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 to What’s the Matter With Preaching Today?" Anna is a frequent teacher and lecturer in this country and abroad. 



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.  


Dirk G. Lange, Associate Professor of Worship, has come to Luther Seminary from the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia where he taught liturgy and homiletics. Dirk's ministerial experience has covered a wide spectrum of activities, but all under one umbrella: liturgy in the lives of people. During the 1980s, as a brother of Taizé, he worked with church leaders and many lay people involved with the prayer groups in the Eastern European underground. During the early 1990s, he was engaged with the prayer and songs of Taizé. After leaving Taizé, he came to LTSP to study under Gordon Lathrop and then went on to do doctoral work under Don Saliers and Mark Jordan at Emory. He is editor and contributor of "Ordo: Bath, Word, Prayer, Table" (OSL, 2006), an introduction to liturgical theology and festschrift in honor of Dr. Lathrop. With Luther and Derrida as dialogue partners, Dr. Lange queries theology, its disruption and its rewriting, through the lens of the liturgy. He has been involved with the Renewing Worship project of the ELCA, serving on the editorial board for Daily Prayer as well as participating on the development panels for Holy Communion. He has published several articles in the liturgical journal Worship as well as in several other scholarly journals. He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) and founder and convener of the seminar group on Liturgy and Postmodern Questions. He is also a member of American Academy of Religion (AAR), Societas Liturgica and the Academy of Homiletics. He has also served parishes in Atlanta and Philadelphia.     Dirk G. Lange
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