The Episcopal Preaching Foundation project focuses on preacher education and training in the science of forgiveness. Aimed at religious engagement in the area of psychology in the human sciences, this project seeks to integrate scientific findings on forgiveness with spiritual and theological practices in preaching.
The project integrates the science of forgiveness using outcomes of psychological research and studies of Everett L. Worthington, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, into the practice of preaching. His research demonstrates that forgiveness has distinct and measurable health benefits, e.g. lowering blood pressure and heart rate, while "unforgiveness may compromise the immune system at many levels." (Everett L. Worthington, PhD, "The New Science of Forgiveness" Greater Good (Berkley), 9/1/2004). Being unforgiving may cause an increase in symptoms of physical and mental disease.
Preachers possess a broad range of knowledge and experience in theology, spirituality and Biblical areas and may lack skills enabling them to preach about scientific issues. Being conversant with scientific outcomes enables the preacher to integrate scientific finding to listeners in a 21st Century society.
Lectures and workshops will provide foundational scientific facts and outcomes to be used in sermon crafting and preaching. Knowledge gained by participants about the science of forgiveness, as well as scientific findings of adverse consequences of unforgiveness, will enable competent preaching on this topic.
The partnership between the Episcopal Preaching Foundation and Dr. Worthington provides opportunities for dissemination of his research findings. These findings will be used in demonstration of ways to integrate scientific facts into sermon presentation and delivery. There is potential for thousands of people to learn how integrating scientific and spiritual practices of forgiveness may benefit the whole being.
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