Deep Calls to Deep Launching at Virginia Theological Seminary!

May 18, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network


On Saturday, April 30, Pastoral Excellence Network (PEN) Director Larry Peers led a training session for Peer Guides in Virginia Theological Seminary’s new Deep Calls to Deep: A Program to Strengthen Episcopal Preaching. This PEN training focused on the distinctions between communities of practice and other learning groups for clergy, the specific role and essential approaches of a peer guide, and on various models for implementing a practice-based peer learning approach. A particular focus of this training and Deep Calls to Deep is the spirituality of the preacher in the context of the art of preaching.

Deep into Deep is one of about 20 programs that are generously funded by the Lilly Endowment to focus on peer learning approaches to preaching for new and experienced clergy. The program at Virginia Theological Seminary is for Episcopal preachers who have been out of seminary for at least five years and who long for the space and structure to nurture their passion for preaching. The guiding principle of the program is that “in order to respond to the call to preach from the depths of God, preachers need to access and nourish their own spirituality, to meet God in the deepest and richest of places.”

In response to the PEN training, one of the participants said, “I loved the worship and getting acquainted…and found Larry’s insights and exercise hugely useful. I am continuing to chew on so much of what he said. He is a lively, encouraging, effective trainer! And what a terrific group of peer guides. I look forward to knowing each one of them better as the program unfolds.”

Following an initial residency led by the Rev. Dr. Ruthanna Hooke and Dr. Donyelle McCray of Virginia Theological School, six peer groups of six working preachers, including the trained peer guide, will meet together monthly over a year to respond to each other’s preaching and to engage in spiritual practices that strengthen both the preacher and his or her preaching. The first cohort will conclude the year with a second residency.

For more information on Deep Calls to Deep, please visit their website.

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