Stephen Elkins-Williams had the extraordinary good fortune to preach in the same pulpit for 30 years, and it was equally fortuitous for generations of parishioners at the Chapel of the Cross in the vibrant university community of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Guiding his listeners through a thorough grasp of scripture, as well as personal insight and lively storytelling, his preaching also reflects a keen understanding of his place in the leadership lineage of a 170-year-old parish. Stephen made the Chapel of the Cross a trusted leader among churches in a caring, giving and activist community, and a source of inspiration, comfort and teaching to young minds and hearts on a college campus.
In the words of a long-time associate, “When Steve preaches I always learn something that changes my understanding of God and/or the practice of faith.”
Stephen joined the Society of Jesus while completing his studies toward degrees in philosophy and divinity, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1975. He soon realized that God’s purposes for his life were changing; he left the Jesuits and was received as an Episcopal priest in 1982. He arrived in Chapel Hill that year as associate for parish ministry, and was chosen rector three years later.
Here are more than 80 of his sermons that bring ancient liturgy thoroughly alive to a modern faith community.