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Southern Ohio, Idaho lay leaders hone preaching craft

| Posted: February 21, 2023

More than 25 lay preachers in the dioceses of Southern Ohio and Idaho committed their time and talents to improving the craft of preaching during an online conference Feb. 10-12. Hosted by the Episcopal Preaching Foundation, the weekend program was an extension of the Lay Preacher Training Initiative, a two-year local formation experience designed to prepare effective, confident, and passionate preachers in the lay order of our Church. Offered as a continuing education event for licensed lay preachers, this program will support graduates of the Lay Preacher Training Initiative following the completion of their formal training in November 2023.

Led by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Smith, dean of the Preaching Foundation Faculty, the weekend conference offered instruction on sermon preparation, creative storytelling, and preaching in the midst of war. The program was centered around one of the hallmark features of the Preaching Foundation’s programs: small facilitated preaching groups in which participants preach to peer feedback. Leaders during the conference included the Rev. Kimberly Jackson, rector of the Church of the Common Ground and a Georgia state senator, and Susan Russell, recently retired from the School of Theater at Penn State University and now a professor at Duke University.

“After more than 30 years of guiding seminarians and clergy toward the goal of excellence in preaching, the Preaching Foundation is delighted to provide resources and support for these dynamic lay preachers,” said Preaching Foundation Executive Director Peter Wild. “We know that excellent preaching strengthens congregations, and we are honored to play a role in supporting this important ministry.”

Funded by a generous grant from Trinity Church Wall Street, the Lay Preacher Training Initiative will conclude the two-year training of 36 lay preachers in six Episcopal dioceses with a celebration Eucharist at Washington National Cathedral on November 11, 2023.  The training curriculum will then be available to all Episcopal dioceses in 2024. If you’re interested in learning more about how your congregation or diocese can participate, contact