By The Rev. Dr. Nancy Turner Jones
One morning, nearly two years ago, vestry member Dr. Zig Main returned from a trip to England. We were in the sacristy, preparing for worship, and had a brief conversation about English church life. He mentioned that in England, his homeland, non-ordained people are encouraged to preach. His nephew was, in fact, giving a homily at his church. We talked about that possibility at St. Barnabas, and after consideration, investigation, and a whole lot of prayer, Dr. Main began the journey to join the lay preaching course in the Diocese of Southern Ohio.
The preaching course is a two-year program led by the Rev. Stephen Smith and the Rev. Joanna Leiserson. For two years, Zig traveled once a month to Procter Camp and Conference Center and met with others around the diocese who were instructed in different preaching styles. Each month, the first-year students alternated with the second-year students, one group providing exegesis (Bible research) on future passages while the other group gave a sermon to the group and received feedback from the other students and instructors.
Dr. Main began preaching at St. Barnabas in the fall of 2017 and delivered sermons nearly every month since then. We love his stories, usually set in England, his wit and charm alongside his faithfulness to the text, his spiritual depth, and love of God and the church. I am proud to say that Dr. Main is now a licensed preacher in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, and I continue to feel very blessed with his presence and gifts at the altar. He may be called on occasion to offer his gifts to other parishes as he discerns God’s will in his life.
Preaching requires opening oneself in depth to faithful study and contemplation about what the Bible is saying and what that means in one’s life. Please congratulate Dr. Main on his perseverance, faithfulness, and hard work in delivering the Good News of Jesus Christ to our parish. I am very grateful for this colleague in ministry and for his presence at St. Barnabas.