NCCA 2018 Spring Conference In Review

The Spring Conference of the North Carolina Chaplain’s Association (NCCA) was held on Lake Norman at Camp Dogwood, Sherrills Ford, NC on Wednesday, May 2 to Friday May 4, 2018.  It was great to see so many friends and to have a chance to catch up with what is going on in their lives.

The meeting began Wednesday evening with a pre-conference session by Melanie Childers on navigating the board certification process.  This was an opportunity for more support and guidance for those working on their certification.  The alternative was a pre-conference fellowship with refreshments and board games.  Chaplain Bob Riley reported that he enjoyed this unstructured time for fellowship with friends and the opportunity to create new relationships.

The conference began on Thursday with a centering time presented by Chaplain Anita Harvin of Gaston Hospice.  This was followed by three sessions on Keeping Pace with the Changing Culture.  The presenter Ralph (R.J.) Gore, Jr. D.Min, Ph.D. is a retired Army  Chaplain, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a Professor of Systematic Theology and Ministry at Erskine Theological Seminary and Dean at Trinity College and Erskine Seminary.

Session 1:  Theology and Culture in Dialogue (Traditionalist and Progressive)

Session 2:  Millennials, Mega-Change, and the Final Generation

Session 3:  Ethics:  Immanent or Transcendent

On Friday morning, Chaplain Gore presented a very thought provoking case study.  We were challenged to see how what we learned could be applied.  This resulted in a rich discussion by the group with many expressing their own opinions and feelings.  Consequently, this carried over into a post conference executive meeting where we were discussed the need to create a safe place for discussion for all NCCA members who come from many different backgrounds.

The business meeting was held between sessions on Thursday with President Cynthia Vaughan presiding.

  • Minutes for the previous meeting were read and approved
  • The new Executive Committee structure with co-chairs for each position was presented
  • Updates to the By-Law were approved by Melanie Childers
  • The continuation of the NCCA Journal Club was announced by Sara Stratton and Terri Vilagos, Co-Chairs. The Journal Club meets bi-monthly by Skype or phone.
  • The nomination procedure was explained by President Cynthia Vaughan. Empty positions were detailed (Vice President, Co-chairs of Recruitment and Advocacy).  Those interested were asked to contact Cynthia Vaughan or Greg McClain
  • Chaplain Janice Wakefield was nominated and approved as an Emeritus Member
  • The 2018 budget was reviewed and approved
  • Greg McClain was introduced as President for the next two years.

The Awards Banquet on Thursday night was a highlight of the conference.  Attendees enjoyed the ambiance of beautifully decorated tables in the dining room.  Each centerpiece reminded us of our “higher calling”.  Chaplain Walt Windley (Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region) led the group in a trivia game that encouraged teams to work together for answers.  Congratulations to Cynthia Vaughan who retired from New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington in 2017.  Congratulations to Janice Wakefield, retired from High Point Regional Medical Center, who was honored as an Emeritus Member of the NCCA.

During the meeting the Communications Committee offered a survey to assess the best method of connecting with our membership.  For the members present almost 100% use email daily so it seems to indicate that is the preferred method.  Other members of the NCCA will be surveyed by another method in the near future.

The conference ended on Friday with a Memorial Service.  Each person lit a candle in memory of family, friends and colleagues who have died.  It was a cathartic time for many and hopefully this facilitated healing.

Thanks to all who worked to make this meeting special and to those who participated.

We look forward to seeing you at Fall Education Day on October 11, 2018 at Camp Caraway where Chaplain Stephen Roberts will be our speaker.  He is focusing on crisis response in both large emergencies and in community crisis. He will include elements of PTSD effects and personal coping as a chaplain who deals with “taking in” the grief and pain of others.


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Mindfulness the Focus of NCCA Fall Education Day

Mindfulness in chaplaincy was the theme of the North Carolina Chaplains’ Association fall education day Oct. 12, 2017 at Caraway Conference Center in Sophia, NC. Eighty-five chaplains, chaplain educators, and students gathered from across the state to glean and hone techniques shared by Bobby Newell, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Durham. Newell specializes in mindfulness practices with her clients, and her topics at the chaplain’s meeting included “Mindfulness based interventions,” “How to use mindfulness based interventions,” and “Compassion Fatigue.”

