The Preaching Excellence Program embraced 56 faculty-nominated seminarians and postulants in local formation programs, representing 17 Episcopal seminaries and Anglican Studies programs in the United States and Canada.
Gathered at the Diocese of Virginia’s bucolic Roslyn Retreat Center for a week of intensive focus on preaching, participants followed a regular schedule: typical days included breakfast, morning prayer, a lecture, small preaching groups, lunch, another lecture, a workshop, evening prayer, dinner, and a final lecture. Faculty and lecturers included the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori; Jonathan Merritt, award-winning writer on religion, culture, and politics; the Rev. Gary Jones, Rector of Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond; the Rev. Dr. Brent Norris, Rector of St. Mary’s in Asheville, North Carolina; the Rev. Dr. Carolyn J. Sharp, professor of homiletics at Yale Divinity School; Bishop J. Neil Alexander, Dean of the School of Theology at Sewanee; the Rt. Rev. William H. Stokes, Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey; the Rev. Dr. Stephen Smith, Rector of St. Patrick’s Church in Dublin, Ohio; the Rev. Nikki Panton Mathis, Rector of St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia; and the Rev. Dr. Angela F. Shepherd, Rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. The closing Eucharist was held at All Saints Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia, with Bishop Susan Goff of the Diocese of Virginia serving as celebrant and Bishop Alexander preaching the sermon.