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Clinical Pastoral Education Program

2021/2022 CPE Residency Program

  • We begin accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Residency Program on November 1, 2020.
  • Please submit any questions on our Contact Us page

2021 Level I Extended Unit

  • This unit is typically offered annually. Unfortunately, we will not offer the Level I Extended Unit in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and our search for a new Certified Educator. We will announce the dates for the 2022 Extended Program in late summer 2021.
  • Please submit and questions on our Contact Us page

2021 Level 1 Summer CPE Program

  • If you were accepted for the 2020 Summer Unit which was cancelled due to the pandemic, you will receive priority consideration if we offer a 2021 Level I Summer Program.
  • Plans for this program are tentative at this time. We will make a final decision by March 31, 2021
  • Please submit any questions on our Contact Us page

Deaconess Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a method of learning and improving pastoral skills in a clinical setting under supervision. The origins of the CPE movement date back to the early part of the 20th century in the work of William Keller, Richard Cabot, Helen Flanders Dunbar, and Anton Boisen.  It was Boisen who suggested that theological inquiry could best be promoted through the study of "living human documents."  CPE has as its goal the integration of pastoral ministry, theology, psychology, and other behavioral sciences. The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), was formed in 1967 when several unrelated clinical education organizations merged to form one standard-setting, accrediting and certifying body. In 2016, the association adopted a new name - ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education.  

Clinical Pastoral Education at Deaconess

ACPE-accredited programs have been conducted at Deaconess since 1969. Levels I and II units of CPE are presently offered. Participants are enabled to increase their pastoral effectiveness through personal growth and the development of professional competence.  In addition to providing pastoral care to patients, families, and staff, each participant is encouraged to develop learning objectives relevant to his/her needs. These objectives are addressed through pastoral care experiences, seminars, case conferences, interpersonal group seminars, and individual interviews.

Deaconess Health System 

In 1892, a group of laypersons and clergy of Evansville formed the Protestant Deaconess Association, laying the groundwork for Deaconess Hospital.  For the first 30 years of its history, the hospital was administered by nurses who were sisters of the Protestant Deaconess Order.  Sister Sophia Bartelt was the last Sister at Deaconess and was 92 years old at the time of her death in 1979.

The Religious Life Department has been an integral part of the hospital milieu for the past seventy-three years beginning with the ministry of Chaplain Carl Scherzer.  Departmental staff is engaged in patient care, personnel concerns, community service and educational programs.  Margaret C. Matacale, an ACPE Certified Educator, and five staff chaplains are currently on the staff of the Religious Life Department.

While Deaconess has changed almost daily to remain at the forefront of modern medicine, one thing has remained constant: Deaconess continues to value its Christian heritage and relationship to the United Church of Christ. In recent years, Deaconess has developed to become the Deaconess Health System, which includes a network of inpatient, outpatient facilities, and clinics in the tristate area.

Learn more about Deaconess Health System​

To learn more about ACPE-accredited programs at Deaconess, contact the Religious Life Department at 812-450-2260 or go to the Contact Us tab to request information. An ACPE certified educator will contact you promptly by email or telephone.

Programs accredited by:



ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education
55 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Suite 835

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