During the course of a three-day weekend, June 25-27, 2010, the Academy of Preachers received donations totaling $57,000. Even we were surprised!
Most of the activity surrounded an event held in the home of Dan and Anne Greenwell. They serve on the Academy Support Team at Middletown Christian Church, which sponsored the event. Some 30 people attended this event and most made either a contribution or a pledge.
Included at the event were two young preachers, Alex Williams and Katie Beachy, both of whom spoke about their experiences at with the Academy (and the Festival of Young Preachers and the Preaching Camp). Also in attendance were Academy personnel, Lee Huckleberry (soon to be the Executive Director) and myself (Dwight A. Moody). Middletown pastor David Emery was also present.
The successful fund-raising weekend brings the total money raised during this Spring 2010 effort to more than $68,000, which exceeds our three-month goal of $50,000 and puts us a good way toward our 18-month goal of $200,000. And we still have two days remaining in June! Who knows what might happen in these two days.
The Academy raises money to underwrite our programs for young preachers: the festival of young preachers, our preaching camps, and the Young Preachers Leadership Team. Basic administrative and personnel costs of the Academy are covered, in these first years, through a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment.
The second national Festival of Young Preachers will be held January 6-8, 2011, at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel and the adjacent Cathedral of the Assumption, both in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. All registration forms are elsewhere on this web site. Registrations are now being received for the conference and housing.
All gifts to the Academy are tax deductable through our hosting partnership with Middletown Christian Church. Donations can be sent to Academy of Preachers, 500 North Watterson Trail, Louisville, Kentucky 40243.
Beginning this summer, the Academy of Preachers will expand the target area of its pilot project to a 300 miles radius around Louisville. For the first 18 months, the area of focus was half that: 150 miles from Louisville in all directions.
That original area included Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lexington, Nashville, Evansville, and Bloomington. Most of the Founding Partners came from this area, such as Christian Theological Seminary, Cincinnati Christian University, Georgetown College, Lindsey Wilson College, Fisk University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Central District Baptist Association.
Not that this imaginary line kept others from hearing about the Academy: Truett Seminary in Texas, Morehouse College in Georgia, Beeson Divinity School in Alabama, Harvard Divinity School in Boston, and Southwest Baptist University in Missouri are a few of those who signed on early. Fully one third of the young preachers who came to Louisville to preach at the Festival of Young Preachers attend school outside this original target area.
The expanded region (stretching the 300 miles just a bit!) reaches north to Milwaukee and south to Birmingham, west past St. Louis and east into Virginia. Within this enlarged area are such centers of Christian leadership as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Memphis. The Academy will seek to introduce ourselves to Christian schools in these areas: Bible colleges, liberal arts colleges, universities, and seminaries.
We are making a renewed effort to attract National Partners (see elsewhere on this web site) and assist institutions in scheduling campus festivals and designing preaching courses to include the festival. And of course, the big thing: encouraging young preachers to register for the second national festival of young preachers (January 6-8, 2011) in Louisville, Kentucky.
While the intent of the Academy is to create a national network of young preachers, we are being careful to expand within our means and according to a plan. Of course, these plans do not prevent us from talking to individuals, organizations, and institutions at the far corners of the country. In fact, within the past seven days, I have had conversations with people in Boston, Portland, Mobile, and New York. We welcome your calls.
The Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis has been the initial and primary partner with the Academy of Preachers. It was the approval and endorsement of Vice President Craig Dykstra and Program Director Chris Coble
That secured the launch of the Academy in January of 2009. They approved an 18-month grant with promises of an extension.
Now, Chris Coble, writing for the Endowment, has expressed their satisfaction with the progress. After reading the first official report, submitted February 1, 2010, he wrote:
"The response to the Academy pilot project is very encouraging. The inaugural Festival of Young Preachers attracted a significant number of talented young people, as well as their mentors, and provided them with an opportunity to interact with others exploring a call to ministry."
Dr. Coble himself attended the festival, held in January of 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky, and met with the Academy Board of Advisors. His letter continues:
"The number of founding partners is noteworthy and indicates a broad base of support for the Academy."
