I have worked as a lay professional in the Episcopal Church for 34 years and served as a former President of the Endowed Parish Network. Having worked for Berkeley Divinity School at Yale for over 20 years and as someone serving on national and international church organizations, I have the privilege of up close and personal relationships with many outstanding Episcopal and Anglican organizations. During this time I have supported EPF in several capacities as a board member, faculty member, and donor. It might be helpful to readers of Kerygma™ to understand some of my reasons.
First, I admire laity who take an active role in the Episcopal Church. Thirty four years ago, EPF’s founder, Economist Gary Shilling, recognized what Gallup surveys and the Pew Center were later to document: that excellent preaching would be imperative for the Church to thrive.
Today the Preaching Excellence Program (“PEP”) for Episcopal seminarians that Dr. Shilling conceived to address this need is widely respected and created the pathway for other EPF programs that now support Episcopal clergy, deacons, lay preachers, and those studying outside seminary, for the priesthood.
Berkeley at Yale and other seminaries have partnered to provide professors, outstanding graduates and staff to enhance the EPF’s programs. I give because I admire founder Gary Shilling’s dedication to this mission, and because I recognize its urgency.
Second, once I attended the programs and served on the board, I increased my giving because I was able to see firsthand how a small, cost-effective organization could deliver an outstanding program in a residential setting that builds a network for so many clergy. I give because this is a great investment for the seminarians and clergy of the Church I love.
Third, although admiration of Gary Shilling and outstanding cost-effective programs for our beloved Church are good reasons to give, there is a more compelling reason: because now more than ever we must proclaim the Gospel. The Episcopal Preaching Foundation has for decades enhanced how the word of God can be offered throughout our Church and Communion. In fact, I give because I have been blessed to hear God’s word from so many top theologians and preachers; and I want to offer that same gift to as many as possible.
For these compelling reasons I hope you will consider joining me in supporting The Episcopal Preaching Foundation.
Pam Wesley Gomez is the Director, Office of Advancement, at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.