Clinical Pastoral Education

The Clinical Pastoral Education program (CPE) is experience-based adult learning. Trainees serve in settings where they engage people, families, and communities experiencing challenges of many kinds.  These settings include hospitals, community organizations, and congregations.  This program is interfaith and affirming, and applications from those of all beliefs and identities are welcome.

This program is referred to as “CPE for the rest of us,” as the time commitment, schedule design, and openness to various learning sites make CPE more accessible to those excluded due to geography, life demands, finances, and barriers due to culture and bias. Each learning cohort’s calendar is negotiated according to the members’ schedule demands. Each unit (class) lasts from October until early May. Group sessions and individual supervision are conducted online using Zoom.  

Trainees take CPE in order to:

      • equip themselves to better do the ministry or work they already do
      • help gain insight into their own gifts and use of self in ministry
      • assist in discerning a call to pastoral ministry
      • fulfill requirements for some seminary programs 
      • accumulate training credits towards certification as professional chaplains

The program is a partnership between the diocese and Legacy Health.  The Supervisor, the Rev. Kurt Neilson, is certified through the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy ( 

Please see the important information below:

How To Apply

The application process is “rolling,” and applications are accepted throughout the year.  Once an application is accepted, an online interview with a small committee is scheduled. Based on the outcome of this interview, a position in the upcoming cohort may be offered. Cohorts are small, usually no more than six in number. 

The application is found in the section below.

Informational interviews prior to application submissions are welcome. Please contact Kurt Neilson at to arrange this.

Testimonies from Alumni

“My experience of this Clinical Pastoral Education program was literally transformative: it gave me the training and experience to embark upon a new walk in life. It helped me set ambitious goals for my spiritual and professional development, then gave me a supportive learning environment to tackle them in… My supervisor and cohort provided an encouraging yet challenging setting in which to present my clinical case studies and learn from my inevitable errors. I came away from this CPE unit with a clear sense of calling to chaplaincy work and the confidence and skills to continue pursuing it, combined with the humility to know that one never truly masters it.

Greg Morgan, M.Div. | Society of Friends (Quaker) | CPE alumnus

“I learned so much about the vulnerability, courage, and resiliency of human beings…CPE increased my self-awareness, taught me better listening skills, and deepened my empathy for others. I learned a lot about my biases and assumptions, and while the training tested my theology, I came out with a deeper faith in God than before. The program helped me to become a more effective and compassionate chaplain, but it also positively impacted communication in my personal relationships. In addition, as a direct result of this training, I was able to graduate from my unit and obtain a CPE chaplaincy residency…

Chaplain Susan Zwingli, M.A. | Episcopalian, CPE Alumna

“I have been honored to complete two units of CPE through the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.   As a nurse practitioner and professor of nursing, I have found a good fit between nursing and healthcare chaplaincy.  One of the most meaningful takeaways from the CPE program is the importance of walking alongside people experiencing health transitions without a preset agenda.  I think CPE has taken me out of my comfort zone as a “human doing” and helped me to really engage as a “human being.”  This gentler, more human way of being has influenced and changed my leadership as Associate Dean of Nursing as well…”

Linda Eddy, R.N., Ph.D. | Nursing Educator, CPE alumna

In addition to the strong current of guidance from those who welcomed me into the CPE application process, telling their stories, and providing direction, the most meaningful takeaway has been more fully becoming who God intends me to be, by recognizing what holds me back, and engaging in my weaknesses and blind spots so they may be changed into assets. As I have grown in learning with my cohorts (both of my two units) during the past 1 1/2  years, my intended “volunteer” ministry at Good Samaritan Curry Village, Skilled Nursing Facility, Brookings, became a paid position. My experience with CPE and the transition from being a trainee to an employed chaplain over the last many months has given me the opportunity to explore and overcome insecurities and self-doubt. I have been given increased confidence in my ability to minister in a new capacity as a spiritual care provider and gained both self-respect and self-worth.

Chaplain Paige Lindley, B.S. | Member CPSP, CPE alumna

One of the takeaways for me was learning that deep listening is a form of prayer and pastoral care…Now that I work in a parish setting, I have been called on to visit folks in a number of different settings, from hospitals to memory care units to their homes, and I have a much deeper sense of comfort and ease entering those spaces…I also learned a lot about my own life, my own places of deep hurt and deep love, and the ways God has been active in my life. That self-awareness has been invaluable to my relationships and my own sense of self and my vocation.  When I started my discernment for the priesthood, I did not feel especially called to or comfortable with pastoral care. My time in CPE helped me to see my gifts (and growing edges) in pastoral care. I also came to recognize how much I appreciate being part of a team, and that as I continue in my vocation I hope to be able to continue to work collaboratively wherever God calls me to be. 

The Reverend Jeanne Kalieszewski, M.Div. |St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukie |CPE Alumna


Please contact Reverend Kurt Neilson at