John Hunter Hospital



Welcome to the Hunter Centre for Clinical Pastoral Education.  This Centre offers pastoral/spiritual care training at the John Hunter and Calvary Mater Hospitals in Newcastle and, from time to time, at the Port Macquarie Base Hospital. Introductory courses are also conducted as requested in the Hunter region and the Manning and Port Macquarie areas.


Cf- Pastoral Care Department
John Hunter Hospital
Locked Bag No 1
Hunter Region Mail Centre
NSW 2310



Phone: Barbara Howard (Centre Director) 02 49753672/ 0414 551 751




The Rev’d Dr Barbara Howard: Centre Director

Barbara is an Anglican priest who has worked in parishes and as a hospital chaplain. She is an Acting Level 3 supervisor with twenty years of supervisory experience. Her special interest is in theological reflection, seeking to discern God’s presence in daily life and in pastoral experience.


Mrs Gwen Vale (Newcastle)

Gwen is a former music teacher with considerable experience of pastoral ministry in both the church and hospital context. A Level 2 supervisor, she has been supervising CPE students since 2008.


Ms April MacNeill (Newcastle)

April is the Pastoral Care Manager at the Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle. A former ICU nurse, April has a special interest in raising awareness of pastoral/spiritual care in critical care environments and in offering pastoral education. She is an Acting Level 2 supervisor with eight years of supervisory experience.


The Rev’d Leanne Smith (Port Macquarie)

Leanne has worked as ecumenical chaplain at Port Macquarie Hospital for a number of years. She is an Acting Level 2 supervisor with eight years of supervisory experience. She is on leave from CPE in 2017.





This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of pastoral/spiritual care. It is a qualification required by NSW Health for those wishing to become hospital visitors. It covers such topics as listening skills, empathy, grief and loss, self-awareness and hospital procedures. It is conducted over six days from 9am to 4pm. A certificate is awarded on completion.


BASIC UNIT (CPE 1 AND CPE 2) (400 hours)

These courses are aimed at providing intensive training in pastoral/spiritual care by means of supervised group and individual reflection on pastoral conversations. Using an action/reflection method, they require students to complete 150 hours of clinical work (pastoral visiting) in assigned hospital wards or other approved locations, together with 80 hours of group work, 10 hours of individual supervision and 160 hours of reflection/reading/seminar preparation and verbatim writing. Applicants are interviewed prior to acceptance into the course.


The course is offered in three possible modes. Not every mode is offered each year. See course dates and details.

Mode 1: Full-time: 11 weeks between mid-November and mid-February with a three week break over Christmas/New Year. Students attend Monday to Friday for 40 hours per week.

Mode 2: Part-time: 20 weeks- February to July or July to November- 20 hours per week- group work is held on one day per week-  eight hours of clinical work are required each week

Mode 3: Extended:  9 months (38 weeks)- the group work is conducted as intensives on Friday afternoon and Saturday once a month. Four hours of clinical work are required each week.

The group work is conducted at John Hunter Hospital or at another designated location. The maximum number accepted into a Basic CPE group is six students.



Students will be accepted into this unit only after completion of CPE 1 and CPE 2 at credit level or above and satisfactory reports from previous supervisors.

Advanced CPE requires a heightened level of personal awareness, pastoral formation and professional development in a pastoral care specialisation. It aims at professional competence. Building on the previous units of Clinical Pastoral Education, it seeks to further develop students’ awareness of pastoral dynamics in a specialised area of ministry.  This is achieved by reflection on the student’s practical experience of the specialised ministry, together with research into the area of specialisation. A particular focus is on the ethical challenges posed by the ministry specialisation and associated theological dilemmas.

Award of an Advanced Unit requires satisfactory presentation to a NSW College of CPE Review Committee.



Introductory courses: $250

Basic CPE 1: $1450

Basic CPE 2: $1450

Advanced CPE: $1500


The above fees include the cost of the CPE certificate


DATES 2017

Introductory CPE: Tuesdays October 14 to November 10 inclusive – applications close September 20.

Extended CPE 1,2,3: in progress- no places available

Full-time CPE 1: 2017/18: November 20 to December 22  – break December 23 to January 12 –

resume January 15 to February 16.

Applications close September 20, 2017. Interviews will be held in October.





Students with a Bachelor degree or other relevant qualification may enrol in a Master of Arts (leading to a Specialisation in Chaplaincy) which is offered by the NSW College of CPE through the Sydney College of Divinity. Students undertake three core units of CPE (CPE 1, 2, 3) and receive 54 credit points, half the course work. The remaining 54 credit points may be gained by enrolment in related courses (such as theology, Biblical studies, pastoral counselling) offered through the other member institutes of the Sydney College of Divinity.


Bachelor of Theology students enrolled with the Sydney College of Divinity may include two CPE units in their degree program and receive 18 credit points for each unit.


For further information, contact:

The Rev’d Dr Barbara Howard

C/- Pastoral Care Department

John Hunter Hospital

Locked Bag No 1

Hunter Region Mail Centre 2310

Phone: (02) 49753672/0414 551 751