Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (MTh)




Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Peter VanKatwyk

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Five women members of The Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education (CAPPE) who self-identified as lesbian were interviewed concerning their experiences of bias based on sexual orientation in supervised pastoral education programs and its perceived impact on the development of personal and professional identity. Inductive content analysis indicated that these women experienced less overt bias in the form of homophobia in CAPPE than they did heterosexism. Data obtained suggests the presence of negative effects of heterosexism on collegial relationships, pastoral care/counselor education, theological understanding and the process of professional development. Covert bias in the form of homophobia was experienced in the dynamics of group process, the curriculum content, and the supervisory process within SPE, as it was within organizations affiliated with CAPPE such as the institutional church or individual SPE sites. The impact of various forms of bias, such as homophobia and heterosexism on the development of personal and professional identity was identified in terms of potential risks to ordination status: authentic relationship to self, others and God: and the students’ emotional integrity and safety. Women indicated the need for CAPPE to be pro-active to insure, through Standards and policy-making in SPE program sites, a positive and affirming environment for lesbian and gay pastoral caregivers/counsellors.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season