Creative worship is the passion of the Rev. Gina Campbell, who joined Wesley Theological Seminary in July as our Visiting Professor of Worship and Chapel Elder.
She is excited to be teaching classes in Preaching and Worship, as Campbell loves to see peoples’ eyes light up during worship. “This is why we do good liturgy,” she said. Campbell firmly believes in using new ways to do liturgy that engages the individual and community to look within, to encounter the Living God in even more profound ways.
Campbell, a member of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, served eight years at the Washington National Cathedral in D.C., becoming the first United Methodist director there in her final four years. In that role, she provided leadership and guidance to chaplains, communion ministers, and lectors. Campbell also worked closely with the dean, vicar, and the director of program and ministry in christian formation and education. The cathedral community also embraced her pastoral and preaching gifts.
As a little girl, Campbell grew up in parsonages and was, she said, “raised in the arms of the church.” Her father, Donald Campbell, was also a United Methodist pastor.
From a young age, Campbell was fascinated with worship and ministry, but did not see women in leadership roles.
“You didn’t see role models,” she said. “My biggest role model was my grandmother, who taught Sunday school, and was a deaconess in the church.” Bishop Janice Huie, episcopal leader of the Texas Annual Conference, has also been an inspiration. When Campbell realized that women could be leaders in the church, she decided to pursue ministry rather than studying sociology.
Looking for fresh ways to write prayers and liturgy is what Campbell seeks. Even as she spends time reflecting in her yard, pulling weeds and planting, she finds guidance from the Holy Spirit. This reflective practice allows thoughts to seep in and ideas to take root. “Re-write and revise is key” she said, “and then re-write and revise again,” ever mindful of the importance of finding the right rhythm.
Her husband, Arch Campbell, a journalist and professional movie and theater reviewer both in Washington and nationally, is her dialogue partner.
“He reminds me that preaching is for the listener,” she said. “He has made me a much better preacher and he’s a good guy. He came to church (in San Antonio, Texas) with his mother and his mother’s best friend introduced us,” said Campbell. They have been married for 22 years and reside in Chevy Chase, MD.
Campbell, a graduate of Duke University and Candler School of Theology at Emory University, has served churches in Georgia, New Jersey, Texas and Maryland. She previously taught at Wesley in the Masters, D. Min. and Course of Study programs and at Perkins School of Theology.
Campbell’s creativity and hard work at the Washington National Cathedral and other places has been seen and recognized in the worship celebrating Nelson Mandela, President Obama’s inaugural prayer service, the first Jumu’ah prayers for the Muslim community hosted by the Cathedral and the seating of the first African-American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Wesley warmly welcomes Rev. Campbell!