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Through a grant provided by the Roanridge Trust, the Diocese of Los Angeles will soon begin an 11-week training program for lay pastoral caregivers in rural congregations, modeled on the format of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), which is usually carried out in hospitals.

“The central work of CPE is to become more keenly and constantly aware of our internal life so that we may be more fully present to those seeking care,” says the Rev. Jana Milhon-Martin, course facilitator and CPE supervisor-in-training at Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles. “CPE emphasizes uncovering why and how one responds or acts in a pastoral care relationship and relies less on didactics and more on self-discovery.”

“CPE was the most important element in my formation for ordained ministry,” Bishop John Harvey Taylor told The Episcopal News. “It gave me insights about my motives, and also my fears, that help me each day. CPE teaches that sometimes all a pastor, family member, friend, or coworker has to do to manifest the presence of the divine is to be present and listen. Everyone in ministry, lay and ordained, should have access to this understanding.”

Beginning in mid-October, the course will run for 11 weeks (breaking for the holidays). Participants will need to find a ministry site where they can practice their pastoral skills with care-seekers (to be selected in consultation with Milhon-Martin). Possibilities include the participant’s own congregation, a community non-profit, or another appropriate context where the participant has the opportunity to provide on-going pastoral care. During the 11-week course participants will be required to serve a total of 80 – 100 hours in their ministry sites in addition to five hours of group and individual supervision each week.

An information session about the CPE program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at All Saints Church, 3847 Terracina Drive, Riverside 92506. For information contact Milhon-Martin at jmartin@goodsam.org.