Lenten Preaching

Lenten Preaching Series 2018

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February 15 – March 23, 2018
Tuesdays – Fridays 12:05 pm-12:40 pm

Waffle Shop

Tuesdays – Fridays 11:00 am-1:30 pm

Watch this year's sermons online

For nearly a century, the people of Calvary Church have taken on a curious Lenten practice. We cook waffles and much more for all of downtown Memphis enjoy, and we invite wise and inspiring preachers into our pulpit from places near and far (geographically, philosophically, and even temperamentally, I'm told). The combination is rich in every way. But the real reward for the many hours of peeling shrimp for mousses and chopping parsley for fish puddings (actual Waffle Shop delicacies) is the way Calvary's doors open wide and Memphis streams in. Whoever you are, we hope that stream includes you.

February 15-16 ~ Thursday & Friday

The Rev. Dan Matthews 

St. John the Divine in New York, N.Y.

The Rev. Dan MatthewsDan Matthews’ colorful preaching style makes him one of the Series’ perennial favorites. His journey in ordained ministry took him from the pulpits of Tennessee to New York City where he was rector of Trinity Church Wall Street for 17 years. Since 1972, Matthews’ work has been concentrated in larger, inner-city parishes, but he has also been influential in bringing together faith groups and clergy through the Hallmark Television Channel, the Clergy Leadership Project, and the publication of Spirituality and Health, a national magazine. 

February 15 Sermon

February 16 Sermon

February 20 ~ Tuesday

Pastor Dianne Young

The Healing Center Full Gospel Baptist Church in Memphis, TN 

Pastor Dianne Young Dianne Young is a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, administrator, talk show co-host, teacher, preacher, evangelist, pastor, and author. Young is one of the city’s most dynamic and prolific preachers and Bible teachers in the Mid-South. As a widely sought conference speaker and celebrated author, she has touched the lives of thousands all over the country with her spirited and audacious style of preaching. 

February 20 Sermon

February 21 ~ Wednesday

The Rev. Rob Dewey 

Lowcountry Community Chaplaincy in Charleston, S.C.

The Rev. Rob Dewey The Rev. Rob Dewey is called to have a “ministry of presence” to those in crisis and to train others to assist those in crisis. In 1990, Dewey began a full-time chaplaincy ministry for first responders as well as the general public in the Charleston area. Under his leadership, this nonprofit ministry became the go-to resource for disaster response in times of unexpected trauma. In addition to responding to local crises, Dewey has also responded to disasters at the national level including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. He was named the Innovator of the Year in Crisis Management for 2016. Dewey was baptized, confirmed and ordained at Calvary Episcopal Church and is happy to be returning to Calvary.

February 21 Sermon

February 22-23 ~ Thursday & Friday
February 21 at 6:30 p.m.: Lent After Dark

Dr. Barbara Lundblad

Joe R. Engle Professor Emerita of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York, N.Y.

Dr. Barbara LundbladBarbara Lundblad's brilliant and compassionate preaching has placed her in constant demand as a conference leader, a guest preacher, and a teacher of preaching across the country. Barbara says, “Preaching – both the deep engagement with biblical texts and the connection with the congregation – has always brought me joy.” She is the author of two books: Transforming the Stone: Preaching through Resistance to Change and Marking Time: Preaching Biblical Stories in Present Tense.  

February 22 Sermon

February 23 Sermon

February 27 ~ Tuesday  

The Ven. Mimsy Jones

Archdeacon in the Diocese of West Tennessee  

The Ven. Mimsy Jones“You’ve got to be kidding!” was the Ven. Mimsy Jones’s immediate reaction when Calvary called to invite her to preach in the Lenten Preaching Series. As a longtime Calvary staff member, Jones heard preachers including Barbara Brown Taylor, Herb O’Driscoll, John Claypool, and Marcus Borg. “If someone had told me that I would ever stand in the pulpit of Calvary Episcopal Church and preach during Lent, I would have laughed out loud,” she said. However, Calvary knows that Jones’s preaching is engaging, inspiring, and humorous and she is always a welcome presence in the pulpit.

