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Preaching and the Theological Imagination


Zachary Guiliano and Cameron Partridge

In an era in which The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become increasingly alarmed about numerical decline, Christian proclamation has become more important than ever. To fully meet this challenge, Anglicans must reclaim a vocation to preach the good news with both deep theological grounding and imaginative dynamism. Crucial to this process is a sustained engagement with deepening the theological imagination of the whole Christian community, through renewed practices of, and approaches to, preaching, study, and spiritual development.
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9. Metaphorically Catechetical: The New Reality of Liturgical Preaching to Multiple Constituences


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9. Metaphorically Catechetical: The New Reality of Liturgical Preaching to Multiple Constituencies

Lizette Larson-Miller

IN THE act of preaching, an increasing challenge is the necessity of preaching not just to the informed faithful or to the seeker but to both simultaneously. In several Anglican circles outside of the United States, the “family service” is a euphemism for a non-eucharistic liturgy geared toward those dancing on the edges of church, newly returned or arriving for the first time. In the US, however, the Episcopal Church still relies primarily on the Sunday morning Holy Eucharist as both the principal liturgy of the week for the gathered church and as an evangelical event for those newly arrived to Anglicanism and/or Christianity.

While much theological focus has been on ecclesiological issues raised by the reality of mixed congregations (particularly the question about who may receive communion),1 preaching is the touchstone around which those who are regularly catechized and those with little knowledge of Anglicanism meet. Observing visitors coming from outside the world of liturgical tradition, the sermon is the moment of social leveling—everyone finally knows what to do— listen! But how does one preach to both constituencies at the same time, relating basic dimensions of the faith without taking a didactic, classroom approach, and engaging those already well formed to deeper realities?

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