If you like dynamic and inspiring preaching, along with interactive workshops, an opportunity to network with old and new friends, not to mention enjoy fabulous food, then make sure you get to the next Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship! It’s an ecumenical event held annually in Toronto, hosted by Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.
The Rev. Dr. Anna Carter Florence set the bar high with her sermon Midwives and Ministry, at the opening worship. She preaches with passion and clarity, drawing out the biblical story of Shiprah and Puah and making it relevant for today! Call the Midwife! Call someone who will be present with you in your labour, call someone who has experienced labour before, call someone who will help liberate you from your oppression.
Rev. Dr. Anna Robbins met that bar with a different style, but equally passionate, with her sermon on The Complexity of Joy, using Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 as her text. God’s time, our time, how do we notice and mark the changing of the seasons when so many of us live in urban areas. What is God’s time when from our comfortable chairs and beds we watch children dying, bombs exploding and ethnic violence, followed by a commercial for the latest iPhone. We experience all the tragedy of the world, feel helpless along with malaise and so do nothing. Many things promise us happiness, or at least distraction. Without a sense of the transcendent, we grasp at things to make us feel better.
I had been warned by a couple of colleagues that I may find the music and sentiments expressed by some of the keynote speakers and preachers to be more conservative and traditional, but led by John Bell, the liturgy and hymns were expansive and fresh!
In between there were workshops, I chose Preaching in Your Underwear, The Importance of Imagination, and Ten Things to Try With a Text. I took notes! I look forward to seeing how these workshops impact my preaching in the coming months.
This visit to Toronto was made all the more enjoyable by my host, a long time friend who lives 680 meters from the venue! I Google mapped it the first day. We had a chance to catch up and connect.
Body, mind and spirit have been fed. I will be back!