The First United Methodist Church of Moorestown welcomed new lead pastor Rev. Dr. Gina Hendrickson and associate pastor Rev. Jessica Campbell on July 1.
Hendrickson previously served as a superintendent for the Northern Shore District and oversaw 60 churches for seven years. Before that, she served in multiple New Jersey churches, including St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill.
“I’m very excited for (the) opportunity to serve God in this way with this amazing faith family,” she said.
Campbell has been pastoring since 2004. When the associate position at First United Methodist opened, she was excited to become a part of the community.
“It’s not only a fabulous church, but it really aligns with who I am theologically,” she noted, “and (also) I knew it would be a great community for me to raise my three boys in.”
Hendrickson and Campbell have grown fond of Moorestown since they started pastoring for the church.
“I think it’s a community that cares for each other, a community that cares about what’s happening, and (that) we really try to work strongly together,” Hendrickson remarked.
Hendrickson and Campbell held a grief service of healing and anointing the first Sunday of October for residents.
“To offer pastoral care and love and support is an incredible privilege,” Hendrickson explained. “I don’t know if there’s another word to name that, except to say it is an incredible gift to be with somebody or a family as they’re dealing with such a profound, difficult time.”
“The whole service was geared around, whatever your hurts are, bring them and know that God is with you and (that) there is healing and hope,” Campbell said.
The new pastors will facilitate their first holiday remembrance service for residents on Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. The non-denominational service will take place in the sanctuary of the church, and guests are invited to bring a candle and holder to place at the altar.
“We’re (just) trying to offer a space to be with people, and (yet) also including some liturgy that is comforting to (some) people,” Hendrickson explained. “To have the lighting and the candles, again all of these different pieces that can be a means of God’s grace during dark, difficult times.”
“Fundamentally, we are people of hope,” said Campbell. “And so, for us to be able to proclaim hope in the midst of such pain, I think is truly a gift.”
The service will include scripture readings of Psalms 23 and 121, chosen by Hendrickson.
“They’re two (of) the strongest pastoral psalms that we have,” she noted. “I believe they’re also two of the (ones) that are the most commonly known psalms. I think they’re highly recognizable and people will know them and maybe not (even) know why they know that.”
Hendrickson and Campbell look forward to seeing residents lean on each other during difficult times.
“This is a beautiful way to (just) look around, even if you don’t know anybody,” said Hendrickson. “Everybody at (that) service knows that they’re grieving the loss of a loved one together.”
“I would hope that from (all) of the services that people (just) keep going back to, what is the real meaning of the season?” added Campbell.