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It was the seventh annual National Festival of Young Preachers, but the first time representatives from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary attended.
“It was unlike anything I expected. It was a truly ‘trans-denominational gathering,’ where Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Orthodox and Pentecostals came together for preaching, worship, prayer, education and fellowship,” said Deacon Dave Shea, Athenaeum professor of homiletics. “The common denominator of all festival attendees was a passion for the Gospel, a love for the Lord and a commitment to share that passion and love in our preaching.”
Deacon Shea, and two Mount St. Mary’s seminarians, Deacon Thomas Reagan and Andrew Wellman, were able to participate in the festival activities thanks to a grant by the Dennis and Lois A. Doyle Family Foundation. The Mount St. Mary’s trio was among nine Catholics, out of 122 who attended the festival from January 2-5.
“We heard sermons (homilies) from 122 young preachers. It was an inspiring experience as these young people, our Andrew and Deacon Thomas among them, preached uplifting, hopeful and challenging sermons,” Deacon Shea explained. “The prayer and the music were wonderful.”
As part of the festival, 15 local churches of all denominations opened their pulpits to young preachers. Deacon Reagan was the guest preacher at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in downtown Lexington on Sunday morning (January 3). Six Catholic festival participants from the University of Notre Dame and several others of different denominations came to support Deacon Thomas and experience Catholic Mass. After Mass, the group enjoyed lunch with the pastor and representatives of the parish.
On Sunday evening, the festival participants gathered at Broadway Christian Church for an event sponsored by the Athenaeum. Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the plenary preacher. Mr. Wellman proclaimed the Scripture. The evening was unexpectedly capped-off by the recording of a special video message to Pope Francis thanking him for his prayers, commending him for being a great preacher; and asking him for his support in hosting a first-ever international festival of young preachers in Rome.
On Monday, a group of participants went to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd to participate in the Festival’s “First Parish Preachers Event.” Fifteen young preachers, including Mr. Wellman, preached in the Church’s pulpit in the daylong program which concluded with a preachers’ forum and discussion about the challenges of preaching to today’s diverse congregations.
“Overall, it was a terrific experience. My Master Class titled: ‘Entertain, or else – Attending to the Delight Element in St. Augustine’s Trilogy of Teach, Delight and Persuade’ was very well-attended and fun to conduct,” noted Deacon Shea. “I thought Deacon Thomas and Andrew did a terrific job preaching. And I am most grateful to Dennis and Lois Doyle for their generosity in making it possible for us to attend this year’s festival.”
Click the following link to see a photo gallery from the event http://www.mtsm.org/PhotoGalleries/PhotoGallery8.aspx
Photo Credit (left to right): Deacon Thomas Reagan, Deacon Dave Shea and Andrew Wellman.
Christ Episcopal Cathedral in Indianapolis is the latest to join the Academy of Preachers as iPartners. This brings the number of iPartners to 24, and there is room for many other congregations, institutions, and religious organizations.
The Academy of Preachers is launching an effort to recruit 20 more congregations as iPartners. iPartners are one of the three membership categories of the Academy of Preachers, the others being Young Preachers and Professional Ministers. iPartners receive 9 benefits, including use of AoP graphic images, opportunity to sponsor or host AoP events, and use of the Festival Outcomes Inventory. In addition, pastors of iPartner congregation receive a free AoP membership in the Professional Ministers category. Dues for iPartners are $500 per year.
Call or write the Academy of Preachers to discuss how your congregation, institution or denomination can become a Charter iPartner Member of the Academy of Preachers. Here is a list of all 24 iPartners:
Gordon Conwell Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, is host to the third annual New England Festival of Young Preachers, March 12, 2016.
The preaching theme for all 2016 regional festivals and the 2017 National Festival is: JESUS-RABBI.RADICAL.REDEEMER.RISEN LORD. (No scripture texts have been assigned to this annual preaching theme.)
Registration is now open to all young preachers, ages 14-28. Each Young Preacher must be accompanied by a mentor or minister to provide the introduction. Click here for more information and registration.
All sermons at these Regional Festivals (there will also be such festivals this summer in Wisconsin and this fall in Texas) are video recorded and uploaded to the AoP channel on YouTube. Currently more than 1,000 sermon videos dating to 2010 are uploaded and collectively they have been viewed more than 388,000 times.
The New England Festivals, funded in part by a grant from the Cecil B Day Foundation, were held in 2015 at Harvard Divinity School and will be held next year at Boston University.