College of Preachers Day

Yesterday I was taken from my sick bed to Cramond Kirk for a day on Preaching Luke held by the College of Preachers. There were some very high calibre speakers: Larry Hurtado from New College Edinburgh; David Day and Kate Bruce, both from Durham University I think.  Larry did the biblical stuff about Luke and it took me back to my days at New College. David Day wrote a book on preaching which I read when I was first ordained and he has a wonderful sense of mischief and humour so it was a delight to listen to him.  He spoke about the Good News bits and the Tricky Bits. Kate Bruce spoke about Narrative Textual Analysis and Preaching Parables. It is so rare to hear a woman speaking about preaching and to hear a woman preach that I was in seventh heaven.

Which has made me ponder… why do women and men preach differently?  Or perhaps you don’t think they do? Let’s have your comments…

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8 thoughts on “College of Preachers Day

  1. Do women and men preach differently? I haven’t enough experience of women preaching to say. Or is it a matter of individual temperament, training and life-experience? I know I preach differently from some of my male colleagues.

    I’d be interested in other people’s comments.

  2. Leaving aside one female lay reader who was so inept throughout the service as well as when preaching that it was embarrassing, the very best and the very worst preaching in my experience has been done by men, while the women have tended to be well prepared, thorough and frequently interesting and original, but not knock you off your seat exciting.

    On the other hand the women still don’t amount to much more than a handful, and I had experienced nearly forty years of men preaching before I ever heard a woman preach so there is still a good deal of research needed before I can reach a proper conclusion – if ever.

  3. Like Lissa, I’ve not heard many women preachers but I have read dozens of books of sermons by them and I do think there is a different style – more of a story telling approach which works well for me.

  4. I would recommend a wonderful book called The Woman in the Pulpit by Carol Noren, Prof of Homiletics at Duke – she has a fascinating chapter on ‘self-dislosure’ which I think may be key to any difference there is between preachers, but not strictly on a gendered basis. And Kate was ‘knock you off your seat exciting’ Lissa

  5. I grew up in a tradition where women and men had equal access to preaching and where married couples had to be in equal ministry together with the same rank and the same right and expectation of preaching.

    I’m not sure that I can honestly say that in that environment there was that much difference between women preaching and men preaching.

    I can certainly remember significant sermons preached by women, not least your own preaching on “Food and Love” at St Michael and All Saints, Tollcross. You preached beautifully, whilst thunder rolled around the heavens and around our hearts.

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