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February 8, 2020

The University of Kentucky Medical Center was where.

The Spring of 1978 was when.

New life was what.

It all changed.

Over the last two days, several have asked about Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) since you read here what Rose Booker Jones wrote about it.

Rose has done what’s called Advanced CPE.

Depending on one’s Annual Conference or school, Basic or Introductory CPE was a requirement for seminary and/or ordination for many of us.

Basic or Introductory CPE was a semester doing full-time chaplaincy in an institutional setting.

We were involved in working with patients/residents/clients, teaching sessions, one on one consultations with supervisors, written Verbatim Reports shared with a small group of peers and supervisors, and almost Group Therapy analysis of all of this. And I’m probably leaving out something. 

I had an overwhelmingly positive experience in CPE as part of an ecumenical group with talented supervisors. Those experiences greatly shaped me and my ministry.

In fact, when I came bouncing out of seminary and into my first appointment as a parish pastor, it was with the intent of only logging the necessary five years in a church before returning for more training to become a CPE Supervisor myself.

Then I got seduced by the parish and quite happily stayed in what we United Methodists still call “the local church.”

Many Scriptures are foundational to all of this. For me, the bedrock continues to be John 10:10b, especially The Message version, where Christ Jesus says he offers everyone “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” I know that to be true, and CPE is a key reason why.

I found a significant part of that “real” and “more and better life than (I) ever dreamed of” in the Spring of 1978 at The University of Kentucky Medical Center while taking Basic CPE.

Glad you asked; thank you!

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