APC e-News
news and information from the Association of Professional Chaplains 
November, 2014 - Vol. 16 No. 7  
In This Issue
Continuing a Great Legacy
Thanksgiving Message
Welcome, New APC Board Members
Join APC for our 2015 Conference on June 4-7 in Louisville
NCHPC Responds to Recent Media Coverage of Hospice
Research-Based CE Added as BCCI Maintenance of Certification Requirement
Joint Commission Seeks Leading Practices
Call for Storytellers at 2015 Conference
Upcoming Professional Chaplaincy Webinars
CCAPS Accreditation Benefits Chaplaincy Care Recipients and Providers
Military Chaplaincy Free Access Reading List
Announcing 2015 Conference Plenary Presenters
Glad You Asked: State Leaders, Proof of Good Standing
Gift for Timely Membership Renewal
IOM Releases Report on Quality of Care at End of Life
Share Your Holy Moment
Eventually: A resource for sharing the experience of loss and grief
Poetry Program for Elders
Feature: Beam Me Up, Chaplain
Poem: When Your Last Supervisor is Gone
Letter Re: 'Last Supervisor'
About APC e-News


This edition of APC e-News

is sponsored by  

Loyola Nov 2014
Loyola MA in Health Care Chaplaincy
24-hour Patient Relaxation Programming

APC extends our sympathy to the family and friends of APC members who have died. Memorials may be viewed on the APC website, where you will find them in alphabetical order by last name.

 Brent E. Bradley BCC

Dale Eugene Luther BCC

Larry K. Ulrich BCC

Quick Links

Continuing a Great Legacy

by Darryl Owens BCC 


Many times when new leaders start their initial fiscal year, they look at themes of new beginnings. I choose not to do so. Instead, I choose the theme of continuing a great legacy of past presidents who have brought the Association for Professional Chaplains to a great and wonderful place.


Past presidents, along with the board of directors and other APC leaders, have weathered many types of storms and have helped the organization stand on solid ground. We still have projects to complete and goals to meet, but we are healthy.


I recently received great news that our membership numbers are up 598 over last year, and the number of certified chaplains is up by 117. For this, the credit goes to the membership as well as the board.


We are now in a board-centric era of APC leadership. The buck stops with the board of directors and not the president. I am the first to serve for a one-year presidential term. Under our new governance structure, officers now move from secretary to treasurer to president-elect to president, spending one year in each of the four offices. Just as our new governance structure is being fully implemented this year, we are simultaneously assessing whether any improvements are needed. 


We have great plans for the upcoming fiscal year. We are assessing and developing initiatives in the following areas: clinical practices, organizational identity, research and technology. In order for us to accomplish much in these areas, we are going to need your help. As we solicit volunteers, or ask for your participation on committees and task forces, please consider answering the call to participate.

We want to continue our great legacy and to make APC even greater because of members like you!

Rev. Darryl I. Owens MDiv CT BCC is employed as a chaplain at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC, where he serves as the Women's Services chaplain and grief counselor. He serves as president of APC and may be contacted at


Thanksgiving Message
by John Simon BCC

One of my favorite authors, Steve Goodier, wrote a piece in Joy Along the Way, (2000) that strikes the right note for this moment. It's called, "Affirmation for the Day." Goodier writes:

Ralph Waldo Emerson has accurately said, "One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."

Today is an important day. That problem you solve, that decision you make, that time you enjoy can shape your whole life. The way you and I approach today, and each day, is crucial. Our lives are built by a series of days like today.

I discovered an affirmation that can help in living each day fully:

Today I will live through the next 24 hours and not try to tackle all of life's problems at once.

Today I will improve myself, body, mind and spirit.

Today I will refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen if...

Today I will not imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different. I will  do my best with what resources I have.

Today I will find the grace to let go of resentments of others and self-condemnation over past mistakes.

Today I will not try to change, or improve, anybody but me.

Today I will act toward others as though this will be my last day on earth.

Today I will be unafraid. I will enjoy what is beautiful, and I will believe that as I give to the world, the world will give to me.


Whether these are the best of times or the worst of times, these are the only times we've got. Live each day fully, and you will look back on a life that made a difference.

Friends, since it is the season of Thanksgiving, permit me to remind us of what we may have forgotten. Be grateful because thanksgiving is an attitude of gratitude that makes room for more.

Rev. John Simon MDiv MTS BCC is the director of Integrated Patient Experience & Chaplaincy at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY. In addition, he serves as senior pastor of The Historic Second Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie. He serves as a director on the the APC board, and as a member of the Finance Committee and Personnel Committee. He may be contacted at


Welcome, New APC Board Members

The Association of Professional Chaplains announces the following additions and changes to the APC Board of Directors, effective November 1, 2014.

