Photo by Mara Lavitt

Carolyn J. Sharp, professor of homiletics at Yale Divinity School, has been appointed as Homiletician in Residence for Year One of a grant project with Lexington Theological Seminary entitled “Compelling Preaching for a Climate-Changed World.”

The project is being funded by a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of their Compelling Preaching Initiative. LTS is partnering with The BTS Center and Creation Justice Ministries on the initiative, which aims to equip preachers with training, resources, support networks, and research for addressing the urgency of the climate crisis and other environmental issues. The purpose of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that better inspires, encourages, and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

“I am thrilled to serve as Homiletician in Residence for the Compelling Preaching in a Climate-Changed World project,” said Sharp. “I participated in the pilot program of the EcoPreacher Cohort in 2022-23, which engaged more than 100 participants in a year-long program of monthly gatherings to equip preachers for spiritual leadership during this time of climate and environmental crisis. This Lilly grant will allow our team to build and expand the program through sermon coaching groups, peer networks, workshops and webinars, and an online digital resource hub with text studies, preaching helps, and model sermons.”

Sharp writes about biblical narrative art, feminist perspectives on power, and ecotheology as resources for Christian homiletics and congregational faith formation. Every spring, she teaches a course called Preaching for Creation, which is designed to build the capacity of new generations of preachers for ecologically powerful preaching.

Sharp is the author of eight books, including a commentary on Micah coming out this fall. In it, she uses Micah’s prophetic call for justice to frame reflections on humans’ exploitation of biomes and disregard for creaturely suffering, urging us toward renewal of lifeways that honor the living community of Earth.

Program Coordinator Leah D. Schade, Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at LTS, says, “Dr. Sharp will enrich the connections between the homiletical academy and the EcoPreacher Cohort by helping us design and implement the program. She is an exemplar of compelling preaching in a climate-changed world and will provide invaluable insights and guidance as we initiate this grant.”

Lexington Theological Seminary is one of 142 organizations that are receiving grants through the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic, and Asian Christian traditions.

Those interested in applying for the next EcoPreacher Cohort can visit https://thebtscenter.org/ecopreacher-cohort-2024-2025/ to learn more.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

About Lexington Theological Seminary

Lexington Theological Seminary is an accredited graduate theological institution of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Consistent with the Disciples’ historic commitment to Christian unity, the Seminary is intentionally ecumenical with students, faculty, staff and trustees of various denominations. The mission of Lexington Theological Seminary is to prepare faithful leaders for the church of Jesus Christ and, thus, to strengthen the church’s participation in God’s mission for the world.

About The BTS Center

The BTS Center is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation in Portland, Maine, building on the legacy of the former Bangor Theological Seminary. Today BTS seeks to catalyze spiritual imagination, with enduring wisdom, for transformative faith leadership.

About Creation Justice Ministries

Creation Justice Ministries is a fiscally-sponsored project of Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. With ecumenical roots in the National Council of Churches, CJM’s mission is to educate, equip and mobilize communions and denominations, congregations, and individuals to protect, restore, and rightly share God’s creation.

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