Here is a voice of prophecy, crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,’ ‘Let justice role down like a mighty stream,’ ‘Let my people go.’  Hers is a gospel voice summoning us to a discipleship that dares to follow Jesus in the transformation of God’s creation, from the nightmare it often is into the dream God intends it to become.

Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of North Carolina,
now Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

Representative Quotations from Verna’s Work


  • The Bible, I believe, is the most important collection of books in the world — and the least understood.  Because the message of the Bible is not immediately available and because we have been erroneously led to believe that it is, lay people often end their efforts to read the Bible feeling discouraged, guilty, and frustrated that they missed something the more spiritually mature comprehend. Reading the Bible and studying the Bible are two different activities.  Reading the Bible is a liturgical, devotional, community building process; but the only way to plumb the Bible witness is to study the Bible.                                                                                                                                                       Equipping the Saints, 1981


  • God came into history to create a people who would change the world, who would make the world a place where every person knew that he or she was loved, was valued, had a contribution to make, and had just as much right to the riches of the world as every other person. That is what the church is all about, to bring into being that vision, that ideal community of love in which we all are equally valuable and in which we equally share. Every structure of life comes under the judgment of that vision: our politics, our economics, our education, our social structures.  Even the church!                                                                                                                                                                                      Authority of the Laity, 1982


  • What happens on Sunday morning is not half so important as what happens on Monday morning. In fact what happens on Sunday morning is judged by what happens on Monday morning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Calling of the Laity, 1988


  • The church missed its high calling to be the new thing in the world when it decided to worship Jesus instead of following him… Worship is setting Jesus on a pedestal, distancing him, enshrining (enshrouding) him in liturgies, stained glass windows, biblical translations, medallions, pilgrimages to places where he walked – the whole nine yards.  Following him is doing what he did, weeping over a situation that was so far removed from the dream of God and spending his life to make it different.  Following is discipleship.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Dream of God, 1991


  • The opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear. Faith implies risk. I will cast my life on this possibility that God is for me. I do not have to have any proof except my commitment. I do not have to claim complete understanding – that is idolatry. The faith view of reality is frightening in its openness, and so institutions are always trying to control reality with dictums and laws and creeds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Dream of God, 1991


  • A Scripture community has a passion for justice. It is intensely interesting that in our religious life, we have talked much about love, but little about justice. Justice is the most fundamental concept in the Old Testament and is almost ignored in our study of Scripture. Justice is about life in community. We are more individually-minded than community-minded. Religion for many of us is very individualized, private, and personal. We wax eloquent about love and say not a word about justice. Love without justice is sentimentality.                                                                                                                                                                                                      In Dialogue with Scripture: An Episcopal Guide to Studying the Bible, 1993

                                                    Verna with her close friends, St. Mark’s members                                                        Jan Hoffman (L) and Dee Hahn Rollins (R)

Sermons and Addresses

Attached here, as PDFs files you can open to read or save to your computer, are the following sermons by or about Verna:

Verna on YouTube

At present, this 48-second excerpt from an interview is the only video of Verna on YouTube. Despite its brevity, it reveals the warmth of her presence and her insightful understanding of the Bible.

Books by Verna in the Collection

  • Confronted by God: The Essential Verna Dozier, edited by Cynthia Shattuck and Fredrica Harris Thompsett (a collection drawn from interviews, manuscripts, and published works)
  • Equipping the Saints: A Method of Self-Directed Bible Study for Lay Groups
  • The Authority of the Laity, with Celia A. Hahn, co-author
  • The Calling of the Laity: Verna Dozier’s Anthology
  • The Dream of God: A Call to Return
  • Sisters and Brothers: Reclaiming a Biblical Idea of Community, with Rev. James R. Adams, co-author
  • A Dozier Compendium (3-ring binder containing representative sermons and articles by Verna as well as articles about her)


Books in the Collection Featuring Verna

  • Building Church: Memories and Myths, by Rev. William Baxter, 9th Rector of St. Mark’s, and Jean Baxter (Chapter 7)
  • Glorious Companions: Five Centuries of Anglican Spirituality, by Richard Schmidt (Chapter 26)
  • Learning to Share the Ministry, by Rev. James R. Adams and Celia Hahn (Describes Verna’s role as Senior Warden during Adams’s first sabbatical in 1972.)

Verna J. Dozier Papers

The Virginia Theological Seminary Archives in Alexandria houses the Dozier Papers as part of its African American Episcopal Historical Collection. The Finding Aid is a downloadable PDF document that explains how one can access the collection and lists its contents, including sermons, speeches, articles, photographs, video and audio tapes, and compact discs.