Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. The person who no longer
listens to their brother or sister will soon not longer be listening to God…
One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point
and never really speaking to others, albeit they be not conscious of it.
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~
How do you create depth in pastoral relationships?
In every pastoral encounter, how do you use essential caring theory and apply skills of pastoral care and counseling?
How do you use conversation, prayer, meditation, ritual, worship, imagination and sacrament for personal/communal/social healing, growth and relationship building?
How can local congregations be centers for human wholeness?
As a faculty member at San Francisco Theological Seminary occupying the Shaw Family Chair for Clinical Pastoral Education, I have the charge to direct and supervisor the Clinical Pastoral Education program at SFTS.
The learning process CPE addresses is the integration of the classical disciplines of theological education with ministry practice. I believe it is important, as a CPE supervisor, to teach skills for pastoral leadership that enhance the integration of theology, social science, sacred text, history, spirituality, worship and ritual practice while in direct contact with those being served.
To state this in the context of reformed tradition in general and Presbyterianism specifically: John Calvin said in his "Institutes of the Christian Religion" that "nearly all the wisdom we possess, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves." Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God; without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self. Calvin's words resonate with me as a CPE supervisor.
CPE students can become competent spiritual leaders who have a theological, psychological and pastoral conceptual framework informed by critical self-reflection that integrates knowledge of self, others, systems and God in their pastoral praxis and religious leadership.
The pedagogical method of CPE can be a catalyst for ordained and lay leaders to become competent pastoral care providers who are theologically disciplined, socially relevant, spiritually mature, and able to make use of psychological and social science theory.
I am also interested in CPE as a pedagogical method that leads to emancipation for the learner – learning that leads to liberation for the learner and those ministered to by emancipated leaders. Theologically, learners in CPE have the opportunity to enlarge one’s heart and develop the capacity to not only love across injury, but also to love across chasms of human separation.
The hard work of CPE involves separating what is authentic from what is false in oneself, in one's perceptions of others and conceptions of God. CPE provides the educational opportunity to gain insight into oneself, insight into God's movement in our lives together, and a disciplined and applicable way to respond to God's initiative in our lives, particularly through service.
As a CPE supervisor, I have witnessed the transformative results of process learning in CPE students. Liberation and transformation through intensity of service and theological education fuel my passion for serving SFTS as the Shaw Chair for Clinical Pastoral Education, and ACPE CPE supervisor.
Welcome to CPE at SFTS!
Yours in life-long learning,
Rev. Laurie Garrett-Cobbina
San Francisco Theological Seminary is accredited for Level I, Level II and Supervisory CPE by The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. 1549 Clairmont Road, Suite 103, Decatur, GA 30033 (404) 320.1472 www.acpe.edu
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