Worship is the central ritual event in the life of a congregation. It is both a corporate event and a private experience. It is also the public face of the church community. I take worship very seriously and strive to develop meaningful and substantial Sunday services.
I understand worship to be the whole experience of a service: the seen, heard, spoken, and felt . . . liturgy, music, communal sharing, sermon, and the silences between all of these. My goal is to create a sacred space within the service for people to relax into deeper reflection on themselves, their faith, and their ultimate concerns and understandings. Worship is the place to lay down our burdens and gather up our strength.
Worship is a corporate event in that it is the weekly gathering of the entire faith community, unified in purpose. The Sunday service is a value laden communal experience in that every service has embedded in it the shared values and commitments of the congregation. We are reminded of our pledges to ourselves, our covenanted communities, and to God, or the greater purpose, that we are called to serve faithfully. This gathering is a source of comfort, strength, and inspiration. Worship celebrates, consoles, and challenges at different times and in different ways. It calls us back to our best selves and reminds us that we are never alone, but rather deeply connected in profound ways.
As an individual experience, worship helps us escape the everydayness of our lives, feel our connectedness with the sacred, and focus on the larger meaning or ultimate concern in life. It is the regular, ritual renewal of our commitment, hope, and spiritual strength. At its best, worship both celebrates our successes and offers comfort amid hardship. Meaningful worship allows us to consider our own experience in a new light, or from a different perspective. In order to do so, worship services must both engage our lived experience and invite us to reflect on our place within the larger human drama and the vastness of time.
My preaching style is conversational in tone and I develop my sermons to be heard, rather than read. There is a distinct difference between “sermon writing” and “preaching.” I am a competent sermon writer and exercise a good command of language; but, at heart I am a preacher. Of all the aspects of ordained ministry, I enjoy preaching the most and feel that this is my greatest strength. I believe in “relational” preaching and write my sermons for the community that I serve. I aim to speak to the theological, social, and congregational issues with which I know people wrestle, and bring the full experience of my life to my sermons.
Included in this packet are printed copies of a selection of sermons, listed chronologically below and spanning a 15 year period. Two of the sermons have corresponding audiofiles and a third has an accompanying video.
A River of Tears (printed)
A Cancer On Our Democracy: What I Saw in Guantanamo (printed)
Dear Dr. Osterman (printed)
Back to the Future (printed)
Jonah and the Whale (printed)
The Prodigal Son (printed)
Beautifully Broken; Wonderfully Whole (printed)
Face Your Fears (printed)
Jonah and the Whale (audio)
The Prodigal Son (audio)
Face Your Fears (video)
Interpreting Omens (video)