2018 Fall Education Summary

The meeting convened at Camp Caraway, Sophia, North Carolina on November 8, 2018.  The meeting was rescheduled from October due to hurricane damage and threats.  For attendees who arrived early, there was an excellent dinner, fire pit, games, and refreshments.  It was an evening of fellowship and relaxation.  Pictured at left, NCCA member, Rona Watson shows her mad Operation skills while David Long observes.

Vice President-Elect, Rebekah Ramsey, opened the meeting with a ceremony representing the release of those tensions participants brought, recognizing that many were affected by the recent hurricane.  Rocks were picked up to represent our tensions.  They were placed in a jug of water to represent burying tensions that could keep us from being fully present in the meeting.

Our speaker, Chaplain Stephen B. Roberts, BCC, is a Past President of the Neshama Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) and served on the board for almost a decade.  Responding to the 9/11 terror attacks, he was the first Spiritual Care Officer overseeing the provision of Spiritual Care through national ARC’s SAIR team in New York City and then helped oversee the program as the Senior Volunteer from December 2001-May 2002.  Rabbi Roberts is a Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Disaster Chaplaincy Services.

Chaplain Roberts’ publications include: “Compassion Fatigue Among Chaplains, Clergy, and Other Respondents After September 11th” [Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease; November 2003] and Jewish Pastoral Care in Wake of a Disaster [Book Chapter—Jewish Pastoral Care—A Practical Handbook].

Over the last decade, Rabbi Roberts has worked very closely with the leadership of the Association of Professional Chaplains, National Association of Catholic Chaplains, the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Canadian Association for Spiritual Care, and other groups on a variety of critical chaplaincy leadership projects including helping create The Spiritual Care Collaborative; co-overseeing and co-guiding the process leading to the Common Standards for Professional Chaplaincy, Common Code of Ethics for Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, Pastoral Educators and Students; participating in the approval of The White Paper. Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts presently serves as leader of the Temple of the High Country, Boone, NC.  He also functions as an Adjunct Chaplain with Watauga Valley Medical Center.

Session I:  Interactive Learning on Trauma and Professional Caregiving

Chaplain Roberts shared the key principles of Disaster Spiritual Care.  He based his training on his experiences and the experiences of others he has known who have experienced traumatic events.  He shared that most people do find a new balance without outside help.  The role of the spiritual care provider in a disaster is not to shelter victims, but to help them draw upon their own spiritual, religious, and emotional resources in the midst of their pain.  Their goal is to provide sensitive spiritual and emotional care to affected individuals and families by respecting a person’s culture, religious tradition, and faith commitments.

Session II:  Chaplain Roberts’ Reflections on Undergoing Personal Trauma


Chaplain Robert’s shared his personal experience with 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.  He spoke of the “Heroic,” “Honeymoon” (community cohesion), “Disillusionment” (coming to terms), and “Reconstruction” (a new beginning) phases of personal trauma.



Business Session

Between Session II and III, the NCCA conducted a membership meeting.  Rebekah Ramsey was nominated to serve as Vice President.  No second needed since the recommendation came from the Nominating Committee.  She was unanimously approved to serve.

It was reported that the NCCA now has co-chairs with the intention of working together for a year and then one chair rolling off to maintain continuity.  A bio of the Co-Chairs and Officers of the NCCA can be found on the website.

Sara Stratton and TeresaMarie Vilagos presented information on the Journal Club available to NCCA members.  It meets every other month on the 2ndMonday of the month.  To join, please email admincoordinator@ncchaplains.com.  Your email will be forwarded to Sara and Terri so that you will be added to a meeting planner.

The club is looking for articles to present and people to present those articles. There is a template form for discussion. The goal of the group is to better understand research and gain comfort in research.  The group also meets the research CEU requirement for the APC.  In January, several research articles will be sent out for people to choose one they would like to present for discussion.

Session III:  The Use of Self in Professional Trauma Care—Integration Seminar

Chaplain Roberts shared the following insights.

  • In our lives there is commonly a difference between “bad/traumatic” periods and times and “challenging” periods and times. The group considered “bad” traumatic periods vs. “challenging” times and shared examples of these times with another person.
  • We may “relearn” different spiritual/ emotional lessons during our “bad” times and our “challenging” times. The group shared lessons learned from both situations.
  • We often use different spiritual tools during “bad” and “challenging” periods in our lives—of which we are often unaware.   Reading uplifting books including Scripture, cursing or feeling you have been cursed, spending time with friends and family, spiritual numbness, prayer and journaling. The group was challenged to identify the tools we used during our “bad” and “challenging” trauma.
  • We often use different prayers and prayer formats during “traumatic/ bad” periods in our lives of which we are often unaware unless pointed out to us.
  • After each period, upon reflection, we often learned something significant and new.Our job as spiritual leaders are to help those with whom we are working to move to this point of reflection.


Chaplain Roberts gave us this excerpt from Disaster Spiritual Care, 2ndEd.:  Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy, edited by Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts and Rev. Willard W.C. Ashley, Sr., published by SkyLight Paths Publishing.

Disaster Spiritual Care Wisdom Sayings:

  • No one who “witnesses” a disaster is untouched by it.
  • Self-Care—Practice self-care and seek the support of others.
  • Basics—Meet the basic needs (food, water, shelter, and medical).
  • Diversity—Recognize the unknown god in diversity, spiritual care should be uniquely tailored to community or individual.
  • Connections—Healing happens within human relationships.
  • I and Thou—Ministry of presence, listening, struggle with victims as they ask questions.
  • Practical Tools—Spiritual assessment tool, “How are you doing?” Ritual is an effective means of healing.

Chaplain Roberts also shared an article, Disaster Spiritual Care, developed by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster Points of Consensus which was written to inform, encourage, and affirm those who respond to disasters.

Evaluations of the conference were sent to attendees for whom email addresses were available, using survey monkey.  If you wish to receive the evaluation survey and did not, please contact Wanda, admincoordinator@ncchaplains.com.

The NCCA looks forward to our Spring Conference, April 2-4, 2019 at the Trinity Center in Pine Knolls Shores, NC.  We will focus on Ethics in the Healthcare System and how it impacts our work as professional chaplains.  Deb Love, Sr. Director of Bioethics, Spiritual Care, and Healing Arts with Novant Health, will lead our discussion.  Greg Robins, PA, with Palliative Care, will also aid in our understanding of the ethical implications around the end of life.  Look for an announcement of open registration by email.

Chaplains from New Hanover Regional Medical Center were all smiles at Fall Education Day.


Announcements Posted at the Fall Meeting

  • Chaplain Rebekah Ramsey announced approval from Novant Health Leadership to move forward to seek Pre-Accreditation status with ACPE to start a CPE Residency Program in the Fall of 2019 at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.Contact: Ramsey@novanthealth.org
  • Suzanne Franklin-Kent from Cone Health-Alamance Regional Medical Center announced that they have four open residency positions beginning in mid-January 2019. They are currently interviewing for these positions.  Contact:  Suzanne.franklin@conehealth.com
  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center announced that they are alive and well after the storms.David Long reports that they have a 3-year vision to continue CPE with first and second year residents. Contact:  long@nhrmc.org
  • There is an immediate opening for a Hospice Chaplain at Community Home Care and Hospice in Clayton, NC. It is a 24-hour a week job.  Details can be found on Indeed.com.  Contact: philliphare1@gmail.com

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