June 27, 2016
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — An innovative and formative leader of CBF’s chaplaincy and pastoral counseling ministries will receive the highest honor in his profession. George Pickle, who served as CBF’s endorser of chaplains and pastoral counselors, has been named as the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Professional Chaplains, a national association of more than 5,000 chaplains.
The Association of Professional Chaplains serves chaplains in all types of health and human service settings. APC members are involved in chaplaincy care of all persons, respecting their diverse cultures, identities, abilities and beliefs. As a national, nonprofit professional association, APC advocates for quality chaplaincy care of all persons in health care facilities, correctional institutions, long-term care units, rehabilitation centers, hospice, the military and other specialized settings.
Pickle, who retired in June 2013 after 12 years of service as CBF’s endorser of chaplains and pastoral counselors, joined the CBF staff in 2001 after serving as the endorser for hospital, hospice and pastoral counseling at the North American Mission Board. Prior to becoming an endorser, Pickle spent seven years as a chaplain at the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California.
Under Pickle’s leadership, the Fellowship more than doubled its number of endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors, created a structure for the Council on Endorsement and secured a space for the chair of the council on the CBF Coordinating Council. A respected voice in the chaplaincy and pastoral care community, Pickle has been an active member in numerous professional organizations, including the Council on Ministry in Specialized Settings (COMISS Network). In 2003, he was the third recipient of the COMISS Network Medal, preceded only by Erik Erikson and Henri Nouwen.
A graduate of Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, University of California, Los Angeles, and Fuller Theological Seminary, Pickle holds extensive clinical training in both grief and chemical dependency counseling.
Pickle’s colleagues offered glowing endorsements of his tireless ministry in recommending him for the distinguished service award.
“George Pickle has rendered a lifetime of distinguished service as chaplain and endorser, reflecting the highest aspirations of the profession,” said Ann Miller, former chair of the CBF Council on Endorsement.
His colleagues also described him as a friend and as “the Chaplain’s Chaplain” and emphasized the personal impact Pickle had on their lives and the lives of countless others.
“Because of George’s decades of work, hundreds of chaplains and professional counselors have found their place in those professions—and the world is a much better place,” said David Plummer, endorsing executive of The Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches.
Pickle’s impact on the chaplaincy and pastoral counseling ministries is immeasurable, his colleagues noted.
“Chaplain Pickle helped to create a space for chaplains in the newly forming Cooperative Baptist Fellowship,” said Rachel Hunt Hill, chair of the CBF Council on Endorsement. “This Fellowship is my ministry and my theological home, and Chaplain Pickle has helped to connect hundreds of chaplains to this endorsing body, thus allowing and enabling us to continue in the chaplain profession.”
Gerry Hutchinson, CBF endorser for chaplains and pastoral Counselors, echoed Hunt Hill, emphasizing the exemplary career of his predecessor and friend.
“For more than 30 years, George Pickle has provided competent, compassionate spiritual care to others in his role as a chaplain and as an endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors,” Hutchinson said. “In his retirement, Dr. Pickle continues to provide care to individuals and families through a church-sponsored counseling center. He is a worthy exemplar of one who provided distinguished service in the field of chaplaincy ministries.”
Pickle was honored June 25 in Orlando, Florida, at the annual gathering of the Association of Professional Counselors.
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.