive of cause-and-affect understanding of human behavior and the natural order, can’t stand ambiguity, nurse “exceptionalism” that is intolerant of diversity, and lead one to act as if “loving your neighbor as yourself” actually means wanting your neighbor to be like yourself.

Continue reading "“Spiritual Well-Being”—by Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D."


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:46 PM

December 04, 2014

2015 CPSP PLENARY.--Gathering of the Community-- A Celebration of Life Together After 25 Years

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Gathering of the Community

25 YEARS OF CPSP

Still Learning From Boisen
50 Years After His Death

We cordially invite you to join us
from March 15 – 18, in Chicago, IL.
We will meet for informative speakers,
dynamic group process,
and to celebrate our successes.

The CPSP Community will gather in Chicago March 15 - 18, 2015 to celebrate our 25 years together as a vibrant and innovative certifying and accrediting community dedicated to excellence in the clinical pastoral field. The theme of the conference is "Still Learning From Boisen 50 Years After His Death".

The schedule is as follows:

Sunday, March 15 – Thinking and Feeling Together About The Things That Matter Most - Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876-1965)
Workshops and gatherings will take place during the day.

The Presentation of the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award will be made by Robert C. Powell, Ph.D., M.D..
The Keynote Speaker is Glenn H. Asquith, Jr.
The event is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. that evening.

This will be a very special day - please be sure to join us!

Monday, March 16
Opening Session, Small Groups, and Presidential Luncheon.

Tuesday, March 17 –
Tavistock, Small Groups, Presentation of Certificates, and live entertainment.

Wednesday, March 18 –
Governing Council Meeting, closing.

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The gathering will be held at the Embassy Suites Chicago - Downtown

Just steps from Magnificent Mile, and one block from the subway station, this newly renovated hotel has a dramatic 11-story atrium, filled with blooming foliage and a rushing waterfall.

Continue reading "2015 CPSP PLENARY.--Gathering of the Community-- A Celebration of Life Together After 25 Years"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:16 PM

November 25, 2014

CPSP PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Debra Hampton

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Salt Lake Regional Medical Center's 2014 Fall publication, Views and News, starts out with congratulatory remarks regarding CPSP's Debra Hampton, Clinical Chaplain:

Congratulations Debra Hampton, Pastoral Care Coordinator Salt Lake Regional Medical Center’s 2014 Chairman’s Award Winner.

She is acknowledged for her ministry and special feeling for the homeless. Having worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India no doubt has shaped who she is as a person and her clinical ministry as chaplain.

The writer comments further on Chaplain Hampton's unique ministry:

She finds family members of homeless patients, and if family can’t be found, she allows no one to die alone. She inspires her coworkers with patience, support, kindness and guidance every single day. She follows her heart and never looks away or becomes complacent. Debra is a rare gem of humankind, indeed.

In the article's side-bar is a quote from Chaplain Hampton:

Do not be afraid of what other will think, or that you have to something big to make a difference. Not knowing what to do is a great obstacle, like being stuck in indecisiveness. It takes faith to step forward in uncertain territory. But all acts of kindness count.

To read the full article, Download file.

Continue reading "CPSP PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Debra Hampton"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 2:53 PM

November 25, 2014

Reflections on the Fall 2014 National Clinical Training Seminar - East--By David Goldstrom

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Fall 2014 National Clinical Seminar - East


Fall is all around us, with colors and leaves and the mix of warm sun and cool air. While nature is pulling back and preparing for winter, I went to CPSP's National Clinical Training Seminar - East in Morristown, New Jersey hoping to grow and help others develop through clinical learning, networking and especially the small groups. I found a fellowship there growing out of diversity, sharing and a wonderful program and presenters.

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The Loyola House of Retreats provided a beautiful mansion on a wooded site, with walking trails, gardens, a Koi pond and lots of room for quiet reflection or walking with old and new friends. We started with case presentations in our small group sessions. Each member of the small group brought either a case, a supervision issue, or a paper to share and gather peer review. Like careful gardeners, each presenter had to harvest and attend to what they gleaned from their peers. Back in the large group, they would offer a brief summary of what they learned, with other members of their group occasionally reminding them of other important points.

