Spent part of this morning in a group discussion on preaching conducted by The Very Rev. Ansley Tucker, newly appointed Rector of Christ Church Cathedral Victoria and Dean of Columbia.

Here are my notes from Ansley’s comments:


I have been preaching for thirty-five years and still get anxious every week about whether it will all come together in time.

The kind of parish in which we serve matters in the way we preach.

When we are preparing to preach, we need to ask ourselves, “So what?” “Why am I telling people this?”

Anglicanism does a better job of catering to people who are highly visual rather than aural. We need to be very aware of what people are hearing out of our mouths.

The purpose of preaching has changed over the last century.

If you think of the sermons you might have heard in the 1950’s, the preacher’s job was to be a herald, to keep personality out of the pulpit and stay as close as possible to the text of Scripture. The beauty of this approach is the conviction that God is at work here in this action. The downside is that it could be pretty dry.

A shift came with Harry Emerson Fosdick to the role of preacher as counselor. Fosdick said, “I am going to start, not with the word, but with the listener.” The worst thing you could say about a sermon is that it’s not relevant. The danger here is that preaching can become a kind of therapy.

In seminary we were taught to be spiritual diagnosticians.

In the last 25 years there has been another shift in preaching to a narrative/poetical approach to preaching.

We have discovered the power of the story. A story is spacious and does not pin God down in a way that confines God. This kind of preaching aims at an experience of God.

I want to know that there is nothing God cannot inhabit.

The reason story has credibility is that the Bible uses stories.

Please don’t preach your homework.

I’m a big fan of metaphor in preaching.

We have two entire generations of people who have no exposure to the biblical stories. We have quite a bit of remedial catechesis to do.

Zing is better than froth.