AAPC & ACPE Explore a Common Future
ACPE News | October 11, 2018


The American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) and ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education (ACPE) are pleased to announce we have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to become one organization in 2019. A copy of the LOI is available here.

A few weeks ago, ACPE Chair Amy Greene and AAPC President Tere Tyner Canzoneri sent letters to their respective memberships to inform them of conversations that began several months ago when AAPC struggled to come to terms with persistent budget shortfalls. Even as new programs and exciting new opportunities emerge, the regionally-based business model cannot meet the needs of the membership. At the same time, ACPE has completed a three-year restructuring process that will allow for AAPC activities to continue as ACPE Communities of Practice. Click on the following link to learn more about ACPE Communities of Practice.

In the coming weeks, a task force comprised of the executive committees and senior leaders from the two organizations will meet to address many of the details of this transition. The task force will be comprised of the following people:

  • Tere Tyner Canzoneri (AAPC) and Amy Greene (ACPE), Co-Chairs
  • Claire W. Bamberg (AAPC)
  • Elizabeth Denham Thompson (AAPC)
  • Russell Jones (AAPC)
  • Flo Dewitt (AAPC)
  • Melissa Walker-Luckett (ACPE)
  • Linda Wilkerson (ACPE)
  • Miguel Santamaria (ACPE)
  • Trace Haythorn and John Roch (ACPE Staff)
Other members from both associations will be co-opted to work on various sub-committees such as finances, governance and membership, operations, and programs.

Included in the early tasks will be the shift of business operations from AAPC to ACPE, the development of new member categories within ACPE for AAPC members, the integration of AAPC ongoing activities and programs, and the transfer of assets to support those activities.

As the two organizations work towards this integration, we are committed to several guiding principles:
  1. Gratitude and hospitality: leadership of both groups are grateful for the opportunity to explore this transition to a single entity and want to make this as hospitable as possible for all members;
  2. Transparency in communications and process: regular communications will be scheduled to keep all members of both groups informed. ACPE and AAPC will schedule a series of webinars to talk through this process with members;
  3. Mutual benefit: we firmly believe there will be educational, professional and financial benefits for all, if this process is managed well;
  4. Professional differentiation: Pastoral Counseling and CPE are distinct disciplines with different training models/expectations, and any new structure will honor that;
  5. Cooperation not acquisition: ACPE is not pursuing AAPC but is working to restructure its operations to support the ongoing work of AAPC in a fiscally sustainable manner.
When our two organizations formed in the 1960s, it made sense to focus on the particularities that each organization added to the ecology of spiritual care as separate organizations. Since then, support for travel, membership dues, and volunteer time (i.e. release time) for association service have been cut dramatically by the organizations each group serves. As a single entity, we can enjoy not only the strength of our combined efforts but also greater efficiencies and impact as we seek to advance excellence in spiritual care and education.

In November 2018, the ACPE Board will meet again to consider this process and finalize their agreement to proceed. Assuming the proposal receives ACPE Board approval, the members of AAPC will have an opportunity to vote on this transition as required by Missouri law wherein they are incorporated.

If the process is completed, AAPC as a legal entity will be dissolved, and the two organizations will function as one, working to share in advancing spiritual care through counseling, chaplaincy, and the many forms of service pursued by our students and colleagues across faith traditions. Regular updates will be posted and members of both organizations are welcome to engage in their respective forums. We welcome comments, reflections, and encouragement as we make our way forward together at acpe@acpe.edu or info@aapc.org.
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