The Rev. Gail Greenwell - Rector
The Rev. Gail Greenwell, Rector
Phone: 913-236-8600 Ext. 307
Born and raised:
- University of Oregon, 1977; BA in History, minor in Education
- Graduate work at Lewis and Clark College in Curriculum Development
- Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, 2001; Master of Divinity
- Author of a 1999 curriculum for Baptismal Preparation.
- Creator of Spirituality and the Arts Camp in the Diocese of Oregon and California — an arts outreach to low-income and inner city children.
- 2008 Recipient of the Louisville Institute Pastoral Leadership award.
Married to Jim Greenwell since 1982. Two daughters — Megan, a 2006 college graduate, now living and working in Washington, DC; and Emily, a 2008 college graduate, now working and residing in Boston. Hobbies: cooking, antiquing, hiking, writing, white water rafting, and music. “In fact, I was once the ‘chick’ backup singer for a Bay Area folk music group.”
Interview with the Rev. Gail Greenwell, Rector
What was the most important moment in your spiritual journey?
A trusted spiritual advisor led me to understand that good pastoral leaders must do their own work on forgiveness before they can effectively counsel others on forgiveness. This message was transformational for me. None of us can truly experience the forgiveness of Christ Jesus, until we’ve forgiven others as Christ has forgiven us.
How do you know that God is at work in your life?
This is a question I’m often asked. For me, personally, there is a deep sense of joy that comes with knowing that God is at work in my life, or that I am doing God’s work. And for those who seek to discern what it is that God is calling them to do, I will sometimes tell them that they will find it at the point where their greatest gift and the world’s greatest need intersect.
Describe St. Michael and All Angels to someone who’s never been here and knows nothing about the congregation.
Well, the Episcopal Church has sometimes been called “The Church of the Wide Middle,” and I think that also describes our congregation at St. Michael and All Angels. We embrace the wideness of Christ’s mercy. We believe God has called us to be in community with one another, and for that reason we seek to be inclusive, and to treat one another with love, compassion, and respect, which is the example of Jesus.
There is an incredible vitality in this parish. We’re not at all passive in our relationship with God. We actively seek his direction. We energetically seek to serve him and his people. And we’re a grateful and generous people.
What’s the most satisfying thing about your ministry?
Oh, there are so many wonderful and satisfying things. I just appreciate being a meaningful part of people’s lives. I like being a part of this community. It’s satisfying to form so many deep Christian friendships.
Then there are the sacramental moments. To sing for the dying. To hold an infant over the baptismal font. To place the bread of life in someone’s hands. These are satisfying beyond words.
What’s the Main Thing about your ministry?
Reconciliation. That’s the main thing. Reconciliation between God and his people. Reconciliation between God’s people and God’s creation. And reconciliation between God’s people. My main ministry is to provide those in my pastoral care with the means to forgive, and also practical, workable, ways to build or re-build relationships. Genuine relationships.
Secondarily, I want St. Michael and All Angels to be a center of learning. I hope to bring together scholars, artists, scientists, and theologians, for the purpose of dialogue and honest exploration of life’s hard questions, and to enlighten us and help us be our best and highest selves.
What do you do for fun?
My husband, Jim, and I like to cook and to entertain friends and guests. We like our kitchen to be well used. We enjoy traveling and day hiking. And we’re both really into music, especially folk music, though we also like the blues. Of course, we love spending time with our two grown daughters. Then there’s Riley, our Boston Terrier, who may be little, but has a big part in our life.
Why should someone come to St. Michael and All Angels?
Because here you will be welcomed as you are and loved as you are. Here you will be formed and transformed. You will be challenged to be all that God made you to be. You will find companions and friends who will be with you on your journey. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lifelong Episcopalian or a new Christian who has just come to know Jesus, this is a place where you can be at home.