Annual Conference

September 8-9, 2023
Memphis Theological Seminary
168 E. Pkwy S., Memphis, TN 38104
The conference meeting will be located on campus in Founders Hall.

Conference Parking
Lindenwood Christian Church
2400 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38112

Please do not park in the Memphis Theological Seminary numbered parking spots for their faculty/staff. Thank you!

Conference Schedule

Friday, September 8
4:30-4:55PM Registration
5:00PM Annual Business Meeting / 5:45PM Dinner
6:25PM Welcome & Introductions
6:30PM Dr. Jennifer Crane Crenshaw – Moral Injury
8:30-9:00PM Social

Saturday, September 9
8:30AM Registration opens
8:45AM Breakfast
9:30AM Welcome & Introductions
9:40-11:00AM Dr. Peter R. Gathje – Moral Perplexity
11:00AM Break
11:10-12:30PM Educational Program Continues
12:30PM Conference concludes / 1:00PM Optional Lunch out together [Location TBD]

Friday Evening, Sept. 8:
Moral Injury
Dr. Jennifer Crane Crenshaw  (2 CE)

The Chief of Chaplain Services at Tennessee Valley Health Care, M. Steve Sexton, often reminds one that he believes the first causality of military combat is the God (or faith) of one’s childhood. 

Moral injury is understood to be the strong cognitive and emotional response that can occur following events that violate a person’s moral or ethical code. Potentially morally injurious events include a person’s own or other people’s acts of omission or commission, or betrayal by a trusted person in a high-stakes situation. It is often seen in relationship to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder although PTSD often follows a threat-based trauma, while moral injuries do not necessarily involve a threat to life.

One’s morality or sense of what is right and wrong comes from family, faith, and community. People find comfort and trust in the idea that they and others are guided by the same principles. Moral values often dictate that people should do things that contribute to a greater good and members of the community should value, trust, and defend each other. Doing things that violate one’s moral code can cause conflict and distress in an individual. It is also difficult when others’ moral failures significantly affect them. When violations of morality occur, people can lose a sense of the goodness and trustworthiness of themselves, others, and the world, which can severely affect quality of life and functioning. Although these ideas have been depicted in art, literature, and religion for centuries, the term moral injury is recent. By labeling this struggle, clinicians can define, assess, treat, and study the impact of moral violations.  

I hope the topic will draw you in, cause reflection on the invitation you offer your clients to explore and help us have a lively time of learning from one another. 

Dr. Jennifer Crane Crenshaw, LCPT

Jennifer Crane Crenshaw has served as a full time clinical staff member of the Chaplain Service at Tennessee Valley Health Care System (TVHS) since 2008. Prior to that, she served as a chaplain at a local residential hospice and a pastoral counselor with the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee. She achieved Fellow level with AAPC, and has been engaged with TNAPT since its inception.

She has been part of the formation of the Palliative Care Consult team for TVHS, and serves half of her time in this capacity and the other half serving primarily female veterans in outpatient care. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ, is licensed in the state of Tennessee as a clinical pastoral therapist and is a board certified chaplain through NAVAC with an advanced certification for Palliative Care and Hospice. During the course of her tenure she, has co-lead both grief groups and Post Traumatic Stress groups, and in the 2016-2018 she completed an advanced certification in what was then the Mental Health and Integration Chaplain program offered by the Veteran’s Affairs and the Department of Defense. She holds a BA from Carleton College, and her M.Div, and D.Min from Vanderbilt Divinity School. And as her conference minister once said “she has been around and serving longer than Methuselah”

Learning Objectives:

  1. Have a working definition of moral injury-define and describe characteristics of moral injury
  2. Recognize when moral injury is being presented (do you have a developed screening in your practice?)
  3. Develop a plan of care for working with one who presents with moral injuries.

