Lenten Preaching

Lenten Preaching Series 2017

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March 2 – April 7, 2017
Tuesdays – Fridays 12:05 pm-12:40 pm

Waffle Shop

Tuesdays – Fridays 11:00 am-1:30 pm

Watch this year's sermons online

If there’s one thing we know for sure, Memphis likes a good party, and the best party of the season is at Calvary’s Lenten Preaching Series and Waffle Shop. The joy that fills Calvary Church during Lent is infectious and spreads well beyond the members of this community to friends and neighbors from around the Memphis region. Each year, thousands gather in our church to be inspired by the words of great preachers from around the country. And after our spirits are filled with God’s word, we fill our stomachs with scratch-made food that celebrates our Southern roots. No matter where you come from, Lent at Calvary feels like home. We invite you to join us for the wonder-filled experience that is Lent at Calvary. This Lent, take a ride that will inspire and transform you from the inside out. We hope to see you at Calvary!

Download a quick-reference sheet


March 2-3 ~ Thursday & Friday

The Rev. Dan Matthews 

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

Dan 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. 

Watch March 2 sermon

Watch March 3 sermon


March 7 ~ Tuesday

Ms. Jana Riess

a Mormon and an American writer and editor in Cincinnati, Ohio 

Jana Riess is a Cincinnati author whose memoir Flunking Sainthood chronicles a year of attempts at spiritual practices like fasting, Sabbath-keeping, fixed-hour prayer, and lectio divina. Publishers Weekly says, “Punchy humor and unpretentious inquisitiveness combine in this absorbing memoir ... A witty, inspiring read.” Reiss also wrote The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor! She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is a senior columnist for Religion News Service

Watch March 7 sermon


March 8-9 ~ Wednesday & Thursday
March 8 at 6:30 p.m.: Waffle Shop After Dark

The Rev. Ollie Rencher 

St. Peter's Episcopal in Charlotte, N.C. 

With passions including community building, racial reconciliation, outreach, and social justice, Ollie Rencher is an engaging and dynamic preacher. Born and raised in Mississippi, the Rev. Rencher served churches in Oxford, Miss. and Memphis, Tenn., before moving to Charlotte, N.C., where he serves as rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Parish. On a recent blog post he wrote, “Our Parish Vision is to become a community of bold followers of Jesus, a crowd that effects good change for the world, a place known for radical love and welcome, and a beacon of hope in Center City Charlotte.” 

Watch March 8 sermon

Watch March 9 sermon


March 10 ~ Friday

The Rev. Dorothy Wells

St George's Episcopal Church in Germantown, Tenn. 

A native of Mobile, Ala., the Rev. Dorothy Sanders Wells has made Memphis her home since graduating from Rhodes College. After a successful career in law, the Rev. Wells made the shift to ordained ministry. Today, as rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown, she looks for ways to unite the community in learning and in service. She has organized a Labor of Love Day of Service which unites five Germantown congregations in a day of shared service each Labor Day, and has brought together Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy in interfaith dialogues on shared pillars of our faith traditions. 

Watch March 10 sermon


March 14 ~ Tuesday  

Mr. Kirk Whalum

World-renown saxophone player in Memphis, Tenn.  

Soulful, passionate, stirring...these are the words most often used to describe Whalum’s music. Kirk’s big, rich tenor sound is unmistakably his. It’s his sax heard on the mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You.” An ordained minister, Whalum has created a daily 15-minute podcast, Bible In Your Ear (BIYE), in which he invites you to listen along as he reads through the Bible in a year. In addition to music and ministry, he has a passion for educating young, aspiring musicians and is currently engaged as a music professor at Visible Music College in his hometown of Memphis. 

Watch March 14 sermon


March 15-16 ~ Wednesday & Thursday
March 15 at 6:30 p.m.: Waffle Shop After Dark

Dr. Barbara Lundblad

Union Theological Seminary in New York, N.Y.

Barbara 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

Watch March 15 sermon

Watch March 16 sermon


March 17 ~ Friday

Bishop Julian Gordy

Bishop, ELCA Southeastern Synod in Atlanta, Ga. 

A long-time proponent of ministries of mercy and justice, Bishop Gordy is much in demand as a voice for immigrants and detainees of the United States. The world can be “a hostile, harassing place for anyone without papers, including children,” he wrote recently. It is important, he says, “for the church, which counts migrants like Moses and Miriam…as its spiritual ancestors, to remember its roots and speak out whenever people are put to flight.” He was a founding member of the board of MATS, a unique home for homeless persons in Morristown, Tenn., and of Samaritan Ministry of Jackson County, Miss., an ecumenical emergency relief agency on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

Watch March 17 sermon


March 21-22 ~ Tuesday & Wednesday

Rabbi Micah Greenstein 

Temple Israel in Memphis, Tenn. 

