Election News
ACPE | October 2017

This fall, in accordance with its bylaws, ACPE will hold an election to elect members of the Board of Directors, Accreditation Commission, Certification Commission, Professional Ethics Commission, Finance Committee, and Leadership Development Committee. For more information on our election process, click here

At the ACPE's annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN, in May 2017, the membership nominated Melissa Walker-Luckett to serve as Chair-elect of the Board of Directors beginning January 1, 2018.  Click here to read her acceptance speech. 

Please note that Melissa is running unopposed; however, in accordance with ACPE's bylaws her name will appear on the national ballot.

Recently we asked Melissa a series of questions relevant to ACPE, spiritual care, health and education. Take a look at how she answered our questions below: 

6. Moving forward, what are your thoughts on our relationship with our strategic partners (i.e. ACPE, NACC, NAJC, CACS, AAPC)?

We’ve made significant strides in collaboration with our strategic partners. I believe it is imperative that we continue the good work. I am supportive of our knowing each other better. I am supportive of our working side by side, shoulder to shoulder to provide quality training to our spiritual/pastoral care providers and the institutions, ministries and congregations that need them.  

5. What is your vision for the new structure, especially in terms of Communities of Practice?

I’m learning more about Communities of Practice by reading materials recommended in the Monday Briefing and listening carefully to the presentations by my Director of Community, Practice, and Membership Development, Wayne Menking. What I’m reading and hearing is hopeful to me. It seems opportunities to be in dialogue with others across the Association who have similar interests and expertise can enliven my thinking about my practice and growing edges.
I recognize it’s disorienting to have new structure. And, I also recognize that my disorientation will give way to reorientation as I work and live into the effort to articulate and define my own areas of interest and expertise. Being able and willing to step into new or growing collegial relationships with Educators, perhaps outside my geographic area, is exciting. Part of my optimism about the Communities of Practice comes from the richness of my experiences of working with Educators from across the Association as a member of the Accreditation Commission, the Board and the Foundation Annual Campaign. Hearing the creativity of my colleagues, being challenged by others’ thinking and experiencing the freedom to offer my own observations and opinions has been a growing experience for me. And, I believe the possibility exists that others have grown from engaging me.

I like the idea that we as spiritual/pastoral care providers can learn from our colleagues in other professions. I learned a great deal about leadership from the Studer Group, and about management of behaviors from the Just Culture program, both from disciplines outside my own. The Communities of Practice paradigm for problem-solving, innovation and growth is exciting to me. I hope we embrace it and make it our own, using it to enrich and open creativity and ‘cross pollination’ of ideas across our Association. If you’ve not yet looked at Wenger, McDermott and Snyder’s Cultivating Communities of Practice, I recommend it to you. Barbara Bullock and David Hutchinson will have other references as your interest grows. Wenger will be one of our plenary speakers at the next national meeting.

4. What can we do to entire more persons to enter the SES process?

Great question. I’m not sure. This process seems like a calling to me. I know there’s a lot of consternation about how hard and long it is...not unlike what one hears from law students, or medical students, or doctoral students of many disciplines. Perhaps it is with these models of education that we should compare our work. These are, after all, the persons with whom we peer – the lawyers, the physicians, the advance practice nurses, the ethicists, the CEO’s of our institutions – men and women who worked arduously to achieve their status as expert by being knowledgeable, forward thinking and committed to their discipline. Spiritual Care may be a “soft” discipline (although most people I talk to think it takes a person with backbone and courage to be with persons in crisis in a hospital or homeless shelter) and yet, it is none-the-less a discipline. Moreover, we are experts in training the next generations of those who will stand on sacred ground with those in crisis as our society sees more persons in need of soul care. We bring trainees from novices to experts in the process to Certified Educator. My father, an aging Baptist preacher, says ACPE is “rarified air” in terms of ministry. We need to live into a stance of dignified expertise that befits the holy work we do in the lives of others. I believe when we live into our expertise, our trainees will aspire to that expertise.

