Clinical Pastoral Education

The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE) educates professionals and lay persons for ministry in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, mental health centers, congregations and other settings. Through Gundersen Health System Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), you’ll develop skills and understanding to serve people at crossroads in their lives. Some are dealing with serious illnesses; some are aging or facing new challenges; others are dealing with death.

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Download the application and instructions. You can also read more in our program brochure


Our CPE program offers education for ordained and lay ministers to develop into pastoral care. Programs include:

  • Yearlong residency
  • Summer intensive unit
  • Basic extended unit
  • Supervisor in Training Program

Students serve in the hospital, palliative care, hospice and other clinical settings in our community. CPE students work closely with our faculty, Gundersen Health System professionals and with a rich diversity of patients and residents.

Student Programs

Summer CPE

Four to six positions are available for the summer full-time unit beginning the May 30, 2017 and ending August 11, 2017.

CPE residency

Five to six positions are available beginning August 11, 2017, for a 12-month plus one week residency comprised of three four-month terms. Possible clinical assignments are in hospice, palliative care and hospital settings. Prerequisite is successful completion of one CPE unit. Tax-exempt housing allowance is available for ordained CPE residents.

Extended CPE

Four to seven positions are available for part-time CPE, which meets one day per week from mid-October through March. Normally the class will meet on Fridays with the exception of the first two weeks of orientation where students should be prepared to spend two days each week. Each member is on call at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center an average of two times each month. The program is open to clergy, seminarians, and lay persons.

Supervisory residency

One position is available as a supervisory resident on a two-year contract for the purpose of becoming certified as a CPE supervisor.

Prerequisites are:

  • One year of CPE
  • Master of Divinity degree or equivalent
  • On-site interview with CPE screening committee
  • Demonstrated pastoral competence

Tuition per unit

Thanks to generous support from the Gundersen Medical Foundation, tuition cost is only $200 per unit. For the 2017 Residency, third unit tuition will be waived.

Stipends and Benefits

2016 stipends*

  • Extended — $500
  • Summer — $500
  • CPE Residency — $32,500
  • Supervisory — $40,000

* All stipends subject to change based on labor laws and budget approvals.

Tax-exempt housing allowance, days off, housing information for summer students and health insurance are available.


  • Rev. Stephan Brunelle, MDiv, ACPE Supervisor, Spiritual Care Clinical Manager
  • Rev. Ann Tyndall, MDiv, BCC, Staff Chaplain
  • Sharon Lukert, Staff Chaplain
  • Rev. Dean Staffanson, MDiv, Hospice Chaplain
  • Bud Hammes, PhD, Director of Medical Humanities, Gundersen Medical Foundation
  • Tom Harter, PhD, Associate Clinical Ethicist, Gundersen Medical Foundation
  • Danielle Rathke, DNP, RN, Advanced Care Planning
  • Jill Backbourn, RN, Caritas Coach
  • Denise Nicholson, RN, Caritas Coach

Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.

One West Court Square, Suite 325
Decatur, Georgia 30030
(404) 320-1472
Fax: (404) 320-0849

Support CPE

Monetary contributions allow students opportunities for growth and discovery in spiritual meaning.

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Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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