Deep Calls to Deep

Program Information

A Program for Preaching Renewal

Deep Calls to Deep is a year-long program for mid-career clergy. Preachers nourish their passion for preaching through voice and embodiment work and through deepening their connection to the Holy Spirit.

List of 4 items.

  • Who can apply?

    Preachers in any denomination...
    • Who desire to renew their preaching
    • Who wish to practice and reflect on their preaching in a community of trust and accountability
    • Who have completed their seminary education at least 2 years prior to applying
    • Who are active in ministry and preach regularly
    • Who are committed to completing the year-long program
    • Who apply as part of a group of 6 clergy who live within an hour of each other
  • How does it work?

    Four peer groups of six working preachers, including a trained peer group facilitator, meet together monthly over the course of a year to preach for each other and to respond to each other’s preaching.
    These groups gather initially at a residency on the Virginia Theological Seminary campus. The 2018 residency, "Preaching in the Jesus Movement," will take place from June 10-15 and includes:
    • Sabbath time and worship
    • One-on-one preaching inventory with a preaching guide
    • Formation of peer groups
    • Lectures and workshops linking spirituality and embodied preaching
    After the initial residency, participants continue their work through:
    • Monthly peer group meetings to preach for each other and give feedback
    • Two sessions with preaching guide to work on specific sermons
    • Mid-point half-day retreat 
    After a year, we gather for a final residency in June 2020.
  • How do I apply?

    • Talk to clergy in your area to find six people willing to apply as a group
    • If you do not have a trained facilitator in your group, please select a group member willing to be trained at the beginning of the 2019 residency
    • Have each member of your group fill out an application via or contact the Rev. Anne Turner at for an application between October 1, 2018 and January 15, 2019. There is no application fee. We will accept groups on a rolling admissions basis
    • If you'd like to apply without a group, please fill out an application, and we will put you on a wait list in case a group forms in your region
    • We have slots for 4 peer groups of six preachers including peer group facilitators
    • We will select groups based on commitment to the program, diversity, preaching passion, and location
    • After being accepted, preaching Fellows will fill out registration forms for the Residency and submit three sermons (12 pt. font, double-spaced) labeled “a hit,” “a miss,” and “a risk” to discuss one-on-one with their preaching guides at the residency
  • How much does it cost?

    The Majority of this program is generously funded by a Lilly Endowment grant and supported by Virginia Theological Seminary. A preaching fellowship includes:
    • Programming for two five-day residencies and a mid-point retreat
    • 5 nights of housing for each residency
    • Meals during the residency, retreat, and monthly peer group meetings
    • 4 sessions with a preaching guide over the course of the year
    • At least 14 sessions with a peer group (including meetings during the residencies)
    • Each Preaching Fellow contributes:
      • A registration fee of $300 once accepted into the program
      • Travel expenses
    Note: We have a scholarship fund for travel. If you would like to be considered for a travel stipend, please indicate that on your application. We encourage fellows to use continuing education funds for travel expenses.

What Leaders are Saying About Deep Calls to Deep

"I like the title and hope to sink down into the depths of myself and respond to the depths of others. I hope we will all go down deeper into God, into our hearts, into both silence and language."—The Rev. Gail Epes, Peer Group Facilitator

"I love preaching, and I have noticed over the years that it is a spiritual experience for me as well as an intellectual one. I'm interested in the program because spirituality is mentioned as a significant focus of the experience. I'm also interested in working with a group of preachers who desire to deepen their preaching life."—The Rev. Dr. Hilary Smith, Preaching Guide


3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304  |  Phone: 703-370-6600 or 800-941-0083 | Employee Directory