An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


The event and act of proclaiming the Word of God through a sermon or homily. Preaching interprets the gospel tradition in light of faith and in the context of the liturgical and pastoral occasion of the service. The sermon draws together the life of the parish community, the life of the preacher, and the lives of those who hear the sermon. Preaching is to reflect God's presence, love, and guidance in a particular moment of the church's life. The sermon is not an abstract statement of truth, and it is not just a personalized commentary on scripture. The sermon must engage the faith and understanding of the one who preaches and the ones who hear. The Christian story, the congregation's story, and the preacher's story can be the one story of God's love that is proclaimed in the sermon. Preaching in the Episcopal Church is typically liturgical preaching. The BCP calls for the sermon to follow the gospel at the Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Ordination, and the Celebration of a New Ministry. A sermon or address follows the gospel at the Consecration of a Church. The sermon follows the gospel or the peace at a baptism. A homily may follow the gospel at the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage and at the Burial of the Dead. At Morning and Evening Prayer, a sermon may be preached after the Office or after the readings or at the time of the hymn or anthem after the collects.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.