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.
I am currently the Chair of the Association of Religious Endorsers (AREB). I have something to share with all of you that is not itself politically charged, relating to our journey these past two days.
About ten days ago I was working at my desk. I needed to access a file still on a “floppy disc,” and began to think about how long it would be before this media can no longer be accessed. Having a number of floppy discs with files that represented earlier projects and programs, I began, in the midst of all the other pressing matters surrounding me, converting them one by one onto a master file to be loaded onto a compact disc “CD.” While doing this I was divided between completing this task that I had begun, or moving on to other critical issues, not unlike other times when I have felt like I am being guided in taking steps or undertaking tasks for reasons unknown to me in the moment. Now I understand that it was God’s hand that was guiding me that day.
What occurred during these two Governing Council sessions was very important in terms opening greater transparency and engaging the whole community in dealing with difficult matters and concerns. Like many of you, however, I was out quite out of sorts after the Monday evening Governing Council time. These had been very difficult sessions on many levels, especially relationally. As several of us sat together to debrief, I was aware that in the morning the endorsers would be meeting with CPSP leadership. I went ahead and invited Esteban Montilla, our President, to join us at the breakfast table.
Upon returning to my room, my thoughts turned to how to approach our time together in the morning, as both Raymond and Esteban would likely be present. In the midst of the hostility between ACPE and CPSP, being one of the handful of dually credentialed supervisors that Board Motion 43 was focused toward, I found myself welcomed at the endorsing table to share and contribute along with many others. It was meaningful for me to have shared in drafting the letter that was sent to both ACPE and CPSP that contributed to their initial effort at mediation.
At this moment I was returned to the files that I had converted. Among them was a file I thought would be helpful. As I connect remotely to my workplace desktop, I was able to access it late Monday night. As it turned out, Raymond was not able to join us in the morning. Not wanting the opportunity to be lost, I shared what I had found with him as he expressed his regrets, and he in turn invited me to share this during the present question time.
The file I found was an Accreditation Site Visit Report for Esteban Montilla’s CPE Program, dated November 10-11, 2001, six weeks after the 9/11 Terrorist Attack. Raymond as General Secretary, and I as NY/NJ Chapter Convener, together visited Esteban and his training program. John DeVelder was CPSP President at that time. Esteban was credited with continuing with the work and review in the midst of a national crisis, and we did our best to review his program in the midst of it. We had a wonderful review including sitting in with Esteban’s trainees as they presented case materials. I was asked to write up this report. The review aided in further grounding the CPE program in this institutional setting.
Esteban, I want to affirm your courageous willingness to offer your servant leadership in guiding us through a very difficult series of meetings. Like eleven years ago, you were willing to persevere by continuing to work through difficult circumstances. Despite the tensions present, thank you for your vision and leadership that has aided in opening a new day for our CPSP Community.
Raymond, you are to be credited with the vision and inspiration to create this community. You have spent countless hours in isolation, struggle, and anguish standing in the space of creativity, and we thank you for this. You have continued now many years to guide this growing community through your leadership, and will always be remembered for this groundbreaking work.
I believe that all of you, Raymond, Esteban, Jim, and others, have sought to undertake your work with the best of the CPSP Covenant at heart. This covenant remains our most precious gift. Relating with one another in the profound theological sense, and our readiness to midwife one another is the best and most uniquely powerful witness we can manifest to the greater pastoral care and counseling community. No credential or search for it can overtake the importance of our relating with one another, and those we are called to serve in such a profound manner.
Let us work together to protect and even deepen this precious covenantal relatedness – especially through such times like this of significant change – for no amount of credentials can replace this covenantal community. In closing, I would like to share this piece written by David L. Griffith that differentiates strength and courage.
The Difference Between Strength and Courage
It takes strength to be firm
It takes courage to be gentle
It takes strength to stand guard
It takes courage to let your guard down
It takes strength to conquer
It takes courage to surrender
It takes strength to be certain
It takes courage to have doubt
It takes strength to fit in
It takes courage to stand out
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain
It takes courage to feel your own pain
It takes strength to hide feelings
It takes courage to show them
It takes strength to endure abuse
It takes courage to stop it
It takes strength to stand-alone
It takes courage to lean on another
It takes strength to love
It takes courage to be loved
It takes strength to survive
It takes courage to live
The Rev. Dr. Steven Voytovich, Chair
Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies (AREB)
Director of Institutional Chaplaincy, Orthodox Church in America
Director of Clinical Pastoral Education, Episcopal Health Services
Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at April 3, 2012 8:06 AM