By David Lichter
We had a really good partnership in preparing for this 2018 Conference. I have a great working and professional relationship with Pat Appelhans, APC CEO, and several of their staff. Pat has been with APC since after the 2009 summit, and Carol Pape, APC’s COO, has been with APC almost as long as I have been with NACC, now 11 years. We have a deep mutual respect for one another, and we also enjoy each other. So, with Jeanine Annunziato leading our planning efforts, all augured well for a well-run conference. It was certainly more than that!
Summit 2009 was the last time we did anything collaboratively. I remember the experience of 1,800 people gathering for the opening ceremony and my carrying a round-shaped cut-crystal that sparkled with the lights, walking to the front and welcoming the throng. It was amazing.
However, I mention this because this year I was filled with awe and gratitude as I witnessed the opening ceremony of our 2018 conference, with the bells and songs of the children’s choir, the welcoming of our co-chairs, Mary Lou O’Gorman and Valerie Storms. I thought, “How far we have come as organizations and a profession!” We are blessed.
The spirit among our NACC members was wonderful as they mingled and exchanged learnings and shared contacts with APC members. I sensed a profound mutual regard for one another — desiring to be “partners in shaping the future,” as the theme held forth.
On Sunday morning, July 15, of the conference, our executives and board leaders of our six strategic partners (AAPC, NACC, ACPE, APC, CASC/ACSS, NAJC) met to review and affirm our Memorandum of Understanding — a two-year, 24-month commitment to determine how we want to organize ourselves to be even stronger partners in shaping the future of chaplaincy. We are deepening relationships and capitalizing on strategic opportunities, to ensure that all those served by the associations have the best possible spiritual care, and to safeguard the future of the spiritual care profession.
This MOU frames our commitment to develop a mutually agreeable and beneficial framework that will allow the member organizations to align respective resources, to take strategic action where goals and needs converge, and to develop services for our members, our employers and those we serve. Combined with the Joint Statement from the Strategic Partners in Spiritual Care (issued July 10, 2018), this MOU represents the next significant step in the integration of the profession.
I hope you share the awe and gratitude I experienced in that opening ceremony and continue to experience. The 2018 Conference and our common commitment with our Strategic Partners hold much promise for the future of our profession. It is worth repeating, “How far we have come as organizations and a profession!” We are blessed.