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Arts and Spirituality

The Art of Poetry for Preaching and Ministry

When: June 8, 2022, 1:00 pm - Wednesday

Where: Ezell 211

Session 1

Session Abstract

The authors’ papers and presentations will explore the role of poetry in preaching and ministry. Poetry is central to scripture and to the life of pastors and preachers. From the Psalms, Song of Songs, and Jonah to the song of Mary, the writings of Paul, and the Sermon on the Mount, biblical writers illustrate the fact that while the human experience of and relationship with the divine may be inexpressible, it does not result in silence. This session explores the role of poetic expression in preaching, worship, funeral services, small groups, and the role of the pastor.

 

Paper Abstracts

Derrick Jackson, First Baptist Church, Gallatin, TN, “The Power of Poetry for Congregational Ministry”

The minister may use poetry to provide holistic congregational care that connects parishioners to the divine in the context of Sunday gatherings, small group care ministry, and funerals. Derrick Jackson is pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Gallatin, Tennessee. He has been named one of Sumner County’s Most Influential Persons. Rev. Jackson co-facilitated the Justice, Mission, and Kingdom of God travel course at Lipscomb University.

 

Mallory Wyckoff, Preemptive Love, Clearwater, FL, “I Feel, Therefore I Can Be Free: The Preacher as Poet”

Too often, theological engagement is primarily a cerebral experience — for the preacher and for the community. Right thinking is valued above all else, and preachers approach their sermons accordingly. All the while, the poet within issues a call for us to live from our fullest selves, so that our sermons might invite others into the same. Mallory Wyckoff is a writer, teacher, preacher, and spiritual director. She serves as the key relationship officer for Preemptive Love, a global community of peacemakers working to end war and stop the spread of violence.

 

Zac Luben, Pepperdine University, “The Pastor as Poet of the Soul”

Many pastors are wondering what their role is in a fast-paced and consumer-driven culture that has little time to dwell in the mysteries of the divine. Pastors are equipped to help people see beyond the materiality of their lives to discover the beauty and name the pain of the human experience in light of God’s action in the world. Zac Luben is an Associate Chaplain at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches adjunct courses in the Religion division. He also facilitates a pastoral leadership program for early career pastors.

Speakers

Sara Gaston Barton, Pepperdine University, Convener

  • Derrick Jackson, First Baptist Church, Gallatin, TN, “The Power of Poetry for Congregational Ministry”
  • Mallory Wyckoff, Preemptive Love, Clearwater, FL, “I Feel, Therefore I Can Be Free: The Preacher as Poet”
  • Zac Luben, Pepperdine University, “The Pastor as Poet of the Soul”
  • Falon Opsahl Barton, University Church of Christ, Malibu, CA, Respondent

Registration Open Now

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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