Four hundred of our NACC members and others were able to gather in Pittsburgh, April 13-16, 2013, at the Sheraton Square Hotel, for our NACC 2013 National Conference, Three Rivers Converging: A Call to Faith, Identity, and Action. So many participants commented that the life, energy, worship, and reflective spirit were sources of inspiration and renewal. We are so grateful to the planning committee: Sister Rosemary Abramovich, OP, BCC, Beverly Beltramo, BCC, Deacon Thomas Berna, BCC, Rev. John T. Crabb, SJ, BCC-S, and Sister Thomas J. Gaines, SC, BCC, along with our NACC staff members Susanne Chawszczewski, PhD, and Jeanine Annunziato.
We are also deeply grateful to our many members who were willing to write articles for this Vision issue. They provide our readers with a taste of the conference content and a sense of what it was like to be there.
I want to devote my column to the business meeting that took place on Monday, April 15. It was well attended, and we received valuable feedback on it. Also during this business meeting we learned of the Boston Marathon bombings and prayed for the victims. You can access the PowerPoint used for the business meeting here. Also the page of 2012 NACC highlights that was given to all members can be accessed here. Bonnie Burnett, MDiv, BCC, NACC Board chair, presided over the meeting, and I provided NACC updates.
We welcomed our two new Board members, Mary T. O’Neill, DMin, BCC-S, who has been board certified with NACC since 1985, and Rev. Michael Rice Saxton, MDiv, BCC, who is certified with both APC and ACPE. We are deeply grateful to both of them for their willingness to serve. It was also a delight to acknowledge and congratulate those celebrating their 25th anniversaries as NACC members and those celebrating their 25th anniversaries as board certified members of the NACC (see list).
I shared some highlights about our membership. They included our membership total of 2,898 in 2007 and 2,435 as of March 2013 (463 fewer members). The trend showed an average 75-80 net loss of members per year. During that time period, our greatest decline was in the number of religious women members (from 1,060 to 660 or -400), and only laymen had a net increase (290 to 331 or +41) during that time period. A membership profile slide showed that from 1992 to 2013, NACC went from 50% religious women to 51% lay women and men. Our 150 new members in 2012 profile as: 58 laywomen (38.7%), 37 priests (24.7%), 32 laymen (21.3%), 16 religious women (10.6%), and seven deacons (4.6%). The face of NACC continues to evolve. This new member profile has been consistent in recent years.
I also shared NACC’s financial health with the help of three slides. One showed how the past four fiscal years (2009-2012) resulted in net surplus revenues that have helped recoup the losses of the prior three years (2006-2008). Another slide showed how NACC net assets went from a low of $167,088 in 2008 to $659,359 in 2012. These past four years for NACC have been healthy years, thanks in large part to good stewardship by our volunteer leaders and NACC staff, and to generous member support. The final financial slide showed the projected financial forecast for 2014-2018 that indicated potential budget deficits of $15,000 (2014), $ 49,180 (2015), $72,050 (2016), $78,050 (2017), and $130,000 (2018), if no changes are made to the current NACC revenue and expense model. The above membership and financial information was important data that set the basis for the remainder of the business meeting, which was devoted to updates on the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.
Board member Rev. Jack Crabb, reported on Goal I (To Educate and Support Association Members for the Future of Professional Chaplaincy) and the initial priority of Objective A,which is to provide formation and resources for chaplains to be effective ministers and leaders, especially in emerging settings and healthcare systems (both Catholic and other) and across the continuum of care. He highlighted the 2013 steps for implementation that include: identify the settings through member survey; determine new competencies required; develop educational tools/settings for gaining competencies; and decide which competencies need to be demonstrated at time of certification.
Bridget Deegan-Krause, NACC member and former NACC Board member, reported on Goal II (To Increase Awareness of the Value of Professional Chaplaincy Among Key Constituents) and the initial priority of Objective A which is to develop materials and programs to communicate the value of professional chaplaincy. Bridget explained that the 2013 implementation steps will include: gain insights into the perception of chaplaincy work from the Catholic Health Association (CHA) survey of healthcare executives and clinicians, further develop and test core messages on chaplaincy and spiritual care, refine existing communication tools and create new ones based on these messages, and offer training/orientation to members on use and presentation of materials.
Board member Jane Mather reported on Goal III (To Enhance Advocacy Efforts with Strategic Partners) and the initial priority of Objective D, which is to continue dialogue with other key professional organizations integral to advancing the profession of chaplaincy. She announced two NACC Board decisions made at the April 12-13 meeting that preceded this conference. The Board affirmed the Goal III team recommendation to initiate collaborative dialogues with other profession chaplaincy associations to create “One Voice” for the chaplaincy profession with key constituents, including The Joint Commission. Also, she informed those present that the Board also affirmed the Goal III team recommendation that the NACC create a specialty certification in palliative care and partner with the Supportive Care Coalition and the Catholic Health Association in its development.
Finally, NACC Board member John Pollack reported on Goal IV (To Advance NACC as a Mission-driven, Financially Stable and Resilient Association. He described the 2013 focus on Objective C, which is to continue to assess and adjust our business model, governance, staffing, administrative and financial processes and resources as needed to carry out our mission. The work on this objective includes conducting an environmental scan of other associations, explore and present to the NACC Board two new alternative business models for the future of the NACC, and initiate a process to examine ways to streamline governance and certification.
The business meeting participants then devoted time to dialoguing among themselves about the direction and content of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan implementation steps. The overall feedback was helpful, and good energy was present. Several commented positively on the content, flow and pace of the meeting.
I hope the above proves helpful to you, the reader of this column. While about 20% of our members are able to attend our national conference each year, we certainly want the conference to be a source of inspiration, wisdom, and assurance to our members that the NACC is, as the NACC vision statement expresses,
a light of hope, whose members are persistently advocating for those dedicated to the spiritual care of people experiencing pain, vulnerability, joy, and hope.
Thank you for your dedication to the profession of chaplaincy and ministry of spiritual care.
David Lichter, DMin
NACC Executive Director