Foundry to Welcome A New Senior Pastor

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A letter to Foundry congregation

February 11, 2014


I bring you very good news on behalf of the Foundry Management Board. New pastor Ginger

Our district superintendent, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels, came to Foundry’s morning services Sunday (Feb. 9) to share exciting news from Bishop Marcus Matthews, episcopal leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. He announced two clergy appointments that the bishop made for Foundry. 

The Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli will be our new senior pastor, and the Rev. Dawn M. Hand will be our executive pastor. 

Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli is the current pastor at St. Matthews UMC in Bowie, MD. Gaines-Cirelli has led two VIM (Volunteers in Mission) trips to Liberia. She will return there later this month. 

Previously, she was the senior pastor at Capitol Hill UMC, where she helped weekly worship attendance grow by 62 percent over four years. She has also held positions focused on younger adults and youth. 

Gaines-Cirelli knows Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Anthony, a Roman Catholic theologian who works for the U.S. Conference of Bishops here in D.C., live in Capitol Hill. 

Gaines-Cirelli earned her master’s degree from Yale Divinity School. She graduated summa cum laude and valedictorian from Southwestern University. She was also a pastor-theologian fellow for Princeton University Seminary.  

She preached at Foundry in 2009 as part of our “Summer in the City: Outstanding Preachers Series.” To listen to her sermon, log onto; click on July 29 sermon. To learn more about Rev. Ginger; log onto 

Rev. Dawn M. Hand has been and will continue to be a strong leader at Foundry. She was first appointed to serve here in July 2011 as the associate pastor/chief programs officer. She came to Foundry from Matthews UMC in the Western North Carolina Conference, where she served as an associate pastor of a thriving 3,800+ member congregation. Prior to serving in pastoral ministry, she served as the director of communications in the WNC Conference. She continues serving as Foundry’s newly appointed executive pastor/chief of staff. 

Changing clergy roles…

The Board made a significant step in changing the clergy roles. The first change, which will take place right away, is the changing the roles of our appointed clergy. What we found is that our senior pastor really does two jobs.  

The first is the role of the preacher, teacher and leader. The senior pastor sets the vision for this congregation and shares it widely.  

The second is the role of serving as head of staff and overseeing that the day-to-day functions of the church run smoothly. With a church our size, that takes a lot of effort.  

The Board thinks both roles are absolutely essential for a healthy congregation. But it is tough for one person to fill both roles. So we are breaking it up into two jobs. The Board created the executive pastor / chief of staff position because we believe effective day-to-day administration is essential to making Foundry a stronger church. 

Our senior pastor will be, above all else, a visionary leader. We want our senior pastor to cast a vision for this congregation to take into this city and throughout The United Methodist Church. We want our senior pastor to spread the word of Jesus Christ’s unconditional love wherever it needs hearing.  

Our new senior pastor will be a drum major for justice, for inclusion and for love. But she will not act alone. She will be working hand-in-hand with our executive pastor / chief of staff. 

Our new chief of staff will oversee all the day-to-day operations of the church. She will be the caretaker of our congregational life. Our chief of staff will be in charge of everything from preparing for worship to looking after our finances. She will supervise all staff (with the exception of the senior pastor). We cannot stress enough how important this job is. 

We are very grateful to Bishop Matthews and Dr. Daniels for their work with us through this process and developing this plan. They have been 100 percent supportive of our efforts.  

About the Transition Process

Pastor Dean is still our senior pastor until June 30. We have a lot of great things happening at Foundry before June 30. Rev. Ginger is still the senior pastor at St. Matthews until June 30. We are committed to honoring Pastor Dean’s time here and to prepare for his retirement. And, St. Matthews needs time to prepare for its upcoming transition in saying farewell to Ginger and preparing to receive a new pastor.  

Rev. Ginger will be ready to serve among us beginning July 1. Pastor Dawn will start her new role immediately. 

During and after this transition, Foundry will still be Foundry.

Rev. Ginger is fully supportive of Foundry’s position on the need to change the Book of Discipline to allow same-sex marriages and to allow LGBTQ people to serve as ordained ministers. Under her leadership, same-sex marriages will continue at Foundry. 

We are also committed to ensuring Foundry’s presence in other social justice ministries both locally and globally. 

We specifically asked the bishop to appoint Pastor Dawn to this position; because we knew she would be a great fit for this job. Her continued service at Foundry will provide continuity in our worship and programs. 

We will work with Dean, Dawn and Ginger over the coming months to develop a transition plan. Please keep our leaders in your prayers. And rejoice and be glad at such wonderful news! 


Dan Vock
President, Foundry Management Board