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Fall 2002 Newsletter

On-Line Newsletter Volume 1, Number 1
Published September 1, 2002; corrected September 29, 2002.

Edited by Chaplain John Ehman, Network Convener

Editor's Note: This first on-line issue of the Newsletter is largely an extended "Convener's Report," but future issues should offer contributions from around the Network. As the web site develops, the particular form and function of this Newsletter page will no doubt take shape in relation to other pages that provide on-line discussions, announcements, and listings of research initiatives. I invite your feedback about what you would like to see on this page--and please consider offering copy for the Winter issue, to be published in December 2002.

Table of Contents

  1. Inauguration of Our New Network Web Site
  2. New Arrangement for Network Dues
  3. Awards Committee Members Needed
  4. Notes of the Network Meeting at the 2002 ACPE Conference
  5. Rabbi Mychal B. Springer Receives 2002 Researcher Award


1.     Inauguration of Our New Network Web Site

This is the first on-line issue of the ACPE Research Network Newsletter , and it inaugurates our new web site ( Talk about a web site began in earnest several years ago at the Network meeting during the annual ACPE conference in Albuquerque, and Joe Czolgosz (convener from 1998-2002), worked to make the site a reality, contracting for its creation with ACPE webmaster Rory McKenzie. At last, I am pleased to say that the site is now operational, and as the new convener I will focus on developing the content of the site to serve the interests and needs of the Research Network and the ACPE. I hope members will bookmark the site, check it regularly, and find valuable, up-to-date information that will serve not only researchers but supervisors and students in general.

I have always been struck by the enthusiasm at our conference-based Network meetings, especially as we have "gone around the circle" describing individual interests and projects. However, without a convenient means of communicating between meetings, the enthusiasm has seemed to dissipate. The web site, it is hoped, should help sustain the spirit experienced at our meetings by allowing us to share about what we are doing--and what we would like to do--regarding research. In addition to the Newsletter, the site provides an opportunity to list "Current Initiatives by Center." Just as at or annual meetings, it should be helpful to know what colleagues are working on and who may have shared interests or insight about a particular topic.

Another feature of the site will be the "Article of the Month," highlighting published material of special interest. I have offered an initial installment, but I encourage all Network members to contribute to this series. (If there is an abundance of contributions, we will simply expand the web page to accommodate multiple articles.) The value of this series is at least three-fold: for researchers, it may call attention to authors whose work speaks to our projects; for supervisors, it may suggest articles for use in CPE curricula, such as in student discussions or didactics; and for CPE students in general, it may raise awareness of the wealth of material being published and the sources where such material can be found. I believe that our Network should promote the idea that research is not some esoteric topic for only a handful of people but rather something pertinent for all ACPE members, even if only as a matter of awareness of the literature relevant to the field of pastoral care.

As you browse around your Network web site, let me know your thoughts ( and consider making your own contribution to the developing content of the pages, including material for the next Newsletter. Spread the word to colleagues and make sure that every student knows about it. Bookmark it on your computer, and check in regularly--at least monthly. It may take a little time for this web initiative to build momentum, but I think that it will prove to serve us well, and you have my commitment to work to that end as convener. 


2.     New Arrangement for Network Dues

I will be tracking Network dues somewhat differently than in the past: memberships will be good for one year from the time that payment is received (instead of all memberships being due in January of each year). Notices will be sent via e-mail, and the invoice for dues can now be printed from the web site. Note that all checks should be made out to the ACPE Research Network and mailed to me at the Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia; I will then process the checks and send them on to the ACPE office in Decatur. All checks should be processed in 2-4 weeks from the time they were written.

Membership dues are now more important than ever, since there are significant costs for the maintenance of the web site. Of course, everyone will be able to use the web site, regardless of whether dues are paid or not; but I am asking for all to support the site and the work of Network by becoming contributing members. While there is indeed a "Members Only" section of the web site, this was created in response to concerns that some information should not be in the public domain. I hope that most information will be available for general viewing


3.     Awards Committee Members Needed

Each year the Network offers two Research Awards: one for an ACPE center and one for an individual researcher. (Application information is available on the web site.) It is hoped that with increased "buzz" about research and the Network generated by the web site, we will have more applicants this next year. However, the Awards Committee that reviews applications and selects awardees needs new members. If you have some experience in conducting research and are interested in serving on the Awards Committee, please contact John Ehman at Applications may be reviewed any time before the annual ACPE conference, so the new committee members should be in place as soon as possible.


