Application period opens for online CPE program

The Rev. Jeffery Scheer greets residents at Laclede Groves, a Lutheran Senior Services facility in Webster Groves, Mo. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) and LCMS Specialized Pastoral Ministry (SPM) are teaming up to host the first online, full-credit Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, according to the Rev. Joel Hempel, director of SPM.

The course, which is meant for ordained and commissioned ministers in the LCMS, will run from the week of July 10 to the week of Dec. 11. Hempel and the Rev. Jeffery Scheer, LSS CPE administrator, will serve as co-supervisors.

The Rev. Doug Nicely, chaplain at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Ill., prays with a patient. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

The class will meet from 4-9 p.m. Central time one evening per week via the online platform Zoom. Class time will include devotions, presentations with discussion, written verbatim accounts of pastoral-care visits, interpersonal-relations group and in-class supervised ministry with each other.

Each week, students also will complete 14 hours of required ministry, including seven hours of one-on-one pastoral care.

“It’s an action-reflection kind of learning,” Hempel said. “People engage in ministry, and then they step back and reflect: What went wrong? What went right?”

To be accepted into the program, students must have one or more locations where they can complete the required ministry hours outside of class — whether at a local hospital, nursing home or the congregation to which they have been called.

This course, said Hempel, is the first step to becoming a full-time institutional chaplain. However, many people who enroll in it simply want to develop their pastoral counseling skills or explore a vocational change.

“I believe that currently, a number of people are not being served because they cannot get to a CPE center to receive the training,” Scheer said, “and so this opportunity will present this type of learning to that group of folks.”

The cost for the program is $1,500, although SPM is offering scholarships of up to $1,000 for those who qualify.

To learn more, visit education/ and choose “E-Extended Unit” when filling out the online application (under “Applying for Admission” at the bottom of the page). To apply for the scholarship, contact the SPM office at

Posted April 27, 2017


Reporter Online is the Web version of Reporter, the official newspaper of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

2 Responses to Application period opens for online CPE program

  1. BetAnn April 28, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    I was wondering how many credits you will receive when this 14 week session is complete?

    • LCMS Church Information Center May 2, 2017 at 6:23 am #

      Thank you for your comment. Please call 888-843-5267 so we can put you in touch with CPE staff.

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