The Association of Theological Schools Biennial Conference:
Margie Atkinson, President of APC, Martin Doblmeier, Producer and Director of
Chaplains (the latest film from his studio Journey Films) and I presented a workshop for about two dozen presidents, deans and theological leaders at the biennial ATS gathering titled, "Chaplaincy: Diverse, Grounded, Growing." Martin started our discussion showing a clip of his film and setting the breadth of the contexts of chaplaincy. Margie followed with description of certification and why board certification is so important to the professional as well as to the contexts we serve. I concluded the presentation by discussing clinical pastoral education and ACPE's role in the quality and integrity of CPE as the only organization recognized by the Department of Education. We had about 30 minutes of questions and discussions which spilled into the break that followed. It was a wonderful time and helped raise awareness that while many theological schools spend an enormous amount of time and resources on congregational ministries there are many other contexts and modes of practice that are vital to the larger theological ecology.
Perhaps one of the most exciting dimensions of this presentation was the theological diversity present in the room. While all attendees came from Christian traditions, they ranged from Catholic to Assemblies of God. I'm excited to see the ways our work will grow in its integration with theological education as the entire enterprise grows and changes in coming years.
The conference concluded with remarks by Dan Aleshire about the state of theological education, but also about his impending retirement. Dan has been president of ATS since 1998, thus his departure is but another feature of this age of significant change, of remembering and recalling where we've been, and of opening our hearts, minds and imaginations to the possibilities of where we will go as educators, theologians and religious professionals.