And, it is imperative that we nurture the new minds and hearts that are interested in the future of ACPE. We must be attentive to the women and men in our programs who seem gifted and are interested in the process of education as we live it. I believe we must let go of some things we think are best and try something different. I must keep reminding myself that our Association was built by women and men who thought about education of clergy differently and stepped out to make it happen. We must allow the next generation(s) freedom to shape us with ideas that are ripe for our changing world and the persons who will care for our souls. We must listen to the ideas of those coming along side us and find ways to invite those ideas to change our perspectives.

All that said, I’m confident that the Certification Implementation Team will devise a process that will provide us with talented and committed newly Certified Educators who will carry on training professional spiritual/pastoral care providers and providing programs for others to carry on that tradition.

3. Some in professional chaplaincy are calling for a reform in the way chaplains are educated. Do you believe chaplaincy education needs to be reformed? If so, what needs to change? 

I feel torn in answering this question. As an Educator, of course I believe we need strive to be current and relevant and change with the improvements and advances in our field. However, there’s something about being in relationship and learning in relation to others, the ones we meet, the ones who love them, the ones who struggle with the hard decisions and life choices they have, that cannot be learned in any manner other than experiences with people. 

What I’m clear about is this, there is no “one best” answer. Tests we pass and fail are in relation to the person before us. We are called to be with the one person in front of us. We are called to be experts in critical thinking skills, asking ourselves and those with whom we work, “How can we achieve the best result for this person, even if it is not the hoped for or optimum result?” “How can we get to ‘Yes’ for the person to whom we’re ministering right now?” 

I think we need to use new tools but never, ever, lose the relational and creative part of ministry and education.

2.What issues/needs do you consider as key to be addressed in CPE programs that would help prepare persons as relevant faith leaders in this time of history?

I believe it is imperative for us as faith leaders to be open and willing to learn from and with those about whom we know little. I believe humanity’s fear of “the other” is fueled by ignorance (lack of knowledge and experience) and negative imaginings about those unfamiliar to us.  ACPE’s emphasis on multicultural competence is an avenue for us to influence our CPE students and thereby those they influence. We are a group of diverse people and as we celebrate and appreciate ourselves and each other, our gifts, our differences, our similarities and our dreams for the future, we will influence our world.

We live in an anxious and fearful world. We serve individuals and families that face adversity daily. I am amazed by the hope, determination and resourcefulness of families in the face of a catastrophic illness of a child. They move with tenacity to nurture and parent their child. They don’t stop because life has become challenging. I believe we need to face our own fears of being irrelevant and do so with the confidence that caring for souls is relevant. The challenges to incorporate new technology or practices or venues or paradigms of leadership into our resource pool are just that, challenges. We’ve not lost anything until we stop moving into the future. When we ‘sit down’ and resist movement is when we become irrelevant. I believe we need to practice being “less anxious” about ourselves and be who we are: committed educators to teaching the care of souls to those who will come after us.

1. What are your three main concerns about the future of ACPE as a viable organization in the face of healthcare changes?

Concerns...I think one of our weaknesses is our lack of training in the business principles at play in healthcare. Whether an institution is for profit or not for profit, faith-based or municipal/county run or institutions connected to universities or medical schools, they all have costs and need to generate revenue. Additionally, I am concerned that we don’t seem to consistently train our future Certified Educators in the necessity of being fearless spiritual/pastoral care providers to the administrators of our institutions. Some of us live and do our work isolated from the Administrators who make decisions and who may or may not recognize our value or their need for support. We know they have ethical dilemmas. They have concerns they don’t voice to the persons below them. We, as care providers, could make ourselves available as trusted others. But honestly, that doesn’t always come naturally to us. We need to be good business people and trusted others to our leaders. 

Along with healthcare we need to continue diversifying our educational settings. Clinical placements in local congregations, law enforcement, with first responders, manufacturing plants, public services (airports) … these are possibilities that I’ve already seen. There are others I’ve not imagined but our membership is filled with creative and innovative Educators. I’m confident there are many more. We need to tap into our sense of adventure and possibility to move beyond our familiar (healthcare) without abandoning it.

I hope we can do what we often do best, continue to make relationship and be creative in how and where we offer the life-changing process of action-reflection-action clinical learning. 

The election will be held online with email ballots. Sample ballots will be distributed before polls open. Polls will be open October 30-November 6, 2017.
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