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Diocesan Conferences

A 2-day preaching intensive program

Preaching Foundation Diocesan Conferences

Equip preachers with tools needed to enrich their preaching ministry for years to come

The Preaching Foundation and dioceses partner to offer support and formation for active parish clergy. During the conferences, clergy are invited to spend time on their preaching craft, honing their skills, building community with one another, and discussing the realities of preaching in our contexts. Small groups are at the heart of this experience.

This 2-day fully participatory preaching intensive program can be held virtually or in-person and is designed for parish clergy at all levels of experience. Attendees will benefit from 12 hours of conference time, group worship, participation in small, mentored preaching groups, and the informal fellowship of a residential environment.

Past conference presentations

Conference Components

Program Design: A combination of worship, lecture, discussion, and practice preaching with feedback and practical workshops creates an excellent atmosphere for growth and learning. (12 hours of contact time)

Conference Keynoter: The Preaching Foundation engages a keynoter whose approach is the best match for the needs of each diocese. Keynoters are drawn from seminary homiletics faculty across the United States and from luminaries in the preaching field.

Whole Group Discussions: Spend time asking questions and talking with the keynoter following the address.

Small Group Discussions: Participants get to know one another and discuss the keynote address and its relevance to their ministry and preaching. The groups are facilitated by a Preaching Foundation member, the keynoter, or diocesan representatives. These groups become the Preaching Groups.

Preaching Groups: Building on the rapport established in the Small Groups, participants deliver a short sermon and receive appreciative feedback from the moderator and the group. (Participants are instructed to bring a sermon of their choice to the conference.

Workshops: These are tailored to the needs and context of each diocese. Sample topics include utilizing different forms for preaching, preaching to different generations, and emotional intelligence and its effect on the preaching task. Workshops are led by representatives from the Preaching Foundation, the keynoter, and/or diocesan resource individuals. Participants will shift among four workshops over the course of two-and-a-half hours.

Customized themes are developed with diocesan leadership. Past themes have included:

  • Preaching Across the Divide
  • Narrative Preaching and Storytelling
  • The New Media Landscape: A New Context for Preaching
  • Preaching in a Pastoral Context
  • Preaching the Hebrew Texts and the New Testament

Start planning a conference today!

Methods Employed

  1. Methods employed are both academic and experiential
  2. Participants will hear excellent preaching in a liturgical context as modeled throughout the conference. Sermons within worship will be offered by keynoters, faculty, and other excellent preachers who may be available to attend the conference.
  3. Insights on the practice of preaching through lectures and workshops offered by some of the top theoreticians of preaching.
  4. Experience preaching in small groups to facilitated feedback. Facilitators/faculty will lead this process and provide materials on how to create feedback groups with fellow clergy and with lay people in a parochial context.


  1. Participants will come prepared to offer a sermon within a facilitated feedback group.
  2. Participants will come prepared to offer their own insights and experience.
  3. The Preaching Foundation will arrange for keynoters, preachers, and faculty.
  4. Faculty will be comprised of those who teach preaching and clergy with experience in the field who have a demonstrated aptitude for preaching.


  1. Conference programming is provided by the Preaching Foundation.
  2. Hospitality is provided by the diocese.
  3. Conference includes a minimum of 12 hours of contact time to allow for both academic and experiential programs.
  4. Faculty is assigned on a ratio of one faculty member for every six participants.