Where I’m at…
For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m currently in the midst of a part of my seminary education called Clinical Pastoral Education. Essentially, it’s an internship as a hospital chaplain (although there are a variety of different “clinical” settings it can take place in, such as nursing homes, prisons, and other various facilities, the most common experience among seminarians is to do it in a hospital.) But, there’s also a very clear focus on the education part of the name, with anywhere from 9-12 hours of my 40ish+ hour work-week being dedicated to classes, group discussions, and individual meetings with my supervisor.
ELCA seminarians are required to do one unit of CPE, typically accomplished through a full-time summer internship. I think the goal is to teach seminarians skills for pastoral care in a real-life environment, but CPE has value far beyond that. A large part of the experience is reflective, and you learn a lot about yourself in the process too.
I’ve seen people from all walks of life in all stages of life, from birth to death and everywhere in between. I even got the opportunity to do a baptism last week of a child who may never know life outside of the hospital; my first, and probably one of the only ones I will do until I am ordained. It was a surreal experience, one that I will likely never forget. I was honored to be part of welcoming that child into the family of God.
As CPE begins to wind down over the next few weeks, I’ll have a bit more time, which will hopefully allow me to write a bit more about the experience, as well as what’s coming up for me this coming year.