On September 26 and 27, the Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF), in partnership with the deacons of Province VII and the Association of Episcopal Deacons (AED), delivered the EPF’s first preaching conference for diaconal clergy.
Led by The Rev. Dr. Stephen Smith, Dean of the EPF Faculty and Rector of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Dublin, Ohio and a leader of lay ministry training in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, the intensive “Deep Dive” into preaching excellence was delivered via Zoom and attended by 35 deacons and archdeacons from the Province.
The program featured a plenary address by the Rev. William A. Doubleday, Professor of Pastoral Theology at Bexley Seabury and General Theological Seminaries, a working preacher panel discussion and a series of small facilitated preaching groups in which participants preached to peer feedback. Speakers also included the Very Rev. Sylvia Sweeney, Professor of Liturgical Studies and Preaching at Bloy House Episcopal Theological Seminary, Calif., and the Rev. Kimberly Jackson, Rector of the Church of the Common Ground in Atlanta. Particular emphasis in the weekend program was given to exegesis, sermon preparation and the role of the sermon in the context of diaconal ministry.
One participant said, “How empowered and appreciated I felt as a deacon from all the presenters but especially my small group leader.”
“After more than 30 years of guiding seminarians and clergy toward the goal of excellence in preaching, the EPF is delighted to have given our first conference convened specifically for the diaconate,” said EPF Executive Director Peter Wild. “This focus enabled the faculty to explore the topics and the homiletic emphasis that are of greatest importance to deacons at this unique time in our culture.”
“This conference provided a great opportunity for deacons across Province VII to come together in a format that was accessible to their schedules, since most are bi-vocational,” said conference co-organizer Tracie Middleton, President of AED and Deacon in the Diocese of Ft. Worth. “We are so pleased to partner with EPF for this unique offering and explore the distinctive nature of diaconal preaching.”
Lori Mills-Curran, Executive Director of AED, added: “From a chance conversation in a coffee shop at the Rooted in Jesus Conference has come this splendid opportunity, tailored to diaconal realities, to enhance our unique prophetic voice. I look forward to much more collaboration with EPF for the benefit of all deacons.”
The online infrastructure was provided by the EPF’s technical partner, Bexley Seabury. The AED has confirmed an interest in partnering with EPF for additional workshops designed to equip deacons throughout TEC and Canada with enhanced preaching skills. In recognition of the frequently non-stipendiary nature of diaconal ministry, the cost of the course was underwritten by the EPF and AED’s fund set-aside to assist with costs of provincial diaconal gatherings.
For More Information Contact:
Peter Wild, Executive Director
The Episcopal Preaching Foundation
500 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Tel: (203) 448-8801
The Rev. Tracie Middleton
President, Association of Episcopal Deacons
Deacon, Trinity Episcopal Church
Fort Worth, Texas
(817) 727-1240 mobile