EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 31, 2013

A time to shine

Preachers deliver sermons to packed houses on Easter Sunday

(Continued)

“Sermons should be long enough to incite the spirit and hopefully it doesn’t take 45 minutes,” he said. “The whole service is important from the flowers and colors on the sanctuary to the sense of spring time.”

While churches will be filled with people who have not worshiped for a while, the Rev. Kevin Deeley, pastor of St. Michael Parish in North Andover said he’s “happy that they’re there.”

“The Easter message is obviously very important because it is the center of our faith and our belief that Christ has risen from the dead,” Deeley said. “I try to present the message of the gospel, the joy and hope that Christ brings us at Easter time. It’s the hope of every priest that people participate regularly.”

The Rev. Barnest Patton II, associate minister at Third Baptist Church in Lawrence, said it takes him between 10 to 14 hours to prepare his sermons, and not just at Easter. He reads scriptures in Greek and Hebrew to help expand on the English translation.

“I pray, meditate, listen for the voice of the Lord to lead me. It is God who does the calling of his people, not the minister, we are only instruments in his hands,” Patton said.

While some ministers preach with notes and others without them, some like the Rev. Wesley Palmer, pastor of Londonderry United Methodist Church, has adopted technology in delivering his sermons, by using PowerPoint, a presentation program that uses a projector.

“The goal is to always have a message that connects people, something that captures their hearts and takes them on a journey of faith and understanding of who God is,” Palmer said.

The Rev. Frank Clarkson, pastor of the Universalist Unitarian Church in Haverhill has often wondered how to reach people who are not grounded in the traditional church.

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