Volume 23
Number 4
The Forum issue of Association of Professional Chaplains

A Message from APC President…

APC President Rev. Jon Overvold MDiv BCC

Professional chaplains continue to demonstrate the value of spiritual care in dynamically changing times. In this pandemic of Covid 19 and in our struggles for social justice, professional chaplains are there to acknowledge suffering, be present as healers and catalysts for change. As hard as it has been to show up – professional chaplains have been a consistent presence in the places where people need care for all those things that ravage our human spirit. We help people access their spiritual realities so that they may navigate what is hard in the physical and social dimensions.

In 2006 APC published Compassion, Commitment & Consistence: The Rise of Professional Chaplaincy[i] which documented the history of the first 60 years of our profession. I can understand alliteration but never appreciated the adjective “consistence”. Until now. Today I have a new appreciation for what that says about us. We have consistently shown up in this pandemic, in ways that I am only beginning to appreciate. Healthcare, business, schools, and military settings have all turned to chaplains as a resource to face loss of team members, disruption by fire and storm, the stalking pandemic, and the fatigue of a deteriorating social fabric. Professional chaplains show up consistently – looking for ways to demonstrate compassion as skilled listeners who hear the music behind the words and look for connection with each other. Even when it is hard and we are weary, the chaplain is consistent in serving communities that know loss and suffering. We tend to our organizations like a garden – nurturing, watering, binding up, and comforting the staff who make the organization work to serve its purpose. I am so grateful to be a part of a profession that is known for its consistence in caring for the human spirit.

As you know, APC and ACPE have been in conversations about joining forces to create a new organization. We are dreaming together about what the future could look like and what kind of organization our members need to support compassionate and consistent professional chaplaincy. This fall we enter a new phase of conversation and have established Implementation Work Groups. These groups are tasked with developing the plan for the new organization.  The four work groups and the APC representatives as listed here:

I want express my thanks to those serving on these workgroups and to the incredible APC staff that supports this work. We have a great team representing APC at the table.  The Implementation Work Groups will fashion an organization that can accomplish our common goals and aspirations. With Oversight by the Steering Committee (APC and ACPE’s Executive Council) and the APC Board, we expect to have a plan ready to present to the membership in Spring of 2022. Please remember APC in your thoughts and prayers in this time of planning, hard work, anticipation, and expectation. May the Almighty bless and prosper the work of our hands in service to all for whom we care.

[i] Compassion, commitment & consistence: the rise of professional chaplaincy

Thomas & LaRocca-Pitts – Association of Professional Chaplains – 2006

Rev. Jon Overvold MDiv BCC is the Manager of Pastoral Care and Education at New York Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.He serves as President of the APC Board and may be contacted at president@professionalchaplains.org.


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