Filing sermons

I used my new Psion Series 7 today to write my sermon for tomorrow. I wrote this one in the sunshine, sitting at a round patio table in our conservatory in Cellardyke. When the midday sunshine grew too bright for me to view my screen (even with the brightness at full) I moved downstairs and finished wrestling with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus there.

I’m subscribed to an online email discussion group called Midrash which frequently offers me inspiration aplenty during the weekly discussions of the following Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary readings. It’s a wonderful resource.

Anyway, this sermon e-group got me thinking today about how I now keep my old sermons only in electronic format (with various regular backups) having discovered that the printed versions take up an awful lot of space over time. But how to store them, what format of naming and ordering on your computer would / do you use? Here’s what I do:

I have a folder entitled Sermons, within which I have four subfolders:

  • Other
  • Year A
  • Year B
  • Year C

‘Other’ covers anything that doesn’t fall into the Revised Common Lectionary three-year cycle of bible readings, eg Meditations, Funeral and Wedding sermons, sermon series and sermons that I’ve received from other people.

Within Years A, B and C I have the same eight subfolders:

  1. Advent
  2. Christmas
  3. Epiphany
  4. Lent
  5. Easter
  6. Ascension
  7. Pentecost Trinity
  8. Festivals

Hey! It’s the church year!

And within each folder I file my sermons with the following scheme — one that took me ages to develop, but which I offer to you for free:

<RCL Year> <Sunday Proper No.> <Year in ISO date format > <additional information>

eg

A Pentecost 03 Trinity 02 Proper 05 2005-06-05.lwp
B Easter 7 2000-06-04 A4.lwp
C Christmas Eve 2003-12-24 John 1.lwp

That way I’m always aware of the RCL year that each sermon pertains to, and within a folder I can immediately see if I have a sermon for a particular Sunday, and are sorted in chronological order, eg

A Pentecost 23 Trinity 22 Proper 25 1999-10-24.lwp
A Pentecost 23 Trinity 22 Proper 25 2002-10-27.lwp

Clever, huh! I share that with you for free.