February 27 Sermon

February 28 – March 1 ~ Wednesday & Thursday
February 28 at 6:30 p.m.: Lent After Dark

The Rev. Winnie Varghese

Trinity Church in New York, N.Y.

The Rev Winnie VargheseThe Rev. Winnie Varghese has a huge heart for mission and social justice. She currently serves as the director of community outreach at Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York. Through her writings and lectures, Varghese has become a prominent voice for justice throughout the Episcopal Church. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post; author of Church Meets World; editor of What We Shall Become; and author of numerous articles and chapters on social justice and the church. Prior to joining Trinity Church, she served as priest-in-charge and then rector of St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery, a vibrant and diverse church in Manhattan that tripled in size under her leadership. 

February 28 Sermon

March 1 Sermon

March 2 ~ Friday

The Rev. Sam Teitel

The Church of the River in Memphis, TN

The Rev. Sam TeitelSam Teitel is a minister, poet, and storyteller with an irreverent wit and a deep, abiding love of scripture, especially the weird parts of scripture that people don't usually like to talk about. His sermons are candid, accessible, and often funnier than he means them to be. A lifelong Unitarian Universalist, he holds two Master’s Degrees from Andover Newton Theological School and was a prizewinner at the 2016 Preachers Fight Club storytelling event. Before he became a minister, he toured and performed as a slam poet.

March 2 Sermon

March 6 ~ Tuesday

Mr. Jon Sweeney

Author and editor in Milwaukee, WI

Mr. Jon SweeneyJon M. Sweeney is one of religion’s most respected writers. His 2012 history, The Pope Who Quit, was published by Random House and optioned by HBO. He is also the author of many books on Francis of Assisi, including When Saint Francis Saved the Church and Francis of Assisi in His Own Words. Sweeney has been interviewed on CBS Saturday Morning, Fox News, and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. He and Phyllis Tickle coauthored The Age of the Spirit in 2014, and he will be at Calvary for the 2018 Lenten Preaching Series to talk about his latest book, the authorized biography, Phyllis Tickle: A Life. Sweeney is the publisher at Paraclete Press. He writes regularly for America and The Tablet (UK).    

March 6 Sermon

March 7 ~ Wednesday
March 7 at 6:30 p.m.: Lent After Dark

The Rev. Scott Walters

Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, TN  

The Rev. Scott Walters

The Rev. Scott Walters is known for his pastoral and personable leadership style as well as his passion for liturgy and urban ministry. His belief that every human being is a bearer of the image of God is woven throughout his sermons and is especially evident in the way he lives out his calling. Currently serving as rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, TN, Walters is both curious and delighted to experience his first Lenten Preaching Series and Waffle Shop and to welcome everyone through Calvary's doors.

** Due to a family illness, the Rev. Buddy Stallings isn't able to be with us

March 7 Sermon

March 8-9 ~ Thursday & Friday

Rabbi Micah Greenstein 

Temple Israel in Memphis, TN

Rabbi Micah GreensteinĀ Passionate about ensuring the future of Judaism in the Mid-South, Rabbi Micah Greenstein regards the Torah as a blueprint for making the world a better place with Memphis as the greatest city to make a real difference. "No matter how many sermons a preacher delivers," Greenstein said, "eventually a minister or rabbi realizes that he or she is fundamentally about one sermon. Mine is clearly, 'One God Means One Humanity.' Judaism is my vehicle for the building of a better future for all children of God." Since becoming Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in 2000, Rabbi Greenstein has twice been named “one of America's Top 50 Rabbis” by Newsweek. 