The evening brought us together for a large group presentation on "Reflecting on Group Process" by Drs. Howard Friedman, Jennifer Lee and Frank Marrocco of the A. K. Rice Institute for the study of social systems. These same presenters provided the consultation for the evening's Large Group Event, which brought some excitement and energy to everyone there. Many commented on how much they learned from the work of this year's "Tavistock" large group. I found the shifts in the group fascinating. The energy around the issues that came out around social issues and parallels to change in our CPSP all seemed reflective of our unconscious group processes. The abrupt ending when we reached the time boundary added to the excitement, as many of us didn't want to stop! Of course, we had to stop for the social hour, and that turned out to be a great time for unwinding and chatting with colleagues after a long day of clinical training.

Day two brought more, and in our small group we met early to make sure everyone had a chance to present their own case. The early presentation was followed by breakfast, and another Large Group Event / Debriefing that continued the focus on working in the present and addressing the conscious and unconscious aspects of our group. All in all, most thought it a success, and from where I sat (not in the back row :o) there was a lot of interest in both the content of the expressed concerns and the process of the group's trying to work in the present. It may sound a bit technical, but if you love group process, it was a great time.

We held our final gathering over lunch, and I said goodbye to some new friends. This was my first National Clinical Training Seminar, but now I can see why these are so worthwhile. It was a chance to learn from others and offer collegial feedback to fellow members of our covenant; to continue to grow through the winter and prepare for spring. See you next year!

Continue reading "Reflections on the Fall 2014 National Clinical Training Seminar - East--By David Goldstrom "


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 2:36 PM

November 15, 2014

New CPSP Governance Plan Adopted

<imgBylaws creating a new chapter-based form of governance for CPSP were adopted by consensus on November 13, the first day of a two-day Governing Council meeting in Chicago.

The spirit of the meeting was constructive and amicable.

The gathering of more than fifty participants, mostly conveners of chapters from throughout the United States, accepted a proposal drafted by David Baker and David Roth after discussion. CPSP chapters had more than five months to review and provide feedback on the proposal.

While the document was adopted, several matters were delegated by the Governing Council to the members of the Operations Team for their consideration and possible incorporation into the final text. The Operations Team is made up of leaders who have been working in the key areas of accreditation of training, certification of members, certification of chapters, hospice and palliative care, standards, and the plenary. David Roth is convener of the group.

The newly adopted bylaws replace the old bylaws from 2009. The new bylaws were drafted at the request of the Governing Council at its Plenary meeting last March in Virginia Beach. Their adoption marks the culmination of two-and-a-half years devoted to finding a suitable governance plan for CPSP in light of its enormous growth in numbers and geographical expansion in recent years.

The new Governing Council, comprised of a representative Chapter of Chapters and Chapter of Diplomates, along with an Executive Chapter, is expected to assume full governance of CPSP at the 25th anniversary Plenary on March 18th, 2015, also in Chicago.

Continue reading "New CPSP Governance Plan Adopted"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:55 PM

November 09, 2014

CPSP PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Richard Joyner

Danita Perkins, a CPSP clinical chaplain at Nash Health Care located in Rocky Mount, NC provided the Pastoral Report the following announcement:

Chaplain Richard Joyner, a CPSP certified clinical chaplain, pastoral counselor and founding member of the Goldsboro, NC CPSP Chapter was awarded a $25,000 Purpose Prize on October, 28, 2014. Out of a pool of 800 nominees, he was one of six individuals who distinguished themselves through their passion, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and impact.

Chaplain Joyner serves as lead chaplain and community liaison for Nash Health Care (an affiliate of UNC Health Care), Rocky Mount, NC and pastor of Conetoe Baptist Church, Conetoe, NC. In the hospital and from the pulpit, Joyner could see firsthand that unhealthy eating was one of the root causes of poor health. To address this problem, he and others planted a 25-acre community garden and made it a part of the Conetoe Family Life Center (CFLC). The garden is steadily improving the health of his rural congregation, boosting students’ high-school graduation rates and economic potential because they have taken ownership of it, and providing a model for more than 21 church communities.

