Enlivening religious sermons

Alyce McKenzie, who has been at SMU since 1999, was appointed in 2011 to the George W. and Nell Ayers LeVan Chair of Preaching and Worship in Perkins School of Theology. The appointment signaled that “the University values as scholarship the fields of homiletics and liturgics, which are crucial to faith communities and bridge the distance between the academy and church. The chair will allow me to pursue my own passions in preaching and worship and to help re-energize the preaching and worship ministries of others,” she says.

(McKenzie also wryly notes that the chair was not just a title – she was actually given a chair. “It’s a beautiful captain’s chair with my name and the LeVan family’s name carved in the back. I sit in it every day.”)

Beyond the University, McKenzie is widely known in her field of homiletics, having written numerous books on preaching that focus on the wisdom literature of the Bible and, more recently, the role of creativity in preaching. She writes the blog Knack for Noticing that highlights “insights from everyday life that might spark ideas for sermons,” and the weekly column Edgy Exegesis, a reflection on the New Testament that attracts nearly 5,000 readers worldwide.

Originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of SMU Magazine.