History of Partnership/Collaboration Discussions since 2003


  • AAPC, ACPE, APC, CASC/ACSS, NACC, and NAJC formed the Council on Collaboration to work on mutual projects benefitting all the organizations.


  • ACPE and APC adopted a joint ethics process.
  • In November 2004, the six strategic partners adopted the Common Standards for chaplaincy, pastoral educators, pastoral counselors, and ethics.


  • The Council on Collaboration officially incorporated as the Spiritual Care Collaborative to provide a common voice for professional pastoral care, counseling, and education organizations in the United States and Canada. The goal was to speak with a unified voice as clinically trained, qualified pastoral/spiritual caregivers who serve as chaplains, pastoral educators, and counselors in specialized settings including hospitals and other healthcare organizations, military, prisons, and the business workplace.
  • Coordination began on a joint conference in 2009 in Orlando, Florida.


  • The Spiritual Care Collaborative Joint Conference was held in Orlando, Florida with the six strategic partners.


  • APC withdrew from the Spiritual Care Collaborative but continued to work on joint projects together with strategic partners.


  • The Spiritual Care Collaborative dissolved.

2011 to 2016

  • The strategic partners executive directors/CEOs continued to meet by monthly call and attended each other’s conferences.
  • In July 2016, ACPE, APC, CASC/ACSS, NACC, and NAJC revised the 2004 Common Standards and adopted the Common Qualifications and Competencies.


  • The Strategic Partners Group Leadership calls began which included the executive directors and presidents.
  • During these meetings, the partners decided to do a Joint Leadership Symposium in 2019, develop  The Impact of Spiritual Care, and host a Joint Conference in 2020.


  • A three-year strategic plan was developed to engage the strategic partners’ boards and members.
  • The plan included the 2020 Joint Conference, exploring the feasibility of a joint ethics process with all the strategic partners, and a joint advocacy program.


  • In March, Ron Oliver from APC, Trace Haythorn from ACPE, David Lichter from NACC, and Rafael Goldstein from NAJC attended The Pontifical Academy for Life "Palliative Care: Everywhere & by Everyone" Congress in Rome, Italy. During an informal dinner, the executives discussed the possibility of a stronger partnership between the strategic partners.
  • In May, the Strategic Partners met for a day at the APC office to discuss how to deepen their partnerships together. A joint statement was sent out to all the memberships regarding this meeting.
  • In June, a Memorandum of Understanding was developed by the six Strategic Partners.
  • The MOU was from July 1, 2018-June 30, 2020.
  • The purpose of the MOU was to explore types of partnership that would create a structure that would allow the strategic partners as a unified entity and voice for advocacy, marketing, certification, and ethics.
  • The Strategic Partners and staff met regularly to produce the 2020 Joint Conference. Each organization was an equal partner in the developing the Joint Conference.


  • AAPC dissolved and its members joined ACPE.
  • Monthly calls continued with the strategic partners presidents and executive directors.
  • CASC/ACSS, NACC, and NAJC explored joining the APC/ACPE joint ethics program.
  • In March, a face-to-face meeting was held in Miami, Florida to discuss a new structure for the six strategic partners. Each group identified its organizations priorities and non-negotiables. CASC/ACSS informed the strategic partners that they could not fully participate in becoming one entity with the strategic partners due to prior commitments. CASC/ACSS expressed continued interest in participating with the strategic partners in ethics. NACC and NAJC told the groups they must maintain their Catholic and Jewish identities. Attorney Paula Goedert attended part of the call by Zoom and talked about making the bylaws broader by including “networks,” non-voting spiritual care organizations that believe in the mission, vision, and values of the new organization.
  • At this meeting, ACPE, APC, NACC, and NAJC decided to proceed toward becoming an entity.
  • On April 25, Progress Report #1 was sent out to all the members telling them the strategic partners met in Miami, Florida and are continuing to explore a new entity with networks.
  • On November 20-21, the Strategic Partners met in Cleveland, Ohio to continue to explore ideas to formalize the partnership. CASC/ACSS did not attend the meeting but remained committed to the strategic partners. Our consultants,  La Piana Consulting, attended the meeting to guide the strategic partners in determining the best form of structure.
  • In December, Progress Report #2 was sent to all the memberships regarding the November meeting and the progress toward a new entity.


  • On January 31, the Strategic Partners and La Piana Consulting met by Zoom to continue to explore possible governance structures. The partners decided to form the central entity first. The central entity would include ACPE and APC because NACC and NAJC decided to join the entity but not be part of the central entity. NACC is part of the Council of Bishops and must retain its 501c3 status. NAJC is a member of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, which requires them to maintain a corporate structure as specifically a Jewish organization.
  • In February, a face-to-face meeting was held in Dallas, Texas to further discuss the central entity, governance, and structure.
  • Also in February, Progress Report # 3 was sent to the memberships detailing the progress of the partners.
  • The Joint 2020 Conference in May was cancelled because of the COVID19 pandemic.
  • The merger discussion was paused in March through June to allow the strategic partners to cancel the Joint 2020 Conference and support their memberships during the outbreak of the pandemic.
  • In June, the partners decided to focus on the central entity first and finalize networks later.
  • The ACPE and APC executive committees became the representatives of their organizations for the new entity discussions.
  • In August, ACPE and APC reviewed their non-negotiables with each other.
  • In November, ACPE and APC contracted with La Piana Consulting for a financial due diligence of both groups.


  • In January, the financial due diligence, merger terms, merger FAQs, post-merger integration plan, and sample integration plan were presented to ACPE and APC.
  • On February 26, ACPE and APC boards hosted a joint meeting on Zoom with breakout groups to build a connection and discuss the process of the partnership agreement.
  • On March 18, ACPE and APC boards met separately and voted to approve the merger and begin the merger implementation process.
  • ​​​​​​​In August, ACPE will hold an election to elect our representatives to a Merger Implementation Workgroup. Eight ACPE representatives will work with eight APC members to draft the bylaws, a governance structure, membership categories, and staffing requirements of a consolidated organization. Throughout their process, the implementation workgroup will engage members to elicit their feedback on the proposed design. At the completion of their work, the implementation workgroup will provide members of both organizations with a complete package of the new organization's bylaws and governance, so the members will have a full picture of the proposed new organization before they vote.