March 8 Sermon

March 9 Sermon

March 13 ~ Tuesday

The Rev. John Pitzer 

St. James Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, LA 

The Rev. John Pitzer The Rev. John Pitzer has always believed the Church should have an open door policy. In order to build a more inclusive church, he strives to make his preaching practical, engaging, welcoming, and passionate. For twenty years as a Dominican friar, Pitzer ministered here in Memphis and throughout the south. His passion for preaching and inclusivity now continues in the Episcopal Church, where he is an associate rector at St. James in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

March 13 Sermon

March 14-15 ~ Wednesday & Thursday
March 14 at 6:30 p.m.: Lent After Dark

The Rev. Becca Stevens 

Thistle Farms & Community of Magdalene in Nashville, TN

The Rev. Becca StevensĀ Becca Stevens is many things…an Episcopal priest, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, and founder and President of Thistle Farms, the largest social enterprise in the US run by survivors of human trafficking and the commercial sex trade. She has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, and CNN. When the Rev. Stevens speaks, listeners are struck by her earnest, empathetic delivery infused with her personality and sense of humor. Her honest message offers people a way to move from fear and cynicism into inspired action. 

Due to technical difficulties, Becca's sermon on March 14 was not recorded.

March 15 Sermon

March 16 ~ Friday

The Rev. J. Lawrence Turner 

Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, TN

The Rev. J. Lawrence TurnerĀ  Pastor Turner lives each day believing in the biblical truth of Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine…” With God, there are no limitations! Twice recognized by Outreach magazine as one of the emerging young leaders age 38 or younger serving as a senior pastor of a megachurch, Pastor Turner is sparking a revival in ministry at The BLVD in Memphis with the congregation’s commitment to social justice, spiritual disciplines, and sharing Jesus and love through planned and random acts of kindness.

March 16 Sermon

March 19 at 7 p.m.: Church of the Holy Communion
March 20 ~ Tuesday at Calvary Episcopal Church

The Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J.

Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, CA

The Rev. Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, Boyle and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings. In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to thousands of men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life. Boyle is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His new book, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, was published in 2017. 

March 20 Sermon

March 21 ~ Wednesday
March 21 at 6:30 p.m.: Lent After Dark

Dr. Bashar Shala

Memphis Islamic Center in Memphis, TN

Dr. Bahshar ShalaDr. Bashar Shala, a renowned cardiologist and co-founder of the Memphis Islamic Center (MIC), made national news several years ago after the MIC’s neighbors at Heartsong Church put out a banner welcoming MIC to the neighborhood. Approaching Ramadan with construction incomplete, Dr. Shala took Heartsong at their word and asked Dr. Steve Stone, Heartsong’s founder, if they could use the church buildings to worship. He enthusiastically agreed, and a beautiful bond between the two congregations was formed. Last October, the relationship between MIC and Heartsong was honored when Dr. Shala and Dr. Stone accepted the Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Award in New York City. Dr. Shala is also the recipient of multiple Physician Recognition awards from the American Medical Association and the James Givens’ Award for Excellence from the University of Tennessee, and in 2011, he was awarded the Diversity Memphis Humanitarian of the Year award.

March 21 Sermon

March 22 ~ Thursday

Dr. Steve Stone, Sr.

Memphis Friendship Foundation in Memphis, TN

Dr. Steve Stone, Sr.When the new Memphis Islamic Center (MIC) began construction in Cordova, Dr. Steve Stone, the founding pastor of Heartsong Church was quick to welcome them to the neighborhood with a posted banner and readily opened the church’s doors to their new MIC neighbors when they found themselves lacking a worship space for Ramadan. This gesture of welcome gained national attention, and this past October Dr. Stone and MIC co-founder Dr. Bahshar Shala accepted the Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Award in New York City on behalf of their congregations’ collaborative efforts. After 19 years at Heartsong, Dr. Stone’s latest endeavor is serving as the executive director of the Memphis Friendship Foundation, which as its first and signature project is constructing Friendship Park of Memphis on land adjacent to the Memphis Islamic Center and Heartsong Church. 

March 22 Sermon

March 23 ~ Friday

The Rev. Naomi Tutu

Race & Gender Justice Activist in Nashville, TN

The Rev. Naomi TutuSocial activist and daughter of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Naomi Tutu was born in South Africa, educated in Swaziland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and has divided her adult life between South Africa and the U.S. The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of Tutu’s life as an activist for human rights. Those experiences taught her that our whole human family loses when we accept situations of oppression, and how the teaching and preaching of hate and division injure us all. Tutu blends this passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories.

March 23 Sermon