Clinical Pastoral Education Student Testimonials
Vanessa Persenaire, Resident 2016-2017
"The Clinical Pastoral Education program at Bronson Methodist Hospital offers a highly respectable program that has been training chaplains for over thirty years. The Bronson Pastoral Care Department is a warm and welcoming environment that balances a strong focus on professional skill development with a supportive and nurturing atmosphere. Bronson is the only Tier 1 Trauma Center in South West Michigan, which means that chaplains are provided with a unique and rare opportunity to work with patients and their families who are experiencing the most severe medical issues. Bronson also offers opportunities to specialize in working with different populations, such as palliative, pediatric, trauma, and psychiatric care patients. Completing a CPE residency at Bronson really validated my calling for ministry and chaplaincy. It made me feel like I have a unique set of skills that have made me more empathic, more self-aware, and more in touch with my own internal process. I am proud to say that 100% of my colleagues in my cohort were offered a full or part-time chaplain position upon the completion of our program."
Rev. Tracey Taylor-Kunst, Resident 2015-2016
"Our resident group was told early on that this was an Adult Learning Model. How I valued this. We developed our own learning goals and were responsible to grow into them. I entered the residency with a lot of local church experience and training as a spiritual director but needing clinical experience. I wanted to be marketable as a chaplain upon completing the residency, as well as growth through the process. During the residency I came to see and claim my strengths, as well as consider how I presented myself to others. Bronson values and supports diversity in race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity and gender expression, age, and personality type. This strengthens the program. I especially valued our training in Crucial Conversations, Internal Family Systems, the Enneagram, and Transitions. After serving at the main hospital campus during the school year, I spent my summer unit serving as Chaplain Resident at Bronson Commons (short term rehab and long term care). The entire process led to my being hired as a behavioral health chaplain at Pine Rest and Mercy Health. I am currently working towards APC board certification"
Bruno Okoli, Resident 2012-2013
"Life is a journey which most of the time is made in shadows and darkness without knowing whom we are nor where we are going. We become aware of ourselves and our directions when we step out of shadows and darkness. That was my experience at Bronson Hospital CPE. I thank God for the opportunity!"
Kenita Spencer, Resident 2012-2013
"In the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Bronson Hospital I learned more about me specifically and about humanity in general. I experienced unforeseen challenges, yet I’m still reaping rewards personally and professionally. I grew into embracing change and am forever beautifully changed. I believe author and poet Maya Angelou speaks poetically to my journey towards becoming a more beautifully whole soul: 'We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.' Now I see, smell, taste, touch and hear life and work differently. My transformation didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened as I interacted with and provided care to patients and their love ones, staff and my colleagues. And in the midst of their joy and pain—in the midst of my personal joy and pain—there was God’s grace like rain. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the extended unit and residency program. My time was unregretfully spent! It was a breath of fresh air!"
Ray Francis, Resident 2012-2013
"My CPE residency in the pastoral care department at Bronson provided me the space and safe environment to explore and recover the spiritual and emotional dynamics of my humanity that was truly life giving to me. By providing spiritual care to Bronson’s patients and their families as a resident chaplain and interacting with Bronson’s exemplary health care team I was able to explore new ways of being in the world where I discovered that the mystery of God could be present in the messiness of life. I am forever grateful for my transformational journey at Bronson."
John Huyser, Resident 2009
"Both as a summer intern and two years later as a resident, I was welcomed as an insider to Bronson's patient care team. I came to learn more about the "face in the mirror" and how my life story, including its celebrations and tragedies, motivates and affects the care that I offer to patients, family members, and staff. Bronson's CPE was an indispensable part of my pastoral formation for ministry - I highly recommend this program for anyone up to the challenge."
Rev. Lynn Likkel, Resident 2009-2010
"My experience at Bronson these last nine months as a resident chaplain has been formational in my life and work. MICU, PICU and Peds have been a constant learning environment. I've appreciated being part of the interdisciplinary team with Bronson's excellent doctors and nurses. I'm impressed and awed by the quality of care you give in this community. I've also learned much from the patients I've served who through their suffering and persevering teach me daily how to be a better chaplain. Thanks for what you've taught me. I'll never forget you or the lessons I've learned while here."