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Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a distinct form of interfaith professional education for ministry. It aims to assist students of all faiths or no faith (e.g., pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, humanistic care-providers, etc.) in their development as spiritual care providers.

At the heart of CPE is an experiential encounter with persons in need. Students provide spiritual care in diverse clinical settings, meeting regularly with their CPE peers and educators to receive feedback and reflect on the interplay between their personal history, values, and beliefs and their practice of ministry. Students develop greater self-awareness and skills in
active listening, empathetic communication, interprofessional collaboration, and ethical decision-making.


The CPE program at St. Luke’s Penn Foundation is part of the St. Luke’s University Health Network and is unique in that all clinical placements incorporate a behavioral healthcare perspective. CPE students provide spiritual care and emotional support to clients, residents, and community members, drawing on the rich heritage of Penn Foundation and its innovative community-based approach to mental illness and addiction treatment.

The program also places a strong emphasis on the work of spiritual integration and interdisciplinary collaboration. Students will have access to clinical and educational resources of St. Luke’s Bethlehem Level 1 Trauma Hospital, St. Luke’s School of Medicine, and St Luke’s Spiritual Care team of Chaplains, Clinical Preceptors, and CPE Educators.

Who takes CPE at St. Luke’s Penn Foundation?

  • Persons in ministry and/or ministry training
  • Clergypersons and laity who wish to become Board-Certified Chaplains
  • Persons seeking ordination in faith groups that require CPE as a prerequisite
  • Care-providers from other professional disciplines who seek to deepen the spiritual dimension of care as a part of their work with clients and families

Learn More

Upcoming CPE Unit at St. Luke’s Penn Foundation
Beginning May 2024

Our 2024 Spring-Fall Extended Internship Unit will focus on the “Ministry of Spiritual Care with People affected by Mental Illness and Addiction.” This part-time unit is designed especially for those who are in ministry or ministry training and wish to have an experience of chaplaincy in a community-based clinical setting. It will also be a good fit for other caregiving professionals who seek to deepen the spiritual dimension of their work.

Dates: May 6 – November 22, 2024 (29 weeks)

Weekly Commitment: 15 hours per week

  • 5 hours of supervised education
  • 10 hours of spiritual care practice

Clinical Contexts: Daytime educational and clinical work will take place at St. Luke’s Penn Foundation (Sellersville) and overnight/weekend on-calls at St. Luke’s Bethlehem campus (Bethlehem)

If you are interested in the 2024 Extended Internship Unit, please contact:
Rev. Natalia Shulgina, ACPE Certified Educator
Email: Natalia.Shulgina@sluhn.org
Phone: 215-453-5168


How to Apply

  • Complete the ACPE application form, identifying whether you are applying for Residency or Extended Internship. Please note that the application includes several written essays.
  • Complete ACPE Consent Form.

Send the completed application to:

Rev. Natalia A. Shulgina, PhD
ACPE Certified Educator
St. Luke’s Penn Foundation
807 Lawn Avenue
Sellersville, PA 18960
Phone: 215-453-5168
Fax: 484-526-4336
Email: Natalia.Shulgina@sluhn.org

About the Application Process

  • There is no application fee. If you are accepted into the St. Luke’s Penn Foundation CPE program, the deposit of $150 secures your position. This non-refundable deposit is your first payment toward the tuition of $450. The remaining $300 is due the first day of the program.
  • We welcome CPE applications throughout the year. This is a competitive program, and we strongly encourage an early submission of documents. Please note that we do not interview all candidates.
  • Criteria for Admission: a willingness and readiness to learn as demonstrated in written application materials and interview, curiosity about self and others, and an ability to provide ethical spiritual care with persons of diverse faiths and cultures without imposing one’s own perspective.
  • Because of the nature of the work at Penn Foundation and St. Luke’s hospitals, all CPE students will be required to submit healthcare and behavioral health clearance documentation, including up-to-date vaccination records, Criminal Background Check, Child Abuse Clearance, and FBI finger printing. Specific details provided upon acceptance into the CPE program.

I’m interested in CPE but would like to learn more before I apply.


St. Luke’s CPE program is accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE).

Address: 1 Concourse Parkway | Suite 800 | Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone: 404-320-1472

Fax: 404-320-0849

Email: acpe@acpe.edu

Website: www.acpe.edu

To understand St. Luke’s protocols governing the CPE Admission process, please review the Admission Policy & Procedures. To understand St. Luke’s protocols governing the management of CPE student records, please review the Annual Notice.