Is reserved for clergy ordained within the Santana Dharma religious tradition who aspire to provide compassionate care beyond their religious institution as an interfaith chaplain.
What is endorsement?
An endorsement is a professional credential that assures a potential employer that the applicant is an ordained minister of their religious community and they have sufficient calling and training for ministry outside that religious organization. Endorsement implies that the administrative authorities of a candidate’s religious organization has adequately assessed that they are committed to the moral and ethical codes of their religious teachings and a member in good standing. Endorsement creates an agreement or pledge of mutual commitment, accountability, and support between the chaplain (Compassionate Care Provider) and their faith group organization. It also affirms a level of connection and standard of excellence demonstrated by the candidate to the agency where a chaplain will do his or her service.
Karuna Care Endorsement is the certification that permits an ordained minister from Sanatana Dharama religious tradition to minister in specialized services within and beyond their religious organization as their representative. Moreover, receiving an endorsement informs others that a prospective chaplain is a member of good standing with his or her religious organization, their spiritual teachers, organizational authorities, global representatives, and have integrated sufficient competency to represent their faith tradition as a compassionate listening presence for persons experiencing crisis.
Endorsement is required by virtually all government and private agencies that hire chaplains (Compassionate Care Companions). It is also required in order to gain membership and certification in most professional chaplaincy associations. Some organizations require that the endorsement be updated periodically. Receiving an endorsement is a significant step toward achieving the highest levels of professional certification. Sanatana Dharma clergy wishing to be endorsed by ISKCON Communications in order to perform chaplaincy services must follow the process outlined below.
Endorsements are provided by a prospective chaplain’s faith group. Therefore the professional certifying organizations encourage religious groups to establish an endorsement procedure for those seeking certification for chaplaincy positions, pastoral counseling, or clinical pastoral education. Most professional organizations also encourage prospective chaplains to initiate a relationship with their Endorsement Committee early in their training so that they can receive from committee members guidance, discernment, and support. The declaration of endorsement includes the following criteria through a process that may include a prospective chaplain’s writing papers, being interviewed, and sharing in mutual discernment. A candidate aspiring for Endorsement through the International Society for Krishna Consciousness will need to provide the Endorsement Committee with:
- A personal history paper.
- A written Statement of Faith
- Evidence of theological and practical ministry training
- Three (3) Letters of reference
- Evidence that candidate’s character embodies the essential tenets of Sanatana Dharma.
- Evidence of candidate’s ability to work collegially in diverse and pluralistic environments
- A written statement of willingness to adhere to the Code of Ethics prescribed by the Association of Professional Chaplains (www.professionalchaplains.org)
- A minimum of 360 hours of Karuna Care Education].
A Letter of endorsement from the Endorsement Committee will be continuous unless:
- The Compassionate Care Companion has failed to successfully complete the clearance process of a ministry site (hospital, hospice, prison, etc.) where the specialized service was to take place.
- There is a change in the Compassionate Care Companion’s membership status in their religious organization, level or practice within their professional organization, or specialized service. If this happens, the Compassionate Care Companion will need to request the Endorsement Committee for an updated endorsement letter.
- There is a change in the Compassionate Care Companion’s religious affiliation or standing.
- The certifying body (Association for Professional Chaplains or other certifying body) requests a new letter.
- The Compassionate Care Companion receiving endorsement demonstrates an inability to uphold the standards outlined in the Common Code of Ethics for Chaplains, Professional Counselors, Pastoral Educators, and Students.
A validated specialized service shall
1. Give evidence of fidelity to essential teachings of Vedic Wisdom texts, e.g., Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-Charitamrita, etc., and commentaries written by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada [Bhaktivedants Book Trust].
2. Serve and nurture the well-being of others [physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually, etc.] through unconditional compassionate care.
4. Be conducted with a sense of accountability to the Endorsement Committee and any other organizations, agencies, and institutions being served by the Compassionate Care Companion.
5. Include responsible participation in their religious organization’s deliberations, worship, and mission and in the life of the Sanatana Dharma community they are affiliated with.
When an ordained practitioner of a Sanatana Dharma tradition is called to a validated ministry beyond the jurisdiction of their religious organization or congregation, they shall:
- Demonstrate they have a quality of life helpful to sharing the mission and message of the ancient Vedic Wisdom texts and eternal religion of Sanatana Dharma.
- Participate in their local religious community under the jurisdiction of their local temple administration and global representatives.
- Be held accountable by their local temple authorities and live up to a high standard of moral and respectful etiquette in all their relationships within and outside their religious institution.
- Have their endorsement suspended or revoked should they at any time misrepresent the principle of unconditional compassionate care (Bhakti) as the primary guiding principle of ISKCON Karuna Care Education or should their behavior cause physical, emotional, or spiritual harm to those they are meant to serve.
- Have their endorsement suspended or revoked if they fail to live up to the Code of Ethics for Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, Pastoral Educators, and Students.
Applicants for endorsement must
1. Be ordained clergy in their Sanatana Dharma religious tradition and serving under the guidance of an authorized religious teacher within their religious organization.
2. Have either earned a Bhakti Shastri certificate or can demonstrate integration of the core tenets of their religious tradition, e.g., ISKCON, etc.
3. Have completed a minimum of two semesters of supervised Karuna Care Education.
4. Be an active member in good-standing in their local Sanatana Dharma religious community.
5. Demonstrate through words and demeanor that they have sufficient compassion and emotional availability to act as a spiritual companion to suffering persons regardless of those person’s religious perspective or material circumstances. (This level of an applicant’s competence will be assessed by the ISKCON Communications Endorsement Committee through their application materials, references, and interview process.)
“Rambhoru (Karuna Care Education’s Director and Training Supervisor) has decades of professional experience in a variety of spiritual care settings and has keen observation and listening skills. As a facilitator of adult learning, Rambhoru strikes a healthy balance between challenging and nurturing the earnest student toward greater integrity as a compassionate care provider.”
Pranada Comtois, ACBSP
Author of award-winning
“Wise Love: Bhakti and the Search for the Soul of Consciousness”