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Institute of Preaching applications due May 31

Institute of Preaching applications due May 31

It is a challenging, humbling and risky endeavor to proclaim the good news of God's love made known in Jesus Christ. And yet, week after week, faithful women and men offer a word of hope to a world in need. For more than 20 years now, the Florida Institute of Preaching has helped pastors in the Florida Annual Conference develop their capacity to share the Gospel.  Working together with Duke Divinity School, the Institute brings together a small group of pastors each year to help them nurture and develop their gift of preaching.

This year, the Institute will start with a Congregational Training Day from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at Hyde Park UMC, Tampa.

Retreats are scheduled Sept. 8-11, 2014, at Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Jan. 26-28, 2015, at Bethany Center in Tampa; and April 13-15, 2015, at Epworth By The Sea in St. Simons Island, Ga.

Click here to apply by May 31.

The Institute is designed to help already capable preachers who are open to personal development through dialogue and reflection with their peers. For that reason, the Institute is open to all full-time elders and local pastors in the Florida Conference who do not anticipate a change in appointment in the coming year. Associate pastors who intend to become pastors in charge in the near future may also apply.  The Institute has also invited pastors from the Western North Carolina Conference to participate to provide a shared experience and new relationships between the Western North Carolina and Florida conferences. Through funding from their own conference, six WNC pastors will participate in the retreats, thereby improving preaching and building connections across the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

Two Florida clergy members reflect on their Institute of Preaching experience:

Rev. Clarke Campbell-Evans preachingRev. Clarke Campbell-Evans

“I love the privilege of preaching.  Working with a biblical text and preparing to break it open with a group gathered for worship continues to be a place I am grateful to stand.

“Over the years I have learned a lot from homiletics professors and preaching resources and reading or listening to other people’s sermons.  But the best came at the Institute of Preaching.  What made it so helpful was the combination of a small group of peers and a small group from the congregation I served both listening to sermons and pushing beyond pretense, to honest conversation about what worked and what didn’t! Those reactions were subjective at some level, but the testing of those reactions through the small groups helped validate the insights and were so helpful to me in ways I had not experienced previously.”

- Clarke Campbell-Evans is the Missional Engagement director for the Florida Conference, a former district superintendent and former church pastor.

Rev. Lisa Degrenia headshotRev. Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

“For me, the Institute of Preaching was like water in the desert. I’m not sure I would still be preaching, or even a pastor, if it weren’t for IOP. We were so well cared for; each experience so thoughtful – from the wonderful worship, to the personalized mentoring, to the outstanding faculty, to the lovely accommodations. More importantly, God used the experience to renew in me a love for imagery and storytelling, the importance of prayerful preparation, and the profound gift of preaching.”

- Lisa Degrenia is pastor of Community UMC, DeBary, Fla., and former pastor of churches in Pinellas County.

If you are interested in applying this year for the Institute, additional information is provided at the links below. If you have any questions, contact Rev. Wayne Wiatt ( or Rev. Rwth Fuquay ( in the Office of Clergy Excellence.

History of the Institute of Preaching

Format of the Institute of Preaching

Retreat Faculty

Duke-Divinity link: