The 2008 Conference: Deep Calls to Deep

In 2008, we returned to the Cathedral College of Preachers in Washington, DC to explore our preaching.

On August 5-9, 2008, we made our way to our nation’s capital to be inspired by The Rev. Dr. Ruthanna Hooke, of Virginia Theological Seminary. As an ecumenical body, we were grateful to welcome an Anglican voice like the Rev. Hooke. We knew that we could count on an ecumenical heart from her studies at Yale Divinity School.

The Rev. Hooke offered this invitation toward embodying the sermon.

The depths of Scripture call for preachers to meet Scripture from their own depths.  This meeting of deep and deep occurs not only in the writing of the sermon, but also in the speaking of it.  A sermon is not primarily words on a page, but is a living, breathing event of one human being speaking to others.  This course focuses on developing the skills needed to be fully present for this speaking event.  This full presence and availability for the sermon is necessary in order to convey the depths found in Scripture and also the depths in preachers’ own lives as they meet Scripture.  In this course we will work toward developing this availability by drawing on techniques of actor training that aim to enhance the freedom of the body, the breath, and the voice.  These techniques will help us discover how we can more fully bring our bodies as well as our minds and souls to the preaching event.  We will also examine what the demand that we bring all of ourselves to preaching requires of us spiritually and emotionally.  In addition, this conference will focus on the particular challenges for women in claiming their voice, not only metaphorically but literally, in the pulpit.

There were wonderful gifts offered by the Cathedral College — including its location, the meals, the stocked mini fridge ideal for snacking and wine and the lodging itself. However, it was quite expensive for our young clergy sisters. We did not know that we would not host a conference in 2009, but that would partly be due to the fact that the Cathedral College closed.