Our Good Work

Written by Shawn Mai, ACPE Board Chair

Filed under: News

Anne Lamott in her 2012 piece Help, Thanks, Wow:  The Three Essential Prayers writes:

You say, “Thank you” when something scary has happened in your beloved and screwed-up family and you all came through (or most of you did!), and you have found love in the intergenerational ruins (maybe a lot of love, or maybe just enough).  Or you can look at what was revealed in the latest mess, and you say thanks for the revelation, because it shows you some truth you needed to know, and that can be so rare in our families, let alone in our culture, our world, and in our marriages, and in our relationships, with our teenagers and with ourselves.

I am an ACPE educator.   We are halfway through our 2022-2023 residency.  In my experience, the halfway point can be quite painful and revelatory.  The action-reflection model in CPE provides a particular transformative space where lives and relationships find healing and new ways of being. 

This is a time in our culture when we are in the mess of trying to understand a painful truth.  There is injustice that kills parts of ourselves.  What is the path toward justice where meaningful change brings a safe and equitable life for all?    I feel grateful personally and professionally that I am connected spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically to a movement that is a source for seeking truth through reflective practice.  This article is informational and an example of how the process is working in ACPE.

Strategic Planning

The strategic planning team and our consultants at La Piana have been hard at work distilling the information received for our strategic planning for ACPE.  Through focus groups and a survey, members have communicated that we need to invest in opportunities for meaningful connection amongst members, and we need to continue living into what it means to be the premier CPE provider in the field of professional spiritual care and education.  We have long believed that relationships and connections will, in turn, impact the quality and depth of our care and education.  That is our impact on the broader field of professional spiritual care as educators and practitioners

Ahead of the ACPE Board's next meeting to discuss and advance recommendations from the planning team, we will hold videoconference town halls to share updates about the process and provide an opportunity for members to ask questions. We plan to offer multiple times so as many people as possible can join live, but we will also record the sessions for later viewing. We will send a written update in advance. We believe the ACPE community will find its feedback well-reflected in the proposed strategic direction, and we look forward to continued member input once the board adopts the overall strategy and begins to develop detailed plans to roll out the strategy. 

The Outcomes Workgroup

 As you read, following the renewal of the Certification process in 2018 and the Accreditation process in 2020, the Board of Directors, with much input from the membership, determined that a thorough review and updating of the Objectives and Outcomes was needed and established the Outcomes Work Group to complete this task.  The group spent many hours working together, reflecting on the current outcomes and envisioning newer, inclusive, comprehensive, and clearly articulated outcomes. The result of that work is a wonderful testament to the group's work, informed by the latest research and wisdom from the field.

I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Outcomes Work Group members: the group is chaired by Maurice Appelbaum and Liam Robins.  The members of the group included ACPE Certified Educators Julie Hanada, Amani Legagneur, Tamekia Milton, Judy Ragsdale, Matt Rhodes, Maureen Shelton, and Dr. Carrie Doehring, the Clifford Baldridge Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Iliff School of Theology, and Jana Troutman-Miller, former chair of the Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc.

Many have asked about the impact of our work with the US Department of Education (USDE) on the development of revised outcomes. Although this has been a work in progress for the past three years, the timing of the publication and the format of having each outcome broken down into discrete indicators was informed by our work with the USDE. 

When the Board set this in motion, the mandate was clear—the outcomes did not accurately reflect all of ACPE and the work that we do as ACPE Certified Educators. The outcomes are Christocentric in nature, are not intentionally inclusive of the variety of spiritual and religious communities that are the fabric of ACPE, and there are key concepts that are missing from them, two main ones being outcomes around our commitment to being an anti-racist, anti-bias organization and the role of research in our work.  The revised outcomes are inclusive, representative of the many who are part of ACPE, and contain important pieces around biases and the integration of research.

As these are initial drafts, we celebrate the work that has been done, and we also look at them with a critical eye to ensure that they are all that we want them to be and that they represent the work we do and the education we provide thoughtfully and comprehensively.  As is our tradition in ACPE, we invite and encourage all of our educators to engage in the feedback loop, and provide your questions, affirmations, and suggestions for continued development.

I want to reiterate the timeline for feedback and publication of the new outcomes:

  • The feedback forms will remain open through Friday, March 3, 2023.
  • Following this, the Outcomes Work Group will review the feedback and edit as appropriate.
  • The final version will be presented to and voted upon by the Board at its April leadership meeting, after which the new Outcomes will be published in the Accreditation Manual.

 Stay tuned for more information about implementation from the Accreditation Commission.

 As I think about this wonderful work and how our members volunteer their time, energy, and expertise, I am reminded of the many ways ACPE is The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education.

ACPE Board, Commissions, and Committees

The work described above results from many members volunteering their time to move the work along. We’ve recently implemented monthly meetings for all the commission and committee chairs to communicate and collaborate on our organizational work.  The ACPE Board meets monthly, with two of those meetings being in person each year.  I want to express my gratitude for the countless volunteer hours members give alongside their already demanding personal and professional commitments.  We have much to be grateful for in ACPE.

Executive Director Search Committee

It is the work of the ACPE Board to hire a new executive director.  The executive committee has been working on putting together a diverse group of members to function as a work group of the board to guide the process.  As an affiliate of Emory University, we have access to executive recruiting resources that can assist us in the search.   The ACPE members who have agreed to serve include Tahara Akmal, Melissa Walker-Luckett, Matt Rhodes, Gyasi Patterson, Garrett Starmer, Tiffany Kindred (staff), and Helen McNeal (community member).  ACPE Chair-elect Cecelia Walker and I will co-chair the workgroup as part of our role with ACPE Board.

Thank you for taking the time to update yourself on the work of ACPE.  These days, where we find a bit more light each day as winter slowly begins loosening its grip, may we pause for a moment of gratitude for the light’s persistence to return.