Nancy H. Sehested Sermons & Writings

All saints

Call to worship and pastoral prayer

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

Today we observe All Saints, a tender time for the church to remember the saints who have died, and whose lives live in us still.

As part of my own spiritual practice, I read obituaries and eulogies. And have written quite a few eulogies in my ministry.

It is a practice that reminds me that death is a part of life. It is a way to keep choosing to live fully even as I am dying certainly. It places me in the river that flows with a life in love that knows no end. Read more ›

Tired of Being Mean

A response to the "Nashville Statement"

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

It was the last night of Vacation Bible School at the Sweet Fellowship Baptist Church. All week our five year olds rehearsed the story of Pharaoh and Moses to dramatize for their parents. All four boys wanted to be mean ‘ole Pharaoh.

With the church pews filled with family, the performance commenced. Our wee Pharaoh sat on his throne holding his plastic sword. Then little Moses walked up to him with his shepherd’s crook and said, “Pharaoh, stop hurting my people. Let my people go.”

Our Pharaoh wielded his sword in the air and said, “Never, never, never!” Read more ›

Fire and Fury

Reading Elijah in light of Charlottesville

Nancy Hastings Sehested
Text: 1 Kings 19:9-18
Circle of Mercy Congregation, Asheville, NC
August 13, 2017

Friends, I still believe that when history beams its light on these treacherous times, that we will be known less by the battles we won and lost, and more by the stories we loved and lived.

The stories from long ago and the stories from headline breaking news is one of fire and fury. The ancient story gives us the full array of human choices in the midst of struggles. Read more ›

That big sound inside you

Prison life and the language of sighs

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

I was driving my three-year-old grandson from preschool when he asked me from the back seat,

“What that sound, Ja-Ja?”

I thought for a moment. The radio was off. There were no sirens or honks. I was puzzled. Read more ›

Caught in the mess, caught in the mercy

A tale from maximum security

Call to the table, by Nancy Hastings Sehested

It was field day on the prison yard. A couple hundred inmates were competing in basketball and volleyball games and relay races. The cooler of fruit punch ran out, but they had a water fountain on the side of the building. But Montel was in a wheelchair and couldn’t reach the fountain. He wheeled over to the staff tent and asked for a cup of water from the staff cooler. Several staff said no. Then he turned to me, the chaplain, and asked for water. I said no.

I couldn’t sleep that night. Why didn’t I give a man a cup of water? Jesus said something specific about that, and if anyone gives a cup of cold water. . . .

First thing the next morning, I went to his housing unit to see him. Read more ›