Six from EDS Attend Preaching Excellence Program

Preaching Excellence Conference attendees

Six EDS students and recent graduates just returned from attending the Preaching Excellence Program, which took place from May 27 through June 1 in Roslyn, VA. The conference was sponsored by the Episcopal Preaching Foundation and was attended by over 60 seminarians. Current EDS students Paula Toland, Brian Gross, Bryan Pearson, Joslyn Schaefer, and recent EDS graduates Lavonne Seifert and Bill Knutson (left to right) were nominated by EDS to attend. This year's topic for the conference was "Preaching Paul” and the program included workshops such as “The Art of Painting with Words” and “Preaching as Performance.” The Preaching Excellence faculty was comprised of nine men and women who serve as seminary professors and scholars or active priests.  

“It was a privilege to spend time with the faculty in small groups, plenary sessions, workshops, and informally during meals and breaks. One of our faculty, the Rev. Robert Wright, was elected Bishop-elect of Atlanta the day after the conference closed!” shared Lavonne Seifert after returning from the week.

MDiv student Joslyn Schaefer from Morehead City, NC, felt honored to be nominated by EDS to attend the conference. “Since preaching is a craft, it is a real privilege to work with the master craftsmen and women who served as faculty at the conference. I was particularly drawn to the conference's theme, ‘Preaching Paul,’ as I've experienced some preachers who prefer to avoid Paul. Paul has a dicey reputation and it is partially well deserved. This conference helped me find ways into the narratives that underlie Paul's letters, think about the relevance of Paul's First Century worldview and passion for today, and to hone my homiletical skills.”

Brian Gross found the experience provided a wonderful opportunity to meet other Episcopal seminarians from around the country. “It gave us the opportunity to see different traditions and perspectives on not only Paul and preaching but also liturgical differences from each school as we worshiped together each day.”

"It was also a week in which my decision to matriculate at EDS was affirmed over and over again as I saw the ways in which our values and willingness to "try on" different liturgies, music, and preaching, equips us to approach new situations in ways that render these situations exciting opportunities rather than stressful challenges," concluded third year MDiv student Paula Toland.