Joining the board as directors this year are Jeffery Garland BCC and Jeffery Murphy BCC.

jeff garland Rev. Dr. Jeffery T. Garland DMin EdS BCC has been an active member with APC since 1997 and became a board certified chaplain in 2002. He is employed as a chaplain with the Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center in West Orange, NJ. Endorsed by The American Baptist Churches, USA, Garland is the assistant to the pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Newark, NJ. He received his doctorate of ministry from Drew University School of Theology, his master of divinity from New York Theological Seminary and his education specialist in marriage and family therapy degree from Seton Hall University. He has served APC in the roles of Membership Services Council member, Multi-Cultural Multi-Ethnic Committee Chair, APC Conference Planning Committee Spiritual Needs chair and Nominating Committee member.

jeff murphy Rev. Jeffery N. Murphy MDiv BCC has been a board certified chaplain since 1993. He has served as a staff chaplain at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS since 2003. Endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he holds a bachelor of arts from William Carey College and a master of divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before joining the board, Murphy served APC as state representative for Mississippi, the national coordinator of state representatives and BCCI certification chair for Area 8. He was also the founding president of the Mississippi Chaplains Association.

The officers this year are
  • President Darryl I. Owens BCC
  • President-elect Mary-Margaret (Margie) Atkinson BCC
  • Treasurer Rev. Kimberly Murman BCC
  • Secretary Martha H. Rucker BCC
  • BCCI Representative Joe Perez BCC

Also serving on the board as directors are: Daniel H. Grossoehme BCC, Janet R. McCormack BCC, Floyd G. O'Bryan BCC, Ronald C. Oliver BCC, John Simon BCC, Jana Troutman-Miller BCC, and Ex-officio Member Patricia F. Appelhans JD.  


Completing their terms are Valerie R. Storms BCC (president) and Marcia L. Marino BCC (treasurer). We owe them a debt of gratitude for their years of excellent service to APC.


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Join APC for Our 2015 Conference on June 4-7 in Louisville
by Geila Rajaee BCC  

On behalf of the Association of Professional Chaplains, I am thrilled and excited to invite you and your colleagues to attend our 2015 Annual Conference, June 4-7 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, KY.
Soul Meets Data LogoFor the past 10 months, the 2015 Conference Planning Committee has been hard at work to put together the conference components. The theme of the conference is "Soul Meets Data: Research and Technology in Chaplaincy Care." Our conference goals are to increase research literacy and knowledge, implement technology into professional practice, inspire chaplains to do research, and investigate how technology connects and disconnects in relationships
The committee is excited about the educational opportunities available at the conference, as we have received a record-breaking number of submissions for Professional Development Intensives and 90-minute workshops. We have an impressive lineup of plenary speakers, thoughtful opportunities for spiritual refreshment, a strong selection of workshops and PDIs, and time to build relationships with colleagues (new and old). Our hotel is located in the heart of downtown Louisville, where attendees will be within walking distance of some of the best restaurants and activities the city has to offer.

I encourage you to begin looking over your budgets, and talking to your administrators and managers about the possibility of joining us in exploring the areas of research and technology as they intersect with our work as chaplains. We have a letter on the APC conference website for you to share with your administrators to help explain the value of the conference as well as some cost-saving ideas for conference attendance. Each of us who has attended in the past has seen the benefits of the APC conference: reconnecting with colleagues, learning about cutting-edge research, exploring new ways to support our diverse populations, and finding better methods to prove the quality of our care - just to name a few!  
June is still quite a few months away but I am anticipating another fantastic conference together with fellow APC members and professional colleagues in Louisville, KY where we will not only grow as individuals but also as a profession.
Mark your calendars; 2015 conference registration opens January 13, 2015.
Geila Rajaee serves as the 2015 Annual Conference Planning Committee chair and may be contacted at
 NCHPC Responds to Recent Media Coverage of Hospice

APC and other members of the  National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care collaborated on a statement that was issued in response to recent unbalanced and sensationalized media reports seemingly aimed at discrediting hospices and the care they provide. 


In addition to APC, the coalition includes the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Center to Advance Palliative Care, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, National Palliative Care Research Center, and Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network. 


Each organization is sharing the prepared statement with members. Together, we hope to provide more data and positive stories about the care we provide and its many positive outcomes. The coalition organizations are working to influence national media through various approaches; we need your help reaching local news agencies, bloggers and others who are accessible in your community or through social media.  

