Skip to main content

Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) began in New England about 75 years ago in response to a need for persons of faith to learn how to practice effective pastoral care and to integrate their own spiritual history into that process. At that time, CPE was primarily for ordained clergy and seminary students. However, that has now been expanded to clergy, lay people, and persons seeking to explore the spiritual and professional dimensions of the practice of their professions.

In 1967, four separate organizations joined together to form The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. Since that time, students of all denominations and faith commitments have been encouraged to bring their faith and spiritual understandings to people who are going through critical experiences in life in order that they may recognize and use their faith to support, encourage, and enhance healing.

All programs at Maine Medical Center are fully accredited by The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.(ACPE). The ACPE is nationally recognized as an accrediting agency in the field by the U.S. Secretary of Education through the U.S. Department of Education.

ACPE Contact Information

ACPE – Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
55 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Suite 835,
Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: 404-320-1472
Fax: 404-320-0849

The CPE Unit involves assignments to patient units, interpersonal group interaction, written impressions, verbatim reports, personal supervisory conferences, didactic lectures, worship leadership, and personal and program evaluation.

Consequent CPE units can allow for specialization in a particular area of spiritual care in the health care setting within the program requirements as above. Encouragement is given to a more profound understanding of the setting and process of CPE.

The summer session is a 12 week full-time program designed to accommodate those in a graduate academic program or other ministry workers with schedule availability for an intensive (40+ hours), three month-long clinical immersion experience. The Fall session is a part-time 30 week program designed to accommodate those in a graduate academic program or working in a part-time job with flexibility in their hours. 

In order to fulfill these responsibilities, students spend approximately 60% of their time in contact with patients and 40% in seminars, didactics, and supervision. Ministry to patients is paramount in their work. Other learning occurs through experiences shared in working with peers and hospital staff. The ACPE Certified Educator directs, guides, reviews, and evaluates all of these experiences with students.

Additional details on the 2022 programs:

CPE is open to seminary students, clergy, religious practitioners and lay people. Credit for successful completion can be used for academic, denominational, or certification purposes. It can also be an opportunity to prepare for ministry or discerning spiritual dimensions of practice in a related field.

Admission Policy
Financial Policy

Application should be submitted on the standard ACPE application form (with the required accompanying material) via email to Kasey Grover at or mailed to:

The Rev. Heather L. Weidemann
Director and ACPE Certified Educator
Spiritual Care Department
Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall Street
Portland, ME 04102

For any questions or additional information please call (207) 662-2951.