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News & Views

The Shared Pulpit

Do you have something to say? The Shared Pulpit approach can help to share your voice

Rev Kate Dean writes about a workshop she attended at this year’s General Assembly where Rev Erika Hewitt spoke about her sermon-writing book Shared Pulpit. Kate hopes to offer The Shared Pulpit as an online course in September.

The Unitarian Universalist minister Rev Erika Hewitt led two useful and inspiring workshops about encouraging laypeople to develop sermons and bringing new elements to revitalise our worship services. Erika’s book, The Shared Pulpit, is a manual which guides you through the stages of sermon development from identifying stories from your lived experience to producing a contribution which has theological relevance and universal appeal.

We began by singing ‘What we need is here’ as Erika believes exactly that - we all have stories to share which will inspire, intrigue and support each other’s spiritual development. We all have a piece of the puzzle which leads to truth, but we must balance the freedom of the pulpit with the authority, responsibility and accountability that we are granted when we are invited to preach [see box copy]. A useful starting point for service themes is to ask: What story from my life taught me the most about… e.g. Love? inclusion? Privilege Truth? Forgiveness? Resilience? Once identified, theological reflection stops this from being just a TED Talk or lecture. Ask yourself: Why should this matter to people in church?

The Shared Pulpit process helps personal story-telling make the leap from psychological analysis into a spiritual sermon which will nourish the souls of the congregation.

Our role as worship leaders is to offer hope. It can be hard sometimes to truly, authentically hold hope and offer it to others but people need to leave church with some sense of courage, sense of compassion, feeling like the world just got a little easier, for having come to church.

If you would like to join the Shared Pulpit course in September, please contact Kate.

This article was taken from The Inquirer. Read the full article here (the article is on page 7 of issue 8035).


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