I have been part of the Journal of Pastoral Care Publications (JPCP) family for 50 of its 75 years. Pack rat that I am, I have kept all of the journal issues of JPC&C since I began reading it regularly (June 1971). I also have the December 1968 and March 1970 issues. There have been some challenging times in JPCP and in the larger fields.
Beginning my journey towards specialized practice of ministry after 8 years in congregational ministry in Canada, I eventually became a Diplomate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) and a Teaching Supervisor of CPE and Pastoral Counselling Education of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC/ACSS). I am currently a Retired member of ACPE, based on my AAPC retired Diplomate standing.
For more than a dozen years leading up to 2001, I served as a peer reviewer for JPC&C. In 2001, I became the representative of the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education (CAPPE/ACPEP) on the JPCP Board of Managers. CAPPE/ACPEP is now the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC/ACSS). In 2003 I became President of the JPCP Inc, Board and served JPCP in various capacities until 2018.
Transitions in Pastoral Care & Counseling
These last two decades have been a time of significant transition, sometimes involving stepping into liminal space without any assurance that we would come out on the “other side.”
In 2001, and spilling over into the following years, JPCP struggled with how to be faithful to the ethical standards of the associations that constituted our constituency regarding full inclusion of persons who are LGBTQI – given the beliefs and practices of some of our constituent readership and contributors who thought differently. That was extremely difficult – and we made mistakes – and we learned from our mistakes, although it took a while.
In 2003, we added “& Counseling” to the name of the Journal – recognizing that language changes over time and that the word “care” no longer included “counseling and psychotherapy” in the thinking of people in the “majority” world.
We hired an Associate Editor (Rabbi Dr. Terry Bard) in 2007 to assist our longtime Managing Editor (Dr. Orlo Strunk, Jr) and as a “hedge” against Orlo’s probable retirement in the near future.
A Commitment to Responding to Needs
Meantime, Journal of Pastoral Care Publications, Inc, had renewed its commitment to publishing books and monographs using the print-on-demand approach and had produced three books that we knew would have limited sales but would be invaluable to the fields of practice of our readers.
At the end of 2008 the financial bottom “fell out” and we made the difficult decision to hasten the inevitable by becoming primarily an online journal in 2009 – doing this at least three years earlier than we might have in normal circumstances. Dr. Strunk retired so that “younger blood” (Rabbi Dr. Bard and I, with invaluable assistance from our Webmaster, Jack Tattrie), could make it happen. That year, for the first time, we published only two issues, both of those being “double issues.”
Then, in 2014 we made the decision, taking effect in January 2015, to align JPCP Inc with SAGE Publishers in a relationship that we defined as “co-publication” of JPC&C. We selected SAGE because of its stellar reputation for publishing materials in the humanities and health fields. Fortunately, SAGE wanted JPC&C!
A Shifting Landscape
These last two decades have been a time of transition for the Pastoral / Spiritual Care, Counseling, and Education organizations with which JPCP is aligned. They have also been a time of transition in JPCP’s relationships with the various organizations.
Some of those organizations have aligned themselves with other organizations, Others have chosen to go their own way, replicating the experience of the 1930s and 1940s. AAPC has folded itself into ACPE. An organizational chart of the modern pastoral / spiritual care, counseling, and education movement in the USA would probably look like a map of a “sewer system,” as my professor of Church History used to say (about schisms and reunification in our denomination). The schisms made for a difficult experience for JPCP, but we survived.
These last two decades have also been a time of tremendous change in the practice of the professions represented in our readership and in the authorship of the materials JPC&C presents.
Practice is increasingly regulated by government on the initiative of our profession’s practitioners in some jurisdictions and imposed by government in other jurisdictions. Understandings of the difference between “pastoral” practice and “spiritually integrated practice” have begun to be clarified, although those understandings are not necessarily finding universal acceptance.
Global Concerns and Collaboration
Internationalization of what we have been about in Canada and the USA during the last 75-plus years has had its effect, also, as European, African, and Australasian colleagues have been finding their own way in their contexts and have shared their journey in conferences, on the pages of JPC&C, and in other ways. So JPC&C is no longer authored only by Americans with occasional Canadian contributions. Any given issue, in the last few years, is likely to have contributions from outside North America and almost every issue has a contribution from one of my Canadian colleagues.
It has been an exciting time, and I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to be part of the JPCP family during these past 50 years, to have known several of those who were there in the beginning (1947), and to have served on the management side for the last two decades.