Category Archives: Sarah Kelb

A Word From Our Assistant Rector – April 2014

While I was a seminarian studying in Sewanee, I had the distinct pleasures of sitting in on lectures regarding Jewish-Christian relations from one of the best – Amy-Jill Levine. “A.-J.” continues to be a friend of the School of Theology in Sewanee and I will never forget a most gracious offer she extended to those of us who would leave the Mountain to become priests and preachers of the Word. She told us that while we are working on writing our sermons, if we had any questions regarding difficult texts or concerns that our message might be perceived as anti-Semitic, that we could email her and she would give us her guidance. The little time we had learning from A.-J. was very rich. She is a strong, brilliant woman of faith who has studied both the Old and New Testaments inside and out. You will not want to miss out on this dynamic speaker!

Below is a passage from one of A.-J.’s books that speaks towards public prayer. This passage, I believe, hits to the heart of inter-faith relations. I myself have found it difficult when Christians deny Jesus or apologize for being followers of Christ while engaging in inter-faith dialogue. It’s as though we as Christians don’t trust that our brother or sister of another faith tradition can handle it, which demonstrates a “watered-down faith.” At the same time, I have found that friends I have met along the way who practice a faith other than Christianity don’t apologize for their faith, so why should we. Let’s respect the dignity of our brothers and sisters of other faiths by being our true selves, followers of Christ.

Some Christian ministers resort to a watered-down, generic invocation that satisfies few. Some insist on praying in the “name of Jesus,” which prevents Jews and other non-Christians from saying “Amen.” Atheists are ignored in any case. . . Since public religiosity is not going to go away, then the person offering the prayer needs to find a way of invoking the deity in a way that both affirms distinct confessions and recognizes the existence of alternative truth claims. Ending a prayer “in the name of Jesus” keeps the prayer parochial. Ending it “as I pray in the name of Jesus” is a bit of an improvement. “As I pray in the name of Jesus, and we all pray to the God who has many names and many children” is even better. The fundamentalist Christian should have little objection, since the God of the Bible does have many names: El Shaddai, El Elyon, Jehovah, Elohim. In turn, Jews may choose to pray in Hebrew, but then they should provide a translation so the people in attendance know to what, exactly they are saying “Amen.” Atheists, of course, are still left out, but at least the theists in the group are all included. (Amy-Jill Levine, Misunderstood Jew, 222-3)

I hope to see you at Amy-Jill Levine’s lecture on May 3!

In the Name of Our Crucified and Risen Lord,



Lenten Quiet Day March 29

lenten quiet dayOn Saturday, March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall, Patricia Clock, M.Div and Spiritual Director from Our Lady of the Cape Church, will lead
us in a Lenten Quiet Day, assisted by Mother Sarah. We will gather at 9:30 a.m. in the Parish Hall. Please bring a bag lunch. The Labyrinth will also be available all day.

This Lenten Quiet Day replaces the one originally scheduled for March 15, which had to be postponed.

A Word From Our Pastoral Associate – April 2013

sarahMy journey with the Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor, who will be visiting with us in less than two weeks as part of the 2013 Angelica Center Speaker Series:

I was first introduced to Dr. Taylor through her writing not long before leaving for seminary. During that time of discernment, it was suggested to me that I read two of her books: Leaving Church and An Altar in the World. Both books became an integral part of my preparing for seminary. Dr. Taylor’s writings helped me to focus on the call to serve God and God’s people and guard against merely worshiping church.

Then, in my second year of seminary I was once again invited to engage with Dr. Taylor through my preaching classes. Her book The Preaching Life was one of our required textbooks. Besides reading her deeply insightful and inspiring sermons, we watched a few videos of sermons that she gave at Duke University Chapel. You could have heard a pin drop as my classmates and I were watching and listening to one of the masters. Barbara Taylor has been deemed one of the most influential living preachers of the English language.

It wasn’t until my last year in seminary that I finally got to meet “Barbara.” She was invited to spend a few days in Sewanee as our guest speaker and preacher for our annual “DuBose Lecture Series.” My own preaching professor gave me the privilege to be “assigned” to Barbara while she was with us. I found her to be wonderfully kind and down to earth. And because I was so hungry to gain knowledge from her, she was kind enough to treat me as one of her own students, after all, she is first and foremost a teacher.

As we were planning her trip here, Barbara said, “I hope you love what you are doing. The first years are so delicious.” She is so very right! I love what I am doing and this first year with all of you is so delicious! I am looking forward to being a student with many of you at Barbara’s lecture on April 13!

In the name of our risen Lord,