The Episcopal Preaching Foundation announces three new programs
The Board of Directors of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF) is pleased to announce plans to begin three new programs in 2014. The new programs are made possible in part through the support of the Robertson Foundation. The initiatives are being developed in partnership with the Dioceses of Atlanta, Colorado, and Olympia, whose bishops are delighted that EPF is developing these new programs and will encourage participation by clergy and lay preachers. “Jesus told us to preach,” said the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright, Bishop of Atlanta, “and that work demands study, skill and boldness. Thank you to the Episcopal Preaching Foundation for its expanding work among us.”
Preaching Excellence Program II “PEP II”
“PEP II,” a program for priests with approximately 3-5 years experience in ordained ministry will be offered in May 2014. The program will seek the most promising “young” preachers from around the Church at a formative season in their preaching development for a week of intense study and practice modeled on the Foundation’s 25 years of experience with the Preaching Excellence Program (“PEP”) for seminarians. “After three to five years in parish ministry, priests know what they don’t know and are eager for help, especially in preaching,” says A. Gary Shilling, Ph.D., Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation.
PEP II will inspire some of the Church’s most gifted new preachers in lectures and workshops while providing them with new and enhanced skills as part of a growing community of preachers. In 2014 sixteen priests will be invited to participate in the program, with the goal of reaching forty priests each year by 2017. The program will be led by the Rev. Dr. William Brosend, executive director of EPF and professor of homiletics at the School of Theology, Sewanee, and EPF board member the Rev. Dr. Micah Jackson, the Bishop John Hines Associate Professor of Preaching and Dean of Community Life at Seminary of the Southwest. “Preaching instruction at the seminary level can barely scratch the surface of preaching's true complexity,” said Dr. Jackson. “After 3-5 years of experience, preachers are coming to understand the challenges associated with preaching week after week in community. We can help them keep preaching as an important and vital part of their total pastoral ministry."
Lay preachers, deacons, and priests committed to improving their preaching will be invited to join a supervised group of peers in their diocese for regular meetings, in person and online, to share in sermon preparation and sermon critique. This program will first be offered in the three partner dioceses, and expand as interest and partnerships grow. The groups will nurture a community of preachers within the diocese, allowing participants to think and pray together about shaping future sermons and regularly receive peer feedback on the sermons they preach. Each group of four to six will be led by a trained preaching mentor, and will meet in person or online 18-20 times per year.
Preachers willing to make an 18-24 month commitment to sustained work on improving their preaching will have an opportunity to apply to participate in a one-on-one mentoring program, in person and online, by a priest both skilled and gifted as a preacher and trained to be a preaching mentor and coach. “In the day-in and day-out of parish life, it can be very difficult for clergy to get constructive feedback on their preaching,” commented the Rev. Dr. Lauren F. Winner, Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School and best-selling author. “If you were a professional violinist, you would still have a teacher or attend an occasional master class. If you were a soccer star, you would have a coach. Think of this program as providing coaching for priests' ongoing growth in the preaching arts”
Clergy and dioceses interested in participating in the new programs are invited to visit www.preachingfoundation.org. For additional information contact the Rev. Dr. William Brosend, executive director of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation, at 931.598.1471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.