Training Faith Based Caregivers

Mobilizing Pastoral Care Throughout Northwest Iowa

What is Ecumenical Institute?

Ecumenical Institute (EI) was started in 1968 and has operated as a charitable organization since 1993. Its goal is to mobilize pastoral care for the residents of Northwest Iowa. Ecumenical Institute’s vision is to provide care for humans in all conditions of life and offer spiritual training to those who assist in that care.

Ecumenical Institute mobilizes pastoral care throughout Northwest Iowa by:

  • Providing Certified Pastoral Education (CPE) to individuals committed to Northwest Iowa through classes, workshops, and seminars.
  • Mobilizing pastoral care by networking together with leaders from congregations, civic organizations, businesses, and community service providers.
  • Empowering pastoral caregivers to “pass it on” within their own spheres of influence, from congregations to the workplace to the community a large.

Our Mission

“To provide quality pastoral education through an accredited training center by certified personnel on an ecumenical, non-discriminatory basis in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and to provide these services primarily on behalf of the people of Northwest Iowa. Special concern is directed to meeting the needs of rural communities and to serving as a public trust in all matters related to the financial support of these educational services.”

Iowa Ministry Locations

Alta, Alton, Ashton, Boone, Carroll, Castana, Cherokee, Danbury, Decorah, Deloit, Des Moines, Dubuque, Early, Estherville, Everly, Fonda, Fort Dodge, Harlan, Holstein, Hull, Ida Grove, Larrabee, Le Mars, Manning, Marcus, Marshalltown, Merrill, Milford, Moville, Newton, Odebolt, Okoboji, Orange City, Pocahontas, Postville, Renwick, Royal, Sac City, Sheldon, Sibley, Sioux Center, Sioux City, Somers, Spencer, Storm Lake, Sutherland, Tabor, Treynor, Wall Lake, Washta, Williamsburg

Calendar & Meetings

Check out what’s happening!

Class Schedule

Class Meets Every Other Thursday
Total of 120 Classroom hours
plus 280 hours of clinical

The extended unit meets every other week for a reflection on the student’s ministry in a peer group of 4 – 7 individuals. Students are asked to interact in the systems that make up the community in which they live.

The elements of a unit of CPE may include:

  • Devotions – Each student, along with the supervisor, will share in a time of opening devotions.
  • Verbatims – These are the core of each day’s class time which are scheduled at the beginning of the unit.
  • Learning Covenant – Within the first four weeks, each student is asked to present his/her learning goals for the unit.
  • Critical Incidents – The student will present several critical incident.
  • Interpersonal relationship seminars – These seminars are an opportunity to stop and ask the question: “How are we doing as a group?”
  • Weekly reflection or journal – A consistent reflection by the student about what he/she is learning about themselves in the process of pastoral care.
  • Care Study – Advanced students may be asked to prepare an in-depth case study.
  • Sermon – During the unit, the student may substitute a sermon for a verbatim.
  • Didactic – The supervisor or guest speaker will present a minimum of five didactics.
  • Individual Supervision – Each student will have one-on-one consultation with the supervisor.
Board Meetings

Meetings are held quaterly
Usually held January, April, July & October

Please check with Rev. Roger Cauthon at for more information.

Area Trainings

Keep watching for future trainings to be held in the area.

Monthly Calendars
  • Board Meeting
  • CPE Class Ends
  • Alumni Reunion
  • Board Meeting
  • Applications Received for Enrollment
  • Interviews for Fall Admission
  • Board Meeting
  • Fall CPE Class starts
  • Board Retreat, Okoboji
  • Board Meeting

What People Have to Say

  • "CPE helped me learn how to express myself more effectively and to be more self accountable.  Gifts that I had were affirmed and I have developed new tools also for more effective listening.  I leave changed and I know the growth process will continue.  I thank God and Ecumenical Institute for this opportunity."

    Koral Gafken, Class of 2008 Parish Nurse at Bethany Lutheran in Spencer
  • "I enrolled in CPE because it was a requirement by my denomination but it has evolved into a very helpful experience.  It also created more awareness in my parish about the importance of pastoral caregiving.  My competency in listening has improved greatly especially in the area of hearing and accepting other people’s feelings."

    Terry Pollard, Class of 2008 Pastor at Alta-Schaller United Methodist Church
  • "One of the key things I learned was that we’re not all the same, but we’re not as different as we think.  Also, I now prepare more purposefully for a pastoral visit.  Instead of offering solutions, I learned to offer comfort and connection to the Christian community."

    Kollen Queener, Class of 2008 Canidate for clergy from United Methodist Church, LeMars
  • "CPE has helped me to understand myself better and that is freeing.  My church was glad that I wanted to learn new ways to be a more effective pastor and has been very supportive.  I appreciated the extra skills I learned in the art of listening.  So much ministry can be accomplished when a person just takes the time to really listen."

    Craig Cummins. Class of 2008 Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Alta
  • "I understand myself and my family legacy better so that I am able to communicate more effectively in ministry."

    Stephanie Prince, Class of 2008 Lay woman from Spencer's Dayspring Assembly of God
  • "I have grown personally especially in my understanding of grief and loss.  I also have expanded my understanding that offering my “presence” is a gift of ministry.  I have become more aware of the power of prayer and to offer prayer as appropriate when I minister and remember to pray afterwards so as to lift the caregiving concerns to God and release the burden that I can feel."

    Karen Borchers, Class of 2008 Lay Women from St. Paul's Lutheran (ELCA) in Holstein and Executive Director of EL

Staff & Board of Directors

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Board Members



ACPE Certified Educator

Retired Banker

Associate in Ministry

Funeral Director

Board Member

Retired Surgeon

Community Leader

CEO, The Bridge of Storm Lake

ACPE Certified Educator

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