Thank you for helping to amplify our voice!
Research-Based CE Added as BCCI Maintenance of Certification Requirement
As part of its strategic plan, APC is working to transform the profession by creating research-literate chaplains who practice research-informed and, ultimately, evidence-based chaplaincy care for the benefit of those receiving care in various clinical settings. The profession is at a critical juncture; health care institutions are focusing on patient-centered outcomes, our fellow clinicians use and expect evidence-based practices, and chaplaincy largely lacks these components.
To support research by and about chaplains, and promote research literacy among chaplains, the APC board approved the recommendations of the Research Task Force, Quality in Chaplaincy Care Committee and Education Committee to require certified chaplains to participate in a minimum of five hours per year of research-based continuing education (CE) activities. Such activities include reading, writing, presenting and conducting research, and attending research-based educational events. This new requirement does not increase the number of CE hours required each year. BCCI certified chaplains are still required to complete 50 hours of CE per year. Starting in 2015, five of those 50 hours must be research-related.
Below are some examples of what may be counted on the Annual Summary of Continuing Education Hours form under Methodology 8, Research.
  • Reading research articles/papers (e.g. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy and Journal of Religion Spirituality & Aging, which are free to APC members)
  • Attending research-based continuing education events (e.g. APC Webinar Journal Club, research-based workshops and plenaries at the annual conference)
  • Writing an article/paper based on quantitative or qualitative research
  • Conducting qualitative or quantitative chaplaincy-related research, including time spent analyzing data, conducting interviews, literature review, etc.
This requirement is reflected on the 2015 Annual Summary of Continuing Education form, as well as the Continuing Education Guidelines and FAQs, which can be found on the BCCI website under Maintenance of Certification.

Joint Commission Seeks Leading Practices
Several chaplaincy cognate partners, ACPE, APC, COMISS and NACC, have been in dialogue with representatives of The Joint Commission (TJC) about sharing leading practices on the provision of spiritual care. Members of our organizations have been invited to contribute to the TJC Leading Practice Library their institution's relevant documents that implement the Joint Commission standards on spiritual care. Documents might include, but are not limited to, scope of practice, policies and procedures. Submissions are limited to institutions that are accredited by TJC. The library was built from solutions that institutions have contributed that support patient safety and quality health care. It can be accessed via this link: (

Members whose institutions are TJC accredited and have potential submissions, please contact APC at Thank you for your participation.


Call for Storytellers at 2015 Conference

Can you recall one of your EXTRAORDINARY experiences as a chaplain providing spiritual care? The 2015 APC Annual Conference Spiritual Needs Committee is seeking storytellers from our diverse faith traditions to share YOUR story of an amazing and inspiring pastoral care visit. As a chaplain, you know how healing the telling of our stories can be - for us and for others who hear the stories.
Please tell us your story in 500 words or less and send to the APC office at The committee will review all the stories submitted and select several chaplains to share their stories during the Multifaith Worship Service at the 2015 APC Annual Conference in Louisville, KY. What you share will nurture, uplift and sustain each of us in our transforming work of chaplaincy care.  
In your submission, please give us a brief statement about the context of your chaplaincy work, as well the population you serve, your faith tradition and the faith tradition of the person or persons in your story.  The submission deadline is November 30, 2014. Thank you in advance. We look forward to receiving your inspiring story.
Upcoming APC Professional Chaplaincy Webinars 
November 11, 2014, APC Webinar Journal Club IV, Session 2, "Chaplain Care for a Man with Parkinson Disease," presented by George Fitchett DMin PhD BCC and Sr. Patricia Murphy PhD BCC.Register by November 3.

November 20, 2014, Effective Chaplain Charting: Communicating with the Care Team, Making Sense to Management and Avoiding Legal Pitfalls, presented by Brent Peery DMin BCC and Greg King JD. Register by November 12.

December 3, 2014, Leading a Family Meeting, presented by David E. Weissman MD. Register by November 25.

January 13, 2015, APC Webinar Journal Club IV, Session 3, Chaplain Care for a Patient and His Family in a UK Hospice, presented by George Fitchett DMin PhD BCC and Sr. Patricia Murphy PhD BCC, Register by January 5, 2015.

January 28, 2015, Chaplaincy from the Beside to the Boardroom, presented by John Simon BCC. Register by January 20, 2015.

March 10, 2015, APC Webibnar Journal Club IV, Session 4, Chaplain Care for a Teen with Spinal Cord Injury. Register by March 2, 2015.

May 12, 2015, APC Webinar Journal Club IV, Session 5, Chaplain Care for a Young Man Who Attempted Suicide. Register by May 4, 2015


See the Calendar of Events for details and to register.

