The History Of SAAP

On 30 May 1991 three associations joined together to establish the Southern African Association  for Pastoral Work (SAAP). The three associations were the Association for Clinical Pastoral Work, the Association for Pastoral Psychology (SAAPS) and  the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in Southern Africa (ACPESA). The new association was destined to represent a broader group of practitioners, with the interest to promote pastoral work.

SAAPS was established in 1983 and focused on the role which psychology plays in pastoral work. Members were professionals, who had been academically trained in both psychology and theology.
The Association for Clinical Pastoral Work  was established in 1988.  It  consisted of trainees for a MTh in Clinical Pastoral Work being trained and employed as hospital chaplains.They therefore focused on pastoral work in hospitals.

ACPESA focused on disciplined and supervised reflection of real life experiences with people who were hurting. This focus was on in-practice training and not on text books and lectures primarily. Their first training course was offered in 1970. To a limited extent this training is still offered by the Clinical Pastoral Education Training Centre in the Cape.

SAAP has as focus both professional and lay pastoral workers. This includes pastors in hospitals, call centres, private independent practitioners, family and marriage counsellors, pastoral work in congregations, pastoral work for Correctional Service, Police Force chaplains and SANDF chaplains. Lay counsellors doing preventative and supportive work are also part of this group.

SAAP is a Southern African association affiliated with the International Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling, which meets every fourth year. Professor DJ Louw from Stellenbosch is a SAAP member and was elected as chairperson of the ICPCC at their meeting in August 2011 in New Zealand.

The African Association for Pastoral Studies and Counselling met in September 2009 in Stellenbosch. SAAP was represented and the chairperson delivered a speech. Reverend L Mc Master from Stellenbosch is the general secretary of AAPSC .


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Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. - 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NIV)