Changes in AAPC SE: Part 2 of 4

Dear Members and Friends of the Southeast Region:

This is part two of a four-part email series to update you on work our Executive Committee has been doing and to invite you into conversation with us about that work. The world is receptive and ready for the gifts AAPC has to share. We need your wisdom and energy to help us reshape our region so that we can share these gifts collectively.

In part one—check your July 14 inbox if you missed it—we reviewed the major changes in AAPC of the past year and the work the Southeast Region has begun in response to those changes. We also shared some of the questions about identity, vision, and mission that the Executive Committee has found it helpful to be discussing at this critical time in the life of our organization.

Towards a Vision Statement

After much reflection and conversation during the past year, we then asked ourselves to write a vision statement for the Southeast Region. We learned about organizations that successfully reinvent themselves and those that do not. One of the factors shared by the successful organizations is a clear vision: an understanding of who it is they’re trying to be in the world and what they’re trying to do.

Developing a vision statement is a challenging but important task, as you surely know. We realized how difficult it is to say who we are and what we do in a few, brief words. But we learned that organizations that successfully reinvent themselves (as opposed to those that do not) all have a clear vision of who they’re trying to be in the world and what they’re trying to do.

We do want our organization to reinvent itself, and so we pushed ourselves to move beyond reflecting and conversing, to do some actual writing. As we worked towards a vision statement, we found that we wanted it to meet all these criteria:

1. That it be short. One of the most important ways the statement will be used is on the front page of our regional website. We studied other membership organization websites to learn what’s effective and what’s not. We learned that “lots of words” on websites don’t get read. So we disciplined ourselves to make it as short as possible. This means that we would not require the statement to state everything about us with precision and thoroughness.

2. That it be a tool for outreach and, therefore, that it be written in language understandable to people who are not currently part of our circle. We learned that organizations with an internally focused vision have a shorter life than those with an externally focused vision. Organizations who describe themselves with “insider language” live as long as the insiders do. We want our vision statement to be a hook for practitioners who are not currently among us.

3. That it be, as much as possible, congruent with the identity and practice of current members--though perhaps not using the same language we are accustomed to using.

4. That it speak to head and heart, with a slight leaning towards heart. Research is clear that people make choices emotionally, then justify choices rationally and after the fact. So when we had to choose between head words and heart words, we preferred heart words.

5. That it be inviting to professionals who practice psychotherapy and also to those who do not. When we asked “who do we hope will be with us in ten years?” (see the July 14 email), we found ourselves hoping that pastors, spiritual directors, public health workers, physicians, nurses, life coaches, and others will be part of us. We believe that our way of being together and the professional development we offer can be of value to them and that their perspectives can be of value to us. We want the vision statement to make space for more than psychotherapists.

6. That it be capable of guiding us as we consider future ideas, goals, and actions.

This is a lot to ask of one short statement!

Two Options

After much work—and we do mean much!--we developed two alternatives. We share them both with you here, and we would like your feedback. You can send that to us in writing (by replying to this email), or you can come think out loud with us at one of our Town Hall Meetings (schedule below). We are also getting feedback from focus groups of people outside our membership (see criteria 2 above). We will work with all this feedback and send you a statement (in early October) that we will vote to approve (or not) at Kanuga.

Here are the two vision statement alternatives:

1. “We are a welcoming community of spiritually-aware professionals promoting and deepening the practice of compassion, curiosity, and courage in our lives and in the world.”

2. “We are an inclusive community, grounded in wisdom of diverse spiritual and psychological traditions, providing education, connection, and support for all persons engaged in vocations of compassion, transformation, and healing.”

What We’d Like from You

1. Notice your responses to the two statements. Notice your “heart” response and your “head” response. Notice what works for you and what doesn’t, what gladdens you and what worries you. Notice what questions arise? Read the criteria again to understand all we’re aiming for. What would you change to meet these criteria?

2. Share your responses with us. Reply to this email. Come to one of the Town Hall Meetings. Or both.

Town Hall Meeting Schedule

Many of you attended our Town Hall Meetings last summer. Those were meaningful and helpful gatherings—we are more wise together than we are apart—and we are asking you to join us again this summer. There are opportunities to meet face-to-face and to meet online and by phone. Please reply to the host identified for each meeting to let us know to expect you. (For online meetings, the host will send you instructions about how to log in.)

August 6 10-11:30 am Online gathering

Hosted by Russell Jones

Please confirm to

Instructions will be emailed to you after you register

August 12 10-11:30 am Asheville Hosted by Russell Jones

239 South French Broad Avenue

Please confirm to

August 12 12-1:30 pm Durham Hosted by Kathryn Summers

Westminster Presbyterian

3639 Old Chapel Hill Road

Please confirm to

August 12 12-1:30 pm Online gathering for young members Hosted by Russell Jones

Please confirm to

Instructions will be emailed to you after you register

August 18 12-1:30 pm Memphis

Hosted by Jim Coffman

Pastoral Counseling Mid-South Ctr.

Emmanuel UMC

2404 Kirby Road

Please confirm to (901) 728-6525

August 19 12-1:30 pm Charlotte Hosted by John Arey

Providence UMC

2810 Providence Road

Please confirm to

August 20 1:00-2:30 pm Atlanta

Hosted by David Harris

Rock Springs Positive Coaching, Caring and Counseling, Inc.

1708 Peachtree Street NW

# 425

Please confirm to or (404) 441-2347

August 26 12-1:30 pm Online gathering Hosted by Kathryn Summers

Please confirm to

Instructions will be emailed to you after you register

August 27 11 am -12:30 pm Raleigh

Hosted Robert Cooke and David Verner

White Memorial Presbyterian

1704 Oberlin Road

(in the Calvin Buildling, room C200) Please confirm to or by text (919) 816-6797

Coming Tomorrow

We are reorganizing our committee structure into workgroups to make it easier for us to connect and share this work. We’ll lay that out for you tomorrow.

Thank you for reading all this and for the feedback you will offer. We are looking forward to hearing from you.


Your Executive Committee

John Arey, Past-Chair of SE Region (

Dick Bruehl, Co-Chair of Local Chapters Committee (

Jim Coffman, Treasurer, Chair of Finance Committee (

Robert Cooke, Chair of Theological and Social Concerns Committee (

John Eddinger, Chair of Certification Committee (

Andrew Gee, Chair of Advocacy Committee (

David Harris, Chair of Leadership Development Committee (

JoEllen Holmes, Chair of Program Committee (

Russell Jones, Chair (

Rachel Matthews, Secretary (

Chris O’Rear, Chair of Communications Committee (

Donna Scott, Co-Chair of Local Chapters Committee (

Kathryn Summers, Vice-Chair (

David Verner, Chair of Personal and Pastoral Concerns Committee (

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We are a welcoming community of therapists and other professionals grounded in diverse spiritual traditions and communities of faith. Informed by research and science, we offer education, connection, and support for those engaged in vocations of compassion, transformation, and healing.

We invite all healing practitioners – pastoral counselors, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, ministers, coaches, physicians, nurses, public health workers, students in training in these professions, and others – to join us in this good work. ​ ~Adopted 2016

© 2016 by AAPC SE REGION