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CCAPS Accreditation Benefits Chaplaincy Care Recipients and Providers
by James Taylor BCC

I am the National Chair of Commissioners for CCAPS. CCAPS is the COMISS Commission on Accreditation of Pastoral Services, which is the organization for accreditation of pastoral services across the nation. I became involved with CCAPS a few years ago as I journeyed through the process of having our chaplain service accredited by CCAPS.

The paragraphs below offer insight into the value of CCAPS accreditation and are an excerpt from an article by Chaplain Mike Pollitt. The entire article, "Taming the CCAPS Accreditation Monster," can be found on the COMISS website.

"At the end of the rating year, every medical center director lists all of his or her accomplishments at their medical center. Earning accreditation from The Joint Commission is always first on any list, for it is the most prestigious, There are more than a few directors who can also boast of the national accreditation of CCAPS for their chaplain services. Regardless of your type of health care chaplaincy, CCAPS accreditation is well within your reach; it is affordable and can be paid in installments. The different types of chaplaincy accreditation are wide-ranging and include chaplain service programs for long-term care facilities, specialty care facilities, large and small chaplain programs, and the Joint ACPE/CCAPS Accreditation for CPE sites," says Pollitt.

"When I was a supervisory chaplain a few years back and was considering seeking accreditation, the magnitude of the process appeared so daunting that the decision to pursue it was quite difficult. We did decide to go forward, though, because we believed that first, we were a very good chaplaincy and that, second, CCAPS accreditation would only make us better. The latter turned out to be true. Because of CCAPS and its standards of professional chaplaincy, we came to terms with what we were capable of accomplishing as professional health care chaplains," Pollitt concludes.

The story of my own organization achieving CCAPS accredited status was equally enriching for our chaplain service staff, our health system and me. My chaplain staff spoke of the great sense of accomplishment and recognition they found as the word spread around the medical center. Nurses and physicians would come to them and say things like, "We have always appreciated the work of the chaplains but we never knew the level of expertise and professionalism you really bring to our organization." 

CCAPS is an organizational accreditation, and thus the administration saw this as being on par with CARF accreditation for rehabilitation and Magnet accreditation for nursing. Although I would not go through CCAPS solely for the sake of seeking additional staff, I will say that after the CCAPS site visit recommended that an additional chaplain would be beneficial to furthering the work of chaplain service, I was approved to hire one additional full-time chaplain.

What patient care benefits are to be found in CCAPS accreditation? CCAPS will enhance the scope, quality and control of spiritual assessments and spiritual interventions provided to patients and families by ensuring the spiritual aspects of health and wellness are addressed. CCAPS helps ensure the facility is honoring the free exercise right of a patient's religious values. CCAPS also ensures that patients are provided spiritual/pastoral care by persons who meet the professional chaplain qualification standards. Furthermore, accreditation increases employee and institutional awareness of patient needs for spiritual/pastoral care. Accreditation puts the facility on the leading edge of spiritual/pastoral care within the health care community. CCAPS accreditation demonstrates the facility's commitment to quality holistic care. Finally, CCAPS clarifies and confirms the facility is compliant with all Joint Commission standards.
For further information, please visit the COMISS website, and click on the COMISS Commission-CCAPS tab.
James R. Taylor MDiv BCC ACPE supervisor EMCM/SS (ret.) is the associate director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Chaplain Center. He serves as the national chair of commissioners for CCAPS and may be contacted at
Military Chaplaincy Open Access Reading List

Routledge Journals is pleased to offer free access to a collection of articles on the topic of military chaplaincy from Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, official journal of APC. (APC members always receive access to the journal as part of their membership.) Open access to the article collection is available to until December 31st, 2014. Everyone is invited to download, read, share and cite this research today.


Announcing 2015 Conference Plenary Presenters
by David Fleenor BCC

What is the relationship between the soul and data? The two seem so foreign as if they are from two different worlds. The soul thrives in the worlds of art, music, mythology, sacred space, human conversations and loving relationships. When one thinks of data, it is easy to conjure up images of ones and zeroes, large rooms filled with the sound of computers clacking as they crunch numbers and spit out reports. The realm of the soul seems so warm and colorful; whereas the abode of data seems so cold and grey. What do the two have to do with one another?

This question is at the heart of professional chaplaincy as we strive to incorporate more research and technology into our professional practice. The struggle is to remain high-touch, while becoming more hi-tech.

The plenary speakers for the APC 2015 Annual Conference will explore these issues as they address the conference theme, "Soul Meets Data: The Research and Technology of Chaplaincy Care."

Dr. Tammie Quest MD, a palliative care physician-researcher, will open up the conference by challenging us to be both high-touch and highly effective as we consider the future role of chaplains in the care management of the seriously ill. She will describe current and future models of palliative and supportive care with a focus on population-based management; identify key metrics and drivers of quality outcomes in health care for seriously ill patients, with a focus on the role of the chaplain; and describe key roles and adaptations chaplains should prepare for in future models of care.

