Gina CampbellAs Canon Precentor at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., The Rev. Gina Gilland Campbell 81T oversees worship. But since the Candler alumna is ordained in The United Methodist Church, she has never presided as the celebrant of Holy Communion during worship at the Episcopal Cathedral—until now.

At a historic service on Sunday, January 25, Campbell will become the first United Methodist to preside over Eucharist at the Cathedral, an act made possible by the recent Interim Eucharistic Sharing Agreement between The United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church.

The agreement marks an important move toward full communion between the two denominations, as they openly recognize one another as members of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, faithfully and rightly preaching and proclaiming the gospel of Christ. Russell E. Richey, former dean of Candler and emeritus professor of church history, was a member of the national United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogue that led to the agreement.

Other Candler faculty and alumni will represent the school during the service as participants and worshipers. Don E. Saliers, William R. Cannon Professor of Worship and Music, Emeritus, has written the Eucharistic prayer and will provide a psalm setting for the service, in addition to serving as cantor and pianist. Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations Shawn Scott 09T and Associate Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology L. Edward Phillips 79T, a classmate of Campbell’s, will also attend.

Campbell says she is grateful for the new opportunities the agreement will provide.  

“With this step toward Eucharistic sharing, the sacramental part of my vocation – which, for me, has always been the deepest way I have experienced assurance in my calling – can now live with full expression at the Cathedral. By God’s grace, and with human cooperation, the brokenness of Christ’s body continues to heal.”  

Candler Dean Jan Love echoes that sentiment.

“The Interim Eucharistic Sharing Agreement is a huge step forward for ecumenism, made all the more remarkable to us because of the role those from Candler played in its creation and celebration.”

The service will be broadcast live online on Sunday at 11:15 a.m. EST. Watch the webcast.

Read the follow-up story from the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church.