From the Desk of the Executive Director
By Trace Haythorn, Executive Director/CEO  |  April 15, 2019

It is hard to believe that over 450 of us (and probably more!) will be together at the annual conference in Scottsdale in just a couple of weeks. Commissions, committees and boards are busily finalizing agendas for their work together, and the staff has worked diligently to find accommodations for people and to address all the logistics of the conference. Though we’ve been doing this for decades, the energy always begins to peak at about this time as we eagerly anticipate the learning nurtured, time shared, the stories remembered, the memories made, and the good work completed.

That good work is often too easy to overlook. Amidst new and emerging competition from other providers as well as significant cut backs and consolidations in the markets where we have programs, ACPE accredited 8,677 units, an increase of 135 over 2017! We certified 70 educators, and as we head into this meeting, we have one of the largest dockets in ACPE history with 37 people coming before committees. Even with so many changes in structures and processes, our members continue to do the good work that has characterized ACPE for decades.

And the world is taking notice. Our International Relations Committee (IRC) under the leadership of Biju Chacko (chair) and Ted Hodge (chair-elect) are working with multiple countries to provide culturally appropriate support to other nations engaging in CPE. Their work ranges from (1) a current effort with Ireland ACPE to compare standards, hoping that we might have full reciprocity with them in the near future, much like what we share with Canada (CASC/ASCC) and Norway; to (2) early conversations with Chile, Malaysia, and India about potential satellites. The exciting part of the work of the IRC is that these initiatives are coming from invitations from the nations, not individuals who just happen to have good relationships. We hope that this will lead to sustainable, long-term partnerships – with more to come as we develop these new models!

In the meantime, we continue to work closely with our colleagues at APC, NACC, and NAJC as well as CASC/ASCC. Leaders from these organizations are making every effort to assure that our work is “in sync” with one another, that we are planning for our joint conference in 2020 with careful attention to our diversity as organizations as well as the diversities of our constituencies, and with a great deal of excitement about the larger fields of chaplaincy and spiritually-integrated psychotherapy. We hope to build on these relationships as we reach out to the Association of Muslim Chaplains, the Pediatric Chaplains Network, the Military Chaplains Association, and the National Institute of Business and Industrial Chaplains. We have a wonderful working relationship with the Association of Theological Schools and are helping several seminaries and divinity schools explore chaplaincy options within their degree plans. There is a wonderful spirit of cooperation among these groups.

As Transforming Chaplaincy begins to look at its future as its John Templeton Foundation grant comes to a close in June, we are excited to be in dialogue through our Research Committee and ACPE leadership about our role in sharing and teaching research in the future. George Fitchett and Wendy Cadge have helped build a foundation for the future of this work, and we encourage members to take full advantage of the wonderful resources they have developed. As they think about next steps, we hope you will let us know what your hopes and dreams are for research within this field. We’ve made significant strides thanks to Wendy and George; where do you hope we go from here?

The field of spiritual care is rich, and its soil is full of possibilities for the seeds you and our partners are planting. Thank you for all you do in your centers, in your communities, and in this association to help us advance excellence in spiritual care. It is a privilege to serve with you.

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