What Is Ecclesiastic Endorsement And Why Is It Important?


An increasing number of Licensed Practitioners, Licensed/Ordained Ministers and even Lay Members of CSL feel called to serve in specialized ministries: from hospital chaplaincy to police and fire, from hospice chaplaincy to pastoral counseling, from prison chaplaincy to CPE supervision, and many more.

Within the broad range and varied titles of specialized ministries, "chaplaincy" denotes institutional or clinical ministry—ministry on behalf of CSL but outside a traditional church setting—in places like hospitals, prisons, and the military services. Chaplains especially must demonstrate the ability to work well independently and to function in religiously and culturally pluralistic environments. 

While Centers for Spiritual Living affirms multiple paths to authorized ministry, it should be noted that organizations employing chaplains and specialized ministers often require a Master of Divinity (or equivalent ministerial Masters) degree from an accredited seminary, credits in Clinical Pastoral Education, and special training; they also may have requirements for age and physical condition.


Many (but not all) specialized ministry settings ask for Ecclesiastical Endorsement by a minister's denomination. There is a distinction between "standing" as an authorized minister within CSL and "Ecclesiastical endorsement" by the Centers for Spiritual Living. The granting of ministerial standing (ordination or licensure) means that a person is deemed sufficiently prepared and equipped for ministry in and on behalf of Centers for Spiritual Living. Ecclesiastical endorsement is verification by the denomination that an authorized minister or practitioner is in good standing, has gained the necessary qualifying education, experience, is willing and capable of working collegially in a religiously and culturally pluralistic setting without prejudice, understands that they are not to evangelize in a specialized ministry setting, and has the maturity to represent Centers for Spiritual Living to the calling institution. 

You may review the basic requirements for Ecclesiastic Endorsement as a Chaplain with CSL on this chart. Or click here for a pdf of the Ecclesiastic Endorsement Manual) Ecclesiastical Endorsement is usually in both professional and government organizations; please note that not all employers require Ecclesiastical Endorsement, however CSL requires that all licensed practitioners and ministers be Ecclesiastically endorsed to work in specialized ministry settings.


Accountability and Support

Another important aspect of becoming endorsed is to hold CSL and its practitioners and minsters in chaplaincy mutually accountable. CSL wants to ensure that its endorsed practitioners and ministers not only uphold the ethical guidelines of the organization but also sees endorsement as way to offer support and continued resources to those working outside the structure of a CSL Center or Focus Ministry.




PLEASE NOTE: The next Ecclesiastic Endorsement Panel is on Saturday, October 27 in Marriottsville, Maryland at the CSCPF Gathering (you are not required to attend the retreat to sit for endorsement panels). Panels will be held at the Bon Secours Retreat Center. You must be present to panel. A complete Application with additional materials and application fee is due September 25, 2018.

The next Ecclesiastic Endorsement Panel to follow the October panel will be held during the CSL Convention in February at CSL Home Office in Golden, CO; exact dates to come. You must be present to panel. Though the CSL Convention will be virtual this year, the panels will be in person at Home Office in Golden. A complete Application with additional materials and application fee for the February panel is due NO LATER THAN JANUARY 5, 2019.

Ecclesiastic Endorsement Panels are held three times a year; at the Annual Spiritual Living Convention (location changes yearly), in June at home office and at either the CSL Ministers Gathering each fall (location changes yearly) or at a conference of one of the Certifying Bodies (APC, CPSP or CSCPF). A complete application, additional materials and application fee are due at least 30 days prior to each panel. Check this website for exact dates.

Although your Ecclesiastic Endorsement Letter will be good for 3 years, you will be required to pay an annual fee of $100 to maintain your endorsement and remain in good standing.

Questions? Contact Rev. Paula Belleggie, Chaplaincy Committee Chair at pbelleggie@csl.org