Since becoming Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in 2000, Rabbi Greenstein has twice been named “one of America's Top 50 Rabbis” by Newsweek/The Daily Beast and represented the State of Tennessee at the Washington National Cathedral in 2005. Followers of Lenten Preaching Series have come to rely on Greenstein’s uniquely informed talks on the intersection of faith and policy, perhaps because he is both a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

Watch March 21 sermon

Watch March 22 sermon


March 22 at 6:30 p.m.: Waffle Shop After Dark
March 23 ~ Thursday
March 23 at 7 p.m.: Church of the Holy Communion

Professor Omid Safi

Director of Duke Islamic Studies in Durham, N.C.  

"A full understanding of Islam is incomplete without noting the importance of poetry, art, literature, and architecture," says Omid Safi, director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center, one of the leading institutions for research on Islam and publicly accessible scholarship. Prof. Safi specializes in contemporary Islamic thought and Islamic spirituality. He is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism. In this ground-breaking collection of essays, he inaugurated a new understanding of Islam which is rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious/ethnic pluralism. 

Watch March 23 sermon


March 24 ~ Friday

The Rev. Stephen Cook 

2nd Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn. 

Stephen Cook's first job as a teenager was working as a janitor in his home church in Charlotte, N.C. And because of his love of fire trucks, he served as a volunteer chaplain with the local fire department as a young man. His congregation jokes that he's a natural at "cleaning up messes and putting out fires," a necessity for any seasoned pastor. The Rev. Cook is an outstanding preacher and compassionate pastor who is committed to working toward racial reconciliation in our city.  He also has led his congregation into a partnership with faith groups in South Africa. Upon earning two masters' degrees and a doctorate from three different seminaries, he served churches in North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia before coming to Second Baptist in Memphis. 

Watch March 24 sermon


March 28 ~ Tuesday

The Rev. Dr. Rosalyn Nichols 

Freedom's Chapel Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn. 

Dr. Nichols is a dynamic, passionate, community advocate, preacher, teacher, and pastor who believes that freedom in Christ gives one the liberty to live and the responsibility to serve. In 1998, following the death of a childhood friend as a result of domestic violence, Dr. Nichols organized the 501(c)3 nonprofit, A More Excellent Way, Inc. (AWay). Its mission is to help individuals from all walks of life to enter into, engage in, and maintain spiritually healthy relationships toward the elimination of relationship violence. Through AWay, Inc., Dr. Nichols travels nationally, preaching and teaching the message of 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, there is a more excellent way to live.” 


March 29-30 ~ Wednesday & Thursday
March 29 at 6:30 p.m.: Waffle Shop After Dark

The Rev. Becca Stevens 

Thistle Farms & Community of Magdalene in Nashville, Tenn. 

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. 


March 31 ~ Friday

The Rev. Broderick Greer 

Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tenn. 

Known for being able to preach without being “preachy,” Broderick Greer has a knack for encountering scripture and sacraments with a fresh and imaginative perspective. A 2015 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, the Rev. Broderick Greer is a curate at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church and School in Memphis where he oversees school chapel and coordinates ministry to young adults. Broderick has been published in The Washington Post, Religion News Service, On Being, and The Guardian


April 4-5 ~ Tuesday & Wednesday
April 4 at 7 p.m.: St. George's Episcopal Church

The Rev. Lauren F. Winner

Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C.

Lauren Winner is the vicar of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg, N.C., and associate professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School. She is the author of many books, including Mudhouse Sabbath and her most recent book, Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God. In this book, it was her hope to “provoke curiosity, both about things in the scriptures that we haven’t noticed before, and also how to see the world as a bearer of clues about God.” 


April 5 at 6:30 p.m.: Waffle Shop After Dark
April 6 ~ Thursday

Nadia Bolz-Weber

House of All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colo.

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the author of two New York Times bestselling memoirs: Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint (2013) and Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (2015). She is an ordained Lutheran pastor (ELCA) and still works as the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colo. According to the late Phyllis Tickle, Nadia “has probably done more than any other pastor in recent times to poke therapeutic fun at the misdemeanors and flaws of overly-churched Christianity and Christians. The passion behind her words, however, is as deeply pastoral as it is God-drenched and liberating…” 


April 7 ~ Friday

The Rev. Steve Montgomery

Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.

The dynamic leader of Memphis’ largest PC (USA) congregation, Steve Montgomery is known both for his compelling preaching and his commitment to engaging the church in “hands on” servant ministry and peacemaking initiatives. He works to combine an outreach approach to the needs of the city and the world, with an equally strong commitment to nurturing those who are hurting within our own walls.