Dr. George Fitchett PhD BCC, a leading chaplain-researcher, will discuss how our profession is becoming more evidence-based and why that is important. He will review what evidence-based care is and is not, and will examine the case for and against it. He will illustrate how different types of research can inform chaplaincy practice and discuss the implications of this paradigm change for the profession of health care chaplaincy.

Dr. Angelo Volandes MD MPH is the co-founder and president of ACP Decisions, an organization that uses technology, including innovative video tools, to facilitate end-of-life conversations. He will share his radical vision of the patient-clinician relationship and discuss how chaplains may use technology to facilitate better end-of-life decision making.

Dr. Meredith Gould PhD, a sociologist, social media expert and author of The Social Media Gospel, will close out the conference by focusing on how digital tools make it possible to establish and sustain essential connections for providing care.

Rev. David Fleenor BCC,serves on the 2015 Conference Planning Committee as the Plenary Speakers chair. He is senior director, Chaplaincy Services & Clinical Education, at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network in New York, NY, and may be contacted at
Glad You Asked: State Leaders, Proof of Good Standing
How do I find a list of state leaders? Current APC members can find listings of local leaders by logging into the APC website to get to their Profile page and then and selecting "My Groups" from the menu. State leader rosters can be found under the Chapter heading.

How can I get documentation that my BCCI certification is in good standing? You can log into the APC website and click on "My BCCI Cerification" from your member profile page. It will show your certification type, expiration date, and the date your maintenance of certification requirements were fulfilled. This page can be printed out and given to your institution.

Gift for Timely Membership Renewal

As a thank you to all those who pay their APC dues by November 30, 2014, APC will send a promotion code for $55 off an APC Professional Chaplaincy Webinar Recording of their choice (not a live webinar.). Regular webinar recordings cost $55 for members, so this promo code will give you a free recording.

Promo codes will be e-mailed to qualifying members by January 1, 2015. The code may also be used toward Webinar Journal Club recordings and the 2014 Chaplain Symposium recording set.

As a reminder, APC offers online invoicing and payment of APC membership dues and BCCI Maintenance of Certification Fees. To access and pay your invoice(s), log into the APC website and, from your Profile page, click the "My Invoices" menu option. Whether you pay online or by mail, you can print a receipt of payment from "My Invoices." Once your payment has been processed, your invoice will show a zero balance due. (Payment by mail may take up to 10 business days to process due to high volume at this time of year.)
IOM Releases Report on Quality of Care at End of Life
IOM report

For patients and their loved ones, no care decisions are more profound than those made near the end of life. For those working in the health care sector, including clinicians, chaplains, caregivers and support staff, providing high-quality care for people who are nearing the end of life is a matter of professional commitment and responsibility. Health sys­tem managers, payers and policy makers, likewise, have a responsibility to ensure that end-of-life care is compassionate, affordable, sustainable, and of the best quality possible.

A substantial body of evidence shows that broad improvements to end-of-life care are within reach. In Dying in America, a consensus report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a committee of experts finds that improving the quality and availability of medical and social services for patients and their families could not only enhance quality of life through the end of life, but may also contribute to a more sustainable care system.

Released last month, the report is available for download from the the Institute of Medicine, Dying in America: Improving quality and honoring individual preferences near the end of life.


Share Your Holy Moment

by Denise Ryder BCC 


I have published articles and poems in the past and am looking forward to my new endeavor. I am in the process of writing a book called "Holy Moments." It is a collection of stories and observations, written mostly by clergy, about moments when the presence of God is manifest to the alert witness.


I am interested in offering the opportunity for additional contributions to this work. I am interested in stories about all faiths and beliefs, as I want this to speak to whoever reads it. If it speaks to you then it will speak to someone else too, so feel free to stretch your wings. Please change names for identity protection and include your name if you want credit.


If your submission is selected for inclusion, additional paperwork will be sent for signatures. Remuneration is unclear at this time. But, credits will be given for your submission. You will be notified if your submission is declined, as well.


Please understand I am not limiting this to the traditional "light at the end of the tunnel" types of experiences. This is about all moments that God's presence was unmistakably felt.  


Depending on the stories submitted I hope to group them in some content fashion. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Blessings to you all.


Please contact Denise Ryder DMin BCC at  for submission of stories. For general questions, please e-mail


Rev. Denise Ryder DMin BCC is a chaplain at Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, IN. BCCI board certified, Ryder is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed clinical addictions counselor. She is a member of the American Red Cross Spiritual Care Task Force and the American Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care Team.  


