Happy New Year! It’s been cold here and the holidays have flown by, but we’re back! We would have been back a week ago but for a lovely flu that took me out last week. Speaking of the flu, I’ve been doing some research into some health care places. Not what you think… CPE.

Very recently I discovered the joy that is preparing your application to send out for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). [Note: I say joy in irony. Complete irony.]

Now, if you’re an MDiv student and you’re Presbyterian Church (USA), you will more than likely have to do this. If you don’t you might want to talk with your Presbytery. CPE is something that is invaluable. For reasons that I can’t explain yet, but I trust my colleagues when they ALL tell me this. It’s not only for others, its for yourself. You delve into who you are as a person, pastor, etc. I’ve already discovered this in the application process. You have to tell who you are. Not just who you are, what you’re made of. And that means letting it all hang out there in the most graceful way possible. Scared yet? You should be. Excited at all? Well, you should be that too.

Right now, I’m only in the process of applying for CPE. It’s hard. And there’s a lot of writing involved. I cried a bit when I did it. Ask me why.Maybe I’ll tell you.

So, I realized how confusing it can be, so I thought I should share what I’m learning with all of you. It’s a very confusing process in my opinion, unless you know exactly what you are doing. And honestly, I don’t. Let’s start at the beginning.

1) There are different places to do CPE. Hospitals are the most common places that I know of to do them, but there are Urban CPE’s as well. Or own JC Cadwallader did the Urban CPE program here. Once you figure out where you want to do CPE, you’re on the right road. First, where are you going to be for CPE, and I mean this as in State. For instance, I’m planning to do mine here in Illinois since I have my apartment here and my dogs. Figure out where you’re going to be.


2) Next, head to the APCE website. Once there, head to the Directories on the side of the page and click on the Accredited Centers. Then from there you can pick the region and state you are looking at.  Once you’re there, you need to know what to look for. Here’s an example: Say you click on the North Central area and you click on Iowa. You’ll be taken to a list where all of the accredited places will be listed. Here’s what you’ll find on each entree.

Iowa Methodist, Lutheran and Blank Children’s Hospital (PLACE),  1200 Pleasant St, Dept of Pastoral Services, Des Moines, IA 50309-1406. (ADDRESS) (2) Phone: (515) 241-6411; Fax: (515) 241-3422; PROGRAMS: CPE (Levels I and II), Supv. CPE   Offerings: W-Sp-Su-F-Yr-E  Stipends: Yr Application Fee : $0. Supervisor(s): Lyle B. Greiner, Robert W. Green

Now, where this can get interesting is with the Offerings section. W denotes winter, Sp is Spring, Su is summer, F is Fall, Yr is year-long and E means extended.

3) You need to know which one you will be doing. Many people choose to do CPE, if they are still in seminary, during the summer. I am applying for the extended. Not all of them will offer the times you might want. For example, not all hospitals that I looked at are doing extended, so I had to cross them off my list.

4) Once you’ve figured out the area, the places and the time amounts you are going to do, you need to get the application. This is the really fun part. Head to the Membership, Fees & Forms section on the side menu and then click on the forms. From there you can download the CPE application. Or, I’ve been so kind as to place it here. Thank me later. Now, the individual websites might also have this, but this one is good for wherever you send it.

5. Fill out the application and write, write, write.

6. After sending off your applications and fees (if they apply), you wait. Now, if you don’t hear back in a reasonable amount of time, then call them. Ask why you haven’t been contacted yet. You never know.

7. Interviews! You’ll have to do these face to face unless otherwise arranged between you and the interviewer. Go to them, dress nice. Eat some breath mints. Eat before you go so your stomach isn’t churning (then eat the breath mints!). Be polite but be honest. Have I missed anything?

I think we’re good. But this is just the beginning. I’m still in the beginning stages, so as I go along with this, I’ll keep you updated. But these are the basics and this will help get you off the ground as far as applications go.


Good luck and peace! ~ Shelley D.

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