Participants Reflect on their Clinical Pastoral Education Experience

Published On: February 10, 2022


I learned something from each member but the common lesson was to go beyond what I thought I was capable of. Taking initiative, speaking up, paying attention to detail, using experience and stores. All these and so much more I gained from them and attempted to use in our sessions.

My understanding of the pastoral calling was grown throughout this process. My understanding of the complexity of people made in the image of God was grown. I was challenged to see the grace of God present in everyone’s journey of growth and this is something of the Spirit of God. We don’t have to have all the answers or be the perfect pastor. Sometimes, it’s important to wait and to be patient with those you’re serving in order to see God move through them and also through yourself.

This program was challenging and rewarding. I was pushed in a way that I wasn’t before through the engagement and personal growth that the work required. I learned about myself; my strengths and weaknesses. This was not a typical “course” I’ve ever taken. But I feel more equipped, more confident, and more knowledgeable as a result and am better prepared as a pastor as a result. The course was long, but that had its benefit as well because it gave space for our group dynamic to form and our cohesiveness to develop. Overall, this was a fantastic experience and am grateful to have been a part of it.


I have grown as a theologian by being able to say hard truths softly, the iron fist in the velvet glove. I am also able to handle disagreement, criticism, and rejection without umbrage or offense. Through the techniques learned and modeled in class and the use of the Daily Office, I am a gentler person, in demeanor, attitude, and reaction.

I am more engaging with my parishioners, somewhat more effective in articulating vision within the church, and turn to my peers more often and more openly for advice.


This program was significant for my learning, especially in facilitating intentional reflection upon ministry in my own context. The virtual format was especially conducive to this context-specific reflection. It was also interesting to reflect upon ministry by hearing about other’s context-specific experience. This was a different learning experience than the hospital-based CPE unit.

The weekly reflection helped both facilitate integration as well prompt new insight. The weekly “book” learning and practice/reflection learning was a nice mix.

I will nearly certainly seek another unit of CPE, and the virtual format is great not only for interacting with colleagues in very different ministry contexts, but also allowing me to learn in a CPE unit while still serving full time as a Navy Chaplain.


The program was very well conceived, the presentations were relevant and participants were very involved in exchanging experiences and offering critiques. I am convinced that I grew as an individual and gained new skills as a chaplain. I suggest that the online course be maintained, with the same program and structure, and that, if the pandemic allows it, a space be set up in the middle of the unit so that participants can meet face to face and exchange experiences for one day or two.

Thank you to all those who participated in the conception of this course, to Dr Kim for guiding us with discipline, kindness, and wisdom; and to each of the participants for making this course so special. God bless you all.


The presentations on communication have had the greatest significance of learning in my life. My heart has been opened in such a way that I didn’t know it could be. Also, I learned from the reading about time management, which is my weakness, but I gathered some valuable information that has changed my life and improved the way I schedule my time weekly and daily.

This virtual class was needed for me to get my CPE complete. The set up was the best for this pandemic time and for anyone who is unable to travel.  The group dynamic can not be compared to other programs. We had the opportunity to develop friendships and connect to colleagues from all over the United States, and we mingle with diverse cultures.

Thank you, Dr. Kim. You promised at the beginning of class that if I put the work in that I would get something out of CPE that may change my life. My life has been changed forever for the better. 

Related Posts

  • Connexion: Celebrating United Methodist-related Educational Institutions and the Communities They Serve
    Published On: July 5, 2024

    The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is excited to announce the launch of "Connexion," a new initiative that highlights the impact and stories of United Methodist-related institutions across the United States, fostering a deeper sense of community, support, and transformation across the denomination. What is Connexion? United...

  • Fernandes begins tenure as general secretary of two agencies as he assumes GBHEM’s chief executive role
    Published On: July 1, 2024

    Roland Fernandes, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), has assumed leadership of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), effective July 1, 2024. Fernandes has served since the fall of 2020 as general secretary of GBGM and...

  • Building the Church of Tomorrow
    Published On: April 29, 2024

      The process of uniting knowledge and vital piety is a theological core value of the Wesleyan tradition, The United Methodist Church, and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), which guides United Methodist higher education ministries. United Methodists are called to support principled Christian leaders around the...