It has been said that the best preachers, when they craft their sermons, begin with a thoughtful analysis about what needs to be said, the scripture in which it is wrapped, and then “open a vein and bleed a little". If great preaching comes from great self-exploration and willingness to share where you are, then there should be no doubt why the sermons featured in "Preaching in the Key of Life" quickly became favorites of the faithful. Dr. William Ritter takes on a tour of some of the peaks, valleys, pauses and progressions, of his own life, and in doing so, teaches us a bit about ours. These sermons mark universal milestones of life including baptism, confirmation, graduation, marriage, death, and more, offering timeless perspectives on the life markers that we all share. Following his local church ministry at First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Michigan (a 3200 member congregation), Ritter joined the faculty at Duke Divinity School, teaching sermon design and delivery to a new generation of church leaders. A graduate of Albion College and Yale Divinity School, Ritter is now retired and lives in Northville, Michigan with his wife, Kristine, and just across the backyard from his grandchildren. In other words, he is enjoying a very sweet key of life.

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Take the Dimness of My Soul Away

In 1994 William Ritter's adult son committed suicide, sending Ritter and his family on a journey no family wants to take. Part of Ritter's own process of healing the loss of his son was to preach about it occasionally from the pulpit. This book is a collection of the sermons he preached, the first one just three weeks after his son's death, and the final one nine years later. Through them, we get a glimpse of a father and a family struggling honestly with their pain and gradually-over the years-coming to grips with their loss. Take the Dimness of My Soul Away will be a welcome companion to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, as well as to pastors and counselors who work with those who are grieving. Ritter offers no easy solutions, no rosy pictures, and no silver linings, but speaks honestly instead about the difficult emotions and confusion of this kind of loss, and ultimately, about a sense of hopefulness for the survivors of suicide.

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Prayers for Albion College