DUBUQUE, Iowa – A new collaboration between University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and St. Luke’s College in Sioux City, Iowa, created a pilot online UDTS Clinical Pastoral Education program.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a form of theological education that takes place in clinical settings where ministry is practiced. Participants learn and develop skills for pastoral care while also reflecting deeper within themselves. Many denominations require an accredited CPE for ordination to ministry.
Completing such a program has been challenging for UDTS’s residential students.
“Our residential students have found it difficult to complete their denominational CPE requirements,” said Susan LeFeber, director of field education and placement with UDTS. “There are no hospitals or care settings near Dubuque accredited for CPE and programs further away require students to be there through mid- to late August, which is impossible with our course schedule. Many students had to wait until after graduation to complete CPE, which ends up postponing their ordination process.”
Roger Cauthon, of St. Luke’s College, who has supervised an innovative form of online CPE for several years, will work with five UDTS students in Dubuque this summer. In this exciting pilot program, Cauthon will travel to UDTS for three face-to-face classes and the students, when not in class, will work in care facilities near their ministry settings and complete online classes. Best of all, the entire course will fit within the UDTS academic schedule. The program includes 400 hours over 12 weeks.
The pilot CPE program is nationally accredited with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the U.S. Department of Education.
Jim Aniol, a United Methodist Local Licensed Pastor serving three rural churches and one small town church in the Southwestern area of Wisconsin, the Driftless Area, is one of the first five students.
“I feel blessed,” Aniol said. “This is just another instance of God throwing the doors wide open so that I can continue in my pastoral care.”
Completing the CPE program is an ordination requirement in the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church. Aniol said in order for him to stay on the ordination track, he must complete the program this summer. He said he appreciated the flexibility of the UDTS pilot CPE program.
“UDTS realizes that some of its students are working or serving churches while they attend seminary and they go to great extremes to ensure that we are able to complete our seminary and work commitments,” Aniol said. “UDTS has been a blessing to me as I am able to serve God and His people in the local church while attending seminary. The curriculum has enhanced my ministry to the local church and the work that I do in the local church is making my seminary work richer.”
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