Kimberly Wagner is Assistant Professor of Preaching. Wagner previously served as an assistant professor of homiletics in the Axel Jacob and Gerda Maria (Swanson) Carlson Chair in Homiletics at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She earned her BS in Secondary Life Science Education from Miami University of Ohio, her MDiv from the Candler School of Theology, and her PhD from the Graduate Division of Religion, both at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Wagner’s previous experience on the pastoral staff of a PC(USA) congregation in Virginia helps fuel and inform her present scholarship and teaching. She is passionate about supporting students’ formation and helping clergy and communities navigate the realities of an ever-changing world and church. Her current writing and work focus on preaching and ministry in the midst and wake of trauma, particularly thinking about collective trauma, the role of the preacher, and the resources of Scriptures and faith to respond to these moments. Wagner’s most recent book Fractured Ground expores this topic. When not teaching, writing, or meeting over Zoom, she enjoys baking, tinkering on the piano, and walks along the lake with her dog, Toby.
Tuesday, May 16 9:00 a.m.
Stuart Hall 6
Tuesday, May 16, 10:15 a.m.
Stuart Hall 5
When Good News is Harder to Find: Preaching in the Wake of Mass Trauma
Whether due to gun violence, natural disasters, or the impact of public health crises, mass trauma impacts almost every community. Though language often fails us in the midst of trauma, preachers and ministerial leaders are nevertheless called upon to “offer a Word” and respond to a hurting community filled with (often unanswerable) questions. With a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma on individuals and communities, we will consider the ways we might faithfully respond when good news is harder to find.
In the seminar, we will continue the work begun in the presentation, considering more deeply the individual and communal impacts of trauma. Understanding the nature of trauma, we will then turn to think about how our preaching, proclamation, and ministry might faithfully and helpfully respond to such experiences. We will also consider the role of the preacher, pastor, or leader, as one who carries the weight of trauma alongside their congregations and communities. Finally, we will consider wisdom from our biblical ancestors that might help us to navigate these challenging days and offer preachers and community leaders insight on how to accompany communities through seasons marked by trauma.