Clinical Pastoral Education - CPE
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an education experience available to all students by applying to and being accepted by an accredited CPE program. CPE or an equivalent is an ordination requirement for students seeking to be ordained in the ELCA.
The programmatic standards for an approved CPE program include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A specified period of not less than 400 hours, including supervised clinical practice in ministry, structured group, and individual study and reflection.
- Active reporting and evaluation of one's practice of ministry, utilizing a small peer group and individual supervision.
- Supervision by an individual who is appropriately trained, qualified and credentialed by Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
- An inductive, experiential mode of learning that uses the clinical/case method and focuses on one's whole person in the practice of ministry.
- Growth in learning the art of pastoral and spiritual care through conceptual models from theology, ethics, and the behavioral sciences.
- A context of interpersonal ministry which includes potential for involvement in pastoral care, social justice ministry, worship and music, preaching, program management, teaching, etc.
Students do well to begin planning for participation in a CPE program (or equivalent Supervised Clinical Ministry experience) early in their theological education program.
ELCA Candidates are encouraged to complete a unit of CPE before candidacy endorsement and prior to internship. At the very minimum, a candidate must complete the CPE requirement prior to the candidacy approval interview.
Please be in contact with your synod's candidacy committee to determine their expectations regarding timing of CPE.
To obtain list of approved centers and application forms, visit the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education web site, and their ACPE site directory in particular: www.acpe.edu/DirectoriesRegions.html
When application forms are completed they should be sent directly to the Centers to which a student wishes to apply. Applications may be sent to more than one Center at a time.
After you have made arrangements to do your CPE experience, you must register for the CPE course, either as a summer unit or as an extended unit.
At the conclusion of your CPE experience, you will need to turn in to Contextual Learning both:
- your supervisor's evaluation of you
- your own self-evaluation
Your supervisor's evaluation is prepared by your supervisor. Your self-evaluation is the written assignment that you are assigned at the end of the unit. Both evaluations will be read by the director of Contextual Learning, and a notification will be sent to the Registrar that you have completed the requirement. The Registrar then marks your student record with a completed grade.