Hello NIBIC Members with current Email addresses:

I hope that you and those you serve had a good Veterans Day.  At Worklife Institute, we have provided our services at two Veterans and Families Hiring and Benefits events.  The “Red, White and You” state-wide job fair November 10th brought in 3,000 job seekers and 160 employers, plus 22 of us service organizations, at the baseball stadium downtown. The Veterans Day event took place outside of City Hall in conjunction with the annual parade.  Many veterans and their families who are out of work came by our information booth.

Several weeks ago three of us on our Institute team were in San Francisco for the Swords to Plowshares’ get-together for the California and Texas Employment and Training Collaborative.  We are one of four Texas and ten California organizations invited to be part of the program, to share best practices and explore new ways to get people back to work and with new skills.   It was great to get back to my old “stomping grounds”.  I hadn’t been back to the Bay Area in 18 years.

Attached is a notice of the passing of Howard E. Butt, Jr., the founder of the HEB grocery chain, and a significant pioneer of the “faith in daily life”, servant-leadership and workplace ministry movements.  In other parts of the country we hear more about the leadership coming out of Chicago, New York and other places, but I thought you would be interested in the colorful and very influential work of H.E. Butt from Texas.

In a major development within the pastoral care associations and credentialing arena, we succeeded in getting NIBIC recognized as an approved certifying professional chaplaincy organization whose board certification is recognized as equivalent by the Spiritual Care Association.  I got notice in early October that the SCA was offering half-price membership and application for Board certification to celebrate its rapid growth in six months to more than 1,000 members and offices in nine countries.

Dave Plummer, myself and others in NIBIC had been watching this organization’s development, because it had been publicizing “evidence-based” chaplaincy credentialing as a future-oriented approach to pastoral care competency measurement and stirring the waters of the older certifying bodies.  For many years we have had to deal with a succession of alliances within COMISS and beyond that have purported to define common standards for pastoral care certification, and which had cut NIBIC and other major players out, jeopardizing some of our members’ employment.  I went on the SCA’s website and saw that we were not listed for equivalency, so I wrote SCA’s leadership.

Sue Wintz, who is responsible for “vetting certifying organizations eligible to partner with (SCA) in certifying chaplains”, and I had a series of discussions, and I  shared what we sent to a team of NIBIC folks, including Juliette Jones, Alan Harris, Martha Gonsalves, Art Jacobson, Greg Edwards, Dave Plummer and Tim Bancroft.  From our qualifications documents, they said they were under the impression that we don’t require the 2,000 hours of clinical practice as a chaplain prior to certification application and question our ministerial identity.

Wintz explained,  “it reads as though NIBIC certification is granted for (a), being a secular counselor as enough, and (b), the person doesn’t have to be working as a chaplain; they just have to be doing pastoral care, however that may be defined.  That appears to say that a person could work in HR or in Employee Assistance and not be pastorally or chaplaincy identified at all, nor have the required training and experience.  Because of these issues, we cannot offer reciprocal certification by SCA to your members at this time.  Please let us know in the future if these issues are readdressed.”  This is the same stance that we have experienced over the past years.

I responded with an overview of our stated certification requirements and a historical scan of corporate changes over the past thirty years. This is  attached as a statement you can use, if you’d like, to provide clarity to “doubters” you may encounter.  SCA’s response the same day, October 18, was as follows: “Thanks so much for the additional information; it greatly helps to clarify information that wasn’t as clear for us in the written materials as well as describe the dynamics that many workplace chaplains face which we weren’t aware of.  I’ve discussed this with Eric Hall (CEO & President, SCA), and we would be happy to include NIIC chaplains as having reciprocal certification by the Spiritual Care Association.  We will ensure that NIBIC is added to the SCA Certification page as one of the recognized U.S. or international professional chaplaincy organizations as recognized for Path 1 certification as a SCA BCC.   “

You can access this page by going to https://www.spiritualcareassociation.org/credentialing-and-certification-requirements.html.  Whether or not NIBIC members wish to take advantage of this additional certification, or if it is helpful to your place of employment, is up to you.  The significance of what we have worked on here is that a great breakthrough in understanding, collaboration and respect for multiple paths towards competency has occurred.  This is a hopeful sign for the spiritual /pastoral care movement and our place in it.

Do write with your news.  Our next edition of the NIBIC News Notes will come out shortly after the New Year.  Blessings of the Season to you and your ministry.

Diana C. Dale, D.Min., Ph.D., LMFT, NBCC
CEO and President, Worklife Institute
Executive Director, NIBIC
1900 St. James Place, Suite 880
Houston, TX 77056

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