Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) offers students the opportunity to develop and integrate theological knowledge and professional skills in a wide variety of clinical contexts such as hospitals, extended care facilities, social service and social justice organizations, and congregational settings. The primary locus of learning are the people and relationships affected by the act of giving spiritual care, including both the one who receives and the one who gives that care. Some methods employed to develop this reflective practice include verbatims, journaling, peer group sessions, and one-on-one conversations with a CPE supervisor.
M.Div. candidates will take one unit of CPE during their academic program. A single CPE unit is 400 hours and is offered in a variety of formats ranging from a 3-month full-time unit to a 9-month part-time unit. In each case, the experience includes 300 hours of ministry in a clinical or congregational context. The remaining 100 hours of reflective work is divided between peer group reflection, one-on-one meetings with a CPE supervisor, and didactic units focusing on skills and reflective practices for ministry. See the sections below for more information on how to apply, begin, and get credit for CPE.
Students do well to begin planning for participation in a CPE program (or equivalent Supervised Clinical Ministry experience) early in their theological education program.
The Association Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) accredits and oversees sites and supervisors across the United States. To review available ACPE-accredited sites, visit www.acpe.edu. Students who intend to pursue CPE in the Twin Cities or the upper Midwest can review available openings at the North Central Regional website at www.ncracpe.org.
Once you have selected several sites, you may find the common application at www.acpe.edu. Complete and send this common application to each of the sites you have selected. You will subsequently be invited to interview and/or be offered a place in the program. After you’ve applied, interviewed, and been accepted into a CPE program, you’ll need to:
- Pay the required deposit to a CPE center in order to secure a program spot.
- Obtain a receipt for the deposit amount, retaining it for future reimbursement.
- Register for CPE in the correct academic term. Sign up for FE 0500 for Summer Full-Time, FE0505 for Fall or Spring Part-Time, or FE0509 or Extended Part-Time.
Once CPE has started, bring an invoice for the outstanding balance as well as the deposit receipt to the Business Office (please include your student ID# on the invoice and receipt). The Business Office will then pay the outstanding balance directly to the CPE site and refund the student for the deposit once tuition and scholarships/loans for the academic term have been applied to their Luther Seminary account.
To receive credit for completion of this pass/fail course, the student will turn in a copy of both the CPE supervisor’s and the student’s final evaluation to the office of Contextual Learning. 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.
A student whose candidacy committee requires CPE for the ordination process must send the same evaluations directly to their candidacy committee.
If you have questions about taking CPE for non-credit, please see the office of Contextual Learning.