Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplaincy Updated

Attention all chaplains potentially seeking certification from APC, AAPC, CASC, NAJC, or NACC:

The Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplains, first agreed upon by the above organizations in 2004, have been updated, altered, and now include two additional criteria for 2017 applicants. Any applicant for certification who submits material after April 1, 2017, must utilize the updated competency list, including the two new competencies that address research and group leadership.

If you have specific questions, please contact Miriam Dakin, Area Certification Chair for North Carolina and Virginia. Miriam is manager of Centra Health in Lynchburg, VA. Contact her at

All the best to all our NC chaplains who are pursuing certification!

Click here to review the updated Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplains (formerly Common Standards for Professional Chaplains).

Or watch the presentation below for more clarification and explanation of the 2017 Common Qualifications and Competencies.



Category: Education, Newsletters · Tags:

Leadership Spotlight: Up Close and Personal with Past President Beth Jackson-Jordan

Rev. Beth Jackson-Jordan

Beth Jackson-Jordan

Director of Spiritual Care and Education

Carolinas HealthCare System Northeast

Concord, NC



Educational History

BS in music education at William Jewell College in Missouri; MDiv at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY; ACPE Supervisory training at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC and Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD; Doctor of Educational Leadership at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Connection with NCCA

I’ve been a member of NCCA for at least 10 years, though I have attended meetings since 2000. My current role is past president.

Professional Uniqueness and Passion

Our chaplain residency program includes introduction to Integrative skills as a part of the curriculum, so all are familiar with and some become proficient in using modalities including aromatherapy, guided imagery, hand massage, rituals and mindfulness as a part of their chaplain practice. We now incorporate integrative modalities into a lot of what we do with staff as well as patients and families.

I am passionate about hearing people’s stories and being a part of helping them make meaning of whatever they are going through. I find chaplaincy allows me to experience people at a “fork in the road” moment in which they are in some way making new meaning or finding new ways to understand how the Holy is present in their lives.


Family for me consists of my spouse and three children, as well as an assortment of friends now spread all over the country and world who became ‘family’ to us at different stages of life. One is my college roommate who is now a chaplain in New Mexico; another is a faculty member at Perkins Divinity School in Dallas; another is a chaplain here in Charlotte. They are the people who know me, love me and accept me just the way I am, and I try to do the same for them.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you as a chaplain?

The best thing is something I have experienced more than once – it is when I encounter someone I have known and worked with in CPE who tells me how what they learned in CPE has made a difference in their life and in their ministry. Especially when they feel their time in CPE helped them discover their calling and they have found meaning in their ministry. Not too long ago I ran into a priest who had done CPE with me in the early 90’s in Washington, DC. Now he’s a local parish priest near Charlotte and still talks about how he has used what he learned in CPE about accepting himself and being present to people going through suffering.

Recent Embarrassment

Just the other day I had unknowingly come out of the restroom with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose. A local clergy person was the first to see me, and had to try to let me know so I wouldn’t walk through the hospital like that! I don’t know if it was the worst thing ever, but it was sure the most embarrassing and funny thing to happen in a long time.

Poignant Memory

In my first chaplaincy job in a long term care facility, a resident who had initially kept her distance from me came up and grabbed my hand and said, ‘You are the most Unitarian Baptist I’ve ever met!’ She went on to explain that when she heard a Baptist chaplain had been hired, she thought I would be rigid and judgmental, but she had come to experience me as accepting and loving. She blessed and ‘ordained’ me as a chaplain that day and I’ve always remembered her.

Sustenance during the low times

  • My wonderful staff assistant who never seems to have a bad day
  • My family
  • My meditation walks through the nature trails around my house

Community of Faith

My denominational affiliation is the Alliance of Baptists. I have done different things in my churches over the years—taught, sung in the choir, helped with English as a second language classes, trained groups to do pastoral care visits, been a youth chaperone.

Rejuvenation and Renewal

I love to travel, read, garden, play piano, play tennis, and cook.

Gutsy Move

Not too long ago, I wrote a letter to the editor disagreeing with the pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte regarding his stance against gay marriage. It was published, and I got letters from those who agreed and a lot from those who disagreed and questioned how a minster could take such a stance.


Category: Education, Newsletters · Tags:

Chaplains Balance Heavy Topic and Light Moments at NCCA Conference

Blowing Rock, NC—About 50 chaplains and guests attended the North Carolina Chaplains’ Association Spring Conference April 25-27 at the Blowing Rock Conference Center in Blowing Rock, NC. The conference featured Rev. Dr. Vergel Lattimore III as its keynote speaker. The two days also included time for conducting NCCA business, enjoying fellowship events, discussing clinical case studies, attending a recognition banquet, practicing laughter yoga, and receiving a Blessing of the Hands for chaplains.

Cynthia Vaughan, CPE supervisor at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and current president for NCCA, welcomed chaplains to the NC Chaplains Association spring conference and introduced other members of the executive committee, all of whom played a role in assuring the meeting went smoothly.

