Once long ago when I was the janitor at the Unitarian Church, while a student at UCSB, I arranged for Stuurman to give the sermon on a Sunday when Dr. Crane was absent. He filled the church. He had a following in the city! I introduced him with a “Stuurman sermon” joke and got a few laughs. But once he started talking the audience was quiet.
He talked about the Bible that day. Everyone in the place was on the edge of his/her pew so as to miss nothing that our guest speaker had to say in his quiet voice. He spoke of the humans in those OT stories and about the wisdom they learned from the situations the writers placed them in. What I remember about that day is the complete control of audience: partly because of delivery – no notes, no lecturn, he stood in front of the audience and delivered a thought provocative “sermon” in his quiet voice. A sermon that engaged everyone in the crowded assembly. Stuurman was at his very best!
A non-believer talking about Bible stories in a way that made those stories live.
I am sure that many returned home after the sermon, as did I, with a new attitude toward those marvelous stories.
After the “sermon” he disappeared.