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Clinical Pastoral Education

About Us 

Contact Us

Avera Clinical Pastoral
Avera Health
212 E. 11th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

The Rev. Peter Holland, Director
Phone: (605) 322-4713
Fax: (605) 322-4834

The Rev. Steve Corum
Phone: (605) 322-4712
Fax: (605) 322-4834

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a practical professional education program for ministry. It includes seminars with a peer group and supervisor, practical experience in an appropriate setting, individual tutorials with a supervisor and the opportunity to reflect on ministry as it is performed.

CPE students gain practical experience in Avera hospitals and long-term care facilities, parishes and at other sites. Programs are offered regularly in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Yankton, SD; Marshall, MN; and other locations as needed.

Avera offers entry-level, specialized and supervisory CPE programs. Full-time units last 11 weeks and part-time units last four months. All programs are arranged to meet the needs of applicants.

Programs are designed for a variety of church workers, seminary students and clergy and health professionals. Church personnel can benefit from CPE in that it offers greater insight into the work of religious education, pastoral care ministry and church administration. Health care personnel who see their work as ministry and wish to develop their pastoral role with patients also can benefit from CPE. Those wishing to become more skilled in pastoral care and counseling will benefit as well.

The program places a high value on rural ministry by helping people develop the resources they need to thrive in their vocations.

Program Schedule

Program Schedule

A unit of CPE involves 100 hours of structured learning with at least 300 hours in a ministry placement. To accomplish a certifiable unit of CPE, Avera Health CPE System Center offers two approaches:

Fall and Winter/Spring

Extended units of CPE are offered in Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Aberdeen, Yankton, and Marshall, Minnesota on a rotating basis. Students wishing to sign up for these programs should use the address given on the website to contact the Avera Health CPE System Office.

Usually the Fall unit begins as soon as possible after Labor Day. Generally, a unit is offered in Sioux Falls and at the Avera hospital in one of the cities listed above.  The Fall unit ordinarily finishes in the week before Christmas. It requires students to come to class for 16 weeks, one day per week. Student placements take place on non-class days. The Winter/Spring unit is also offered in Sioux Falls and one of the other component sites in rotation. It generally begins mid-January and is completed by the second week in May.

Summer CPE programs begin the day after Memorial Day and are completed in the first week of August.

Winter/Spring 2013

1. Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, a 16 week CPE unit leading to a certified unit of CPE begins Feb at 9:00 a.m. at the downtown office of the Avera Health CPE Center, 212 East 11th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

2. Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, a continuation of  a unit meeting Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. at the downtown office of the Avera Health CPE Center, 212 East 11th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

3. Avera Holy Family, Estherville, IA, a 16 weeks CPE unit leading to a certified unit of CPE begins Thursdays from the end of January 2013
A If you are interested in participating in a unit contact the Avera Health CPE System Center Office.

Summer 2013

Applications are being received for a 40 hour week, ten week ACPE certified summer CPE program designed specifically for seminary students. It will begin on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The completion date is the first of August 2013.



Gary WeisbrichGary A. Weisbrich
Chaplain, Avera McKennan Hospital
Completed: 2 units (4 half units)

"The Avera Clinical Pastoral Education course work and instruction has been very valuable to me not only in my day-to-day ministry but also in how I live my life at home. Life brings many changes and having had CPE, it has helped me to face these changes with confidence, to make decisions out of strength and courage rather than out of anxiety or fear.

"There is usually a common thread in each unit of CPE I have taken. I am not always aware of what it is until I work through the group process and listen to others. However, this common thread tends to be an area where I could use some growth. I have always walked away with new tools to be a more effective minister as well as a more balanced person, as a husband and father.

"I am very grateful to the supervisors for providing an atmosphere for learning, through listening to others, offering feedback and receiving feedback. I also have learned how to better explore different feelings and emotions. In doing this, I know myself better and am better able to become the person that God has made me."