Featured speaker Vergel Lattimore, president of Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC, is a published poet, an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the first African American to attain the rank of Brigadier General in the US Air Force and the Air National Guard. He led the chaplains through three sessions that focused on cultural sensitivity, radical empathy, and practicing peace in professional and personal relationships. Interspersing lecture with video clips, literary readings, and small group conversations, Lattimore challenged the group to recognize issues of race, discrimination, and white privilege among the gathered group and in their workplaces.

Lattimore read a passage from the autobiography of influential theologian Howard Thurman, showing the power of reframing events and empowering others to become their best selves and to rise above racism. Traveling through the South in the 1950’s, Thurman and his family stopped to rest for a few moments at a park near the highway. His daughters spotted a swing set on a playground in the park and couldn’t read the sign that warned that the playground was “for whites only by state law.” Thurman sat his little girls down and said this to them: ‘Listen to me, all of you, you are somebody. Every one of you beautiful girls is a somebody. In fact, you are so important and so valuable to God, and so powerful too, that it takes the governor of Louisiana, the lieutenant governor, and the whole state police force to keep you little girls off those swings.”

In Lattimore’s final session, he shared positive means for both white chaplains and chaplains of color to address racial conflict and to take steps toward change. For example, white people need to acknowledge their whiteness, their white privilege, and take notice of present day racism. They need to listen to people of color, educate themselves, broaden their experiences, and take action: “Consider racism your problem to solve,” Lattimore encouraged. “Confront ignorance and inappropriate behavior; help others to learn, not just react; be a visible person in the fight against racism.”  Alternatively, people of color need to love themselves, embrace positive self-images, challenge perceptions and language; educate themselves, build ties, and “Take care” of themselves: “Accept white allies; keep a positive attitude; walk away when you are too tired or too angry,” Lattimore cautioned.

As a counterpoint to the serious subject matter, chaplains also took time to play and laugh together. Those arriving on Wednesday evening were treated to a feast of desserts provided by chaplain Walt Windley. The spread included seven cakes and a variety of homemade cookies and breads. While they ate, chaplains got acquainted or reacquainted and played games or enjoyed conversation together. Maria Teresa Jones even taught Barry Morris the Merengue dance.

On Friday morning, Johnston Health chaplain and yoga instructor Saundra Casey led chaplains through a session of Laughter Yoga. The session included information about the proven health benefits of laughter, and instructions about creating and sustaining laughter in order to shift mood, increase life balance, strengthen the immune system, decrease pain, and lower stress. Then the group participated in several exercises of laughter yoga. Casey commented that the group was a bit more inhibited than others she had worked with, so chaplains may need to think about incorporating this practice on a regular basis.

Two retiring chaplains and others achieving recognition were honored at the Thursday evening banquet. Retired chaplain Robert Randolph served as the clinical chaplain at the NC Dept of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Dewey Smith, chaplain at Hospice of the Charlotte Region, is preparing to retire next year. Smith also currently chairs the education committee of the NCCA. Both of these chaplains shared wisdom and encouragement from their years of ministry. NCCA presented them with framed certificates thanking them for their service and involvement with NCCA.

Other chaplains also were acknowledged for reaching milestones or receiving awards. Kathy Turner and Jon Speed, both of whom work for Carolinas Healthcare System, successfully met with their certification committees in March and are awaiting official board certification from the Association of Professional Chaplains. Jane Mitchell, Hospice and Palliative Care of the Charlotte region, received her palliative care certification from APC. Shay Greene of UNC Hospitals received the emerging leader award from Mid-Atlantic ACPE. First-time attendees to an NCCA event included Beth Woodard of Trinity Elms; Maria Teresa Jones of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center; Bob Riley of Carteret Healthcare; Molly Garnett of Carolinas Healthcare System; and Sara Smith, also of Wake Forest Baptist.

All NC chaplains are encouraged to mark calendars now for the fall meeting of the NCCA, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, at Caraway Conference Center. The North Carolina Chaplains’ Association is dedicated to providing education, fellowship and advocacy for professional chaplains of all faiths in North Carolina. Membership is open to chaplains in any industry, as well as to students interested in chaplaincy. For more information, contact the association at or

To see pictures of all the learning and fun, click here.


Category: Education, Events, Newsletters · Tags:

Advocacy in Action

NCCA Expo Booth

On February 28, NCCA was at the North Carolina Healthcare Facilities Association Expo in Greensboro encouraging long-term care administrators and employees to utilize professional chaplains in their facilities.  If you have questions about how NCCA can advocate for chaplain services in your area, contact Advocacy Chairperson Saundra Casey.

