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Co-sponsored by Metropolitan United Church and Emmanuel College

The Tow Preaching Fellowship was established through a gift from David and Eleanor (nee Tow) Walker to Metropolitan United Church. Metropolitan United Church and Emmanuel College have together developed the Tow Preaching Fellowship to further the art and practice of preaching.

Its purpose is to recognize, encourage and strengthen excellence in preaching in the United Church of Canada.

One Tow Preaching Fellowship will be offered annually in either the Fall (September-November) or Winter (January-March) term to a mid-career minister. It is based at Emmanuel College, as part of Emmanuel’s Sabbatical program. The recipient will receive funding of $3,000 toward a two-to-three month full-time sabbatical in Toronto. Toronto is an excellent setting for a preaching sabbatical, with its rich theological resources at the Toronto School of Theology, the presence of large churches with strong preaching ministries, and a variety of liturgical style and practices within a diverse and vibrant urban environment. The Toronto Festival of Preaching, held annually each Fall in Toronto, is an additional resource for those who choose a Fall Sabbatical.

Based at Emmanuel College, the Tow Preaching Fellow will be provided study space in the Centre for Religion and Its Contexts, full access to Emmanuel College and Victoria College Libraries, an opportunity to audit two Emmanuel College courses, participation in the worship and community life of the College, and an invitation to preach at an Emmanuel College chapel service. They may also, or alternatively, choose to prepare a presentation, sharing the results of their sabbatical with the community.

The Tow Preaching Fellow will be mentored in preaching by the Emmanuel College Homiletics Professor and the Preaching Minister of Metropolitan United Church. They will be available to meet during the sabbatical period to offer feedback, resources and reflection on the art, vocation and practice of preaching.

At Metropolitan United Church, the Tow Preaching Fellow will be invited to preach, followed by a luncheon and opportunity to meet with the founders/donors of the Tow Preaching Fellowship, David and Eleanor (nee Tow) Walker, and with other leaders in the congregation.

Application Process

Applicants should provide:

1. A letter of application describing the time frame and focus of your sabbatical study and how you plan to use the resources offered through the Tow Preaching Fellowship, along with a story which illustrates your passion for preaching and the ways it is expressed in your ministry (no more than 500 words).

2. A letter of support from the Chair of your Church Board, confirming the sabbatical has been approved and the time frame.

3. A letter of reference from a professor, conference personnel minister or colleague who knows your preaching.

4. Two recent sermons (preached within the last two years), one in writing and the other as an audio or video file or link.


Selection Committee

Professor of Homiletics and Coordinator of Continuing Education at Emmanuel College and Preaching Minister and Chair of the Worship Committee at Metropolitan United Church.


Application Deadlines

June 1 for a January sabbatical, notification by July 1

February 1 for a September sabbatical, notification by March 1


Application Submissions

Email your application to

Or mail to:

The Tow Preaching Fellowship
c/o Events and Media Coordinator
Centre for Religion and Its Contexts
Emmanuel College of Victoria University
in the University of Toronto
75 Queen's Park Crescent
Toronto, ON   M5S 1K7