Experiments in Sermonizationing

Since moving to Kodiak last fall, I have been blessed with many opportunities to preach, at the Unitarian Universalist congregation and at Saint James the Fisherman Episcopal Church. Last Sunday, Tamie and I co-preached in what was something of a tag team effort. She started off, speaking for a few minutes, then I spoke for a few minutes. Then she went, back to me, etc. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t really directly coordinate our talk; we were working off a common them and common Scriptures. It ended up coordinating itself, and I think it was a creative way to preach.

As a future minister-to-be, I hope to work on making the sermons creative. I’ve always had my doubts about having the same person preach week after week. For one thing, that’s a lot of stress on one person! For another, variety is so important in religious life…and in life in general. I wonder, for example, what it might be like to have a sermon in the form of poetry readings or imaginative retellings of biblical stories. There is so much creativity in congregations that seems to go unused. What would it be like to unleash that?

I’ve been experimenting, myself, this last year with different styles and approaches to sermons. I’ve prepprepared the sermon, speaking from a manuscript, and I’ve done the complete opposite, preparing an outline of main points but speaking almost entirely without notes; and I’ve tried things in between. I think I’ve been trying to see what is my style, looking for my “preaching voice.” But Tamie pointed out the other day that I don’t necessarily have to find one particular way to preach. And I like that. I like the freedom to continue to experiment over the course of a lifetime.

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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