Lutheran Services New York Alliance
The Rev. Paul H. Knudsen, chair
With joy in our hearts, once again, the arms of God reached out to enfold people in need through the work of our Alliance members. This has been especially sustaining as the Alliance has worked to “retread” our mission and ministry due to the changes incurred working without NYU Lutheran, now NYU Langone, in Brooklyn. To this end, the Alliance, in its development work, has engaged the services of Benevon, a resource for developing closer relationships with congregations and providing a means to utilizing small group gatherings, wherein participants become more keenly aware of the work of our service programs that bring hope to people in need. In turn, the Alliance partners are given hope as we experience service as being a “two-way street.” Toward this end, we are especially grateful to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Huntington Station, NY, for the generous grant that is enabling us to utilize this resource for our revitalized mission work.
Moreover, in recent years, LSNYA-CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) has gone through a challenge of re-thinking and re-strategizing our chaplaincy training program. We continue to offer pastoral care training in different forms. For the last two years, LSNYA-CPE has been offering an online program – Distance Learning CPE.
We currently offer two Extended CPE Units a year: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. It is a Distance Learning CPE program in which the educational part takes place via Zoom. Each extended unit is 25 weeks in length: September to February and March to August. We have a long history in multi-site CPE training. We have five clinical sites affiliated with our CPE center (in the Metro New York area) and we also have an option for external agencies, i.e., clinical sites of your choice in your geographical area, including the place of participants’ current employment if pastoral care is required (nursing homes, hospitals, congregations, other communities in need of pastoral care). All students then join together in group learning, which happens once a week (Wednesdays) via a Zoom meeting. Written materials are communicated and submitted via Google Classroom.
Schedule and Related Dates:
Spring/Summer: March 16, 2020 – August 31, 2020
Fall/Winter: September 8, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Clinical time: 12 hours a week – providing pastoral/spiritual care
Educational time: 4 hours a week = 2.5 hours in a group, via Zoom, + 1.5 hours individual work and individual supervision.
We have learned that Distance Learning CPE is ideal for people with full or part time employment or study. This form of training saves time and expenses spent on travel when students are able to join an online learning group from their offices or homes in any state or country. It is also possible to merge the hours needed for CPE with hours of an internship. The Alliance is particularly grateful to the Metropolitan New York Synod for awarding the Leadership Grant that has enabled us to redesign and renew our efforts in Clinical Pastoral Education.
Alliance (LSNYA) Board Recognition Dinner, June 2019
We Are Church Together
LSNYA is blessed to serve the world through the church in relationship with the Metropolitan NY Synod (ELCA) and The Atlantic District (LCMS). We are one of the few inter-Lutheran efforts in the United States. We work together to further the church’s servant mission by supporting the agencies related to the church and supporting the chaplains of each of our nine agencies and judicatories. Our Board consists of our two bishops, as well as the agencies’ CEO and his or her representative at board meetings, when requested to attend. Within our agencies, persons of every walk of life and faith, and those of no particular faith expression, work together in the realm of God’s creation to serve those in need. As Christians serving in this context, we serve with the cross of Christ marked on us from baptism and give witness in service through love for those most in need. The Good News of God in Jesus Christ is proclaimed. Our CPE program is as diverse as can be with participants of many different faith, life and geographic expressions.
The Professional Advisory Group (PAG) has been a constant presence and support for the CPE program of LSNYA. It consists primarily of clinical preceptors who work directly with the CPE students, on site. Having clinical preceptors as ongoing members of PAG over the years has fostered continuing relationships, which result in building a high-quality CPE program. What is the church and how can we be together? Serving those who struggle emotionally, physically and seeing hurt in the world is at the heart of our being the church together.
In addition to our clinical pastoral work and support, the Alliance is a strong proponent of the social ministry organizations related to the church, being at the heart of the church’s mission. Therefore, our efforts encourage congregation members to become part of the wonderful ministries taking place in our agencies. Many Lutherans are unaware of the extensive work being done for those most in need. In the past ten years, there has been considerable financial stress placed on the synod/district, congregations and agencies. As a result, pastoral care staff has experienced a significant reduction in support from the agencies and congregations. Renewed interpretation efforts, relationship building and appeals for support are increasing the response to this need, in order to help stem the loss of pastoral care within our social ministry organizations.
Specifically, an example of our working together as church has been the Alliance’s efforts to assist Wartburg in Mt. Vernon to expand the spiritual care offered. A Satellite/Host relationship was established to enable Wartburg to explore becoming a certified CPE center. In addition, other options for providing spiritual care were explored and adopted.
CPE Distance Learning Gathering 2020
Regarding the CPE Program, individuals can become involved by engaging in programs themselves, to receive valuable training in how to provide pastoral care to people who struggle in their community and family. Congregations can become clinical placements in which they will provide space for CPE Interns to visit people in their community and practice pastoral/spiritual care to the hurting. Both individuals and congregations can always help with donations that will support this valuable ministry.
Lastly, the Alliance is recruiting persons who might be interested in learning more about the marvelous work our agencies and our Distance Learning CPE program are doing, and becoming involved with our Ambassador Program, which seeks to tell the story of how vast and how wide the arms of God are, both in creation and in the realm of redemption in reaching to each and every person, especially those struggling with human vulnerabilities. We are blessed and thankful that our cup is overflowing with the Spirit that calls us to this mission.
CPE Graduation 2019 475 Riverside Chapel