2. Critical Reflection on Praxes of Ministry (CPE – Clinical Pastoral Education)

The second component is Critical Reflection on Praxes of Ministry, which normally follows 1. Ministerial Fieldwork and precedes 3. Ministerial Immersion.

This is a peer group-based action-reflection program in which students foster their theological understandings of pastoral ministry as they intentionally integrate their praxes of ministry, systematic theology, and the formation of their personal and ministerial identity.  This requirement is normally fulfilled by participating in a basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).

The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education is an independent entity, separate from the seminary, that provides training for spiritual care professionals.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, along with several other major denominations, requires the successful completion of CPE for its ministerial candidates.  CPE sites can be found at many hospitals and clinical institutions around the country, including some sites which also offer “on-line” or “distance” units (such as Johns Hopkins Hospital).  Some sites also offer “extended” units which can be helpful to some part-time students.

Full-time ELCA candidates and others are advised to apply to a CPE site(s) in the fall of their first year for the following summer’s eleven-week program.

The ACPE website has a national directory of sites.  Each fall, the seminary’s Contextual Formation staff provides introductory information, along with a “CPE Day” when supervisors from various regional sites are invited to both campuses to offer “initial interviews” with interested students.

For students from other traditions who are unable to enroll in even an “on-line” CPE unit, the Director of Contextual Formation will work with them to create a peer group-based action-reflection program.  Again, normally a student will complete this Critical Reflection on Praxes of Ministry requirement prior to beginning their Ministerial Immersion experience, though exceptions may be granted by the Director of Contextual Formation.

Information, Dates and Deadlines, Application Procedure

General information, the student application, and a listing of sites in each state are available on the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education’s website.

ULS CPE Application Procedure with Important Dates

Contextual Formation Registration Form