A resource for sharing the experience of loss and grief, a story we all will come to know eventually
by Joanne Colan

Eventually, each of us will experience loss through the death of a loved one. Eventually, each of us will need to grieve this loss. Eventually, each of us may walk through the valley of bereavement with a family member or friend.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I sought to provide a space for individuals who were coming to terms with the meaning of significant loss in their lives and who wished to honor the memory of loved ones. My hope was to provide an online tool for those coping with bereavement, to explore common threads in the grieving process and to offer catharsis to the survivors.

Eventually (, it is a collection of first-person video testimonials in which participants reflect upon their own experiences, recount events leading up to and surrounding the death of family members or loved ones, talk about how they have coped, and explore what the loss has meant to them. The stories are deeply personal, yet in them one discovers common threads in the grieving process.

Those who have participated in Eventually thus far have found the experience very positive for several reasons: They recognize their stories may be of help to others; they wish to commemorate the person who died; and they feel the opportunity to talk freely and deeply on camera about their experiences marks a significant step in the healing process.

My approach is to have a conversation with participants either in person or by phone prior to filming. This helps to establish trust and familiarity, which helps them to feel more comfortable sharing their story with me and, ultimately, on camera. The taping session is quite informal with an emphasis on providing a supportive and caring space to safely explore thoughts and feelings. I let each person talk for as long as needed and edit to a running time of approximately 10 minutes.

The website itself was created with simplicity in mind. The design is intentionally clean and minimal to convey respectfulness and includes a "quiet" section for contemplation. Commenting and advertising are purposefully disabled. Videos will remain on the site indefinitely, and will be cataloged and searchable using relationship titles, e.g., father, mother, as well as circumstance, e.g., cancer, heart disease.    

My goal is for Eventually to become known through bereavement organizations, online grief groups and other forums, as well as by word of mouth and to be easily accessible to any who may find its content helpful. The project is independent and, so far, self-funded.

Joanne Colan is a British broadcast/digital media journalist and independent content creator, living and working in New York City. For additional information, or to contribute a story, please contact

Poetry Program for Elders

by Marvin Wexler


I wish to share with you a website that is intended primarily to help people establish poetry programs for the aged in their communities, .  


For the past four years or so I have given poetry presentations, with accompanying Powerpoint pictures, to two separate groups of elderly and disabled residents at a well-respected nursing home/short-stay rehabilitation facility in Westchester County, New York. My experience presenting poetry to the elderly, and its beneficial effects, is discussed in "A poetry program for the very elderly - Narrative perspective on one therapeutic model," Vol. 27, Journal of Poetry Therapy, Issue 1 (March 2014).


As discussed in detail in that article, I have developed a model and curriculum for one kind of a poetry program for the elderly that seems to have therapeutic value. This website makes that curriculum public, in the hope that others will make use of it.


Almost all those monthly presentations to the elderly are organized around a general theme or subject. Each theme is merely a vehicle for presenting poetry that speaks to significant issues, such as hope and courage, loss and trust, belonging and love, the amazingness of the commonplace, and gratitude.


My experience over the past several years working with poetry and the aged suggests that even quite compromised elders can benefit from this kind of poetry program. I therefore ended the article referenced above by urging people who care for the elderly, whether professionally or on a purely personal level, to include poetry as part of that care, and by urging others to consider starting such a poetry program for the elderly in their communities.


To assist people in doing just that, the first part of the website identifies each of my monthly presentations and the poems in each presentation, and I invite you to do what I have been doing, or your own variation of it. 


The second part of this website concerns preparation for one's own death. Death is not one of the subjects of my monthly presentations to the elderly - although some of the poems included in the presentations certainly are relevant to death. Nevertheless there are times when more directness is called for. As explained at the beginning of the second part of this website, a friend in need read the poetry program article referenced above and then asked me to address directly for her the subject of preparation for death. I found, that there are many books and readings available that concern preparation for, or dealing with, someone else's death. But I found very little marshaling of material concerning preparing for one's own death. I hope what I have gathered and made available in the second part of this website is a helpful contribution to that need.


