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 in other specialized settings. Through 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.

CPE students work closely with our faculty, Gundersen Health System professionals and with a rich diversity of patients and residents.

Those involved in our residency program have the opportunity for ministry placements at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, palliative care or hospice.

Gundersen Health System is a fully accredited ACPE center offering certified units of Level I and II CPE and CPE Supervisory Education. Because of our rich diversity of learning opportunities and our outstanding faculty, our CPE program is competitive with the finest CPE programs in the United States.

Who can be a CPE student?

  • Ordained clergy
  • Religious sisters and brothers
  • Seminarians
  • Allied health professionals
  • Lay persons

Current Students

The CPE student, whether a resident, extended unit intern or summer intern, works closely with our staff chaplains and other faculty, Gundersen healthcare professionals and with a rich diversity of patients, residents or clients.

Our students come from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds. They are available to be contacted if you wish to speak with them about any of our programs.

Student Positions Available

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

CPE Residency
Five to six positions are available beginning August 21, 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 beginning in October 6, 2016. 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

  1. One year of CPE
  2. Master of Divinity degree or equivalent
  3. On-site interview with CPE screening committee
  4. Demonstrated pastoral competence

Tuition Per Unit
Thanks to generous support from the Gundersen Medical Foundation, tuition cost is only $200 per unit. For the 2016 Residency, tuition will be waived.

2016 Stipends*
Extended — $500
Summer — $500
CPE Residency — $32,100
Supervisory — $36,000
*All stipends are subject to budget approvals.

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

Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
One West Court Square, Suite 325
Decatur, Georgia 30030
(404) 320-1472
Fax: (404) 320-0849

Application & Instructions for Clinical Pastoral Education

Please download the application and instructions in PDF or Word format. If you do not have the free PDF reader on your computer, please click here.


  • 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

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Contact Us

Call (608) 775-3620 or (608) 775-3620 or
  (800) 362-9567, ext. 53620 (800) 362-9567, ext. 53620
Fax (608) 775-3557

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