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Reverend Robert David Leas, of East Tawas, entered the higher life on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at Tawas St. Joseph Hospital in Tawas City, age 84. Robert was born on December 12, 1933 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Ralph and Ina (Abney) Leas. He graduated with the class of 1952 from Noblesville High School in Indiana. Robert earned a Bachelor's Degree with honors in history from Indiana University in 1956. During his junior year at IU, he participated in a study abroad program at the American University of Beirut, where he developed a lifelong interest in and love of the Middle East. In 1957, Robert studied at the Faculté de Théologie in Montpellier, France. He earned his Master's Degree of Divinity in 1961 from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, and the same year was ordained in the Presbyterian Church. His first call as a Presbyterian minister was to Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames, Iowa, with later pastorates at First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Indiana and Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Lansing, Michigan. His pastoral career also included over thirty years in clinical pastoral education (CPE) as an educator and CPE Supervisor, training seminary and chaplaincy students in hospital settings in Park Ridge, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana; Saginaw, Michigan; and Ft. Wayne, Indiana, until his retirement in 2002.  Read full obituary here


Rev. Kenneth Joseph Siess , Age 86 of Edina, Minnesota died on August 24 following a progressive illness.  Born October 2, 1931 in Seymour, Indiana to Clarence and Marie (Dau) Siess. Preceded in death by wife, Ellie. Survived by children, Timothy, Jonathan (Candy), Matthew (Linda), Daniel, and Elizabeth (Michael) Edwards-Siess; 10 grandchildren.  Funeral service Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 11 AM ~ Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3045 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407. Visitation Friday 4-8 PM at Mt Olive Lutheran Church and 1 hour prior to service.


William (Bill) A. Derstin died peacefully August 8, 2018. He was born on October 12, 1933 in Perkasie, PA to Abram N. and Ruth H. Landis Derstine. 

Bill graduated from the former West Pottsgrove High School in 1951, Heidelberg College, Ohio in 1955, and from Lancaster Theological Seminary, PA, in 1959. He received a degree in pastoral counseling from Crozer Theological Seminary, PA, in 1969. In 1952, he met Dolores (Dolly) Lamm while both were campers at Camp Mensch Mill, PA. During the summers they worked on staff at Camp Fernbrook; they were married in 1957

He was a parish pastor for nine years, serving the congregations of Lemasters Charge in Mercersburg and Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Penns Creek, before becoming supervising chaplain at Sleighton School for Girls, Darling, PA; Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, KS; and Christ Hospital and Medical Center, Oak Lawn, IL. He was Vice President for Religion and Health at South Suburban Hospital, Hazel Crest, IL. He retired in 2001 and moved with Dolly to Pleasant Hill. During that time he traveled the US, Europe and Costa Rica with Dolly, enjoyed his grandchildren, and volunteered at Pleasant Hill UCC.

The Rev. Dr. William R. Loesch died at his home in Dorchester on Saturday, June 16, 2018.            

He is survived by his three daughters and son: Melanie Loesch; Cathy Loesch; Cynthia Loesch-Johnson (and husband Jeffery Johnson); Christopher (and wife Shannon), and their four children. He is also survived by his former wife, Martha Sanchez, of Dorchester, the mother of their children, and his twin brother, Rev. Dr. Robert Loesch, a United Church of Christ clergy living in Springfield, MA, and four nieces and a nephew.

Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, he lived with his family in several states during World War II, including Melrose, MA, and high school in Glen Ridge, NJ.  He graduated from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, in 1963 with a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology, and Andover Newton Theological School with a Master of Divinity in 1968, and Doctor of Ministry in 1976.  He was ordained into the United Church of Christ fifty years ago in Roxbury in 1968.  He was a member of the adjunct faculty at Andover Newton Theological School, Harvard University, Emmanuel College, and Northeastern University School of Nursing.  


Former ACPE Member Charles "Chip" Moody died on June 21, 2018. Pastor Moody completed his CPE residency through the Spring Grove Hospital Center (inpatient psychiatric) and Francis Scott Key Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, from 1983-85.  Most recently, he was the Vice President for Student Development at Phoenix Seminary.

A Celebration of Life was held at 1000 on Saturday, 30 June, at Grace Community Church, 1200 E. Southern Ave, Tempe, Arizona, 85282.


ACPE Certified Retired Educator Robert "Bob" Brummel died on May 9, 2018 at the age of 82 in Grand Rapids, MI. A graduate of Calvin College and later, Calvin Seminary, Bob went into active duty as a Navy Chaplain during the Vietnam War. He served on ships off the coast of Vietnam, with the Marines in Okinawa, with the Naval Air Station on Andrews Air Force Base, and in various military hospitals where his interest in hospital ministry deepened. He retired from the Navy and continued his chaplaincy at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida and as the Director of Pastoral Care at the Ohio State University Hospitals until he retired. He was certified by ACPE in 1980.

For more, read full obituary.


