“I can talk for a long time about what the CPE program was like for me. It’s where I fell in love with chaplaincy.”  

-Daniel Kidder-McQuown

Why did you enroll in CPE?
CPE was recommended to me by my committee on ministry in preparation for ordination. I decided to do a year residency and referred to the official [ACPE] book. We talked as a family and discovered a program in Hawaii, which appealed to me because it was completely out of my comfort zone. That’s why I applied to Interfaith Ministries of Hawaii, which is now Pacific Health Ministry.

What particular program did you participate in?
I participated in the year-long residency (four units) at The Queen’s Medical Center from 1996 to 1997.

CPE Residents 1996-1997

Did you have any preconceived notions about CPE?
I did have some preconceived notions. I heard some of the old stories of it being very hard on a person, but I also listened to some very positive ones. Ultimately, CPE was a place for really discerning one’s path into ministry and growing as a person, so I was more excited than I was anxious.

What was the CPE program like?
I can talk for a long time about what the CPE program at PHM was like for me. It’s where I fell in love with chaplaincy. It [CPE] is a program that combines clinical learning in providing spiritual care to patients and families, along with peer group work and learning from one’s personal supervisor. That combination was phenomenal. I had three of the best supervisors out there, Anke Flohr, John Moody, and Mica Togami.

Mica Togami and Daniel Kidder-McQuown

In preparation for this interview, I re-read my notes from my year with PHM. I was reminded of the many interactions I had with different patients, families, and staff.  One example was ministering to a retired Honolulu police officer who was dying at Queen’s.  I became close to him over multiple visits as his chaplain. He was planning his funeral, and because he was a spear fisherman, his send-off would be at sea. He asked me to be part of his service and be a witness to it. That experience, among many others, has stayed with me in my heart. There is honor in crossing cultures and connecting with another person on that deep level. I was a partner to him on his way to the other side.

The magic of CPE is I had the peer group and individual supervisors to process this pastoral relationship, as well as a lot of other relationships and experiences.  I had the opportunity to influence the lives of my peers.

What personal discoveries did you have during CPE?

My experience at Pacific Health Ministry from 1996-1997, specifically The Queen’s Medical Center, taught me foundational skills. I grew in countless ways

personally and professionally throughout my year. One of the biggest personal growth areas was learning about grace.  I came face to face with my shortcomings and my strengths. I was very vulnerable in the CPE context. I grew to understand grace beyond intellect and within my heart and soul.  I learned the concept from my supervisors, peers, and Hawaiian culture and nature.

CPE at PHM taught me incredibly valuable intercultural skills, translatable to any professional field.

In my field (chaplaincy), these skills were noticed (e.g., I became Director of Global Diversity at college). PHM and Hawaii taught me to embrace diversity as a spiritual value, goal, and lifestyle.


Image on Left: Kidder-McQuown as Director of Global Diversity @ Albion College in 2015

Image on Right: Rev. Al Miles at Kidder-McQuown’s Ordination 2000 at Barrington Congregational Church (UCC) in Rhode Island

Since PHM, I’ve kept in touch with Chaplain Al Miles, who was my clinical supervisor at The Queen’s Medical Center. Over the years, Al grew to be my spiritual director and my friend. Our relationship has been an unexpected and incredible blessing.

I keep learning from my experience in Hawaii. Many of the experiences I had there will continue to take a lifetime to process. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity and hope to give to and serve PHM in the future.

Current Job and CPE impact?
Currently, I am serving as a Chaplain in the Spiritual Care Department of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I have been since March 2020.  It is a large, general hospital (level 1 trauma center) much like The Queen’s Medical Center.  I get to work around a lot of CPE students, who remind me of my own learning at PHM.

Since I left my CPE residency at PHM, I have been an institutional chaplain, including at United Methodist Elder Care (East Providence, Rhode Island), Rady Children’s Hospital (San Diego, California), and Albion College (Albion, Michigan).  I have also served four different churches as their interim pastor.

Kidder-McQuown as Interim Minister at United Church of Christ from 2015-2020

In Hawaii, I explored the religious denomination called the United Church of Christ (UCC).  After leaving PHM, I ended up joining and being ordained in the UCC.  This was one of the greatest impacts of my year in Hawaii.

What would you like others to know about CPE at PHM?
The more you put in, the more you get out. If you want to grow in a multicultural environment, you cannot pick a better place to do your CPE than Pacific Health Ministry. I highly, highly recommend the experience for people, as it will pay off for years to come for anyone considering it. My experience with Pacific Health Ministry has been the foundation for my career, and a blessing for every part of my personal life.

Life during Covid?
My spouse and I have a lot of favorite shows. We’re binge-watching Fringe, a science fiction series from a few years ago.

Here in Michigan, when it is winter, I go into “ramen mode,” where I make my own recipes.  My love of ramen is yet another impact of my year at PHM!

As for COVID, it has about rung us all out, hasn’t it?  Especially those of us in healthcare. For me, I can tell you everything about PPE, and everything about what this virus does is up close and personal. Michigan and our hospital in particular have been hit really hard by COVID.  One thing that keeps me going are the health care workers I get to work with every day; they inspire me.