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Strategic Partners for Spiritual Care Issue a Memorandum of Understanding

APC Forum, August 2018, Vol. 20 No. 5

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was unanimously adopted by the six Strategic Partners for Spiritual Care (AAPC, NACC, ACPE, APC, CASC/ACSS, NAJC) to deepen relationships and capitalize on strategic opportunities in order to ensure all those served by the Strategic Partners have the best possible spiritual care and to safeguard the future of the spiritual care profession.  This MOU frames our commitment to develop a mutually agreeable and beneficial way of organizing ourselves that will allow the Strategic Partners to align respective resources, take strategic action in areas where goals overlap and where needs converge, and to develop a fleet of services for our members, our employers, and all those we are privileged to serve.  Combined with the “Joint Statement from the Strategic Partners for Spiritual Care” (issued July 10, 2018), this MOU represents the next significant step in the continuous improvement and integration of the profession.




 JUNE 20, 2018

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), Canadian Association for Spiritual Care/association canadienne de soins spirituels (CASC/ACSS), National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC), and Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) (“the Associations”) met on Thursday, May 24, 2018 to explore types of partnership that would create the structure that would allow them as a unified entity and voice to accomplish both outward purposes for marketing, influence, and advocacy, and inward purposes for certification, ethics, and other mutual benefits. It was decided that the Associations draft and agree to this Memorandum of Understanding that states common objectives, responsibilities / conditions for participation, and timeline.
The Associations agreed that the changing demographics of religious affiliations, with the rise of those not adhering to any religion, the changes in the health care environments and the role of spiritual care, and the challenges to the spiritual care profession requires the Associations evermore intentional and dedicated, unified collaboration on the behalf of the spiritual care/chaplaincy profession.The Associations explored the feasibility of creating a 501(c)(6) (Trade Association) and discussed the value of a merger to advance the profession (and avoid some of the inherent limitations of a 501(c)(6)). In consideration of these options, the Associations unanimously agreed that the best next step would be to devote themselves to articulate how and for what purpose they intend to become Partners for Professional Excellence in Spiritual Care (PPESC).  The assumption is: by structured collaboration we are poised to capitalize on strategic opportunities in order to ensure all those served by the Associations have the best possible spiritual care and to safeguard the future of the spiritual care profession.
In service of determining and articulating how and for what purpose we may seek to form a new entity, the Associations will
  • Frame its partnership by:
    • Articulating a unified mission and vision toward becoming a unified voice on behalf of the profession.
    • Choosing a name by which this partnership will be known.
    • Proposing a structure for mutual engagement and commitment that includes how to:
      • Share responsibility/authority (representation, governance)
      • Direct, drive, and support agreed upon projects (leadership/staff)
      • Sustain the created entity (funding).
  • As means to the partnership framework, target short-term projects including:
    • Explore/determine the feasibility of using ACPE's Advocacy Committee as a voice for the whole, including a rep from each association, including agenda-settings and select activities for FY2018-19.
    • Explore/determine feasibility of joint Professional Ethics Procedures/Processes.
    • Explore/determine feasibility of a joint employment service, such as American Academy of Religion (AAR) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).
The Associations will create a Steering Committee with each association being represented by two individuals: one board and/or one staff members. The Steering Committee will be responsible to lead and ensure the completion of the desired objectives of the MOU. The Steering Committee will function with a rotating leadership structure (facilitation and keeping of minutes) to direct and drive the process. Documents will be kept by APC with electronic copies to all participants of this MOU.
During the time of this MOU, each association will be responsible for its Steering Committee members time and expenses related to travel, lodging, meals, and any other related expenses their association chooses/needs for their respective representatives. All other agreed upon expenses during this MOU, such as fees for professional resources, research, etc., will be shared equally, not proportionately, by each association.
During this MOU any shared financial costs will be handled through ACPE as the financial group for this MOU. A bank account will be set up to be used for accumulation of revenue and payment of all expenses pertaining to the MOU activities. Each organization will agree to deposit $2,000 in their own currency (CAD/USD), in the joint account in order to cover ordinary expenses incurred prior to the receipt of any funds received specifically for MOU projects.
Decisions about any other major financial investment that might be identified during the time of this MOU will be considered on an issue by issue basis by diverse formulas, from shared equally to some form of proportionality, depending on the item. It is further stipulated that any of the original $2,000 deposit from each association will be returned to that association after the completion of the MOU objectives.
ACPE will sign all checks up to $2,500. Any expenditures over that amount will require the approval of the Chair and Vice Chair. The ACPE Executive Director will be a signor on the account.
The Steering Committee will engage the services of an accountant, if needed, that will monitor the income and disbursements of the MOU projects. The firm will issue a written report to the Steering Committee no later than eight weeks following the completion of this MOU.
All MOU expenses will be reflected on the balance sheet of the ACPE annual audit. Any surplus or loss will be shared equally by the Associations.
This MOU will be valid for 24 months, July 1, 2018-June 30, 2020.  
The parties named above have caused this Memorandum of Understanding to be executed in multiple originals by their duly authorized representatives named below. This MOU will be reviewed quarterly by the signatories below.