ACPE Spiritual Care Professional Phillip Leigh Haltom died on March 7, 2018 at the age of 62 while in Texas, on his home soil. He is survived by his wife, Sharon, and their children. A celebration of his life was held on March 15 at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, 700 North Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made on behalf of Phillip to First Presbyterian.

For more, read full obituary.


ACPE Retired Educator John Howard Dillingham, 87, of Schulenburg, Texas passed away on Jan. 24, 2018 in Schulenburg.

He was born on August 18, 1930 to Murvin Cecil and Mary Eileen (Cobb) Norvell in Purcell, McClain County, Okla. On July 13, 1946 he married Carole Jeanne Hall. John lived in Topeka, Kan. from 1979-2000; Columbus from 2000-2014; and in Schulenburg from 2014-present.

John received his Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University, Bachelor of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and Master of Sacred Theology from University of Dubuque, Iowa, graduating Summa Cum Laude. John pastored several churches in Texas before joining staff of Menninger Foundation as Chaplain. He was a member of the Clinical Pastoral Education staff as a CPE Supervisor; Fellow College of Chaplains; and in 1992 was voted Chaplain of the Year. 

For more, read full obituary.


Guy L. Steele, Sr.  of Hingham, formerly of the Boston area, died January 11, 2018. Guy was talented in many facets of life. In his early years he was an accomplished track athlete. As a man of devout faith he began his ministry as a student pastor in Montgomery City, Missouri, while studying for his Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Missouri, followed by a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Brite College of the Bible in Fort Worth, Texas. Guy trained at Perkins School for the Blind, Boston University School of Theology, and Brandeis University (graduate work in Sociology), then received his Master of Theology degree from Harvard University and his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Boston University School of Theology. Guy served as Pastor and Chaplain in many parts of our country, including 13 years as pastor of the Brighton Evangelical Congregational Church; was instrumental in building churches and establishing accreditation programs for Clinical Pastoral Education; and retired from New England Deaconess Hospital as the Director of Pastoral Care. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at the Harvard Divinity School. 

For more,  click here.



Our condolences go out to ACPE Certified Educator Edith Finsaadal, whose mother died recently.

We send our thoughts and prayers to ACPE Certified Educator Jim Wright, whose mother died recently. 

Thinking of You

Ken Siess (Minnesota), long-time Certified Educator, would like to hear from friends and colleagues. Ken is on home hospice and is still alert and communicative. He prefers email since verbal conversation is difficult for him. You can contact him at – If you know a retired colleague of Ken’s who may not read this newsletter, please forward this information to him or her.

Earlier this week (September 20) we received the following message from Cary Melvin, ACPE Certified Educator at Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, NC, recently impacted by Hurricane Florence: 

Thank you for your [Steve Goss] voicemail message. It has been pretty rough the last few days. We are surviving and in some cases thriving. Our staff, including me have been pulling some tremendously long hours within the hospital. We suspended our CPE program for the past ten days because we did not want to jeopardize any of our eight students who were already impacted by this storm event. Six of our eight students were directly in the path of this storm event. Thanks to God none of them were bodily injured. Two live in Wilmington, two in Sampson County, and two in Lumberton/Pembroke areas. Today seems to be more normal than any other day since the news broke of this storm. The staff have been super in their response to the events caused by Florence. We are extremely blessed that things were not any worse than what has been and is currently.

So, we thank the God of creation for His grace and mercies toward us. The community where the Church I pastor was hit very hard but there was only one related death that I know of at this moment. Again, I am grateful for wonderful stewards who kept me informed. I just happy to be alive and well through what could have been a more catastrophic event.


Chaplain Major, Rev. Matthew M. R. Watkins, Th. M.
presented at the National Baptist Convention's Congress of Christian Education, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, held June 18-22, 2018. Rev. Watkins presented during the mandated annual Chaplains Professional Development Institute, which is the granting agency for national ecclesiastical endorsement. He addressed matters of question concerning Bi-Vocational Pastors/Chaplains Issues and Mental Health First Aid to Law Enforcement and other Pubic Studios.

Rev. Watkins is an ACPE Spiritual Care Professional. To date Rev. Watkins serves as the State Chaplain for the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Chaplain Major McRae-Helena Police, Co-Coordinator of the Ministers Lyceum (Maximum Impact), Secretary General for the Ministers and Moderators Division, and compassionate listening Pastor.

Kristján Björnsson was recently consecrated as Suffragan Bishop of Iceland on July 22, 2018. Kristján was a 2003-2004 resident in the program at Tampa General Hospital. He returned with his family to Iceland where he served the Lutheran Church of Iceland. Wayne Maberry, Director of Pastoral Care and Education at Tampa General and Bill Baugh, retired Director journeyed to Iceland and participated in the consecration.

Congratulations ACPE Certified Educator Karen Hutt! United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities recently hired her to serve as director of student experience and culture. In this role, she will be a resource to students and faculty in optimizing students’ experience at United. Read more.