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Southwest Students Attend Virtual Preaching Excellence Programs

For more than 32 years the Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF) has delivered its Preaching Excellence Programs (PEP) to seminarians, postulants and ordained clergy via face-to-face gatherings. Now, moving into a second year after Covid-19 restrictions mandated a pivot to Zoom meetings in 2020, and with the support of technical partner Bexley Seabury Seminary, the EPF recently completed its sixth multi-day conference conducted via Zoom.

“This year’s PEP, delivered via Zoom, was a break from the traditional PEP in-person format,” Executive Director Peter Wild said. “Nevertheless, the program was well received and your students not only heard from luminaries in the Episcopal world including Bishop Andy Doyle of the Diocese of Texas; Dr. Carolyn Sharp of Yale Divinity School; and, Christine Parton Burkett whose specialty is the presentation and performance aspects of preaching.  They also had an opportunity to meet in informal sessions to exchange one-on-one with several of the faculty.”

Stacey Carpenter and Sarah Diener-Schlitt, two Southwest seniors, attended PEP this year.

“Attending PEP was a wonderful experience,” Carpenter said. “It provided the opportunity to learn from powerful preachers and to make connections across the worldwide Anglican communion. The relationships I made will be relationships that sustain me throughout my ministry.”

About the Episcopal Preaching Foundation

The Episcopal Preaching Foundation encourages excellent preaching in the Episcopal Church. The EPF strongly believes in the foundational role of preaching to energize and build church membership and attendance in today’s challenging environment, as recently documented by Gallup and the Pew Research Center. Founded in 1987, the foundation began its programs in earnest immediately. Since then, more than 1,800 seminarians have passed through its Preaching Excellence Program, including numerous bishops and one presiding bishop. More recently, the EPF has expanded programming to embrace practicing parish clergy through the annual conference (PEP-II) and ad hoc diocesan and deacons’ conferences. A new EPF lay preacher training program funded by a grant from Trinity Church Wall Street will be introduced in six pilot dioceses in the second half of 2021. In the role of technology partner, Bexley Seabury provides technical support and expertise for the EPF’s current calendar of Zoom-based conferences.

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