Among the definitions for mindfulness, Newell included the following:

  • Intentionally living with awareness of the present in the moment.
  • Paying attention on purpose, without judging or rejecting the moment, but also without attachment to the moment.

Newell reminded the group that mindfulness fights memory loss, reduces anxiety and reduces the effects of PTSD. She also used pictures of brainwave synchronization with and without meditation to show that meditation produces a more integrated system, optimizing mental and emotional health.

The education day also featured opportunities for participants to practice mindfulness meditation, and to share their own experiences incorporating mindfulness techniques into their chaplaincy. During the final session on compassion fatigue, Newell recommended caregivers develop their own emergency self-care kit. Newell shared a sample of what one might look like.

During a brief business session, the association elected Chelsy Mitchell, chaplain at Novant Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, as its new secretary, replacing the outgoing Patricia Cadle, oncology chaplain at UNC hospitals. Chaplains also had opportunities to socialize, network, and play together.

NCCA will meet again May 2-4, 2018 at Camp Dogwood in Sherrill’s Ford, NC, where education will focus on advanced chaplaincy skills.


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Images from Fall Education Day 2017

This month, on October 11-12, almost ninety chaplains gathered at Camp Caraway in Sophia, NC, for fellowship and education.  Chaplains learned about mindfulness, carried on the business of the organization and enjoyed time together.


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NCCA Supports Spiritual Care Week 2017

NCCA Supports Spiritual Care Week 2017

October 22-28, 2017

“Hospitality: Cultivating Inclusion”

Spiritual Care Week (also known as Pastoral Care Week) gives opportunities for organizations and institutions of all kinds and types to recognize the spiritual caregivers in their midst and the ministry which the caregivers provide.

For resources and ideas for promoting Spiritual Care Week in your community or organization, visit the website here.

For more information or to send feedback or comments please e-mail the Pastoral Care Week Committee c/o Chaplain Clyde Angel at


About the 2017 theme

The theme for Spiritual Care Week this year is “Hospitality:  Cultivating Inclusion.”   Pastoral/spiritual care is important for peoples’ sense of identity as they find meaning in belonging to a common humanity and particular cultures. The idea of our sharing  a preciousness as human beings has found its source in religious, philosophical and societal communities.  Sadly for some, defining the “other” has been a desperate attempt to exclude those who are different.

Hospitality as practiced by so many cultures and religions breaks through walls of alienation and marginalization which deny human belonging. Welcoming, understanding, and celebrating the place of those who have been isolated makes for a wonderfully diverse expression of community. Cultivating (growing and nurturing) attitudes and actions of inclusion means that people are cared for as valuable members of the human family.


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Congratulations, 2017 Board Certified Chaplains!

A Message from NCCA President Cynthia Vaughan:



Last week, several of us attended the 2017 Annual Conference of the Association of Professional Chaplains in Houston Texas.  As usual, the conference provided excellent educational and networking opportunities and was well-attended.  This year’s theme was “The Powerful Voice of Chaplaincy.”  If you are not already an active member of APC, I highly recommend you consider making this a professional affiliation in addition to NCCA.

The following current members of the North Carolina Chaplains’ Association received recognition and certification as noted:

  • Jane Mitchell – Board Certified Chaplain –Hospice/Palliative Care Certified  (BCC-HPCC)
  • Brenda Harris – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Tammerie Day – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Leah Leath – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Lisa Lundeen – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Chelsy Mitchell – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Ryusho Jeffus – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Kathy Turner – Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Steven Chewning – Provisional Board Certified Chaplain (PBCC)
  • Ellen Abercrombie – Provisional Associate Certified Chaplain (PACC)

Please extend congratulations for “hard work well done” to these NCCA members! Although we celebrated you in fine fashion at the APC banquet night, NCCA will recognize you again at our Spring Conference 2018!  Please plan to attend.

Other chaplains from North Carolina who were recognized last week but are not yet members of NCCA are listed below.  Please also congratulate them and encourage them to join NCCA or renew their NCCA membership.

  • Marilyn Davis – BCC
  • Maria Jones – BCC
  • Leon Maxwell – BCC
  • Omoviekovwa Nakireru – BCC
  • Jonathan Speed – BCC
  • Deborah Lannon – PBCC
  • Veronica Martinez-Gallegos – PBCC


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