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The Shared Pulpit

The Shared Pulpit

A Sermon Seminar for Lay People

Also available as an eBook in the Amazon Kindle Store and on Google Play.

A workshop guide to develop preaching experience among lay people. This 8-session seminar includes a leader's guide, readings, sample sermons, and exercises to help first-time preachers polish their craft.

Edited by: Erika Hewitt

Price: $14.00

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Here is a complete workshop to help lay people gain experience writing and preaching a full-length sermon for their congregation. This easy-to-use guide for both facilitators and participants provides a step-by-step lesson plan for eight sessions. Workshop members learn about the theory and theology of preaching, then practice writing and speaking with authenticity, gradually building toward composing quality 20-minute sermons. Workshop leaders learn to foster a supportive environment in which participants offer one another helpful feedback. The Shared Pulpit includes a separate leader's guide, readings for homework, sample sermons, and exercises to help first-time preachers polish their preaching craft.



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For a smooth transition to the pulpit:

  • Print your sermon in a clear font and in large print-18-point or larger. Reading from large text will take more paper (you can re-use paper, printing on the back, if it disturbs you to use so much paper), but it will also help you to look up from your manuscript and then find your place easily when you look back down.

  • Create 3-inch margins at the bottom of each page so that at the end of each page your chin doesn't drop, and deaden your voice. Many people make the mistake of creating small margins in order to save paper, but when they reach the bottom of the page, the microphone can end up near their forehead.

  • Number your pages clearly. If they happen to fall on the floor, you'll be spared a long and uncomfortable re-ordering process.

  • When you speak into a microphone, your voice will sound loud to your own ears. It should—it will need to travel to the very back of the sanctuary and be heard by those who have trouble hearing.

  • If you normally wear glasses or bifocals, bring them with you to the pulpit. You may not know ahead of time whether you'll need them.

  • When you practice reading your sermon out loud at home, practice it standing up (or otherwise in the position from which you plan to deliver it). Notice what it's like to speak, without leaning or shifting, for nearly twenty minutes. Identify what your body needs in order to feel comfortable and at ease for such a long time.

In this practical and engaging guide, Erika Hewitt speaks to lay people who might not consider themselves "preachers," but want to learn to craft thoughtful, faithful sermons anchored in their own experience. Confident that everyone has profound truth to share, Hewitt extends a generous invitation to step into the pulpit and ponder the questions of integrity, accountability and grace that define worship in the liberal religious tradition.

—Victoria Safford, senior minister, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, Mahtomedi, Minnesota

Erika Hewitt gives us a road map to the "priesthood and prophethood of all believers" as it relates to the creation of meaningful worship. The Shared Pulpit is a mixture of some of the best practical advice and technical tips and an invitation to frame the work as the deep theological adventure it is.

—Vanessa Southern, parish minister, The Unitarian Church in Summit, New Jersey

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