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Contextual Education

Contextual Education is a very important part of theological education at LTSP. The goal is to find opportunities for seminarians to gain practical experience in their preparation for church leadership. These opportunities could be in a variety of experiences and contexts depending upon the study track and/or student goals. Students are exposed to ministries in the clinical, pastoral or social sectors. All of these experiences are aimed at helping the student put all the classroom theory into practice.

The contextual education experience is designed to help students in the following areas:

  • To better understand the connection between the classroom and the field
  • Help in the discernment of call/vocation
  • Help in spiritual formation
  • Help with discernment of gifts, strengths and limitations
  • Help in development of professional skills for ministry

The Contextual Education Office plays a major role in organizing all Field Education, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and Internship/Practicum experiences. Depending upon their circumstances, all students will have experiences in at least one (1) if not all of these areas.

Field Education

Field Education is an essential part of the learning experience for First Professional degree students at LTSP. Congregation participating as a site must meet the Site Field Education Guidelines (.doc) and complete the 2016-17 Congregational Data Form (.doc) .

Additional forms for Field Education:



Supervisor’s Evaluation  (.doc)

CPR Application (.doc) or (.pdf to print out and complete) is required of students who intend to participate in a CPE program. The ACPE (Association of Clinical Pastoral Education) application will be distributed and CPE will be discussed in further detail during the mandatory CPE Orientation in September. A key part of any application for CPE is the autobiography. This autobiography will represent you to a prospective CPE supervisor. Most CPE supervisors are interested in receiving a thorough and detailed picture of you. Therefore, this autobiography should likely exceed in length and quality any autobiography you have written to date for an educational institution.

CPE Autobiography Instructions

A typical autobiography will be approximately 8-10 pages, double-spaced. The following five points should be covered in your autobiography. Take very seriously the request for “a reasonably full account of your life”. Items 1 and 2 below are frequently combined. Sometimes the first part of items 3 can also be included in a general narrative. Items to be addressed include:

  1. A reasonably full account of your life. Include, for example, significant and important persons and events, especially as they have impacted, or continue to impact, your personal growth and development. Describe your family of origin, current family relationships, and important and supportive social relationships.
  2. A description of your spiritual growth and development. Include, for example, the faith heritage into which you were born and describe and explain any subsequent, personal conversions, your call to ministry, religious experiences, and significant persons and events that have impacted, or continue to impact, your spiritual growth and development.
  3. A description of your work (vocational) history. Include a chronological list of jobs/positions/dates of employment and a brief statement about your current employment and work relationships.
  4. An account of a “helping incident” in which you were the person who provided the help. Include the nature and extent of the request, your assessment of the issue(s), problem(s), situations(s). Describe how you came to be involved and what you did. If you have had CPE, but it was more than two years ago, include a recent account of a helping incident, written up in a verbatim format.
  5. Your impression of Clinical Pastoral Education and your educational goals, including how this training will be used to meet your goals for doing ministry.
  6. Be sure to put your name on your autobiography and number each page!

Mail your autobiography before August 1st to:
The Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard
Director, Contextual Education
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
7301 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119

Electronic copies should be sent to:

Learn more on the Field Education, Clinical Pastoral Education, Internship, and Co-op Program pages.

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Philadelphia, PA 19119-1974
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"Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world."