Coble is right about this: there are 50 Founding Partners, listed elsewhere on this web site. We are now soliciting what we call National Partners, and are expecting letters of such partnership to arrive any day.
"Although much hard work remains," Coble continues, "I hope you are pleased what you have accomplished thus far. I look forward to following your progress as you prepare to move into the second phase of the pilot project."
The second phase of our pilot project is an 18-month extension, beginning July 1, 2010. We are expected any day now notice of a second grant from the Endowment to underwrite much of the cost of this work. During this second 18 months we will have two more festivals of young preachers and at least two more preaching camps.
In addition, we are extending our pilot project target area by 150 miles. This means we will reach out specifically to institutions, organizations, and congregations within a 300 mile radius of Louisville Kentucky. This, of course, does not limit our reach; in fact, any person or organization within the United States is welcome to join us in their remarkable initiative.
Stay tuned for more good news!!
Some months ago the president of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky asked me to deliver the commencement address at their graduation ceremonies on May 15, 2010.
I was pleased and honored; I worked very hard on the message, using material from two recently read books: "Quitting Church" and "The Life of Emily Dickinson". I entitled the message, "Quitting Church, Preaching Christ," and was fully prepared when, much to my disappointment, a medical condition (a long-standing susceptibility to nose bleed) took me to the emergency room the afternoon prior to the event.
From my hospital bed I called, first, my daughter and told her of the situation, then my sister, who is actually the coordinator of the seminary event. I said to both: "There are four options. I can plan to come as I am, hoping I will be OK. I can call upon somebody else to read my prepared text. The seminary president can find someone else to make a speech. The seminary can simply have the ceremony without a speaker."
The seminary, one of our Founding Partners, by the way, opted to have my sermon delivered by someone else; and they requested my daughter, Kate Bringardner. Kate agreed. She is an outstanding public speaker, having been trained in theater and now working as a vocal dynamics coach for professionals. The address featured the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson, her favorite, and dealt with the trend of people quitting church, an issue in her own spiritual journey.
So that is what happened. I stayed at home. Kate arrived at the seminary and delivered my sermon, slightly amended to include her own witness. Here is a link to her web site with the full address.
Reports back to me about the event indicate that all went smoothly. The president was pleased; my sister wrote: "She did FANTASTIC!!!” and Kate was delighted to add "Seminary Commencement Speaker" to her resume. Read her blog on how she prepared, at www.katebringardner.com. I suspect it made for a rather unforgettable episode for all involved.
As for me: I was glad to have my words presented in such a compelling way and am even now looking to partner with Kate for public speaking opportunities!
The national Festival of Young Preachers is still more than 8 months away but already people are signing up to attend. This week the Academy received the first paid registration from a young preacher
And last week we received the first payment for an ad and an exhibit.
C. J. Childs, a native of Georgia, a student in Tennessee (at Trevecca Nazarene University), and a member of the Young Preachers Leadership Team has submitted her completed registration form, with the $100 registration fee, to become the first person to register for the 2011 festival. The festival will be held at the Seelbach Hotel and the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky, January 6-8, 2010.
Childs is a Charter Member of the Academy of Preachers as a result of preaching at the inaugural festival this past January. Her sermon is available for viewing on the Academy YouTube site.
Childs will be one of 104 young preachers to come to the festival next January and preach. It is the only event in the country whose purpose is to present the talent, the passion, and the intellect of young preachers, ages 15-28. Registration forms are elsewhere on this web site.
Taking the lead among exhibitors is Georgetown College, the Baptist-related liberal arts college in central Kentucky. They approached the Academy early this year about buying the advertizing space on the back side of the festival program. Their reservation also gives them prime space in the exhibition hall at the festival in January.
This past January, 26 businesses, institutions, and organizations exhibited at the festival. They come to recruit students, sell products, promote ministries, and hire ministers. Organizers are making plans for that to increase to 40. Registration forms for advertizing and exhibiting will be posted within the next few weeks.
The daytime activities of the festival, including exhibitions, meals, and preaching, will be in the Seelbach Hilton Hotel. The Cathedral of the Assumption, a half block away, will host a reception, a luncheon, a worship service, and the closing ceremonies. All actives of the festival are free and open to the public. Offerings are received during the festival to help underwrite the cost of the Academy programs.
