Less than a month ago, I had reason to celebrate when I was approved as a full supervisor in the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, something I had spent years working hard for. But tonight I feel sadness in hearing that some of my colleagues were turned down for certification at a meeting of this association -- the leading American group for the training of chaplains and other spiritual caregivers -- in Atlanta.
Any healthy education and certification process is designed for its members to move in an orderly and predictable way towards completion. There will always be some who are not able to finish and drop out for one reason or another. But they should be a small minority; sadly, this is not true in our association. Too many are turned down. The pain of this experience -- of working so hard to prepare and traveling to a distant city to appear in person before a committee -- is substantial for most who are turned down. It's a suffering that is unnecessary; it does not help us create better supervisors.
I pray that those who were turned down in Atlanta will find healing and the strength to "get back up" and continue to pursue their professional goal. And I pray our association will find its way towards collectively seeing the wisdom in reforming this broken certification process.