Communities of Practice

Quick Links:


A Community of Practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. A Community of Practice has the following three elements:
  1. A Community of Practice has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people. They value their collective competence and learn from each other.
  2. The community members, in pursing their interest in their domain, engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other; they care about their standing with each other.
  3. Members of a Community of Practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems – in short a shared practice.  This takes time and sustained interaction.
  4. For more information on Communities of Practice please read Communities of Practice, A Brief Introduction by Etienne Wenger. 


Communities of Practice serve as the flagship activity for our association and anchor us in our grassroots tradition. Workshop proposals for conferences submitted or sponsored by a Community of Practice will receive priority consideration. As grassroots entities, Communities of Practice within ACPE, have three primary purposes:
  1. To foster supportive and challenging relationships among colleagues;
  2. To promote best practices in the field of clinical pastoral education (CPE) and spiritually-integrated psychotherapy, and
  3. To provide ongoing professional development for CPE educators, psychotherapists, practitioners, students and spiritual care professionals.


  1. All ACPE educators, psychotherapist, and practitioners will participate in at least one Community of Practice.
  2. All students in Supervisory Education and Spiritual Care Professionals are encouraged to participate in at least one Community of Practice.
  3. Each ACPE Educator will report on their participation with Communities of Practice in the newly instituted electronic individual Annual Report.
  4. Communities of Practice will report annually through their designated contact person to the Professional Well-Being Committee on the membership and activities of the Community of Practice.


  1. Communities of Practice are developed in several ways, such as: 
    •geography/location, or 
    •a specific practice, theory or interest.
  2. Any ACPE member in good standing may form and serve as the contact person for a Community of Practice.
  3. Each recognized Community of Practice will be registered with the Professional Well-Being Committee. The ACPE office will maintain the registry and make it public on the website.
  4. Communities of Practice may solicit members person-by-person, through the newsletter, on the website, or through occasional mailings from the office. Invitations will include the goals and objectives of the community, current members, contact information, and plans for convening.
  5. The Professional Well-Being Committee will oversee matters related to Communities of Practice, including formation of new groups, review of annual reports regarding member participation, and maintaining a directory/contact list of Communities of Practice throughout the association.


  1. An ACPE Community of Practice will ordinarily have a minimum of 8 members. Should a community drop below 8 members, representatives of the group will consult with the Professional Well-Being Committee about next steps, including adding new members, continuing for a specified period with less than 8 members or discontinuing the community.
  2. Communities of Practice may convene face-to-face, via audio or video conference or as a part of other events/gatherings.
  3. All approved Communities of Practice are eligible for funding to support those activities which advance the mission of ACPE and help the community achieve their goals and objectives according to the finance policies.
  4. Communities of Practice may decide to dissolve at any time for any reason. Should a community decide to disband, a representative should notify the Professional Well-Being Committee as soon as possible.


  1. Funding policies and guidelines can be found here.