This morning, Sunday, April 25, 2010, I attended worship at Middletown Christian Church. Did I ever--at 9am for the traditional service, skipping out early to attend the 9:45 contemporary service, and skipping out early again to attend the 11am blended service. I have been to church today!!
But during all three services I was part of a short ceremony. Pastor David Emery introduced me; I gave an introduction to the Academy of Preachers; he presented me with a gift from the church ($2,000); I presented him with a check for $1,500--this was the T. L. McSwain Scholarship Prizes awarded to the two young preachers from Middletown Christian Church because they had the largest fan club when they preached at the Festival of Young Preachers last January.
Then I made this announcement: the Academy of Preachers and Middletown Christian Church have entered into a partnership. The Church will be the official host and sponsor of the Academy; the Academy will set up an office on the campus of the Church; the Church will legally request, receive, and manage the money of the Academy, including the grant from the Lilly Endowment.
All these things that happened this morning also happened Saturday night at the 5:30 service; only the Academy representative was Academy Senior Consultant Lee Huckleberry (also pastor of Howard Park Christian Church in Clarksville, Indiana).
This is a partnership full of promise. Pastor David Emery was one of the first Louisville-area pastors to endorse the Academy and to join the Board of Advisors. Many church members volunteered at the festival in January; two of their young people preached at the festival. The church has selected an outstanding committee of lay people to service as our liaisons with the congregation and to assist us in fulfilling the mission of the Academy.
In the next few months the Church and the Academy will host a reception, furnish and decorate an office, education the congregation, hold fund-raiser, and recruit volunteers.
I was grateful to be in the worship services today as was Lee Huckleberry last night. We are very encouraged by the enthusiasm we have encountered and by the potential for a fruitful partnership. We eagerly await what God is about to do among us, between us, and through us, to the Glory of God and the good of both the Christian community and the wider human community.
Oh, and did I mention: the children's choir sang at all three services, and associate pastor Jeff Howell preached a fine sermon on the filling of the Holy Spirit. And they announced that on Derby Day, Saturday, May 1, the worship time is 7pm rather than the normal 5:30. It is hard to compete with the Kentucky Derby.
The Academy of Preachers is launching its first coordinated appeal to donors: help us raise $50,000 this spring.
Yes, the Academy has received a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, but that grant does not cover the preaching camps this spring, the festival of young preachers next January, the Young Preachers Leadership Team, and certain other program costs. The Endowment is committed to providing initial funding for basic organizational and personnel costs--but those also will eventually need fresh streams of revenue as the investment of the Lilly Endowment subsides.
So, we are looking for individuals and organizations who wish to partner with us to "identify, network, support, and inspire young people who answer a call to gospel preaching."
The first contribution to our spring 2010 campaign comes from the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Truett Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. They sent a check for $2,000. The Lake Center at Truett Seminary is one of the 50 Founding Partners of the Academy of Preachers. They will collaborate with us to host a campus festival this fall in Waco.
There are any number of specific needs to which a donor might contribute and these are listed elsewhere on this web site: see BE A DONOR.
The Academy will be hosting fund-raising events in such cities as Louisville, Owensboro, and Lexington. We will also host events aimed at specific Christian groups such as Disciples, Roman Catholics, and Methodists.
All gifts are tax deductable. Checks should be made payable to Academy of Preachers and sent to Academy of Preachers, 500 North Watterson Trail, Louisville, Kentucky, 40234.
Four new institutional partners sent letters of endorsement in the last two week of March. This enabled the Academy to reach one of its goals for the first 15 months of our work: 50 Founding Partners.
The first came as a result of a phone call from California. Shantha Ready Alonza is the (interim) executive director of New Fire Young Adults, a fresh initiative of the National Council of Churches. "I have heard about what you are doing," she said, "and we want to be a part of it." Her letter was a follow-up to that intention. New Fire became Founding Partner #47.
Then came the phone call with Doug Low, professor and dean of the Chapman Seminary at Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana. I had visited their campus last year and two of their students preached in the inaugural festival of young preachers in January. Their partnership letter took a long way around, through multiple administrative channels, before reaching my possession. They became Partner #48.