(pictured L-R: Chaplains Thomas Barnsdale, Jeanell Cox and Saundra Casey)

Category: Education, Newsletters · Tags:

Leadership Spotlight: Up Close and Personal with NCCA President Cynthia V. Vaughan

Cynthia V. Vaughan

New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC

Chaplaincy Training

I completed my CPE residency in 1997 in Women’s Health and served as associate pastor of two large churches in Atlanta before going to work as a chaplain/supervisor in training at Emory Center for Pastoral Services in 2003. I served as a critical care chaplain, chaplain of a long term acute care center (LTAC) and associate director of pastoral care at a continuing care community prior to becoming a CPE Supervisor in 2010.

Educational History

BA in English from Winston Salem State University, MA in Public Administration from Ohio State University; MDIV in Biblical Studies from Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center with additional group work in Yvonne Agarzarian’s Systems Centered Theory®.

Community of Faith

Being ordained in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church I have connected with a local church here in Wilmington that feeds me through the preaching, the music, the community and an opportunity to serve. Wrightsville UMC currently meets all four.  Until recently I was active with the Outreach Committee, the Nurture Committee, and the Mission of Hope in Sierra Leone where we have re-opened a hospital in that war-torn country in West Africa.  In addition I serve communion or preach when invited by the pastoral staff. One of the things I am excited about is that I am serving as one of two Sabbath Chaplains for my church district via a partnership between Blessed Earth, Inc., and the Duke Endowment.


Member for seven years. Currently serving as President.


My first 25 years of life I was an introvert who loved reading and going to school. My next 15-20 years I was a functional extravert as a manager in Corporate America. For the last 15-20 years as a pastor, chaplain, and CPE Supervisor, I am enjoying being an introvert again.


I’m not married, so my family is comprised of my 90 year old father, two brothers and three sisters.  I would be remiss in not acknowledging the loss of my mom and three sisters in the last seven years, who make my family complete, even still.

Restoration and Rejuvenation

The ocean brings me rest and I enjoy jazz, plays, and most recently have begun enjoying the opera. Travel used to be my favorite pastime, but since I have been in Wilmington I am enjoying my weekends at the local beaches. When I am stressed or I need space, I get to the ocean if I can, and meditate on the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Also, my theory of pastoral care reminds me that I am not in this alone. Joshua 1:9 sustains me.

Professional Uniqueness and Passion

People tend to tell me their stories and share some of their deepest feelings, often through tears. I’m still not sure how that happens. I relish the privilege of being present to a person when they are most vulnerable and in need of someone with whom to share deep, deep feelings.

Highs and Lows

In 1996 a middle aged, white Roman Catholic woman, who had not been to confession in 20 years, was about to undergo open heart surgery if they could get her to settle down. She would not go without talking to a chaplain first.  When I appeared she said, you don’t look like a chaplain, but I guess you are a person of God. I heard her confession. When I visited her two days later, she was surrounded by four of her children. The first words out of her mouth were: “this is the woman that I told you about who saved my life!” She did not know that by accepting me as her chaplain that day she had given me one of the best gifts I ever got!

I have a hard time seeing occasions as “bad” because I tend to look for lessons God might have me learn from all of my experiences. But perhaps one that haunts me a little is a phone call I got during my first unit of CPE. A young woman wanted to commit suicide because her boyfriend had infected her with the herpes virus and she thought her life was over.  I was at a loss as to what to say to her because of the stigma and shame that accompanied a “disease you could not get rid of” back in that day. I never found out what happened to her but my sense is, I did not help her. Had I known then what I know now, the phone call might have ended differently.

Caregiver to the Famous

One of the most memorable things occurred when I was chaplain of the VIP floor at Emory University Hospital. Patients there usually checked in under a pseudonym so I was very surprised when I walked into the hospital room and there sat Muhammed Ali and his wife (this was after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s). He was watching movies of himself fighting. They both greeted me warmly. He then proceeded to tell me a dirty joke (which I didn’t get). Suddenly his wife said to him to “Stop it, you apologize, you don’t say things like that in front of a lady.” He chuckled and said he was sorry. Then he got up and said “watch this, watch my feet.”  He went to the door and grabbed the edge of it in one hand. As I watched his feet they lifted about four inches off the floor!  His wife then coaxed him back to the chair and our conversation went to what it was like for him to not be able to box again.

Gutsy Move

When I turned 55 I had a bucket list that included flying a plane. I went up in a two seater with a friend of mine and flew over North Georgia. After being up for about 30 minutes he said “OK, take the wheel”, which I did!  I didn’t pilot it very long but it was exciting!  After he took control back I happened to notice a crack in the plane where I could see the sky—the door was not securely latched!

Impetus toward Chaplaincy

As a two-time breast cancer survivor I know what it means to be a patient. It was a chaplain named Noel at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1981 who visited me consistently throughout my first two week stay, who set me on this course towards chaplaincy. I will be forever grateful to him.  He died from a brain tumor before I got a chance to share with him what  his ministry to me really meant.


Category: Education, Newsletters · Tags: