Last week the Episcopal Preaching Foundation reached a new milestone in the delivery of its preaching conferences. Less than a year after conducting the first-ever EPF preaching conference delivered via Zoom, the Foundation last week concluded a Zoom preaching conference for the clergy of the Diocese of Southeast Florida in a bilingual (English/Spanish) format.
Foundation President Charles Cesaretti reported:
“By the magic of Zoom it’s now possible to incorporate simultaneous translation into our conferences, a capability that will stand the Episcopal community in good stead as we all share resources and improve communications with non-English speaking dioceses and parishes across the US Mainland and overseas.”
In last week’s three-day conference the plenary presentations and preaching were inter-mixed between delivery in Spanish and English, with simultaneous translation offered in both languages. With translation provided by the Diocese, and Zoom technical support by EPF technical partner Bexley Seabury, Diocesan Canon to the Ordinary the Rev. Licia Affer was able to report:
“The partnership with EPF led to what was described by many as the most successful Clergy Conference in recent years. I personally enjoyed working with the EPF team “behind the scenes”: their passion for this ministry and their professionalism made it very easy to organize and run a seamless flow of interesting plenary talks, engaging small groups, and enjoyable moments of fellowship.”
The theme of the conference “Preaching in the Time of Covid – And Beyond”, underscored by a keynote from Dr. O. Wesley Allen, Professor of Homiletics at SMU Perkins School of Theology, and driven home by an address delivered in Spanish by The Rev. Nancy Frausto, Associate Rector of St. Luke’s, Long Beach, CA and a DACA recipient who emphasized the importance of preaching from the heart to bring meaning in times of crisis and conflict. The Rev. Magrey deVega, Senior Pastor at Hyde Park Methodist Church, Tampa, FL articulated five major challenges facing the preacher in this time of Covid, and suggested pathways to addressing each of these.
The core of the conference was small, moderated preaching groups meeting in individual Zoom rooms, giving each participant an opportunity to preach in a safe environment to appreciative feedback from their peer clergy, and from the moderator. The schedule included morning and evening worship, multiple opportunities for networking and fellowship, and precious unstructured time between sessions to attend to parish emergencies, walk the dog, or enjoy quiet time.
The EPF regularly partners with dioceses to deliver ad hoc two and three-day preaching intensive programs to their clergy. Inquiries from interested dioceses are encouraged.
About the Episcopal Preaching Foundation
The Episcopal Preaching Foundation encourages excellent preaching in the Episcopal Church. The EPF strongly believes in the foundational role of preaching to energize and build church membership and attendance in today’s challenging environment, as recently documented by Gallup and the Pew Research Center. Founded in 1987, the foundation began its programs in earnest immediately. Since then, more than 1,800 seminarians have passed through its Preaching Excellence Program, including numerous bishops and one presiding bishop. More recently, the EPF has expanded programming to embrace practicing parish clergy through the annual conference (“PEP-II”) and ad hoc diocesan and deacons’ conferences. A new EPF lay preacher training program funded by a grant from Trinity Church Wall Street will be introduced in six pilot dioceses in second half 2021. In the role of technology partner, Bexley Seabury provides technical support and expertise for the EPF’s current calendar of Zoom-based conferences.
For more information, please contact
Episcopal Preaching Foundation
Peter Wild (Executive Director)
500 Morris Ave., Ste. 304
Springfield, NJ 07081