By Jane Smith
I’ve been a member of the Certification Commission for almost three years, and I love the work. I am grateful to serve there, because its work is at the very heart of NACC, that is, to certify chaplains and to participate in their ongoing development.
Just before the opening of the fabulous 50th anniversary NACC conference, we met in Arlington, VA. Forget that we were snowed in for much of our time together; we worked hard, the nine of us, discussing many issues related to certification and renewal of certification, pondering our organization’s relationship with other similar groups, the USCCB, and doing a little celebrating of our own.
The celebrating part involved welcoming two new members. Bonnie McCulley, from Arizona, has been a longtime volunteer, most notably as certification interviewer, followed by several years as an ITE. She brings energy, enthusiasm, as well as incredible organizational skills. Austine Duru, from Nebraska, has also served as an interviewer and ITE, and some of you may remember him for his great drumming workshops at previous conferences. We’re pleased that Austine was one of two NACC members honored as emergent leaders at the conference banquet.
NACC Executive Director David Lichter, as is his practice, spent some time with us. He was his usual affirming, informative, and challenging self as he shared with us some of the results of his work. He noted the financial stability of NACC and the new web design and logo. He was pleased, indeed, that 41% of members responded to the recent survey, which provided a good deal of demographic data. The information gained will be very helpful, and provided us with lots of related issues to discuss.
During our joint meeting with the board, there was good discussion, philosophical mostly, of our ongoing efforts to provide very high-quality certification processes, even as we seek to improve them. When we meet with the ITEs in the summer, we will work with them to flesh out some strategies to best implement the sort of vision and goals we want in our certification processes. One highlight of this visit with the board was naming the three chaplains to receive our new specialty certification as palliative care and hospice chaplains. Rosa Maria Eubanks from Maryland, Sedona Montelongo from Arizona, and Gary Weisbrich from Montana were announced as newly certified during the conference, marking a new milestone in our 50-year history.
We are thankful for each and every one of you who have made the choice to become certified, renew your certifications regularly, and serve in the certification processes as site coordinators, ITEs, interviewers, and peer reviewers. It takes all of us working together to keep the sacredness of our individual and collective mission thriving. Blessings on you all.
Jane Smith, D.Min., BCC, retired from active chaplaincy from Fulton State Hospital in Fulton, MO, where she was director of mission effectiveness. She is currently self-employed as a holistic health coach.