Marvin Wexler of New Rochelle, NY, may be contacted at


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Beam Me Up, Chaplain
by Mindy Quigley

"For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain... It wasn't until I was beginning to do Star Trek that the subject of religion arose. What brought it up was that people were saying that I would have a chaplain on board the Enterprise. I replied, "No, we don't." --Gene Roddenberry

"Roddenberry made it known to the writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and mystical thinking were not to be included, and that in Roddenberry's vision of Earth's future, everyone was an atheist and better for it. He stubbornly resisted the effort of network execs to put a Christian chaplain on the crew of the Enterprise. It would be ludicrous, he argued, to pretend that all other religions would have become obliterated by this point, or that such a cosmopolitan people would impose one group's religion on all the rest of the crew." --Wikipedia entry on Gene Roddenberry

I was intrigued when I discovered recently that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, hated, and I'm talking blood-boilingly, eye-buggingly HATED, the idea of putting a chaplain on board the Starship Enterprise. Before I go any further, let me issue the disclaimer that I'm not an avid Trekkie. While I am a casual fan of both the original Star Trek and The Next Generation, I don't speak even a word of Klingon and I've never seen a single episode of Deep Space Nine. I encourage true Trekkies to boldly go where no Mindy has gone before by engaging in the Trekkie message board discussion about the topic of chaplains, religion, and Star Trek:

Despite my lack of Trekkie street cred, Roddenberry's stance was interesting to me for a couple of reasons. First, I have a strong suspicion that anyone who's been a chaplain for more than, say, four minutes has at some point encountered similar antagonism to the mere fact of their existence. I'm guessing this applies in all realms of chaplaincy, but since I know the most about chaplaincy in the hospital setting, I'll use that arena to illustrate what I mean.

Many hospital chaplains will have run into a doctor who felt that they were "in the way" or even that they were undermining patient care or challenging the doctor's authority. Or maybe you've had an experience in which a patient became enraged at a gentle offer to pray with them. For example, I remember my boss at the Duke University Medical Center coming into my office wide-eyed with shock after having a patient's family scream at her in the hallway. "You come in here with your soft voice and your little prayers! What good is that? She's in pain! She's dying! You're useless!" (Side note, after the woman died, the family actually sought out my boss to thank her for putting up with them, and for finding snacks and tissues for them).

Sometimes such antagonism is born out of the anger and fear that surrounds a trauma or a death. Other times, though, it comes from a sort of cognitive dissonance. Hospitals are supposed to be shimmering bubbles of modernity -- the best that modern medical science has to offer. They're about stuffing people full of precisely engineered, molecularly-targeted drugs and doing things to them that involve really big, fancy words. Words like stereotactic laser-assisted surgery and autologous mesenchymal stem cell infusions. To some people, suggesting a simple act like offering a prayer to a higher power might be as welcome in such a setting as offering to bring out the leeches and bloodletting tools.

For others, it's not about the setting; they just can't get on board with the idea of religion at all. I write novels about a hospital chaplain in a small North Carolina town. In my first book, I included a scene where a patient's wife tells the chaplain that she doesn't need the chaplain's help because she isn't "superstitious." BURN! Like most of my best lines and plot elements, that was based on a true event. In that real-life situation, I felt that that word was carefully chosen to be extra insulting. Not just "not religious," "not a Christian/Muslim/Jew/etc.," or "not spiritual." Such people might've had a bad experience in the past with someone trying to foist their own beliefs onto others. They may lash out because they feel threatened and might simply not understand that chaplains are not evangelists.

Roddenberry's anti-chaplain stance also spoke to me as someone who falls on the humanist end of the Unitarian Universalist belief spectrum. I, too, have sometimes wished that we little homo sapiens could move beyond a certain kind of religious expression. It's hard to learn about yet another zealot overseas beheading an innocent person or a rigid religionist in our own country passing discriminatory laws based on narrow interpretations of their personal faith without wishing that there was "nothing to kill or die for. And no religion, too."

But Roddenberry fundamentally misunderstood the role of a chaplain, and indeed the role of religion in our lives. I agree that in Star Trek's science-driven, cosmopolitan future world, it would make sense that some aspects of religious turmoil and even perhaps facets of religious belief would naturally fall away. Let's sincerely hope we're done beheading each other in the name of religion by then. But Captain Kirk and his shipmates are still humans. They still live and die, become angry and jealous, confront the unknown, and, most importantly, confront the unknowable. As long as there are humans, there will be a need for those who can help them understand what it means to be human. And that's why chaplains will be needed every bit as much in Star Date 2364 as they are today.

Mindy Quigley is a freelance writer and university administrator who lives with her husband and daughter in Blacksburg, VA. Her best-selling Reverend Lindsay Harding Murder Mystery series is based on her time working in the Pastoral Services Department at Duke University Hospital. She may be contacted at

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What do you do when your last Supervisor is gone?
by William Killian BCC

I had four Chaplain Supervisors
in my training to become a hospital chaplain -
Jack Shepard, Harold Nelson, Charles Sullivan, Frank Moyer.
These four men helped me define selfhood in ministry.

Last Wednesday, July 30, 2014,
two days after his 84th birthday,
Frank Moyer died.

