For Immediate Release
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Columbia, S.C.—Cherry Hill Seminary is proud to announce that faculty member Shane Nelson, M.Div., M.A., has been granted certification as Provisional Board Certified Chaplain (PBCC).
The Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI) is an affiliate of the Association of Professional Chaplains. BCCI certification is the leading standard for professional excellence in the field, a qualification required by many hospitals and other institutions which employ chaplains.
“To the best of the knowledge of the BCCI staff, I am the only Pagan-identifying chaplain who has been provisionally board certified by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification,” said Nelson. “This is a long time coming and has taken many years of graduate work, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), personal reflection, and board interviews. This accomplishment also serves to open the door to become board certified for other Pagan practitioners who are working towards becoming, or currently are, professional chaplains.” Nelson is a faculty member in the Department of Pastoral Counseling & Chaplaincy at Cherry Hill Seminary.
At least one Cherry Hill Seminary graduate is currently pursuing BCCI certification. As mentioned by Nelson, the process is lengthy and rigorous, requiring demonstration of competencies, graduation education, and documented mentored experience.
David Oringderff, Ph.D., longtime Seminary faculty and Chair of the PCC department, said, “Having spent several decades mentoring seminarians and both practicing and aspiring chaplains, I am incredibly gratified to see the results of Shane’s hard work. He is a vital asset to our department, respected by both his peers and students. Sacred Well Congregation is also extremely happy to hear this news because Shane serves on our Board of Directors as Director of Military Affairs.”
Seminary director Holli Emore noted that as more individuals consider themselves solitary or unaffiliated with a religious body, chaplaincy becomes increasingly relevant. “When in crisis or stress, or during a disaster, people still look to those who can support them spiritually. At Cherry Hill Seminary, we emphasize the importance of all our students being able to support others, no matter what their beliefs. Pagans are uniquely positioned to honor diverse spiritual traditions, so Pagan-identifying chaplains can be strong partners on a chaplaincy team.”
Nelson was ordained through Sacred Well Congregation in 2013. He holds a BA in Religion from American Military University, a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwest Christian University, and a MDiv from Starr King School for the Ministry. He is a Certified Drug & Alcohol Counselor Registrant, a Licensed Professional Counseling Registered Intern, and a Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist serving veteran, homeless, and forensic populations as a mental health provider. Nelson is a veteran with over ten years of military service, including three years of service to Sacred Well Congregation as a Distinctive Faith Group Leader (DFGL).
For more information contact CHS@cherryhillseminary.org, 803-862-9088.