Celebration of Biblical Preaching:
Preaching as Divine and Human Drama
Oct. 6-8, 2014



Anna Carter Florence

Peter Marshall Associate Professor of Preaching, Columbia Theological Seminary

Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Associate Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.  She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and holds degrees from Yale College and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and Ph.D.). Florence is interested in historical, theological, aesthetic, and performative dimensions of preaching and the ways preaching engages other fields and different traditions. Her research focuses on testimony, feminist theology, the role of experience in preaching, and the history of preaching women. She wrote "Preaching as Testimony and Inscribing the Word," she edited "Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann," and contributed a chapter titled, "Put Away Your Sword!: Taking the Torture out of the Sermon," in "What’s the Matter With Preaching Today?" Anna is a frequent teacher and lecturer in this country and abroad. 


Todd Farley

Senior Pastor, First Congregational Church, Saginaw, Mich.; Artistic Director, YFX Physical Theatre, Detroit, Mich.

Rev. Todd Farley PhD is a citizen of the world. Todd was raised in Hawaii and on the west coast, trained in Paris with the legendary Marcel Marceau and received his theological training from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is a published author of numerous books and articles on the topic of creative homiletics and the performing arts. He has toured the world as a performing artist, minister and lecturer at universities and international symposiums. He currently is the senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Saginaw and the Artistic Director for YFX Physical Theatre in Detroit.



Lead Pastor, Community United Methodist Church, Naperville, Ill.

A native of Kenya, Grace Imathiu is an ordained elder in the Methodist Church in Kenya. Imathiu was educated in Kenya, the United States, Israel and England. As a preacher and Bible study teacher, Imathiu is in constant demand worldwide. She is especially a favorite among the youth and has been a preacher at the International Christian Youth Conference and the National Christian Youth Conference. Additionally, Imathiu has led Bible studies and been a guest preacher at many conferences in the United Methodist Connection. She is author of “Words of Fire” and “Spirit of Grace,” a collection of sermons.


Clay Schmit

Provost, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University

Clayton J. Schmit, or Clay, as he likes to be called, is the founding Provost of the School of Theology of Lenoir-Rhyne University through which he serves as the head of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. Previous to his current appointment he served as the Arthur DeKruyter/Christ Church at Oak Brook Chair of Preaching and the Academic Director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He has published numerous articles and several books in the areas of worship, preaching, and church music. His latest is "Sent and Gathered: A Worship Manual for the Missional Church and Praying the Hours in Ordinary Life," co-authored with Lauralee Farrer. Clay is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. His doctoral studies in Theology and the Arts were at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. Following graduate school, he taught for two years at Duke Divinity School as the Luce Post-doctoral Fellow. He is married to Carol Vallely, Esq. and has two grown children.    

Frank Thomas

Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor ofHomiletics, Christian Theological Seminary

Frank A. Thomas currently serves as Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration at Christian Theological Seminary of Indianapolis, Ind. His newest book is the revised and updated version of "They Like to Never Quit Praisin' God: The Role of Celebration In Preaching," considered by many to be a classic. "American Dream 2.0: A Christian Way Out of the Great Recession," was released by Abingdon Press in August, 2012. "Preaching With Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750 to the Present," co-edited by Martha Simmons, offers a rare view of the unheralded role of the African American preacher in American history. He is the CEO of Hope For Life International, Inc. which formerly published The African American Pulpit.