BAMC graduates Army Chaplains
Story by Maria Gallegos, BAMC, Public Affairs
Published May 21, 2012
Photo by Capt. Robert Olson
Recent Army Chaplain graduates of Brooke Army Medical Center Clinical Pastoral Education Department with Lt. Col. (CH) Bruce Messinger, U.S. Army 7R Trainer and APCE supervisor (first row, second far right).
Brooke Army Medical Center Clinical Pastoral Education Department celebrated the graduation of 14 Army Chaplain Residents during a ceremony held at San Antonio Military Medical Center May 9.
BAMC has offered CPE for nearly 40 years and is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. This education program focuses on patient-centered high quality healthcare, teaching and learning personal and pastoral identity, theological and behavioral science knowledge, and pastoral skills. The CPE program also focuses on competencies required in combat situation where Chaplains offer religious support to the wounded and the medical staff who cares for them.
The 49-week curriculum also evaluates studentís ministry, pastoral tools for hospital ministry, and prophetic perspectives in functions such as: preaching, teaching, leadership, management, pastoral care, and counseling.
"CPE is an action-reflection model of education, grounded in a process that begins with the student's actual practice of ministry," explained Lt. Col. (CH) Bruce Messinger, U.S. Army 7R Trainer and APCE supervisor for the CPE program. "The process includes supervised practice of ministry to persons along with detailed reporting and evaluation of that ministry."
"At SAMMC, students actively visit or minister to patients, their families and friends, and staff," he continued. "Then, in a supervised small group or individual supervision, students are given the opportunity to reflect and receive feedback on their ministry -- its effects on others as well as on themselves. Specifically, they reflect on the faith or theological concerns, elements of the relationship and the pastoral skills or issues observed."
After graduation, the CPE graduates receive the 7R skill identifier and are assigned to hospitals to include combat support hospitals, combat operational stress control teams, Warrior Transition Battalions, as well as other military hospitals.
"CPE has been an excellent opportunity for me. I have learned more about myself and my role as a Chaplain in the Army as well as a clinical chaplain in a hospital," said Capt. Robert Olson, a recent graduate of the program. "I have also learned how to reflect on specific ministry scenarios as I have engaged in pastoral care on my various wards. Using this reflection, I have been challenged to focus on journeying with patients through whatever challenges they may be facing."
Messinger said he's been involved with CPE for 14 years and has found it to be one of the richest educational processes professional Chaplainís can participate in.
"The central element and focus of our program is learning how to offer better and more effective spiritual care to the soldiers, family members, and staff that we serve," he said.
"For an educator there is little I find more gratifying than being deeply engaged in facilitating adult learners as they strive to increase their pastoral competencies, critical reflection and professional identity," he added.
CPE programs are offered at four different locations including SAMMC, David Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Madigan Army Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.