Rev. Dr. John Sandel Set to Retire

Sandel, founding counselor of the Milford Pastoral Counseling Center, retiring at the end of September

April 30, 2020 -

Rev. Dr. John Sandel, the founding counselor of the Milford Pastoral counseling Center is set to retire the first of October, 2020.  This marks the end of a 39 year career of service to the Greater Milford Community.

Sandel is a Presbyterian minister, ordained in 1974 in Lebanon, PA after attending the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley California.  Under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Leslie he earned a Master of Arts degree in  pastoral counseling in addition to the M.Div. degree and the foundation was set for his career. 

In Lebanon he had the opportunity to participate in a Mental Health training program in the outpatient clinic of a Community Mental Health Center while serving as the pastor of a church. This led to his certification by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and further studies.  In 1984 he received the D.Min. degree from the legendary program at Andover Newton Theological School.

John moved to Milford in 1980 and quickly connected with a group of three UCC pastors who met weekly for sharing joys and concerns.  After sharing his background with them they were enthusiastic about the prospect of joining with Sandel to organize the Center for the purpose of providing themselves with a clinician they knew and trusted for the purpose of making referrals.  The idea was warmly received by the Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and UCC churches in town.  In July of 1981 the Center was incorporated as a nonprofit and registered as a 501(c3) corporation.  As the Center grew more pastoral counselors were added.  Included in that group is the Rev. Allie Perry who continues to provide services to this day.

Asked to discuss his experience of pastoral counseling Sandel reported that he found the work to be profoundly enriching, sharing with his clients the struggle with pain, fears and doubts.  With moments of grace in the midst of the hard work of self discovery and facing difficult and painful realities, pastoral counseling affirms the goodness and trustworthiness of life.  From the Church Fathers comes the core conviction that “The Glory of God is the human being fully alive!”  Of course, Sandel notes, there have been frustrations and periods of discouragement.  But these moments pale in comparison to those shining moments of personal growth and new discoveries, which ultimately made the work worthwhile.  Sandel added that he was humbled by the trust placed in him by the men, women and adolescents who sought his professional help. 

John thanks the community for their prayers and support over 39 years.


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