Board of Directors' Statement
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
In the face of the deaths, poverties, vulnerabilities and isolations wrought or revealed by the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-black violence, ACPE is being called to quest, daring and growth.
As your ACPE board, we initiated the work of the Anti-Bias Task Force in 2018 in response to long-standing inequities in our cultures that infect and influence our ways of being and working together. This work has only grown more critical with all that 2020 has revealed. Adequate health care has become a social and economic privilege, rather than a human right. Disparities in health care access and outcomes showed up in ZIP code boundaries on life and death rates. Cell phone videos have proven to the whiter world what Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other people of color already knew: policing is not the only system whose mandate to protect has come to menace too many and solace too few. If we are finally hearing James Baldwin, we will know the fire this time cannot be ignored. ACPE must use the heat and light of 2020 to continue a transformational process, becoming a force for and agent of necessary change in a world crying out for fierce compassion and just care.
We are therefore renewing and deepening our quest: to become an actively anti-racist organization. Our commitment to addressing anti-black oppression will inform and inspire our work to grow into an organization where Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other leaders of color can bring their epistemological privilege to bear on our thorniest issues. By doing this work, we will become an organization sought out as innovators of multiracial, multiethnic, multifaith, multivalued partnerships. Our Euro-American members will become fluent practitioners of accountability, living into full humanity and belonging, unfettered by the blinders of white supremacy. Our deepening self-understanding will grow through community to daring action; we will grow a spine of integrity that supports our giftedness and our responsiveness, the fruiting of our labor and our responsibilities. We will do our homework, develop epistemic humility and hospitality, and grow in honest regard for self and others.
Our clarity about who we are and who we are for will signify to local and global partners our trustworthiness to innovate and implement education for and the practice of spiritual care worldwide. By growing into a deepening identity as the global provider of best-practice education, certification and accreditation of spiritual care centers, we as spiritual care practitioners and educators will demonstrate commitment to the love that does justice. Our strategies and budgets will be moral documents reflecting these values, alongside our healthy and growing commitments to learning, our students, each other, and all those we care for.
We offer this commitment as a calling to all of ACPE, and as context for the Annual Meeting of 2021, when we will offer the best resources we can find, from inside and outside ACPE, to help us engage this quest for daring growth toward the just people and organization we feel it is imperative to become.