Effective Preachers

Simeon felt there were gaps in the University’s training of priests. To fill those gaps he held discussion parties on Theology, and sermon classes which provided practical notes on delivery techniques as well as material suitable for sermons. He supplemented these popular weekly get-togethers with practical exposition when he preached at Great St Mary’s and Holy Trinity, and by publishing 21 books of partial or skeleton sermons, called Horae Homileticae. They were organised by the chapter of the Bible they elucidate. These skeletons were widely used by Anglican priests around the world, and were very popular even after they went out of print.

Simeon improved the quality of pastoral care in many parishes by using money that he had inherited and/or been entrusted with to buy Church of England advowsons – the right to name the parson – and fill the posts with Evangelical priests. This abolished long-standing sinecures and prevented nepotistic promotion of lacklustre ministers. Through this Simeon Trust (now Simeon’s Trustees) he required his trustees to elect to each vacancy a ‘truly pious and devoted man, a man of God in deed and in truth…[with] solid judgement and a perfectly independent mind…consult[ing] nothing but the welfare of the people for whom they are to provide…suited to the particular parish’. At Simeon’s death the Trust owned 21 advowsons; Simeon’s Trustees currently own or have influence over nominations in 143 benefices. The churches in which these appointees preside are called Simeon Churches.


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