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APC Celebrating 75 Years...

by Sarah Byrne-Martelli, DMin BCC

APC Forum, April 2021 Vol 23, No. 3


2021 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Association of Professional Chaplains.  APC will be sharing reflections, testimonials, and historical facts related to APC throughout the year, but we would like to start this anniversary with the following reflection.  Traditionally, the 75th is the Diamond Anniversary.  We offer an image of the APC as a multifaceted diamond, luminous and strong, refracting the light that it catches with clarity and brilliance. 

  • The more facets a diamond has, the more light is reflected.
    • We honor and cultivate the many types of diversity within our membership.
  • Some facets act as mirrors reflecting their environments.
    • We carefully observe and give voice to the joys, losses, challenges, and opportunities around us.  
  • Other facets catch the light, bending and slowing its speed, releasing that same light back and refracting it into spectral colors.
    • We listen to the stories of those in our care and we offer back our unique insight, curiosity, and compassion in full color.
  • Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow.
    • We hail from many cultures, languages, and spiritual backgrounds, including over six hundred religious endorsing bodies.
  • The diamond is more than a billion years old.
    • We take part in an age-old practice of compassion, wisdom, collaboration, and caring for those who are suffering.
  • Diamonds develop their clarity, durability, and beauty under extreme pressure.
    • Through training, education, and collaboration, we develop resilience and insight even under pressure, while remaining grounded in our spiritual traditions.

May this 75th year be a time to reflect on the many ways that APC Chaplains may reflect light, hope, and commitment to the communities we serve!

Sarah Byrne-Martelli serves as an Inpatient Chaplain and Instructor in the Division of Palliative Care at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.  Chaplain Byrne-Martelli is a member of the APC Board of Directors and can be reached at