Kristi GullicksonKristi Gullickson
Chaplain, Avera McKennan Hospital
Diaconal Minister, ELCA

“I completed my fourth CPE unit with Avera in 2004. This was a deeply satisfying experience for me both personally and professionally and remains today as one of the most challenging and empowering opportunities I have ever had.

“Under the skilled and sensitive guidance of my Avera Clinical Pastoral Education supervisors, Peter Holland and Steve Corum, I was able to discern and affirm my call to hospital chaplaincy, clarify my pastoral theology and develop and refine my skills as a chaplain. I also was enriched by my fellow students, as this program attracts gifted individuals of many denominational and cultural backgrounds.

“I highly recommend the Avera Clinical Pastoral Education program.”

Our Faculty

About Our Faculty

The Rev. Peter A. Holland, D.Min., Director for Clinical Pastoral Education, Avera Health. A native of England, Peter holds degrees from the University of Manchester and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Peter's pastoral experience in chaplaincy has been in England and in America. He is a Certified ACPE Supervisor. Peter, his wife, Josephine, and their two daughters live in Sioux Falls.

The Rev. Steven P. Corum, D.Min., Associate Director for Clinical Pastoral Education, Avera Health. Steve holds degrees from the University of California, Sioux Falls Seminary and Texas Christian University. He is a Certified ACPE Supervisor, a Board-Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and Wing Chaplain (retired) with the South Dakota Air National Guard. Steve, his wife, Jill, and two of their four children live in Sioux Falls.

Annual Notice

Annual Notice


Because  ACPE is recognized as a higher education entity by the US Department of Education, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) applies to all  ACPE CPE programs. FERPA addresses the privacy of student information and must be published annually prior to program start and also appear in the student and center handbook. If on reviewing the Annual Notice further clarification is required contact one of the ACPE supervisors.


Prior to entering CPE after acceptance into the program all students are sent "the Annual Notice”. It promotes the following:

I.  This ACPE CPE center/program guarantees to its students the rights to inspect and review education records, to seek to amend them, to specified control over release of record information, and to file a complaint against the program for alleged violations of these Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rights.

II.  A student has the right to object to record content. Normally a student record comprises a face sheet, the student and the supervisor's evaluation. A list of students' contact information is posted in the hospital during training. The same list is distributed among students. For further information on Student Records see Section E6. If not negotiable, the written objection will be kept with and released with the record.  Grades are exempted from this right.

III.  Violations of these protocols may be reported to the Chair of the Accreditation Commission at: ACPE, 1549 Clairmont Road, Suite 103, Decatur, GA, 30033.

Additional Information

Additional Information

  • Avera Clinical Pastoral Education program application
  • Avera Health ACPE – We are accredited to conduct programs of Level I, Level II, and Supervisory CPE by The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education,1549 Clairmont Road Suite 103, Decatur GA 30033, 404-320-1472. The ACPE accredits the Avera Clinical Pastoral Education programs and certifies our supervisors.
  • Clinical Pastoral Education Student Handbook

Cameroon, Africa

Cameroon, Africa

Cameroon AfricaWhen Ndongndeh Godlove Nkwain sought a place to complete a doctoral degree in ministry, he chose the North American Baptist Seminary (now Sioux Falls Seminary) in part because of its proximity to the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program offered at Avera. Now Avera has an international affiliate of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) in Cameroon, Africa.

For his doctoral project, Godlove will implement a CPE program for the Cameroon Baptist Convention, a Christian health organization affiliated with the Baptist Health Systems of the Republic of Cameroon, Africa. The three main hospitals of the organization are recognized treatment sites for HIV/AIDS and centers of prevention for mother-to-child transmission of the disease. The project includes writing a training handbook and supervising CPE candidates in Cameroon.

The hospital where the CPE program is taking place is in a hilly province about 200 miles north of the commercial capital Douala. Avera’s Director of Clinical Pastoral Education Peter Holland recently returned from a site visit to Cameroon where he observed Godlove’s supervisory work and assessed its conformity to ACPE standards. He also attended the official launch of the CPE center.