Creative Homiletics: Practice and Discernment in Preaching

January 16, 2017 - March 6, 2017

CALL Online Winter 2017


Preaching is a process of making theology through the guidance of the Spirit and by accurately imagining its impact on the listener. In this course preachers at every stage of formation will record a video of a sermon and offer it to the group for reflective response, discerning questions, and appreciative criticism.  Drawing on our personal biography as new or experienced preachers we will write purpose and vision statements for liturgical preaching and use these resources to shape our process of listening, discernment and sermon preparation.  We will read and discuss two short books on constructive theology and the performance of scripture.

January 16 – March 6, 2017

Instructor: The Rev. Donald Schell

When Donald Schell joined his evangelical church “by profession of faith” at age 12, he said felt called to be a preacher, but didn’t tell the pastor, “I don’t mean expository preaching or preaching for an altar call – I mean some kind of preaching like I haven’t heard yet.” In college attending Lutheran and Episcopal churches, liturgy and the power of lectionary-based, liturgical preaching to form people in faith led him to become an Episcopalian, and he graduated from General Seminary with the Seminary’s Preaching Prize. As a college chaplain at Yale from 1972-1976 he preached weekly to students who’d come to the chaplaincy searching for a meaningful practice of faith. Then as a mission vicar in Idaho Donald preached to a graying congregation who struggled to make sense of “the new Prayer Book” and to fully welcome the new families they’d wanted to attract to church but feared would hurt their status as founding elders. While Idaho Donald wrote the weekly mini-sermons for Morehouse-Barlow’s Sunday bulletin series. In 1980 Donald and his family moved to San Francisco to found and develop St. Gregory of Nyssa Church with Rick Fabian. As they’d done at Yale, Rick and Donald took turns preaching, striving to create a coherent preaching conversation from their two voices. Since leaving St. Gregory’s in 2007 Donald has taught, consulted with clergy and congregations, and developed the Music that Makes Community workshop network. He has taught preaching at American Baptist Seminary of the West. Writings include his book on walking the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, chapters in books on church architecture, congregational song, and sacramental confession (all with Church Publishing), and seven years of monthly reflection essays for Episcopal Cafe.