Saturday Morning, Sept. 9:
Moral Perplexity
Dr. Peter R. Gathje  (3 CE)

In this class we will enter into discussion and discernment around the experience of moral perplexity. Our first task will be to identify sources and causes of moral perplexity. Related to this task is an effort to define what we mean by moral perplexity. Our second task will be draw from that definition in order to discuss how moral perplexity is different from moral relativism and moral absolutism. Our third task will be to consider how moral perplexity reveals important contours in our moral lives, and thus how moral perplexity may surface rival moral goods in complex moral questions. Finally, we will consider together how we may navigate moral perplexity in our moral lives in a manner that encourages human moral development flourishing. In each of these tasks we will consider pressing moral issues we face in these times.

Dr. Peter R. Gathje

Dr. Peter Gathje is Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean and Professor of Christian Ethics at Memphis Theological Seminary. His PhD in Ethics and Society is from Emory University. He is also a founder and co-director of Manna House, a place of hospitality in the Catholic Worker tradition located in Memphis. For the past 17 years Manna House has served people on the streets and others in poverty in the midtown and downtown areas of Memphis.

In addition to the seminary and Manna House, Dr. Gathje is an avid cyclist and walker, who also enjoys reading novels, history, and theology. He and his wife Kathleen have one daughter, age eight. Originally from Minnesota, Dr. Gathje has lived in Florida, Georgia, and Michigan, before settling in Memphis 27 years ago.

His research interests include hospitality, homelessness, holiness, farming and food, state violence, poverty, racism, and virtue ethics. In addition to co-editing a book on Christian ethics, Doing Right and Being Good: Catholic and Protestant Readings in Christian Ethics (2005), Dr. Gathje has written two books about the Open Door Community, Sharing the Bread of Life: Hospitality and Resistance at the Open Door Community, (2006/2012), and Christ Comes in the Stranger’s Guise: A History of the Open Door Community, (1991) and edited a third, A Work of Hospitality: The Open Door Reader, (2002). He is currently working on a book addressing the work of hospitality. He publishes a blog at

Learning Objectives:

  1. Knowledge of the basic contours of what constitutes moral perplexity and what is at stake in moral perplexity.
  2. An ability to distinguish moral perplexity from moral confusion, moral relativism, and moral absolutism.
  3. Practice in acknowledging and embracing moral perplexity as helpful in the development of moral life, moral character, and moral counseling.

Previous Annual Conference (2022)

Connecting Spirituality in Pastoral Counseling: Mindfulness, Mantras, and Memories
Dr. Ryan Noel Fraser
Presentation available on the TNAPT YouTube Channel.

Learning Objectives:

Dr. Mark Loftis
Presentation available on the TNAPT YouTube Channel.

Presentation Description:

Suicidology is now over 60 years old as an area of study in the U.S. Beginning with the pioneering work of Dr. Edwin Shneidman, many others have contributed to research of suicide and suicidal behaviors, yet rates of suicide remain high and in certain groups have increased over the past few decades. The speaker will provide an overview of the study of suicide beginning with Shneidman’s work and look at contemporary theories and interventions.

Previous Annual Conference (2021)

Spiritual and Racial Abuse and Healing: Clinical and Ethical Response

Spiritual Abuse and Healing – Clinical and Ethical Response
Dr. David Thornton
Presentation available on the TNAPT YouTube Channel.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To focus our understanding of the nature of spiritual abuse;
  2. To recognize the wide variety of forms it takes in different faith contexts; and
  3. To identify therapeutic strategies and responses

Racial Abuse and Healing – Clinical and Ethical Response
J. Bernard Kynes, Jr.
Presentation available on the TNAPT YouTube Channel.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To discuss concepts of Racial Abuse and its implications for individual, family, and group counseling psychotherapy.
  2. To discuss the ethical issues and implications of addressing Racial Abuse concerns for therapists and their clients.
  3. And, to discuss and consider practical ways to ethically and competently manage the trauma experienced from Racial Abuse dilemmas in clinical practice.