Adapted from a VTS announcement

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded $500,000 to Virginia Theological Seminary for “Deep Calls to Deep: A Program to Strengthen Episcopal Preaching.”

“The task of preaching is central to the work of formation,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of VTS. “This four-year program will create options for our graduates to grow, develop and hone the craft of preaching. We are honored that the seminary has been recognized as an appropriate home for this exciting project.”

The Rev. Ruthanna Hooke will oversee the program as executive director. Hooke is also an associate professor of homiletics and incoming associate dean of chapel. Donyelle McCray, instructor of homiletics and director of the Office of Multicultural Ministries, will serve as associate director. The core of the program is peer learning in groups to invite the connection between preaching and the rest of one’s life.

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“‘Deep Calls to Deep’ seeks to help working preachers and seminarians to renew their preaching practices by deepening their connection to the Holy Spirit,” Hooke said. “At the core of our program is the opportunity for peer learning in community, as we believe that through this collegiality preaching is best developed and supported. We want to reach out to those who undertake the crucial and yet taxing work of preaching in our churches, to provide them with the nurture and challenge that will support them in this ministry for the long haul.”

A central goal of the program is to explore embodiment and spirituality as two tools to rejuvenate the preaching of those who have been in ministry for at least five years.

Image of Aspinwall Hall at Virginia Theological Seminary by John W. Cross, via Wikimedia Commons.

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