Letter: Sermons that can serve to spur us on

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article about the brevity of sermons (3 May) makes a cheap jibe at bishops for having nothing to say, while itself making only a few vague generalisations, some of which are untrue.

The contention that sermons are nowadays always shorter is incorrect: in some traditions, notably those of non-denominational and free Churches, sermons generally remain long. The major reason for them having grown shorter in many Anglican Churches during the course of this century is a renewed emphasis upon the Eucharist as the central Christian act of worship in the Church of England.

Within the Eucharist it is inappropriate for sermons to take a disproportionate amount of time: the place for didactic teaching of the lecture type is elsewhere. Sermons should form an important but not overbearing part of the whole. They should, in other words, be like good leading articles: brief, coherent and to the point. I would recommend your listening to a few more.

Yours faithfully,


Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

3 May