Anna Carter Florence joined for a Day of Learning on March 20, 2019, at Knightdale UMC.
A New Vision for Reading Together
What if we imagined ourselves as a repertory church, reading and rehearsing these biblical texts together, over time? What if Scripture was a text that needed to be practiced as well as studied? What if we learned to rehearse it until we find the script in the Scripture—our script? And what if people who fundamentally disagreed with one another could gather around Scripture in this way, and enjoy doing it? Maybe we could stop fighting about what the text means, and start listening to it, and one another—with real appreciation! Maybe we could find something true before we have to decide what’s right.
About the Day
Based on her book, Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community, Anna Carter Florence invited participants to read and rehearse scripture together—entering it, encountering it, and coming back with something deep and true.
We began by learning to “read the verbs,” and we walked through Mark 5 together, noting the places where the verbs mirrored actions and behaviors that are familiar to us and using that familiarity to gain greater understanding and insight. Participants did not just stay seated, but were invited to act out crucial moments in the story. At one point, everyone in the room was standing to form the crowd pressing in on Jesus and the woman.
Throughout the day, participants learned a host of helpful, often hilarious ways for a group to broaden its reading: questions to ask, techniques to try, and rules of fair play to keep things steady.
About Anna Carter Florence
Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and holds degrees from Yale University and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and Ph.D.).
Before joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Dr. Florence served as an associate pastor for youth and young adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Her books include Preaching as Testimony, Inscribing the Word, and Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community, based on her 2012 Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale Divinity School; her current book project is ‘A’ is for Alabaster: A Preacher’s Alphabet. She has also published numerous articles and chapters in books and journals, including a year’s worth of lectionary text commentaries for www.WorkingPreacher.com.
Dr. Florence’s research focuses on testimony, preaching pedagogies, and creative strategies for communities to engage and encounter the biblical text, so she is happiest when sitting around a table with a group of people, a big passage of scripture, and a big block of time to dive into it. She is a frequent teacher and lecturer in the U.S. and abroad. She and her husband, the Rev. David Carter Florence, have two grown sons. They also have two dogs, two cats, and way too much knitting yarn.