Welcome to the International Council on Pastoral Care and Counseling website! Our site facilitates the communication of pastoral care and counselling activities around the world and connects care providers with colleagues around the world. In particular, ICPCC supports and develops the work of care and counseling with our regional and international gatherings called congresses. ICPCC exists to educate, equip, and empower individuals and institutions in the theory and practice of pastoral care and counseling. We promote intercultural and community care. We engage diverse socio-political contexts, and we place a high value on interdisciplinary and interfaith dialogue.

The International Council on Pastoral Care and Counseling (ICPCC) is a membership organization that was founded in 1979. Members hail from nearly thirty countries on six continents and are pastors, chaplains, professors, and authors.

The 12th International Congress

12th ICPCC South Africa

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Registration Details, coming soon


The International Council on Pastoral Care and Counseling uses pastoral care and counseling to respond to current needs and situations facing people and communities in the world. We aim to enhance the scientific as well as the academic and praxis quality of the field of pastoral care and counselling.

ICPCC's mission is

To promote the reflective theory and practice of pastoral care and counselling throughout the world.

To inform, train, educate and inspire practitioners of pastoral care and counselling in various contexts in the world.

To enable practitioners of pastoral care and counselling to be resources for one another and to learn from each other's cultures, traditions and practices.

To support and to advocate for the unique and essential dimension of spirituality in the teaching and practice of pastoral care and counselling, i.e. the merging of pastoral care with the spiritual dimension of care and healing (pastoral therapy)

To develop relevant theories in the field of pastoral care and counselling and to this end to engage in interdisciplinary discourse.

To organize and assist in the organizing of conferences, consultations and meetings in various areas of the world.

To support the development of counseling centers and organizations for pastoral care and counseling in various parts of the world.

To increase interaction with other care and counselling organizations.

To enhance research as related to spiritual and religious issues, as well as to the human quest for meaningful living and human dignity within the parameters of a multi-faith approach.


AUGUST 4 – 10, 2019.

A hundred participants from as far afield as Norway, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and the USA joined others from Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, to be educated, to reflect, and to share with each other on the theme of Learning to Serve People of Other Cultures.

Key note speakers and respondents explored the radical hospitality of true service within a world increasingly impacted by forced and chosen migration, technological advances, political and economic disenfranchisement and exploitation, nationalistic ideologies and absolutist religious views. Professor Felix Wilfred named such hospitality as "a cosmopolitanism that represents infinite openness of the spirit toward the other, and willingness to learn from the other and make oneself at home in the world of the other." Professor Daniel Louw named it as "co-existence requiring interpathy and introspection to bring new and vivid expressions of seeing and experiencing the other as different but not a threat." As pastoral carers and counsellors we are challenged to embrace the full experience of the other, allowing ourselves to enter into and come to meet them in their spiritual wholeness, as it is expressed in their diverse social, relational and belief practices and systems.

Accepting this foundational principle for our work confronts us with the complexity of our caregiving. Professor Brenda Ruiz further developed the harsh reality of de-humanising oppression present in our world, where those with unchecked power use methodologies to create overwhelming fear, mistrust and isolation annihilating a person’s connecting story, legitimacy and identity. Professor Emmanuel Lartey asked us "how are we relating to the political context that is the root of suffering?" Recognizing the very real intransigence of some destructive views and prejudices in our world, he urged us to "neither be intimidated or accept their response as OK, but to present our authentic self, as what heals is the authentic genuineness of the self who also recognizes this in the other". For while there is great value in the genuine encounter, it is profoundly symbolic of the healing pathway for wider society.

Our congresses, prize the opportunity to learn from each other in our diversity through small group meetings and twelve different workshops enriched participants’ learning and understanding. Workshops included: Care for the healers following community trauma; Supporting the depressed and suicidal through a cultural frame; Pastoral care in prisons; Pastoral response to disasters; Pastoral response to sexual trafficking and exploitation; Indigenous and Islamic pastoral care and training; Mental health narratives in pastoral care; Becoming aware of our dominant narratives; Nuances in offering care and counselling from several different cultural perspectives.

Since ICPCC began forty years ago in 1979, we have had ten presidents. This congress was delighted to honour four past presidents who were able to attend, Kathy Turner (1991-1995), Emmanuel Y. Lartey (1999-2003), Nalini Arles (2007-2011), Daniel Louw (2011-2015) and retiring president David T. Ito at a celebratory lunch with cultural show.

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The Rt Rev Datuk Ng Moon Hing, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia presented a memento to each of the past presidents and retiring president.

A new executive has been elected for the next four year term: Jennifer Wegener (President - Australia); Heidi Abe (Vice President - Germany); Joseph George (Secretary - India), Catherine Brown (Treasurer - Australia) and Angela Yeo (Communications Officer – Singapore

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From left to right: Joseph George, Jennifer Wegener, Cathy Brown, Angela Yeo & Heidi Abe

The 2019 congress accepted the invitation of South Africa to host our 12 International Congress on Pastoral Care and Counselling after a presentation by convenor Vhumani Magezi, and team.

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Hope to see you all in South Africa!

From left to right: Joseph George, Jennifer Wegener, Cathy Brown, Angela Yeo & Heidi Abe

As participants, this congress challenged and enriched us for our return to our own contexts. We are grateful for the thoughtful hospitality by our hosts and convening team who gathered us together with warmth, and ensured the flow of the congress. It is the fellowship of such times that will remain with us until we meet again at our regional congresses in two years time, and in South Africa for our next international congress in 2023.

May the Peace that transcends all human frailty, mysteriously giving birth to Light and Hope in darkness, be with us all wherever we work and live, in our communities across the world.