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Preaching Amid Trauma and Change

The Center For Leadership Excellence presents a webinar with Kimberly R. Wagner…

January 25, 2023 @ 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

These are challenging times in which to preach and minister. We live in a pandemic-scarred world where communities are being asked to reimagine what it means to be church. Denominational affiliations are shifting, with church members and leaders feeling adrift or in flux. Our news is filled with ongoing stories of mass violence, natural disasters, increased political division, or acts of hate or hurt done one child of God to another. Put simply, it is a challenging time to be in ministry and to proclaim God’s word.

How might we understand these challenging times and respond faithfully and well? In our time together we will consider where we are, how we might respond in the moment, and how we might imagine moving forward with theologically grounded, realistic hope. Thinking about the impact of communal trauma and leaning on wisdom of our biblical ancestors in faith, we will begin to consider what it might mean to proclaim God’s word in these uncertain times when communities (preachers included!) feel unmoored and uncertain about the future.

    About Kimberly R. Wagner

    The Rev. Dr. Kimberly Wagner serves as the Assistant Professor of Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. She received a B.S. in Secondary Life Science Education from Miami University (OH), a M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and her Ph.D. from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Though she has served among the Lutherans and was educated among United Methodists, Dr. Wagner is ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Previous experience on the pastoral staff of a PCUSA congregation in Virginia helps fuel and inform her present scholarship and teaching. She is passionate about supporting students’ formation and helping clergy and communities navigate the realities of an ever-changing world and church. Her current writing and work focus on preaching and ministry in the midst and wake of trauma, particularly thinking about collective trauma, the role of the preacher, and the resources of our Scriptures and faith to respond to these moments. Dr. Wagner’s forthcoming book, Fractured Ground: Preaching in the Wake of Mass Trauma (Westminster John Knox Press, 2023), offers guidance for preaching in the aftermath of communal trauma, including mass violence, natural disasters, and public health crises. When not teaching or writing, she enjoys baking, attending Broadway musicals, biking, and long walks with her dog, Toby.

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