Kathleen Norris Zooms Into Preachers’ Orbit

Episcopal Preaching Foundation
Posted Feb 2, 2022

Kathleen Norris direct from Hawaii.

The Preaching Excellence Program II “Get a life, Get a sermon” week provided the opportunity for clergy to gain new insights and tools in the craft of preaching, to meet new colleagues, and be inspired and affirmed in their aspirations to be passionate and effective in communicating the Gospel!

The virtual conference, attended by Priests from around the Church the week of January 24-28, was energized by a keynote address offered by renowned author and spiritual companion Kathleen Norris, author of “CloisterWalk” and “Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith”.  Kathleen Norris offered reflections and poetry inviting preachers to a wonderful array of metaphor and pragmatic insight, and extolled the power of brevity (“We write until we start to think”) and shared her insights into how to overcome the wall when we feel completely dry.

Dr. Micah Jackson, President of Bexley Seabury seminary and former John Hines associate professor of homiletics at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest invited attendees to reflect on the influences of pronouns and word choices in preaching.

Dr. Christine Parton Burkett, lecturing fellow in speech at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. offered a wonderful presentation and invitation to help participants explore how best to evaluate the use of story and metaphor, as well as offering tools for self-examination in the crafting of sermons.

“The PEP conference should be something that every single clergy person should attend at least once”- Conference attendee, January 2022

The core of the week’s program was the participatory time spent each day preaching to appreciative feedback from a small group of fellow participants.

EPF Board President Canon Charles Cesaretti summed it up:

For almost 35 years The Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF) has created the space and context for preachers to focus on sermon preparation and delivery.  They gather together with acclaimed preachers, with biblical scholars, with experts in elocution.  They, also, gather with colleagues from small and large, urban and rural, congregations.  They pray, meditate, and sing. They hear, they read, they share, and they encounter, embody, and proclaim the Word.  PEP II “Get a life, Get a sermon” stands high in line of excellent EPF preaching conferences.

The Episcopal Preaching Foundation continues to live and expand its mission to support and enhance preaching the word of God in the Church. Since 1989, the foundation has offered formational programs to seminarians, Priests, Deacons, and now excitedly has responded to the Church’s needs for formation with lay preachers.