The change in dietary practices have resulted in weight lost, a decrease in the number of deaths, and a decrease in emergency room visits as the primary health care resource. Joyner was quoted as saying that “his encore work speaks to life ‘on both sides of existence’ – the pulpit and the garden field.” The Brody School of Medicine of East Carolina University has taken an interest in the success of the CFLC’s garden and the impact that it is having on the health of the community. The medical school is attempting to measure this success and have allowed the church to participate in a diabetes and heart disease study that they are conducting.

According to their website, www.encore.org, “The Purpose Prize, now in its ninth year, is the nation's pre-eminent large-scale investment in people over 60 who are combining their passion and experience for social good. The Prize awards at least $100,000 annually to individuals creating new ways to solve tough social problems. The 2014 Purpose Prize awarded $300,000 to six individuals.” Two individuals received $100,000 each; the remaining four received $25,000 each.

Continue reading "CPSP PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Richard Joyner"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:38 PM

November 01, 2014

"You’re not going to cause trouble, are you?” By Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D.

Bill%20Alberts_%20NCTS_web_small_headshot-1.jpg I was paged to the intensive care unit, where an older black woman was about to be terminally extubated. Her daughter was sitting by her bedside, and her son was standing beyond the foot of the bed. A niece, two grandchildren and the daughter’s female friend were also present. It would prove to be an intense hour-and-forty-minutes of pastoral care.

When I entered the room and introduced myself, the family accepted my presence. The patient was listed as a “Baptist,” but not affiliated with a church, her daughter said. There was sacred music playing softly in the background: “The soulful moods of Marvin Gaye,” whose R & B songs and singing style had deep meaning for the patient and her family.

The daughter asked if I would offer a prayer. My prayer expressed God’s shepherd-like, eternal loving care for the patient, and the preciousness of her life to her family and of their lives to her, and ended in Jesus’ name. That was the easy part.

The challenging part was soon communicated by the son, John.* I had made it a point to stand next to him, having shook his hand and asking his name. The challenging part: he pointed to his intubated mother, and said that pulling the tube from her mouth was like pulling the switch when an inmate was electrocuted in prison. He saw his mother as experiencing pain and punishment, like a condemned criminal—this punitive image possibly part of his psyche, being black in an oppressive white-dominated society. When he repeated his observation, his sister, Marcia*, responded that their mother had been given morphine and is not in pain.

Continue reading ""You’re not going to cause trouble, are you?” By Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D."


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:05 PM

November 01, 2014

Rite or Wrong… Effecting the Sacraments in Extraordinary Circumstances By Franklin Courson

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In the Long Ago Times, before recorded history, humans have gathered in order to worship that which is greater than themselves. Primeval man worshiped the sun, thunder beings, the waters and various species of animals which they felt had influence over their lives and their destinies. They sought union, communion and reunion with these entities. They also gathered to celebrate benchmarks in their lives such as birth of a child, the rites of passage into manhood and womanhood, marriages and, at the end of this earth walk, death and burial. Thus began ceremony.

Where these gatherings took place ranged from a solitary spot on a mountaintop surrounded by a circle of stones to a cave deemed special to a hut or kiva used only for such rituals. Over the millennia, such simple sites continued but were also added to with elaborate temples, churches and mosques.

Sacred space, regardless of the site or structure, was and continues to be created first and foremost by “intent”. That is, that those gathered, be it one, two or the full complement of a tribe or community, “intended” that the work done within that space and time was sacred in nature. It could be a shaman visiting a sick member of the tribe in their home. It could be the gathering of a faith community to recall key events in their heritage. Whatever the occasion, a sacred dimension was always present.

As religious practices became more structured, not only the gathering places became more specified, the rituals carried out in them and by their elders also became more codified and, as humans are inclined to do, became more restricted and limited.

The Psalmist tells us:
My House shall be called a House of Prayer, says the Lord.
In it anyone who asks he shall receive,
And he who seeks, finds,
And to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

“Audience with God” is omnipresent. The line of connection occurs when a person or persons “intend” or seek such union, communion or reunion. Access to grace is always there but an individual must seek, must knock, and must open the door from their side before the link is opened. Ours is to facilitate this connection, to provide witness to the event and to help those estranged from their Creator with the words to navigate a path long forgotten, overgrown with fear or even non-existent.

Continue reading "Rite or Wrong… Effecting the Sacraments in Extraordinary Circumstances By Franklin Courson"


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:34 PM