Rev. Grant Palma in race car.

Rev. Grant Palma in race car.

What is your name?
Grant Palma

Where do you currently preaching?
I preach in the alternative worship service at Arlington Heights UMC that we call Third Space.

Can you share the links to a couple of your sermons?

What is one sermon you preach?
My emphasis at AHUMC as an associate minister is pastoral care, which keeps me acutely aware of the pains and challenges my congregation and our community are experiencing in their daily lives. This influences the content and style of my sermons. People struggling with loss, stress of work, health issues, or anything that causes them to question their significance in life deserve straightforward and honest reflection in sermons. I frequently preach on the God’s presence with us in our suffering as well as our successes. 

What is another sermon you preach?
I try to preach from the prophets as often as possible because their stories are amazing. The prophets teach God’s concern for justice for all peoples and God’s love for all peoples, which is relevant for today. Joel lived through a famine caused by locusts, which is the ancient near eastern equivalent of a stock market crash. Hosea had a troubled marriage, and Ezekiel used questionable cooking techniques and nudity to relay God’s message to the exiles.

What is the oddest experience you have had while preaching?
The strange things that have happened during my sermons were all self-inflicted. I once preached a sermon while taking pain killers for a sprained ankle, which didn’t go well. Then, I preached an entire sermon without making any declarative statement; every sentence was a question. I was very proud of the work, but I am not sure it hit the mark for everyone. 

Who are preachers that you listen to?
I listen to a lot of different preachers throughout our conference, but I also listen to Ted Talks, stand-up comedians, and politicians- basically anyone who uses spoken word to creatively relay a message. I hope to improve as a preacher by learning from the styles and techniques of people outside my profession. 


One of the highest praises that I can say about Rev. Grant Palma is that he is a real person. He drives race cars. He enjoys Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets through the drive through window. He laughs at himself and does not roll his eyes when you give him grief about how great his hair is. If he was not a preacher who deeply cares about the heart of the person he is sitting with, he would be a car mechanic who deeply cares about the heart of the person sitting with him. Rev. Palma is a people person, but not in a gregarious and extroverted way. He is a margin people person. He scans the room he enters and finds the person who is on the margins, unsure if they really belong in the room. Rev. Palma gravitates toward those persons and shows them that they indeed belong, because we all belong. Finally, if I could attach a Biblical character to Rev. Grant Palma it might be King David. Like David, Rev. Palma is a poet at heart, a man after God's own heart. You can hear in his preaching an attempt to not only say things that connect with people, but frankly you can hear in his voice the reality that the God he is talking about is beyond words. Rev. Palma is at his best when he mixes literature, poetry, metaphor and Gospel. An example of this was a unique sermon of questions, which was inspired by Padgett Powell's An Interrogative Mood: A Novel?. Here is the manuscript to that sermon which he titled A Sermon?