Meet Pastoral Candidate Rev. Jennifer Campbell
At long last, our pastoral search process is drawing to a close! We are overjoyed to announce that the Reverend Jennifer L. "Jen" Campbell has accepted our invitation to be our next called pastor, pending affirmation by the congregation. Pastor Jen will be here with us on the weekend of December 2-3. Plan to be at church on December 3, when Pastor Jen will lead us in worship. Immediately after the service we will hold a congregational meeting to vote on her candidacy to be our called pastor. She is prepared to join us on January 9, 2018, if she is called by the congregation on December 3. We have felt God’s guidance throughout this daunting search process. Our patience has been rewarded, and soon you will all know how richly we have been blessed and why we are so excited about Pastor Jen and her ministry. Be sure to read the message below from Pastor Jen to our congregation!
Hello Good People of Hillsdale Community Church!
I am the Reverend Jennifer Campbell and I can’t wait to meet you all. I am very grateful to your Search Committee and Consistory, who have extended to me such gracious Christian hospitality and have represented your church with honesty, faith, and kindness.
I want to share with you a little about myself. I grew up in Westport, Connecticut. I’ve been a professional actor and dancer, a stay-at-home mom, the director of a not-for-profit library and art center, and a pastor. I am married to Amy Boyer, a wise and wonderful woman who is a psychotherapist. (We met in 1990 at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City but weren’t married until 2014…but that is a story for another day!) I have two adult children, Cam and Nate, who both live in Portland.
I graduated from SUNY Purchase, where I studied anthropology, and from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and was ordained in 2007. I served First Church, UCC in Fairfield, Connecticut, for 13 years as Director of Elementary Education, Minister of Youth, and Associate Pastor. While in Connecticut I also served on the Board of Directors of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport and of the Janus Center for Youth in Crisis. I co-founded The Loft Community in Fairfield, a community of love, support, and resources for lgbtq teens and young adults, and spent years serving the churches of the Connecticut Conference of the UCC as a speaker, preacher, and educator on becoming an Open and Affirming congregation. I’ve planned and led over 15 mission/service trips for the UCC with teens, young adults, and older adults to places all over the United States and in Mexico. I am a certified and experienced yoga and meditation teacher. I love Jesus, the Church, and people. (Though I sometimes argue with them all.) I love hiking, good coffee, and am a voracious reader (thanks to my librarian mother).
In a culture too often bound by division, violence, prejudice, and fear, I am committed to following the Way of Jesus: the way of radical compassion and love, extravagant welcome, and working toward peace and justice for all people.
Some people say the Church is becoming obsolete, but that’s not true. The Holy Spirit is alive and well and is leading the way forward. I love the committed, confused, faithful, doubting, compassionate, cranky, awesome people who keep showing up at church. I love all the singing, praying, building, planting, hoping, and proclaiming we do together. It is holy work even when it’s hard. And sometimes it’s hard! Wouldn’t it be easier to just throw in the towel and go to Sunday brunch? Maybe. But God is still speaking, there’s work to do in this hurting world, and we in the church aren’t going for easy, we’re going for REAL. Real faith. Real community. Real life. When we follow Jesus, we set out on a radically-inclusive, risk-taking, one-in-the-Spirit, faith-in-action, change-the-world kind of journey. I hope we can share it together.