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What is Congregation-Based Clinical Pastoral Education?
How is this accomplished?
What is the time commitment?
What are the professional credentials of the instructor Rev. Robert C. Spilman?
What does the curriculum include?
How do participants benefit from this experience?
Where do classes take place?
What is the program's accreditation?
Pastors and Students Say:
Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center of the Niagara Frontier, Inc.
N. Tonawanda, NY 14120
For Jamestown and Rochester location addresses see the contact webpage.
(outside Erie & Niagara Counties)
It is a continuing education program that teaches pastoral care and leadership and systems theory for clergy and lay ministers in the church. It is designed for experienced pastors and for ministers and seminarians new to pastoral work. They strengthen pastoral and leadership skills and creatively address tension and conflict in the church. The focus is on in-depth "systemic" change that reduces congregational anxiety and addresses long-term issues in the church.
Four creative components include:
emphasis on pastoral and leadership issues in the congregation
• consultation on ministry using the case study CPE format
• application of Bowen Family System Theory to congregational life
• theological reflection on pastoral ministry
(1) A fall/winter unit meeting from September to January, one day per week
(2) a spring unit meeting from February to June, two days every other week
(3) a summer/fall unit meeting from July
to November two days every other week
Rev. Robert C. Spilman,
M. Div., is an ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church-- Missouri Synod. He received his B.A. degree in history from the University of Rochester and his M. Div. degree from Yale University Divinity School. He completed his theological education at Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis. He participated in the Edwin Friedman Family Systems seminars in Bethesda, MD, and continues to
study Bowen Family Systems Theory in post-graduate seminars. In 1990, he was certified as a Full Supervisor in the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. His special interest is applying the family systems perspective to the teaching of pastoral care and leadership in the congregation.
(1) Case material from congregational ministry
(2) presentations and discussions on systems theory, theology, and pastoral ministry
(3) reflection time designed to strengthen
They use their current experience in their own churches as the "clinical material" for learning in the small group process of eight to nine students under the guidance of the CPE supervisor. The program explores the dynamics of the congregation using the systems theory. Participants explore how their position in their family of origin impacts their use of self in ministry while working to manage anxiety and maximize strengths.
The program is offered locally at the Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center in N. Tonawanda, NY. Off-sites venues are also utilized in Rochester and Jamestown. For maps to all locations see the contact webpage page.
It is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) as a Satellite of Sisters of Charity Hospital, Buffalo, NY. The Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center of the Niagara Frontier includes Congregation-Based CPE as a component of its ministry offerings. It is certified for twelve CEU credits by the Eastern District of the Lutheran Church-- Missouri Synod.
• "What I have learned about myself in the context of the CPE peer group is that this kind of interaction is essential to being a pastoral care giver".
• "The re-occurring theme that "this is a lifelong process" in understanding self is most helpful. Thank you for your insightful manner and consistent leadership on this journey we have shared by God's grace".
• Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod Eastern District
• Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Upstate New York Synod
• Lutheran Charities
• Network of Religious Communities
• Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
• Sponsoring Churches
• Western NY Conference United Methodist Church
• Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
• Concordia Lutheran Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario
• Northeastern Seminary Rochester
• United Church of Christ NY Conference
• Episcopal Diocese of WNY
• "I believe it is an excellent way for people to enhance their sense of pastoral identity, personal awareness, and functioning in ministry".
--Rev. Allen K. Griep
Former Executive Director
Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center
• "I commend the program and Rev. Bob Spilman for the care, competence, and excellence with which the course of study and participatory experience is carried out".
--Rev. Dr. David Belasic
Past President, Eastern District LCMS
• "Congregation-based CPE has enhanced ministry in this district of The United Methodist Church as pastors and candidates have learned more about their own leadership and its impact on people and family systems. I commend it to all those who would desire to grow in ministry effectiveness".
--Rev. Larry R. Baird, Cornerstone District Superintendent, WNY Conference
The United Methodist Church
C. Spilman 363 Darwin Drive
Amherst, NY 14226
Telephone: 716-839-4316 or