Barbara Campbell named first "Diocesan Poet"
Barbara Campbell of St. Mark's, New Britain, has been invited by our bishops to be Connecticut's "Diocesan Poet."
But don't think of this as some stuffy, distant appointment.
"We invited Barbara to tap into our inner poet and claim a creative expression of our faith," said Bishop Laura J. Ahrens, who took the lead on this effort. "By calling her 'Diocesan Poet' we hope she'll help all of us, as a diocese, to claim our collective poetic voices," she said.
Barbara understands her new role is more of an instigator than a distant expert, although she does come with credentials as a published poet.
A retired high school and college teacher, she also has your first assignment.
Love of poetry
Barbara Campbell loves poetry and has been writing poems for decades. "Since I got my first computer more than 30 years ago," she said. Her favorite poets (whom she calls her "poetic heroes") include Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Martin Espada, and Emily Dickinson.
She's also an active lay woman serving in both parish and diocesan leadership, including St. Mark's participation in a multi-year regional partnership to develop missional churches. The poetry is connected.
"As Diocesan Poet, I encourage the writing of poetry as a way to continue to tell our stories," she explained. "Directly related to us as Episcopalians is writing poems about our own reactions and those of others as we practice being missional, and our descriptions of living in a world and a church both constantly facing change. From time to time I will invite poetry written on a designated theme (see first invitation at end of article). If I can be an instigator of creativity, give an opportunity for a voice to be heard, encourage working as co-creators with God, the effort will be well-placed."
# # #
Like metal filings to a magnet,
I roll my carriage
I don’t mind the mess.
That bolt of material down to its last yard
We see, feel and know
From all those shirts and dresses –
What’s the next quilt, or scarf or laprobe
Within that grace,
Invitation #1: Annual Convention 2012
The themes of the 2012 Diocesan Convention are “Claiming, Equipping and Sending Leaders in God’s Mission.” I invite poets in the Diocese to look through their journals and/or consider writing poems which address those themes.
Need a writing prompt? Here’s a few. It’s a broad topic. I’m being generous in options. Focus on one or two.
I welcome signed poems from all ages, in any language accompanied by an English translation. Please email questions you may have about the invitation, and your poems to: firstname.lastname@example.org
More about Barbara Campbell:
She is a member of the Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, New Britain, Senior Warden Emerita, Liturgical Assistant, Prayer Shawl Knitter, instigator of the Poetry Corner, and member of the Higher Education Committee of the Diocese of Connecticut. In February 2012 she read GOEs at Kanuga. .Last year she inaugurated a "Poetry Sunday" at St. Mark's. Local poets read their work during the adult forum and she worked with the parish rector, the Rev. Pat Hames, to have poetry woven into the liturgy of the main worship service. (This year, scheduled for Ma 20, 2012.)
Barbara holds two degrees from the University of Connecticut, one from Central Connecticut State University and is a member of the Class of 1964 of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, the second class to include women.
Now retired from both UConn and New Britain Public Schools, she lives in Farmington and canoes at Crystal Lake, Ellington.