September 3, 2014

Equipping Professional Leaders


Many pastors and lay leaders are not clinically trained nor emotionally prepared to provide effective pastoral care.  Research reveals that two out of three clergy indicate a desire to receive and provide education to tend to the seriously ill or dying. (Source: Duke Institute on Care at the End-of-Life survey, 2007)  Furthermore, although 94 percent of clergy report making visits to people at the end of life, only 60 percent are very comfortable making these visits. (Source: “Questions and Answers about Americans’ Religion,” Gallup 2007)  To address this need, Regional Interfaith Chaplaincy Services offers an accredited program of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for ordained and lay persons.  Regional Interfaith Chaplaincy Services seeks to be a major source of well-trained pastoral caregivers in the tristate area.

The uniqueness of this CPE program is that it provides training opportunities for persons to learn and practice their clinical ministry skills in different contexts with different populations of people. Trainees are responsible for weekly worship services, pastoral visitation, educational programs, counseling, and support groups, and through these, have the opportunity to explore the interaction of their own history and tradition and the clinical pastoral issues of persons in need.  Trainees learn information and skills that are directly applicable to congregational settings.  Each CPE training unit includes 300 hours of direct clinical care and 100 hours of individual and group supervised education and feedback.  Trainees who complete each CPE unit are granted formal credit for one unit of clinician pastoral education by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.


Pastoral visitation by trained lay pastoral care-givers can supplement the work of the pastoral leadership and greatly enhance the congregation’s ministry to needy persons both within and outside of the congregation.  Lay pastoral care-givers also can benefit from clinical pastoral education and supervision.  Through experience in training other pastoral care-givers, RICS has learned that a combination of didactic presentation, applied practical experience, and group reflection/supervision maximizes the learning experience for lay volunteers.  The content and length of lay pastoral caregiving programs are custom-designed for each congregation or context.

For more information, contact Dr. Baker at 240-818-9230.

Equipping Lay Persons:  Extending Congregational Care Through Trained Lay Volunteers