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Styberg Preaching Institute

Named for its benefactors, Ernest and Bernice Styberg, the Styberg Preaching Institute resolves to assist Christian leaders in the development of theological and practical disciplines necessary to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully to contemporary cultures. It represents the seminary's partnership with the church by preparing persons for vital, effective Christian preaching.

The programs and resources of the institute strengthen the church by focusing on the continual development of the preaching ministry. The institute also helps Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary fulfill its core purpose of preparing spiritual leaders for the church. The institute work of the institute will influence the future of ministry as it addresses the central mission of the church, namely the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The resources and programs of the institute are available to students, alums, pastors and the church at large.

Past events have featured:

  • Dr. Charles Cosgrove - In Other Words: Incarnational Translation in the Process of Sermon Preparation 
  • Rev. Zan Holmes - Shaping and Re-shaping the Sermon
  • Dr. Jeremiah Wright - Prophetic Preaching
  • Dr. Heather Elkins - Women's Ways of Preaching and Worship
  • Dr. Ronald Allen - Listening to Listeners
  • Dr. Ralph Watkins - Preaching in the Hip Hop Culture
  • Dr. Valerie Bridgeman - The Poetic Nature of Good Preaching.

The Styberg Preaching Institute was established at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Semi­nary by Ernest and Bernice Styberg of Racine, Wisconsin.

The institute helps to recognize and celebrate the important part that the church has played in their lives. "We feel strongly about the future of the United Methodist Church," Ernest states. "As committed United Methodists, we want to make sure that the church has strong leadership in the future - leaders who appreciate the liturgical tradition of the church and who are grounded in solid Biblical preaching and in traditional worship. If we can help prepare such leaders, it will give us much satisfaction."

Their endowment of the preaching institute supports their commitment to the church but and helps to provide a means for Garrett-Evangelical to continue its mission of preparing leaders for the church by providing resources for improving the church's preaching ministry.

Gennifer Benjamin Brooks is the Director of the Styberg Preaching Institute and the Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Preaching. She is an ordained elder and full clergy member of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church.  She has served local churches in the New York conference in rural, suburban, urban and cross-racial settings. She was the Assistant Dean of New Brunswick Theological Seminary from 1996-2000 and an adjunct professor in the area of Preaching and Worship at New Brunswick Seminary from 2001-2003.

Gennifer holds a Bachelor of Business, cum laude and a Master of Business Administration from Pace University, a Master of Divinity, summa cum laude, and a Doctor of Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies from Drew University.

She is the author of Good News Preaching: Offering Good News in Every Sermon (Pilgrim Press, 2009), and Praise the Lord: Litanies, Prayers and Occasional Services (CSS Publications, 1996). She has been a contributor to the following texts: Companion to The Africana Worship Book (Discipleship Resources 2007), Zion Still Sings: For Every Generation (Abingdon Press, 2007), The Africana Worship Book for Year C (Discipleship Resources, 2008),Those Preaching Women: A Multicultural Collection (Judson Press, 2008), Handbook of Methodist Studies (Oxford Press, 2009).

She has also contributed to several publications including Homily Service (The Liturgical Conference), and The African American Pulpit (Generis).  She is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, the North American Academy of Liturgy, and the American Academy of Religion.