Center for
Cultural Diversity
Clinical Pastoral Education Supervised Ministry
Experience Program
Volunteer Chaplain Association Spiritual Advisory Group

History of Spiritual and Pastoral Care Accreditation

Provisional accreditation to offer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was received in September, 1992. The first group of students began shortly thereafter with groups in each ensuing year.  The final accreditation occurred in May, 1995, when the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) established Johnson City Medical Center as an accredited center for offering programs of CPE.

A site visit was held on January 4 and 5, 1995 to review the JCMC application for Accredited Membership. 

In reviewing the strengths, "the site team found this center and its review materials to be of excellent caliber.  That Carl Petering has done such an excellent work when he came there as the first chaplain and still is the only chaplain, with a small budget and an extended CPE program is commendable and worthy of recognition.  In fact, he has received state-wide awards for the volunteer chaplain program he has instituted.  In a time when there is still the temptation to overstep and create an expansive but cumbersome program, he has exercised restraint and demonstrated a wise and creative use of resources.  Where he was the only CPE Supervisor and found that his task-orientation was detrimental to the group process, he has brought in two qualified and highly capable people who have helped him to lead groups and to teach his students.  The potential problems that were there he has anticipated and from all accounts, done so successfully."

They continued, "The Spiritual Advisory Group (SAG) at this center, its members and the consistent way in which they meet and are utilized and the benefit this group has been to the CPE programming there is unique in that it is one of the few SAGs that the site team members have known to work in the way it was intended in the Standards.  This SAP is outstanding in that regard and should be recognized as such."

They found the center to be in complete compliance with all Standards of ACPE.  All records were in order and all indications were that a high quality of CPE program and supervision is offered here, benefiting the students, hospital, and community.

In its Spring, 1995 meeting the ACPE Accreditation Commission granted Accredited Membership to offer programs of Basic CPE.  The vote was 13 - 0.  There were no areas which required a response by the center, but there was one area of concern.  The presenter to the national Commission pointed out there were many statements about how the students learn in this program, but that the specific content was not described, especially in the areas of pastoral and theological perspectives.  In raising these concerns, the writer stated, "However, I would not want these issues to contaminate what appears to be the beginnings of a good CPE program and center."

A periodic review began in 2001 with a self-study. A site visit occurred in May of 2002, and later that year we received congratulations on maintaining our Accredited Membership status.

There were no notations or deficiencies listed, and the vote was unanimous (with only the representative from our region abstaining, as is customary). Several strengths were identified: 

  • Involvement and work of the Professional Consultation Committee
  • The supervisor's history of relationship with the staff members of the medical center.
  • Use of competent adjunct faculty.
  • Highly supportive hospital administration.
  • Attractive, inviting facility.

There were also some limitations, which were ones we had identified in the Self-Study:

  • Lack of ethnic, cultural and denominational diversity.
  • Presence of a small program with a small budget within a large hospital system.
  • The supervisor's multiple roles limit his involvement in developing the CPE program and his availability in the hospital.

The final report noted our center had responded to all concerns raised by the site visit team and all requested documents. There were no suggested areas of improvement for the accreditation process of the center.

In May of 2007, building on the excellent program The Reverend Carl Petering put into place, a five-year paper review was conducted. We were reaccredited at that time, with no notations. Our addition of a Residency program in January of 2008, has added challenges of space and Supervisory resources that will need to be addressed as our program continues its growth.