For Every Matter Under Heaven: Preaching on Special Occasions
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About the Author
Beverly Zink-Sawyer is professor emerita of preaching and worship at Union Presbyterian Seminary and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is the editor of the Abingdon Women's Preaching Annual Series 3, the author of From Preachers to Suffragists: Woman's Rights and Religious Conviction in the Lives of Three Nineteenth-Century American Clergywomen, and one of the authors of the 2008 New Proclamation commentary.
Donna Giver-Johnston is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and pastor of Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She teaches preaching as an adjunct professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She received her PhD from Vanderbilt University and is the author of Claiming the Call to Preach (Oxford University Press, 2021) and Writing for the Ear, Preaching from the Heart (Fortress Press, 2021).
"Until now, preachers on certain occasions simply had to wing it. No guidance existed. Zink-Sawyer and Giver-Johnston have provided expert advice for these situations. One could buy a book on preaching for weddings or a book on preaching for funerals. This book will replace ten other books on the market, if one could even find an individual book on all of these topics. This volume contains the experience and reflection of two lifetimes of ministry and teaching. If students or young pastors buy this book, it will be ready to fall apart by the time they retire." --Charles L. Aaron, Jr., director of the intern program, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, TX
"When I think of preaching on special occasions, I initially think of such occasions as baptisms, funerals, and weddings. This excellent book provides resources for these events and also for occasions that have distinctive characteristics even though they may not be the first to come to mind as special occasions: calls and commitments, congregational conflict, preaching among communities of older adults, holy days and holidays, crises, and situations beyond the church. With respect for exegetical and theological integrity, and with wisdom born from pastoral attentiveness, the authors help preachers move from specific contexts to the Bible. They describe the dynamics of special occasions in theological (and psychological) terms while positing possibilities for preaching. In addition to consulting the book as guide for particular occasions, I can imagine developing a sermon series based on the categories and chapters in this book. This volume should be a resource that preachers have on their desktops for easy reach. These occurrences knock at the study door more frequently than one might imagine, and often enter the room with great force." --Ronald J. Allen, professor of preaching, and of gospels and letters (Emeritus), Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN
"This book will soon claim a place inches from the desktop of working preachers everywhere. Preachers--and those who teach them!--know how difficult it can be to preach fittingly for the varied life-situations, jarring or joyful, treated in this book's chapters. Inviting us to ask, What is going on?, Who is listening?, and Where is God?, Zink-Sawyer and Giver-Johnston trace theologically alert, sure-footed paths from situation to biblical text to pulpit, leading the way with pastoral wisdom and homiletical expertise." --Sally A. Brown, Elizabeth M. Engle Professor of Preaching and Worship Emerita, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
"For Every Matter under Heaven should be required reading for every student planning to enter pastoral ministry. I'm grateful to Giver-Johnson and Zink-Sawyer for offering up this straightforward, practical, and theologically grounded resource. Even pastors like me, who have been doing this work for many years, will find new ideas, resources, and guidance to which we can turn again and again. A copy of this book will always be kept in my office within easy reach!" --Rev. Dr. Carol T. Cavin-Dillon, senior pastor, West End United Methodist Church, Nashville, TN
"For Every Matter Under Heaven is a welcomed resource for seasoned pastors and new preachers. The broad consideration of special occasions from baptisms to holidays, a church's transitional moments to national tragedies provides a wealth of wisdom for nurturing and encouraging congregational life from the pulpit. Among the gems worth mining is the gift of multiple biblical texts appropriate to each kind of occasion which will help preachers make choices for their own context." --Rev. Agnes W. Norfleet, senior pastor, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA
"Beverly Zink-Sawyer and Donna Giver-Johnston give preachers clear and valuable guidance for preaching on special occasions and times of crisis, not normally found in the lectionary. Their fram...