By Mary Lou O’Gorman
It has been an extraordinary experience to participate in the planning and observe the development of NACC’s first joint conference with APC since 2005. Since that gathering in Albuquerque, NM, NACC and APC have become strong and effective collaborators in addressing our joint commitment to spiritual care by competent, board-certified chaplains and to supporting our members as well. This dynamic partnership has created an exceptional educational conference program, which will include quality keynote presentations, intensives, and workshops. The joint worship events will highlight and celebrate the diversity of the participants.
This conference will take place in Anaheim, CA, on July 12-15. Our theme is Partners in Shaping the Future. Pre-conference intensives, plenaries, workshops, and prayer/worship will address the following four goals:
2) Collaborating with other professions to serve those in our care
3) Empowering the profession through research
4) Supporting diversity and inclusiveness
The subcommittees have been led by Beth Lenegan, NACC, plenary chair; Brian Hurley, APC, workshops and education chair; Richard Bartoszek, NACC, spiritual needs chair; and Lance Tyler, APC, local arrangements chair. NACC planning committee members include Peg McGonigle and Jennifer Paquette (plenary); Lori Kaufmann, Michele Le Doux Sakurai, and Karen Pugliese (workshops and education); Linda Arnold and Robert Doering (spiritual needs); Kelly Bigler and Roger Vandervest (local events). These gifted leaders, along with NACC staff member Jeanine Annunziato and APC colleagues, have generously given their time and skill to plan and shape meaningful opportunities for conference attendees.
The members of this year’s plenary and education committees have spent untold hours attempting to ensure the quality and relevancy of the plenaries, intensives, and workshops. The attention to detail by these committee members has been impressive. We hope that these sessions will provide resources and learning experiences that will enable participants to facilitate ministry that is both collaborative and innovative.
The Spiritual Needs Committee has openly and reverently engaged in developing joint worship events and prayers that incorporate the heritage and traditions of the men and women who will assemble at this conference. The prayers before the keynote sessions, the opening and interfaith services, and the closing reflection exemplify the work of this committee and reflect the commitment to honor the beliefs and values of the diverse community who will gather at the conference. The committee is also planning NACC liturgical events, including Friday morning’s celebration of the Eucharist and Missioning Ceremony, Friday evening’s Prayer Service of Light and Sacrament of the Sick, and Sunday morning’s celebration of the Eucharist.
In addition to the conference itself, consider attending the pre- or post-conference intensives, the day of reflection led by Susan Morgan on Wednesday, July 11, and/or one of the excursions to Queen Mary or the Aquarium of the Pacific in the Anaheim area on Thursday, July 12.
I have had the privilege of attending joint conferences in 1988 (Minneapolis), 1994 (Milwaukee), 2000 (Charlotte), 2003 (Toronto), 2005 (Albuquerque), and 2009 (Orlando). I have found each of these to be a profoundly moving experience. Gathering with brothers and sisters from these cognate groups and with my NACC colleagues has enlarged my understanding of spiritual care ministry, has provided an invaluable opportunity to network and share insights as well as challenges, and has provided creative worship experiences that have nurtured and fed me. It is hard to put into words the impact and meaning of these events for me. If you have not had the privilege of attending a joint conference before, take advantage of this unique opportunity. It is the hope of all of those who helped plan this gathering that it will be informative, expansive, and energizing for you. We hope to see you in Anaheim.
Mary Lou O’Gorman, BCC, is co-chair of the Joint Conference Planning Committee.