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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.

Apply Today

Download the application and instructions. You can also read more in our program brochure. Once your application is complete, submit it via email to


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
  • Certified Educator Candidate 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.

Program information

Summer CPE

Four to six positions are available for the summer full-time unit beginning May 28, 2019 and ending August 9, 2019.

CPE residency

Five to six positions are available beginning August 19, 2019, 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. Pre-requisite 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. Our next Extended CPE unit begins October 3, 2019 and ends March 6, 2020.

Certified Educator Candidate Training Program

One position is available as a certified educator candidate on a two-year contract for the purpose of becoming certified as a CPE educator.

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 Gundersen Medical Foundation, tuition cost is only $200 per unit. For the 2019 Residency, third unit tuition may be waived, subject to approval.

Stipends and Benefits

2019 stipends*

  • Extended — $500-$700 (subject to approval)
  • Summer — $500-$700 (subject to approval)
  • CPE Residency — $38,250
  • Supervisory — $48,500

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

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


  • Rev. Stephan Brunelle, MDiv, ACPE Certified Educator, Clinical Manager
  • Sharon Lukert, ACPE Certified Candidate Educator
  • Sr. Marcia Baumert, MTS, BCC
  • Rev. Christian Ricker, MDiv, BCC
  • Rev. Dean Staffanson, MDiv, Hospice Chaplain
  • Rev. Marvin Jonasen, MDiv
  • Tara Shilts, BCC, CEC
  • Thomas Harter, PhD, Clinical Ethics
  • Karen Hayter, MS, RN, PhD
  • Andrew Borgert, PhD, Biostatistician
  • Eileen Severson, MLIS
  • Jill Backbourn, RN, Caritas Coach
  • Denise Nicholson, RN, Caritas Coach

Contact Spiritual Care

Call: (608) 775-3620

Fax: (608) 775-3557


Spiritual Care
Gundersen Health System
1900 South Ave, H01-022
La Crosse, WI 54601

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.

Donate Today

Love + Medicine

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

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