Preaching Education for Clergy at Saint Mark's

Saint Mark's hosts preaching events for clergy each year, underwritten by Saint Mark’s Cathedral Leffler Endowment Fund, which was established by a generous gift from the former Dean of Saint Mark's, The Very Rev. John C. Leffler (1900–1987), to support preaching education for clergy in the Diocese of Olympia.

Cover image is The Most Rev. John How, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, preaching at Saint Mark's September 23, 1949.

Preaching the Prophets:
Peculiar, Queerly Single, and Resisting the Patriarchy

A Preaching Workshop facilitated by The Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D., underwritten by the Saint Mark’s Cathedral Leffler Endowment Fund and a grant from the Office of the Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2023, 9 A.M.–2:30 P.M.

FEE: $15, in person or online via Zoom


This workshop will study gender, power and, authority in prophetic texts including those featuring women prophets to facilitate preaching and text study. More familiar texts such as Jeremiah’s “fire shut up in my bones” and, Isaiah’s “a young woman shall conceive,” will be examined, along with the role of a female prophet in that famous passage from Isaiah and in the production of the Scriptures of Israel. We will also consider marriage and partnership among the prophets.

About the facilitator

Womanist biblical scholar, The Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. is The Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church and translator of its biblical selections. She is the author of Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to Women of the Torah and of the Throne, a commentary on Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah in the Wisdom series; Daughters of Miriam: Women Prophets in Ancient Israel; and co-editor of The Peoples’ Bible and The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. She has completed the second volume of Womanist Midrash, focusing on women in the Former Prophets.

She is an Episcopal priest and a former Army chaplain and congregational pastor in the AME Zion Church. A former member of the Dorshei Derekh Reconstructionist Minyan of the Germantown Jewish Center in Philadelphia, she has co-taught courses with and for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary in Wyncote, PA. She is a preacher, teacher, activist, and amateur watercolorist.

UPDATE: A complete video is now available below.

UPDATE: Due to a family health matter in Ireland, Padraig has asked to postpone his visit to Seattle. We will share details when we have a new date for him to visit, likely in 2025.

Poetry and Place:
Preaching From the Heart

A Preaching Workshop facilitated by Pádraig Ó Tuama, underwritten by the Saint Mark’s Cathedral Leffler Endowment Fund, which was established to support preaching education for clergy in the Diocese of Olympia.

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2024, 1–3 P.M.

FEE: $15, in person or online via Zoom


Putting poetry and scripture to work side by side with story and Celtic spirituality, those gathered will mine the language of the heart that seeks not an externalized divinity but the very essence of soulful existence and truest self. Exploring poetry and place together with intention, and how the divine spirit appears amidst the storms of life’s journey, the workshop will seek ways for preachers to draw listeners into the orbit of grace and wisdom in the unique experience that is localized ministry.

UPDATE: If you have already registered and paid for the workshop, you should be receiving a refund soon. Please contact Dean Thomason with any questions. 


About the facilitator

Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centers around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. He is the author of several books of poetry and prose: Feed the Beast, Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community, In the Shelter, Sorry for your Troubles, and Readings from the Books of Exile. Ó Tuama is also the host of the popular podcast Poetry Unbound, which immerses the listener into one poem every week, and the author of the collection, Poetry Unbound, an expansion on the podcast that offers reflections on fifty powerful poems.

Pádraig Ó Tuama holds a BA.Div. validated by the Pontifical College of Maynooth, an M.Th. from Queen’s University Belfast, and recently received a Ph.D. in Theology through Creative Practice at the University of Glasgow exploring poetry, Irishness and religion. He splits his time between Ireland and NYC.