Same story with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Four of their students preached at the festival and a professor was the leader of our worship team. Now two of their professors are engaged and more of their students will be at the festival next January. But we welcome the school as Founding Partner #49.
Finally, on my sixtieth birthday, professor of ministry Stephanie Paulsell of Harvard Divinity School sent me their letter of endorsement and association. Dr. Paulsell was one of three featured preachers at the festival in January and two of their students were among the 92 young preachers at the festival. They are planning to offer a preaching course built around the next festival, scheduled for January 6-8, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.
We welcome these, and we thank all 50 of the Founding Partners; see the complete list elsewhere on this website. You have helped us get established as a viable, credible organization. While we anticipate working with many more organizations and businesses over the years, only these 50 will have the distinction of being a Founding Partner.
This was the second of our three goals to be reached. The first was: register at least 100 young preachers for the inaugural festival--which we did. And now we turn our attention to the third goal: fund-raising. Over the next three months we are seeking to raise $50,000. You will read more about this very soon.
The Archdiocese of Louisville becomes the first Roman Catholic institution or organization to become a Founding Partner with the Academy of Preachers. This further solidifies the Academy as one of the most ecumenical initiatives in American Christianity today.
Archishop Joseph Kurtz attended the final session of the inaugural Festival of Young Preachers in Louisville; he brought the greetings to the entire assembly; and in addition, the choir from the Cathedral of the Assumption sang two anthems.
"The work of the Academy of Preachers," Archbishop Kurtz wrote in his letter, "is a noble and needed ecumenical enterprise in today's world. Please accept my prayerful best wishes for the young men and women who will be entrusted with Gospel preaching in a mélange of ministerial settings. May countless men, women and children come to know Christ through the voices of those who will serve in the vocation of preachers."
Father Martin Linebach, associate pastor of the Cathedral in Louisville, has been serving on the board of advisors for a year. Brother Thomas Gricoski of the Order of St. Benedict has served on the Young Preachers Leadership Team. He is now preparing for graduation from St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana. Four Roman Catholics were among the 92 young preachers who participated in the Festival of Young Preachers.
On top of all this, I am pleased to announce that the Cathedral of the Assumption will be our official host church for the 2011 Festival of Young Preachers. Current plans call for an open reception at the Cathedral on Thursday evening, January 6, a plenary worship service on Friday evening at the Cathedral, and a final, closing ceremony on Saturday noon also at the Cathedral.
We welcome all the Roman Catholics to the Academy of Preachers just as we do any one who is called by God to proclaim the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Let us all encourage one another in the work we have been commissioned to do.
During the last week 3 new Founding Partners have helped push the network if the Academy of Preachers to a national audience.
From Birmingham, Atlanta, and Boston we welcome 3 new organizations that wish to join us in our mission to "identify, network, inspire and support young people who aspire to vocations as gospel preachers."
First, from Atlanta: The Fund for Theological Education provides programs and financing for young people pursuing ministry and theological education. It is largely funded by the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, as is the Academy of Preachers. Fund president Trace Haythorn wrote in his letter: "We see a great deal of synchronicity in our work and hope to work with you as we strive to identify the next generation of leaders for the church and theological education."
From Birmingham, Alabama comes a letter of endorsement from Passport Camps, Inc. This relatively new organization runs summer camps for children and young people all over the country. They have a need for young preachers every year for their camps. Founders David and Coleen Burroughs are long time friends of mine.
Finally, I was in Orlando, Florida with the Board of the Lord's Day Alliance when they voted unanimously to endorse the Academy and to provide significant funding for the 2011 National Festival of Young Preachers. Their interests in the 4th commandment ("Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.") is one of the preaching texts for the National Festival, scheduled for January 6-8, 2011, in Louisville, Kentucky. The administrative center for this century old Alliance is in Boston, in conjunction with the Boston Theological Institute.
This brings our list of Founding Partners to 44. Our goal is 50 before March 15. Elsewhere on this web site is more information about how to BE A PARTNER. Included there is a list of all of our partners.