By Lori Kaufmann
Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree. To do this I have to climb branch by branch and write down the numbers in a little book. So I suppose, from their point of view, it’s reasonable that my friends say: what foolishness! She’s got her head in the clouds again. But it’s not. Of course I have to give up, but by then I’m half-crazy with the wonder of it — the abundance of leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious and important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.
As we plan the 2016 conference “Making All Things New — Co-creation, Transformation, Resilience and Hope,” I invite you to join us in foolishness.
For isn’t it foolish to think that we can learn all we need to know by attending a conference and hearing this speaker and that speaker, this idea and that idea? We can find ourselves approaching the workshops and plenary sessions climbing branch by branch trying to gather all the information. What are the latest and greatest ideas? What are the important issues of our profession? What are the things I should know as a board-certified chaplain? The information that we can try to attain can be like trying to count all the leaves on a single tree.
Learning can also fill us with wonder at the abundance of ideas, the quietness of the wisdom that is shared and the awareness that as ministers we don’t do what we do by our efforts alone. Between the pre-conference workshops and the 75-minute workshops, we received a forest of proposals. We were half-crazy and giddy with the abundance.
Reviewing the topics and discussing the needs and interests of chaplains, we focused our forest, chose our trees and began counting leaves … actually, five pre-conference workshops and 24 conference workshops. They represent leaves of current topics such as adverse childhood experiences and ministry in outpatient settings. There are branches of workshops that offer practical topics such as narrative charting and spiritual assessments. There are whole trees of interest for those who do long-term care, CPE supervision, advance care planning, and leadership. As the workshop chair, I am touched that so many people are willing to share their wisdom and experience.
So please plan to join us in Chicago and experience a delicious and important conference that will fill our hearts and souls with laughter, praise and the wisdom of colleagues who share in our journey making all things new.
Lori Kaufmann, BCC, is an ACPE supervisor and workshop chair of the conference task force.