Clergy gather to explore ways to improve preaching

April 23-26 Preaching Conference to examine role of social media, technology and innovation in preaching

Posted Mar 7, 2012

[Kanuga Conferences, Inc.] How are sermons heard today? What can preachers do to improve their reception? What role do social media, technology and innovation play?

Clergy from around the country will gather to explore these questions and more April 23-26 at the National Episcopal Preaching Conference at Kanuga Conferences Inc.

Co-sponsored with the Episcopal Preaching Foundation, this third annual conference will explore emerging patterns of proclamation with some of the country’s most innovative church leaders and theologians. A rewarding post-Easter respite, the conference will focus on the theme “Recasting the Sermon: What Language Shall We Borrow?”

Conference participants will also have the chance to receive feedback on one of their own sermons in small preaching groups. These small groups meet daily around Kanuga’s scenic campus, allowing time for reflection, prayer and advice in an intimate peer-based setting.

Keynoters include:

  • Shane Hipps, teaching pastor at Mars Hills Bible Church, founded by Love Wins author Rob Bell in Grandville, Mich. His books include The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel and Church and Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith.
  • Tony Jones, author, blogger and social commentator who serves as theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch, a holistic missional Christian community in Minneapolis, Minn. His books include The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier and The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life.
  • The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She also serves as a priest associate at All Souls Episcopal Parish in Berkeley, Calif. She chairs the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music and is an associate member of the Council of Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. Her publications include Continuing the Reformation: Re-Visioning Baptism in the Episcopal Church, Worship-Shaped Life: Liturgical Formation and the People of God, co-edited with Paul Gibson, and numerous articles.
  • Dr. Lauren Winner, author of Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath. The former book editor for Beliefnet, she has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly and more. With degrees from Duke, Columbia and Cambridge universities, she is currently serving as an assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C.

“Preaching is actually communicating practical theology and doing it in a way that engages the people who come and worship in our sanctuaries,” Jones said. “I’m excited about meeting with other people who are similarly committed to this and talking about our theology, our differences, our similarities and learning from one another. I hope that people come away with their imagination stoked. Just to be in that catalytic kind of environment where we can talk about ideas that matter, I think I’ll come away with a renewed sense of imagination when it comes to communicating biblical and theological ideas and I hope that’s everybody’s experience.

The Rev. Dr. William Brosend of the Sewanee School of Theology returns as conference coordinator and will be joined by the Theodicy Jazz Collective, a group of musicians from New Haven, Conn.