From the Director: Update on Our Work This Spring

by Alyce M. McKenzie on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dear Preachers,

Covid-19 has caused The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU to pivot, but has by no means stopped us in our tracks. Here is an update on our work this spring.

Online Resources

We have increased our output of online materials to resource pastors’ weekly sermons and to offer encouragement in this time when many preachers are preaching from home or preaching to an empty room.

I have begun a weekly blog called “The Lively Lectionary.” It deals with the gospel text from the Revised Common Lectionary or a topic related to the liturgical calendar. It is published every Monday.

Read the Lively Lectionary HERE


What’s a Preacher to Do?” Video series

My colleague Dr. Wes Allen and I continue our interviews with scholars from the Perkins and SMU faculty to glean their insights for preaching in these difficult times.

New interviewees since we were last in touch with you include ethicists Rebekah Miles, Steve Long, and Robin Lovin. We have also interviewed Tamara Lewis (History of Christianity) and Carrie La Ferle (Professor of Ethics and Culture at Meadows School of the Arts, SMU)

We asked them all the same question: “What is a key insight from you area of expertise that would help preachers crafting sermons in a time of Covid?”  

Watch the interviews HERE.

Preaching Peer Groups

Preaching peer groups continuing to meet monthly via zoom in North Georgia and San Antonio.

Two new groups are in the works for fall 2020 in the San Antonio area.

We also have two groups starting in the Amarillo,  Texas  area in fall 2020.

More conversations with other areas are in process.

Continuing Education events

What were intended to be face-to- face seminars have become webinars.

  • Making a Scene in the Pulpit

I conducted a webinar May 18 with 50 clergy from the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church on my recent book Making a Scene in the Pulpit: Vivid Preaching for Visual Listeners.

For the webinar info click HERE


  • From Shelf to Spotlight: The Hidden History of Women’s Speeches” scheduled for March 15, 2020 has been rescheduled for September 16, 2020.  This event, co-sponsored by PCPE (Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU) and the Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs at SMU, Features Dana Rubin, Communications Expert and curator of the website Speaking While Female. More info HERE


  • “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpit: Preaching and Humor

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpit: Preaching and Humor” workshop scheduled for April 22 2020 was postponed until October 26, 2020. This workshop and the book that will come out of it are part of our “Preaching and…” series where a homiletician and a scholar from another field collaborate to see what preachers can learn from other fields.  I’m enjoying weekly zoom conversations with humor scholar and communications expert Owen Lynch from Meadows School of the Arts as we prepare for the event. More info HERE


I hope you and your families are well in these tough times. Thank you for your support of the Center’s important work!

Best regards,


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