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Chaplaincy Information & Application

We are pleased to know of your interest in chaplaincy service in an agency of the State of New York. The New York State Council of Churches has agreed to assist the State in its efforts to maintain a professionally competent chaplaincy service by certifying men and women as appropriate persons for the State to employ as Protestant and Orthodox chaplains in the Department of Correctional Services and the Offices of Mental Health, For People with Developmental Disabilities, and Children and Family Services. Therefore, we continue to seek well-qualified men and women to serve in these important ministries.

 For a prompt response, please follow the procedures listed below:

1.   Read the document, "Chaplaincy Certification Criteria for Protestant and Orthodox Clergy in New York State,” below which sets forth the standards by which applicants are judged.

2.   Fill out and return the "Application for Chaplaincy Certification” downloadable at the bottom of this page.

3.   Forward to us a copy of your ordination certificate and a non-refundable processing fee of $50.00. Please make your check or money order payable to the New York State Council of Churches.

4.   Write to supervisors or institutions from which you received special training for ministry, requesting that they forward documentation of your supervised experience to us.

5.   Please enclose a copy of your post-secondary diplomas and have a transcript sent from the institution from which you received the diploma.

 When you are scheduled for an interview, you will be expected to demonstrate your competency and to articulate clearly your concept of ministry in the actual type of setting for which you are applying. Documentation is essential, but we want to emphasize that the interview is of equal importance.

 While many applicants receive certification at the conclusion of the first interview, there are times the Committee cannot initially grant certification. On these occasions, candidates may be invited to return a second time for further consideration and a career track to follow toward future certification is suggested.  When certification is not granted a procedure is available for appealing the decision of the Certification Committee. 

 If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or write our Office. 












The New York State Council of Churches recognizes the need for and right of all persons in state institutions to an effective spiritual ministry. Guided by our sense of oneness in the Body of Christ, the New York State Council of Churches, cooperating with and on behalf of Protestant/Orthodox communions within New York State, affirms the following:

1.   A person’s relationship to God plays a vital role in the healing and rehabilitative process;

2.   The chaplain’s main function is to provide a spiritual ministry and habilitative, rehabilitative services and programs supportive of that ministry; and

3.   Chaplains must be knowledgeable of the context of human services delivery systems, trained to perform specialized pastoral functions, and competent to serve as members of a professional team and to advocate for residents, patients, inmates and staff.



In order to be interviewed by the Certification Committee, candidates must meet the following criteria:

1.   Evidence of Ordination

Documentation that he/she has full ordination as a clergy person in accordance with the stated policy of his/her denomination and is authorized to perform all functions related to that office.

2.   Ecclesiastical Endorsement

A letter from his/her appropriate denominational officer certifying that the candidate is a clergy person in good standing and is recommended for chaplaincy in state institutional settings. Only denominations listed in the current YEARBOOK OF AMERICAN AND CANADIAN CHURCHES will be recognized without further documentation.

3.   Formal Education

a.   Graduation with a bachelors degree from an accredited four-year college.

b.   Completion of Master of Divinity degree from an accredited theological school.                                              OR three years of Biblical/Religious Education at the candidate's approved denominational school                        OR equivalent required by the candidate's denomination for full ordination in addition to graduate course/master degree in closely related field of study (three years full time equivalent).                                                             The candidate must provide documentation of education and training for ministry by requesting official transcripts sent to the New York State Council of Churches.                                             

4.   Pastoral Experience

Evidence of at least three (3) full years of experience in a pastoral setting after ordination. 

5.   Specialized Training

A candidate must have supervised in-service training in pastoral care by a qualified supervisor who will be required to submit to the committee an evaluation of the candidate's abilities.

a.   Completion of one or more Clinical Pastoral Education units;

b.   Supervised in-service training in pastoral counseling, in social case work, in guidance and counseling, or in ministry within a facility of the agency for which he/she is applying;

c.   Advanced studies in ministry, pastoral care, pastoral psychology, guidance and counseling, social work.

6.   Committee Discretion

Any of the above criteria can be waived if, in the judgment of the Committee, a candidate demonstrates an extraordinary degree of maturity, spiritual understanding, worship skills, pastoral concern, counseling competence, and ability to document appropriately.

7.   Professional Competency

Candidates are expected to demonstrate throughout the certifying process a sense of calling to this ministry, good judgement, flexibility, internalized and integrated training, problem-solving skills, a compassion for humanity and insight into his/her own character.



1.   Certification of ordination is to be provided by the candidate and should accompany the application. Ecclesiastical endorsement will be provided by the candidate's denomination at the request of the New York State Council of Churches. No interview will be arranged until these documents are received and approved.

2.   Certification of  “Professional Competency” will be done through the Certification Committee. The candidate will forward supporting documentation on education, training, pastoral experience, and references to the New York State Council of Churches for processing and review by the Committee. The Committee will then conduct an interview, notify the candidate of its action, and make recommendations for continued professional growth.

            3.   After certification the candidate is encouraged to                                                                                                                         a.  Join the New York State Association of Protestant Chaplains; attend one meeting/conference of the                                         Association annually.

                        b.  Maintain good standing with their endorsing denomination

                        c.  Report to the New York State Council of Churches any changes in their approved status, ordination and/or                                 changes in denominational affiliation.


Chaplains certified in one area must be recertified in order to qualify in another area.  For example, Corrections to Mental Health, or vice versa.


1    In the event that a candidate is not satisfied with the decision of the interviewing committee, he/she may request a review of that decision. This request is to be addressed in writing to the Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches. The cause for the appeal should be specified.

2.   Certification is for three years. If a candidate is not employed by a New York State agency within three years of certification, he/she will be required to submit an updated application.

3.   A chaplain’s certification may be reviewed at any time by the New York State Council of Churches. Request for such a review may come from a chaplain, a facility, an agency, a denomination, or other concerned parties.

4.   Certification may be revoked by the Commission on Chaplaincy Services of the New York State Council of Churches for sufficient cause.

Peter Cook,
Mar 31, 2015, 10:17 AM
Peter Cook,
Jan 29, 2016, 8:13 AM