UDPATE January 21, 2009: Video and Text of Sermon Available Below

Barack Obama has selected Reverend Sharon Watkins of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to deliver the sermon at the National Prayer Service on January 21st, the day after his inauguration. Reverend Watkins will be the first woman to ever deliver the sermon at the ceremony.

Sharon Watkins

Sharon Watkins

The service is traditionally attended by the newly inaugurated President, Vice President, Congress and the justices of the Supreme Court. Reverend Watkins is the president of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) which has about 690,000 members in the United States and Canada.

Her sermon will be about 10 to 15 minutes long and will be vetted by Obama’s staff.

Media reports have described the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as “liberal” and “inclusive.” Neither the church nor Reverend Watkins have taken a stance on same-sex marriage.

Full text of the sermon is available here.

Video of the sermon is available in two parts below:

Sharon Watkins Sermon – Part I

Sharon Watkins Sermon – Part II


Reverend Sharon E. Watkins holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Phillips Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from the Yale Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Butler University.

Rev. Watkins currently is the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which has 690,000 members in the United States and Canada. She is serving a six-year term that ends in 2011.

Reverend Watkins is the former pastor of Disciples Christian Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She also served as pastor of Boone Grove Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Boone Grove, Ind., and Assistant Minister at Spring Glen Church (United Church of Christ) in Hamden, Conn. She has held administrative positions at Phillips University, and was adjunct professor at the Phillips Theological Seminary. She has also done missionary work in several parts of the world, and serves on the board of numerous international humanitarian organizations.

She is married to the Rev. Dr. Richard H. Lowery, and has two children.