Chaplain Mary Hulst publishes first book

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Chaplain Mary Hulst publishes first book

Photo courtesy Mary Hulst

Photo courtesy Mary Hulst

Photo courtesy Mary Hulst

Photo courtesy Mary Hulst

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“There is much about preaching that is mysterious. And there is much about it that is incredibly practical. This book focuses on the latter.”

Chaplain Mary Hulst’s book “A Little Handbook for Preachers” has already accomplished this and much more by the looks and sounds of her book launch on April 12 at Baker’s Books.

The Tuesday celebratory launch was a time of signing and speaking for Hulst. She began by expressing her gratitude towards the audience for both the opportunity and support given to her, then continued with a reference to Food Network’s television series “Chopped.” The competitive cooking show consists of random ingredients, creativity and judging. Hulst related the adrenaline-filled experience of the show to a more relatable topic: preaching.

A glimpse of each chapter of “A Little Handbook for Preachers” was given with humorous additions along the way.

When asked her motivation behind “A Little Handbook for Preachers,” Hulst, more commonly known around Calvin’s campus as Pastor Mary, stated, “I wanted to write a book for someone who may be asked to preach in their congregation but has never gone to seminary … I wanted to give a tool to preachers and their congregations to have a shared language about preaching.”

Undoubtedly, Hulst provided just that through her commitment to create a piece diverse to most in the way that it is practical guidance for the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of a preacher.

Through her experiences as a pastor, preaching professor and college chaplain, Hulst recognizes, analyzes and provides tips for the challenges of the pulpit.

In a recent interview with Chimes, Hulst revealed that writing this book was not always planned. She was purchasing a wide array of books when the person scanned her selection and stated she must be a pastor. He said, “I should get a book proposal from you.” [She] thought, “This is odd, people at the checkout counter do not ask that.” The interview continued with Hulst adding, “I shaped an idea, sent the proposal off, and, to make a long story short, they actually accepted it.”

The need for more practical guidance of preaching with theological support, but also with added foundational and usable concepts both for people involved in facilitating ministry and those who listen to the Sunday message, was surely delivered by Hulst.

In a question and answer session at the completion of the book launch, Hulst provided a light-hearted response stating, “I think the funniest chapter in my book is chapter eight, ‘Embodied Preaching.’” She continues by expressing how each story in the chapter brings an image to mind of her teaching and pastoring experiences.

Both the giving and receiving end of the pulpit will benefit from this unique piece.

“I love preaching, and it’s a mystery to me. I want to invite other people into the wonderful mystery, to pull back the curtain and really see what is going on when someone steps into the pulpit. I pray that preachers and churches are enriched and strengthened through this book,” Hulst concluded.