Recently, I have been talking with a number of military chaplains. Many have never had even one unit of CPE although they would like to. They know that clinical pastoral training would benefit their ministry but for a variety of reasons haven’t had the opportunity.
Taking the initiative themselves, a small group of mostly military chaplains is preparing to launch a CPE unit in association with a nearby seminary which has never before offered CPE (but with CPSP’s consumer-friendly approach it was doable). Another is in his second extended unit at a community hospital. His CPSP CPE Supervisor, along with the manager of the chaplaincy department, made an exception to tradition and generously allowed him to forego pastoral duties at the hospital and, instead, he is using his military unit as a clinical site.
It occurred to me as a former Army Chaplain, both Active Duty and Reserve, and currently the chaplaincy endorser for my faith community, that this scenario and these chaplains and their stories are most likely not rare, isolated cases.
That’s why, with the encouragement of SP community to help us get a better idea of how CPE is being deployed now -- and how we may be able to approach it more creatively within the military community.
Specifically, over the next two or three weeks, I’m asking members of the CPSP community to identify themselves if:
1. You are military of any component (Active, Guard, Reserve or Former or Retired) and have taken a unit or more of CPE. If so, perhaps you have a story that you’re willing to share about your CPE experience; or
2. You are a CPE Diplomate and live near a military installation or military activity and may be willing to allow military chaplains to use their usual ministry contexts as their clinical site (or at least entertain the possibility); or
3. You are conducting internet-based CPE and are working or have worked with military chaplains (or interested in possibly doing so).
You can contact me at Chaplaincy@Spirit-filled.org. I look forward to hearing from you and learning from your experiences, anecdotes and creativity!