spiritual-resources-90When we started exploring topics for this year's fall online conference, we discovered that a lot of questions are being asked by chaplains, counselors, and congregational leaders regarding the future. In the midst of significant changes happening in healthcare in light of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to reduce the costs of health care, we encountered anxiety about future budget allocations and jobs for chaplains, counselors, and social workers. As we looked at pastoral care in congregations and ministry extended into communities, we encountered more anxiety. Both areas of concern are being fueled by the need to trim budgets and be more cost effective at the same time that our population is growing older and being able to live longer with serious illness, trauma, and injury. However in the midst of the anxiety, we are seeing all kinds of opportunities and possibilities. We decided this would be a good year to focus on bringing people together to talk about what the future looks like for pastoral and spiritual care.


As we talked with chaplains, counselors, and congregational leaders about what the future is going to look like for their professions, questions we encountered included:

  • Where will the jobs be in the future? What are the emerging opportunities?
  • What effect will the Affordable Care Act have on healthcare chaplaincy?
  • What effect will the growing number of people living longer (and living longer with serious illness) have on pastoral and spiritual care?
  • What opportunities are emerging in the areas of palliative care? Workplace spiritual care? Post-traumatic stress and critical incident spiritual care? Other areas that are primarily outpatient care?
  • How is the provision of pastoral and spiritual care in congregations changing? Who will be engaged in this? How will will meet the growing need?
  • What do we need to learn to be prepared for these opportunities?

BaylorHealthCareSystem logoThis fall the Oates Institute will present a major online conference addressing these questions at the intersection of healthcare and congregation, workplace and community. The conference, sponsored in part by Baylor Health Care System, will feature three overlapping tracks for chaplains; counselors, spiritual directors, and social workers; and congregational leaders. It will provide continuing professional education credit for these professions.

Presenters already committed will include:

  • Wendy Cadge, Ph.D., Author, Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine
  • Valerie Storms, M.Div., BCC, President, Association of Professional Chaplains
  • Patricia Appelhans, JD, CEO, Association of Professional Chaplains
  • Doug Ronsheim, D.Min., Executive Director, American Association of Pastoral Counselors
  • John Swinton, Ph.D., Spirituality and Health, Kings College, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Carrie Doehring, Ph.D., Iliff Seminary, developed a PTSD program for the Air Force
  • Bruce Rumbold, Ph.D., Palliative Care Senior Lecturer, Public Health, Australia
  • Dallas Little, D.Min., Air Force chaplain (Major) working with PTSD
  • Mark Grace, M.Div., BCC,  Director of Pastoral Care, Baylor Health Care System
  • Paul Simmons, Ph.D., Bioethicist, University of Louisville Medical School
  • George Handzo, M.Div., BCC, Healthcare Chaplaincy and Chaplaincy consultant
  • Patricia Donahoo, D.Min., Director of Women's Ministries, Disciples of Christ
  • Clifford Kuhn, MD, Psyciatrist known as the Laugh Doctor, specialist in integrative medicine
  • Joseph Steier, JD, President, Signature Healthcare
  • Dianne Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality, Signature Healthcare

The conference will make presentations available for access at anytime during the conference and schedule plenary sessions to allow for live discussion with the presenters. We will be scheduling two of these sessions per day, one in late afternoon and one in the evening Eastern US Time, to facilitate planning workdays and other activities around the conference events.

Participate from anywhere:

participateThis will be a global online conference enabling people to participate from wherever they are as long as they have a connection to the Internet. Login from the office or from home and enjoy the benefits of participating in an international conference without the hassle and expense of travel and hotel. Or choose where you want to go and login from there (Hawaii is nice--go to the beach in the morning, participate in the conference through the afternoon, and enjoy the local dining in the evening).

It is not only a conference that provides flexibility in where but also in when you participate. Yes, there will be some scheduled events allowing discussion with the presenters, but there will also be a lot of the conference that you take part in as it is convenient to your schedule--including the presentations and small group discussions.


Conference registration is $120 per person BUT Oates Institute members may register at a substantial discount. And for non-members, we are providing a discounted membership option with the opportunity to register at the member discount rate.

Early registration through May 31:
$39 for members, $120 for non-members -- Membership + conference: $179

Regular registration (June 1-September 20):
$50 for members, $120 for non-members -- Membership + conference: $190

Late registration after September 20:
$69 for members, $139 for non-members -- Membership + conference: $209


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