A small group of St. Mary’s parishioners has been hard at work on a special project in memory of The Reverend Christopher Brookfield. The final product is a hardbound, keepsake collection of Brookfield’s sermons titled Irreverent Relevancies, Selected Sermons 1983-2008, edited by St. Mary’s own Kitty Williams. The book will be available by donation (Per donor: $100 first copy, $50 subsequent copies) to the Christopher Brookfield Lay Theological Education Fund at St. Mary’s, which will support lay theological educational opportunities for St. Mary’s family and friends.
A faithful St. Mary’s parishioner has made a gracious, anonymous gift of $10,000, seeding the Christopher Morgan Brookfield Lay Theological Education Fund at St. Mary’s and providing encouragement to future donors. Thanks be to God.
If you have any questions or need more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the link as pre-sale orders are available now on DementiBooks.com. Or fill out this order form and email it to email@example.com or drop it by the Parish Office.
The book will be available on November 3, 2019.
Below is a collection of excerpts from the book:
Why wait for a new way of being? I can speak only for myself.
“I’m going to begin this morning by giving you the ending of my sermon first, so you don’t have to worry about whether you can stay awake long enough to hear the end of what I am going to say.” He was full of irreverent relevancies, irrevocably rising above the babel to point us toward the cross and toward one another.
Where is this new life found that awaits us?
“The ‘scandal’ of the advent of the Christ is that we do not come to him, but that he comes to us, if you will – ready or not, like it or not.” He was full of irreverent relevancies, irrevocably rising above the babel to point us toward the cross and toward one another.
…for we sense that it’s in the empty space where creation happens.
“I think of that unusual definition: What sin is, is not being full of joy.” He was full of irreverent relevancies, irrevocably rising above the babel to point us toward the cross and toward one another.
Something to ponder if we are preparing to pursue a new perspective in our lives.
“If you want to know what love is, do something loving. A loving action is what defines an act of love. That’s why Jesus can command love, not merely commend it or encourage it or invite it.” He was full of irreverent relevancies, irrevocably rising above the babel to point us toward the cross and toward one another.
A Brief History of the Sermon Project
The Reverend Christopher Morgan Brookfield was our friend, teacher, and mentor, as both exemplary proclaimer of the Gospel, and Education for Ministry (EfM) leader. During his twenty-year tenure as Associate Rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia, 1988-2008, we were continually challenged and delighted by his presence among us. We never knew where our journey together would lead, but we were always eager and excited for what might be around the corner. None of us imagined the eventual project we would find ourselves shepherding.
During our Spring 2017 post-EfM book study with Christopher, there was a clamoring among the gathered for him to publish his sermons. This was not the first time we’d asked, but on previous occasions he’d demurred. This time, however, he said,” If Kitty Williams will agree to edit them, I’ll think about it.” She did! … and he did, this time responding in the affirmative and giving us approval to compile his sermons for publication. The result is Irreverent Relevancies, The Reverend Christopher Morgan Brookfield, Selected Sermons, 1983-2008, Edited by Kathleen Murat Williams.
“So many at St. Mary’s and in the wider community benefited from Christopher’s brilliant teaching. His generosity of spirit, his commitment to lay theological education, and his ability to open “the ears of our hearts” shone through his sermons, and inspired discussions in his EfM and book groups. In this collection you can almost hear his beautiful voice and re-experience his quirky humor, his deep, self-revelatory insights, and the flawless timing which often had his listeners laughing out loud and weeping at the same time.” – Kitty Williams
Sadly, for us, Christopher was “gathered home” in the midst of the process. It is our prayer that Irreverent Relevancies honors his legacy of intellectual curiosity and commitment to lay theological education, as well as the St. Mary’s family who made his ministry possible.