The Contrasts again

Sometimes its in the contrasts. Last Sunday I was in Killin with our faithful congregation, Gina reading in the accents of heaven and the Falls of Dochart roaring away out the back. This Sunday I was in Cambridge to preach at Corpus Christi College and do some family stuff en route to meetings at the Anglican Communion Office

I could have gone to one of the local congregations to hear the Vicar setting out the new vision for the congregation. But no. So we called in to Kings College where we found them in the midst of a Howells and Stanford weekend

But the most disarming thing was to be handed the full text of the sermon on the way into church. I dont know what Frank Skinner would have thought – remember his read-across from stand-up that you should never take your eyes off the audience and must change material if you think they may be about to go to the bar.

I think you need to have a script – otherwise there is no chance of economy. But somehow you need to find a way of not reading it. I’ll upload my sermon from Corpus Christi College on Sunday night – I’m away from home and havent worked out how to get the IPad to do it. But here it is


  1. Perhaps they hand out sermons in advance at King’s because they have so many tourists present every Sunday for whom English is not their first language and the Dean thinks that doing so will help them-but this is only a guess. It would have been interesting to hear how you felt it came over from the pulpit.

    Anyway, your piece was topical as just on Thursday evening my wife and I went to an ecumenical service in Fisherwick Presbyterian church in Belfast, primarily because we wanted to hear the preacher, Professor Tom Wright, former Bishop of Durham. He had obviously written or typed out the sermon as he turned to a new piece of A4 paper every so often-but he didn’t appear to be reading from them. It was, in our opinion, outstanding and inspiring. I was enthusing about it to a colleague the following day and when he asked how long the sermon was I replied ‘about 15 minutes, but it seemed like 2 or 3-it could have gone on much longer as far as I was concerned’. In fact, I’ve been sent a link to a recording of it and it’s over 25 minutes! Wonderful.

  2. There’s a blogging ap that makes some stuff easier on the iPad – dunno if it’s just Blogger, though.

  3. I don’t use a script but have a few notes of bits that I want to remember. The way to keep from wandering is to have one point and go towards that at all time – what do I want them to take away and chew on this week? The late Peter Gomes, at Harvard, was my homiletics professor – he taught us to preach this way. Before we would go up to preach we would give him a slip of paper with the point we were going to make in the sermon. All stories, thoughts, facts had to support where we were headed.

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