4.     Minutes of the Network Meeting at the 2002 ACPE Conference

The meeting was convened in Pittsburgh on April 26, 2002 at 4:00 PM by John Ehman for Joe Czolgosz (who was unable to attend the ACPE conference). Present were: Noel Brown, Ralph Ciampa, Larry Easterling, John Ehman, Charles Hart, Cathy Hasty, Ward Knights, Ron Lovelace, and Wes Monfalcone. (There were fourteen additional registrants for the meeting who did not attend.)

In the first half hour, group members shared in turn their interests and activities at their various centers and got feedback and suggestions from one another. This seemed a very productive exchange for everyone, and only pressing business brought this part of the meeting to a close.

ACPE webmaster Rory McKinzie was unable to demonstrate the new Network web site as planned, as he reported that the computer on which he had downloaded the web pages was mistakenly taken back to the Decatur ACPE office by another staff person. However, he described the site and heard suggestions from the members present. The group discussed how the site might provide increased visibility for the Network and promote broader interest in research (i.e., awareness of the research literature and research itself) in addition to functioning as an intra-network tool.

John Ehman read a letter of agreement between Rory McKinzie and Joe Czolgosz concerning the creation of the site (at a cost of $1,200) and its maintenance (at a cost of $100/month). In discussion, the feeling of the group was of support for the site but with some concern about the capacity of the Network to maintain such a level of expenses. The group further talked about not only linking our site to the ACPE site but in some way actively promoting our site on the ACPE site (e.g., by having the ACPE feature some write-up about the site).

The discussion of the web site led into other items on the agenda. The group decided that the old (paper) Newsletter could be replaced by the web site, since the practical purpose of the publication (i.e., keeping members apprised of research activity) would be largely accomplished by the plan to have members list their research projects on the web. There could still, of course, be some kind of distinct newsletter published on the web [as has come to be the case].

As for a new convener, no one immediately stepped forward. Most of the people present expressed that they were simply "stretched too thin" and could not take on additional responsibilities. [However, the next day, John Ehman volunteered to become the new convener after speaking with several attendees, and Cathy Hasty also indicated that she might be able to help.]

Regarding dues, the group decided that it would be better to try to collect dues from more members rather than raising the dues for the relatively few who have tended to pay. Ralph Ciampa commented that most people probably just lose track and forget about the dues. Wes Monfalcone suggested that there be Institutional dues of $50/year, saying that such a thing could help raise the profile of the Network in the eyes of institutions. The group seemed to agree that there could be created an Institutional membership of $50/year but that there should be no effort to prevent individual memberships from serving as de facto institutional memberships in various cases.

John Ehman proposed that the Network promote not only the doing of research but also the awareness of research on pastoral and spiritual issues in the health care literature. He suggested that the ACPE should include in its competencies for students a general awareness of the journal literature pertinent to chaplaincy and that research literature was a significant part of this. Noel Brown and Ralph Ciampa talked about approaching the Standards and/or Accreditation committees about such attention to the literature, though Ralph expressed some reservation about adding further requirements concerning either the standards or accreditation. Cathy Hasty commented that other professional organizations routinely had an expectation of awareness of the professional literature.

Ralph Ciampa suggested that the next meeting (at the ACPE conference in 2003) may need to be devoted entirely to business about the future of the Network, particularly regarding such things as the web site and finances. Ralph pointed out how enjoyable and profitable it was simply to have the chance to hear from each other and discuss interests and various projects, but that more of a business meeting may be necessary. [Note: There may be plans for the 2003 ACPE conference to allow two hours for Network meetings, though over lunch (with box lunches).]

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 PM.


5.     Rabbi Mychal B. Springer Receives 2002 Researcher Award

[Reprinted from the 2002 Annual ACPE Conference brochure:]

The ACPE Research Network Award for 2002 is presented to Rabbi Mychal Springer, from the Jewish Institute for Pastoral Care in New York City.

Rabbi Springer's study examined the relationships among depression, loneliness, and spiritual beliefs and practices. The participants in the study were from a randomized group of 118 Jewish seniors. Four Clinical Pastoral Education Residents from the Jewish Institute interviewed the seniors. Participants were asked to respond to questions contained in a depression scale and a spirituality scale (INSPIRIT). A rigorous statistical analysis of the data collected was performed. The write-up of this research is presently under review for publication in the Journal of Pastoral Care.

Rabbi Springer collaborated effectively with the research division of the HealthCare Chaplaincy in New York. She also helped her CPE Residents learn "hands on" research methodology and interdisciplinary collaboration--hallmarks of solid research.

If you have suggestions about the form and/or content of the site, e-mail Chaplain John Ehman (Network Convener) at .
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The ACPE Research Network. All rights reserved.