A Message from APC President… Jan 2021
APC President Rev. Jon Overvold MDiv BCC
Above my desk I keep a word cloud that reminds me of the core elements of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Focus on a word and a story begins to unfold about who we are and what best describes the work of a professional chaplain.
In this past year when divisiveness and strife have unraveled our social fabric; when a pandemic has made us sick, taken friends and family and left millions without work and income; when racism subverts equality and justice, how do we come alongside people in their suffering? How will we form meaningful relationships and join in a process of healing? How will we address our own suffering and embrace our calling to bring healing and wholeness wherever we serve?
I am grateful for the Association of Professional Chaplains that has been a constant source of direction and renewal in my work as a professional chaplain. The peership and collegiality of our diverse, muti-faith membership grounds me in empathy and compassion. When I hear of the work my fellow chaplains in APC are engaging in, I have a renewed sense of hope and appreciation for the difference chaplains make in our world. The professional standards for quality informed by research and exemplified by board certification point to the leadership our organizations need to foster healing and wholeness in the organizations we serve. Also, we are stronger when we do this in collaboration with our strategic partners and advocate for the values and vision we hold in common.
This year we celebrate 75 years of Professional Chaplaincy. From our origin in 1946 as the Association of Protestant Hospital Chaplains and the Association of Mental Health Clergy to the 1960’s and the formation of the College of Chaplains, until 1998 when the Association of Professional Chaplains came to be, it has been over 75 years that we have grown and changed; becoming more multi-faith, more diverse. We have adapted the core elements of our profession to serve in new settings (i.e., business and workplace chaplaincy) and through new technologies like web-based learning, support groups and even Facetime.
As we celebrate our past this year, also, we are engaging in important dreaming and visioning for our future. What do we need to build upon today? Where do we need to make changes today so that professional chaplaincy is there to advocate for healing and the well being of our human family? We continue to move ahead in our conversation with our strategic partners with intention and purpose as we consider these questions.
As 2021 opens a new year before us, may we rise up to the challenges we face and step into the invitation to be servants of healing and renewal. Thanks for your partnership in APC.
Jon A. Overvold, MDiv, BCC
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 email@example.com.