What do you do when your last Supervisor is gone?

Strange, is this death, I feel a birth emerging.
Between the years of 1964 - 1970,
I participated in three years of Clinical Pastoral Education
as I worked in hospital chaplaincy and pastoral ministry.
Without that CPE, I could not have continued in the ministry.

With Frank Moyer's death
I feel sprung out on my own,
thrust into a wide-open field of ministerial retirement.
I still work part time, but I have retired.

I served my first student church in 1960 -
I was able to answer all the questions the parishioners asked.
My answers were more important than their questions.
That was 1960.
Before that decade ended, I had a new suit of clothes.
I looked at the world with different eyes,
and over four decades later
I still have a love affair with questions.

What do you do when your last Supervisor is gone?
You embrace the gratitude that fills your life.
Thank you, Jack, for your Boston-trained, Bateson-drenched
stubborn tenacity, for your wisdom that stretched over the years.
Thank you, Harold, for your family systems training,
for my introduction to Ross, Satir, Minuchin, Bowen,
for your in-depth spiritual focus and your twosome pastoral visits.
Thank you, Charlie, and your colleague, Bob Baylor,
for your distant immersion into pastoral psychology,
for your allowing me to work in the back wards
of a state mental hospital, for including me
in a large team of young chaplains in search of themselves.
And thank you, Frank, for enabling me to stand up for myself,
for teaching me how to be a man, how to fight, to conquer,
and get on with my life. I'll never forget the day I quit CPE -
all you said was, "...can you work as a staff chaplain
till the end of the year?" You knew, I knew by then,
that being a CPE Supervisor was not in the cards for me.
You asked me to stay on, be a chaplain, be my chaplain.

That's what you do when your last Supervisor is gone -
you be a chaplain, you do ministry, and then you retire.
You tell your story to those who will listen,
and you reach back over the years, through the tears,
and say Thank you.

Written Monday, August 04, 2014 in honor of my four CPE Supervisors at Kentucky State Hospital, Swedish Covenant Hospital, Elgin State Hospital and Rockford Memorial Hospital.

William Killian of Tucson, AZ is a retired board certified chaplain and may be contacted at

Originally published in ACPE e-News, September, 2014, and reprinted, with permission.


Letter Re: 'Last Supervisor'

Thank you for your poem in the ACPE news. Frank Moyer was on my certification committee in Washington, DC in 1986. He kicked my butt, gave me some great advice and then voted to certify me.
Then there was John J. Shepard - known to us by Jack. He was my first CPE supervisor. I tell this story about Jack:
I was 27 years old and fresh out of seminary in 1976. During my admissions interview, Jack puffed on his pipe and listened to all the reasons why he should accept me in CPE. I was trying to impress him. My father had died the year before. I couldn't find a job. On the outside - I had all the makings of a "nice pastor." But on the inside, I was a hurting, hostile SOB, even though I couldn't admit it.
We were in Jack's office at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus for this interview.  After 15 or 20 minutes of my BSing he looked at me, took a puff on his pipe and said, "Son, you sound lost."

"I do?"

"Yes you do," he said. "You're  so lost you can't find your own a**."  
I broke out into laughter for about five seconds and then began weeping. I wept for at least 10 minutes and Jack just sat there in silence (pastoral presence). I had just spent 20 minutes with a man I never met and he named for me what I could not name for myself - my own inner pain. His naming of my pain was refreshing. It helped set me free. He spoke the truth to me like no one had ever done before.  
"I'll take you in CPE," he said, "not because you have all the answers, but because you're looking for a place to belong. You'll make a good chaplain someday, but for now you have to work on your pain, and CPE is the place to start."

Then he introduced me to Chaplain Carver Williams, who gave me a tour of the hospital, and I was on my way (a long journey) to becoming a CPE supervisor.
I am now 66 and nearing retirement. I have never forgotten that day in Jack's office -- when the search for myself began. Thanks to Jack, I can now find my a**.
John Valentino MDiv MS, ACPE supervisor
Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Albuquerque, NM
About APC e-News
APC e-News is the publication of the association that keeps members abreast of news, resources, events and topics of interest to professional chaplains. It also includes essays, reflections, feature articles, poetry, and reviews of books, media and other resources on chaplaincy-related topics. APC e-News is published eight times a year in February, March, May, June, July, September, November and December.

Queries regarding prospective writings are welcome. Readers may submit brief Letters to the Editor in response to an APC e-News article or news item. To be considered for publication, work must be congruent with the mission, vision and values of the association; however, ideas and opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily represent the position of APC. Submissions are peer-reviewed by members of the Editorial Board.

Please send submissions electronically to Rita Kaufman, editor,