A Word in Season, how good it is!

A Christian Year in Sermons
by Eleven Preachers from the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship

Sermons that are a good read? — YES!

An Abundance of Preachers

The Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship has never hired anyone to preach.

Future preachers and doctoral candidates in the Duke Divinity School and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill are attracted to the congregation. At times the population of the small fellowship is nearly half divinity students and doctoral candidates — there is a whole lot of thinking and seeking going on!

Creative and radical sermons are collected in A Word in Season from individuals who have taken their faith out of the “building” and into the “frontier.” Such as: Fred Bahnson, founder of a church-supported agriculture ministry; bluegrass fiddler Elizabeth Bahnson (founder of Steep Canyon Rangers , now headlining with Steve Martin), whose ministry now extends to preformance with FolkPsalm and teaching Appalachian music to children. Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove is founder of New Monasticism and takes this radical approach to the challanged urban Durham, NC neighborhood called “Walltown.” It is also good to have in this Christian host a carpenter, Steve Jolley. Many of the preachers have become professional writers and professors. Read about them all below.

sermon excerpt from “Getting Jumped by Jesus at Church” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Sleeping alone in the desert is not the best idea. I learned this the hard way….

(M)y fellow Americans took a bus back to Johannesburg, South Africa, …
I went back to my little tent to go to sleep….

I heard footsteps outside my tent. I sat up to listen. Slowly the zipper on the front of my tent was unzipped. “Hello?” I said, staring into the darkness. No reply, but I did hear the sound of feet running away on the sand.

Now, I have to tell you, my first thought when I heard that zipper was not, “This is God.” And it wouldn’t have been Jacob’s either.

No, Jacob must have suspected his midnight visitor to be his dreaded enemy. Scared to death and alone in the desert, his first thought must have been, “This is Esau.”

sermon excerpt from “The Salvation of the City” by Fred Bahnson

We have much to learn from the Jews about gardening.
The reason you plant your own gardens is that you can’t trust Babylon with the food supply.

When you let Babylon grow the food you eat, you remain in its clutches. You think the same people who hold you in captivity are going to tell you what kind of chemicals they dump on your lettuce? Jeremiah’s answer is to bypass Babylon altogether and grow your own food.

A Word in Season, how good it is! — Fine Edition — 6x9 in. hand-bound softcover — $21.95
Handmade Thai mulberry binding, English Somerset cover, archival, 2005, 168 pages.

The Sermons and The Preachers

by James C. Juhnke, Professor Emeritus of History at Bethel College is the author of Land, Piety, Peoplehood and The Missing Peace: Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History with Carol M. Hunter.

“The Magnificat: moment of truth or ageless truth?”
“Count Me In”
“Called to Reconcile”
“Toward a Christian congregational economy”
by Thomas Lehman, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Bethel College.

“The Good Life”
“Coat Sunday”
“The Day of Pentecost”
by Jennifer Connerley, Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University in Virginia. She received her PhD in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research interests include US religious history, religious dress, Fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and Latter-day Saints.

“You Don’t Know …but you might understand”
“Was Jesus a Pentecostal?”
“Egads! a sermon on the Song of Solomon”
by Jennifer Graber, Associate Professor of Religious studies, The University of Texas at Austin and The College of Wooster. She received her PhD in American Religious History from Duke University. She is the author of The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America and general editor with Chris K. Huebner and Peter Dula of Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies.

“Epiphany: a tale of two kings”
“I Know Who You Are”; “This Hour”
“Faith and Love”; “Seeing Jesus: pictures of redemption”
by L. Alexander Sider, Assistant Professor of Religion at Bluffton University, received his PhD in Theology and Ethics from Duke University. He and is the author of To See History Doxologically: History and Holiness in John Howard Yoder’s Ecclesiology and co-author of Presence: Giving and Receiving God with Isaac Villegas.

“The Body Transfigured”
by Sarah Morice Brubaker, Assistant Professor of Theology at Phillips Theological Seminary, received her Masters in Theological Studies from Duke University Divinity School and her PhD, from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled Glory Days: The Power and Danger of Christian Nostalgia.

“Weak followers find New Life”
“Believing is Seeing, or how a blind guy makes us see better”
by Steve Jolley, owner of Steve Jolley builders.

“Practice Resurrection”
“Wisdom and the Playfulness of God”
“Foreigners Seeking a Homeland”
“The Salvation of the City”
by Fred Bahnson, co-author of Making Peace with the Land and the forthcoming Soil & Sacrament: Four Seasons Among the Keepers of the Earth from Simon & Schuster. He holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School. After being drawn to the agrarian life while serving as a peaceworker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, he returned to the US and in 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church-supported agriculture ministry in Cedar Grove, NC. His essays have appeared in Christian Science Monitor; Orion; The Sun; Christian Century; and the anthologies Best American Spiritual Writing 2007; Wendell Berry and Religion; and State of the World 2011——Innovations that Nourish the Planet.

“When Only the Enemy Can Save”
“Getting Jumped by Jesus at Church”
by Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove, director of New Monasticism’s School for Conversion, is the author of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals; The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture; Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals; New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today’s Church; Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line; Inhabiting the Church: Biblical Wisdom for a New Monasticism; and To Baghdad and Beyond: How I Got Born Again in Babylon. A founder of the Rutba House, a community of urban hospitality in Durham, NC, Wilson-Hargrove is also a contributor to Rosenberry’s On All My Holy Mountain: A Modern Fraktur, Peace Church Edition.

“The Confessing Body”
by Peter Dula, Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture at Eastern Mennonite University, he received a Ph.D from Duke University in Theology and Ethics. He is the author of Cavell, Companionship, and Christian Theology and co-edited The New Yoder and Borders and Bridges. He is general editor with Chris K. Huebner and Jennifer Graber of Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies. He was a Mennonite Central Committee Iraq Program Coordinator and taught at the Meserete Kristos College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he was a Fulbright scholar.

“The Holy Rhythm of Creation”
by Elizabeth Bahnson, founder fiddler of Steep Canyon Rangers, a bluegrass band now headlining with Steve Martin, is a member of the group FolkPsalm with Charles Pettee. She is director of Transylvania JAM (associated with Transylvania Youth Strings), a traditional Appalachian music afterschool program in Transylvania County, NC. Bahnson is the author of “The Pill is like…DDT?” in Wendell Berry and Religion: Heaven’s Earthly Life, edited by Joel James Shuman and L. Rogers Owens.

“Fearful and Wonderful”
“The Reasons for Things”
by Isaac Villegas, pastor of the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, teaches classes in prisons with Project TURN. He is a member of the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches, writes a column, “Life of the Body” for the Mennonite Weekly Review, and is the co-author of Presence: Giving and Receiving God with J. Alexander Sider. A founder of the Rutba House, Villegas is also a contributor to Rosenberry’s On All My Holy Mountain: A Modern Fraktur, Peace Church Edition.

Also of Interest

Fraktur Folk Art


On All My Holy Mountain

by Diane Katz

My Story & God’s Blessings

by John Samoylo

Seeing God’s Word

by David Mathewson

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