McCormick faculty, local pastors featured in African American preaching anthology

09-16-2010 by

Geoff Ashmun
Book signing and discussion this Friday at Trinity UCC

Three hundred years of the most spirit-filled, rhetorically compelling sermons delivered by African American preachers, including McCormick faculty and pastors from Chicago’s South Side, has been compiled into a single volume and published by W.W. Norton & Company, renowned for its widely-read multicultural anthologies of fiction and poetry.

Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Sermons, 1750-present was edited by the Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas, a longtime adjunct faculty member for McCormick and the ACTS Doctor of Ministry Program, and the Rev. Martha Simmons, founder of the popular Web-based resource The African American Lectionary. The Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at McCormick, served as one of five contributing editors.

The collection seeks to provide new insights into the underpinnings of the black fight for emancipation and the rise and growth of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Sermons from the first decade of the twenty-first century point toward the future of African American preaching.

Biographies of the preachers preface the actual sermons and place their work in the cultural and homiletic context of their periods.
In addition to many of the familiar and foundational sermon texts by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Preaching with Sacred Fire shines a light on important but lesser known contemporary preachers, several of whom have graced the podium or the pulpit at McCormick events including the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, Dr. Peter Gomes, and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, whose selection concludes the volume. The Rev. Otis Moss Jr. is the father of McCormick Trustee Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago.

Book Signing and Discussion this Friday
Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, will be hosting a special book signing and discussion with editors Thomas and Simmons on Friday, September 17, at 7 p.m. For more information about the event, email or call 773.962.5650. Visit for more information about the anthology.