Workshop On Clinical Pastoral Education

KAD: 23rd April 2018. For five days KAD will be hosting a workshop on Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). The workshop is coordinated by United Evangelical Mission (UEM) regional office in Dar-es-Salaam under Mr. Zakaria Mnkai (UEM Programme Officer in the Africa region). Participants are delegates from five countries of UEM church members which are Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Botswana, and Namibia. Delegates are previous trained pastors and deaconesses on Clinical Pastoral Education. Together with them, is Rev. Astrid Klumb who is a representative from Germany. The workshop was officially opened on Monday by Bishop Dr Benson Bagonza at Bishop Mukuta Memorial Conference Centre –Karagwe and will be closed on Saturday 28th April 2018.

Clinical pastoral education (CPE) is an interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) into
supervised encounter with persons in crisis and in need. It allows religiously-oriented persons to develop counseling skills, familiarity with a particular pastoral setting (usually within a hospital, parish, hospice, retirement home) and self-awareness as pastoral care-givers.

Rev. Lermy Rwankomezi is the Dean and assistance to the Bishop of North Western Diocese. As a moderator, explained the aim of the workshop as being able to share experience, success and challenges of CPE from different churches that have been implementing the program,
brief evaluation of the program based on outcome and service, refresh their knowledge on CPE by getting knew inputs, do some practical training on Thursday at Nyakahanga Hospital to refresh their competence, and finally develop a way forward.

Bishop Dr. Benson Bagonza addressed the participants during the opening session. He reflected with them the guiding workshop verse from Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be
comforted”. He began by saying that CPE is becoming indispensable, yet so hard to implement as we live in a society where some professionals think that the service they provide is self sufficient.

He explained that we as Christians, it is selfishness to concentrate with your own sorrows; hence you have a duty to bear with other peoples’ burdens no matter how big yours might be. He supported Martin Luther’s interpretation of Matthew 5:4 as “Blessed are sorrow bearers (those who carry other people’s sorrows, but also bear their own).

“We as churches have different ways to carry other people’s tragedy, some churches lift the needy in prayers, and some churches provide
them with services, but separately neither prayers nor service (action) is sufficient. Both prayers and action are needed in supporting the one in need” he added.

He outlined the new challenge facing CPE today that “ Thirty years ago, the challenge was to get suitable people to deal with the sick, prisoners or victims of war, as not every pastor can do this work, but now, the challenge is to get appropriate people to care for the care givers”. He explained that, due to the nature of their work, care givers also need to be refilled with new energy; hence it is his hope that at the end of the workshop, participants will be able to realize that there is a need to care for care givers as well.

Karagwe Diocese wishes all participants a pleasant stay in Karagwe.

Text: Axsa Gabagambi