Rev. Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli

Senior Pastor


Pastor Ginger Gaines-Cirelli

Rev. Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli is a lifelong United Methodist who is passionate about sharing the good news of God’s liberating love in Jesus Christ.

In 2014, she became the first woman to serve as Senior Pastor of the historic Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. Since Ginger’s appointment, Foundry has reenergized its work for racial justice, become a founding member of the Sanctuary DMV movement, and created a Sacred Resistance Ministry Team to mobilize consistent action in response to troubling current events.

A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Ginger has served a variety of congregations: small and large, urban and suburban in the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, in addition to an uptown Manhattan and two-point charge in the New York Annual Conference. Ginger has served the Baltimore Washington Conference as Chair of the Board of Discipleship and currently serves on the Board of Ordained Ministry. In addition, she has served as an elected delegate to the 2016 General Conference and the 2019 Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

For over 20 years as a pastor-theologian, her ministry has encouraged spiritual growth and engaged discipleship—emphasizing radical hospitality, shared ministry, spiritual practices, and solidarity with the poor and oppressed. With this focus, she has brought depth, health, and growth to every community she has served. Ginger contributed to and served as a general editor for The CEB Women’s Bible (Abingdon, October 2016). Her book, "Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent," was released in May 2018. Ginger is a sought-after preacher, teacher, and facilitator at local, regional, and international events.

Pastor Ginger enjoys gardening, yoga, poetry, art, ice cream, travel, and hiking. She is married to Dr. Anthony T. Gaines-Cirelli, a Catholic theologian, currently serving the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a Director in their Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Office. The Gaines-Cirellis live in NE Washington, D.C. with their clumber spaniels Harvey and Daisy, and cat Fiona.

Connect with Pastor Ginger

Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent


How should persons of faith respond when government officials and political leaders behave in ways that contradict values long espoused by Christian tradition? How should churches respond? "Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent" provides thoughtful guidance for those pondering their answers to those questions.


Media Engagements

RAI Interview

RAI Interview

Interfaith Conversation of Forgiveness moderated by David Gregory

Interfaith Conversation of Forgiveness moderated by David Gregory

Faith Leaders Hold DC Vigil to Call For Change

Faith Leaders Hold DC Vigil to Call For Change

This Week on Day 1

This Week on Day 1

Pastor on Proposed United Methodist Split over LGBTQ Beliefs
Church Leaders Adapt Easter Sermons for Pandemic Times

By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli April 1, 2019

"I don’t recognize my church." That’s what I said to myself while serving as a delegate of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Ginger Gaines-Cirelli: Sacred resistance is about our being, not just our doing

By Faith & Leadership October 30, 2018

In her new book, “Sacred Resistance,” the senior pastor of Foundry UMC in Washington, D.C., articulates how Christians can engage in the work of mending the world.


By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli August 7th, 2018

The language of “resistance” has a long history. For many it will call to mind those who’ve marched, stood on picket lines, participated in sit-ins, and put their bodies between trucks, tanks, and other people or cherished land. Used as a political term, resistance is generally understood as a kind of collective civil disobedience, focused on justice and human rights, and embodied in public actions like those just mentioned.

5 Things to Consider Before Engaging a Public Issue

By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli October 24, 2018

When so many causes, crises, and critical needs demand our attention, how can a congregation decide where to engage? Pastor and author Ginger Gaines-Cirelli outlines key questions and concerns in discerning a faithful and sustainable response to public issues.

From Mourning to Dancing

By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli April 25, 2018

While it is still dark, Easter happens. Because if the message is that Easter only happens in the light, when we feel strong and certain, when suffering and death hasn’t touched our lives, when the powers of empire have been defeated and justice is consistently done — if that’s the only context where Easter happens, then our celebration of Easter would be a farce.

Stop Spreading Smooth Things

By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli May 9th, 2018

“It’s poor religion that can’t provide a sufficient curse when needed.” Wendell Berry said that.

4 Tips for Preaching on Politically Charged Topics

By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli June 13, 2018

Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, author of Sacred Resistance, says it’s up to preachers to address the pain, injustice, confusion, and chaos in our days even when it is risky, and she offers guidance on approaching controversial issues in meaningful and responsible ways.


By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli June 29th, 2017

Nearly ten years ago at a dinner in New York City, I was stunned when someone at my table declared clearly that there is really no point in dialogue or relationship with those whose beliefs will not be conformed to your own.

Women’s edition of Bible offers new light

By Sam Hodges Jan. 24, 2017 | UM NEWS

Beth Bingham began to see Hagar of the Old Testament in a new way after studying The CEB Women’s Bible.

Suddenly she wasn’t just the servant who bore Abraham a child when his wife Sarah couldn’t. She was, essentially, the Bible’s first single mom — one who had to leave the house because tensions were so high.

Bingham, a student at Virginia Theological Seminary, couldn’t wait to bring The CEB (Common English Bible) Women’s Bible and share her Hagar insight with the female inmates she studies Scripture with twice a month.


By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli April 1st, 2016

"I’m not sure how I feel about living in this city,” said a theologically trained young adult with a passion for social justice. As a relative newcomer to Washington, DC, he shared, “It seems that Washington attracts folks who care a lot about power and what it takes to get it.”


By Ginger Gaines-Cirelli October 1st, 2016

“Why should I add another Bible to my shelf?” This good-natured question has emerged often these past months as folks have learned that I served as an editor for the new CEB Women’s Bible.

Nashville publisher’s new release isn’t your mother’s Bible

By Heidi Hall Oct. 21, 2016 | The Tennessean

It’s clear almost instantly that Abingdon Press’s newest Bible isn’t the kind of Christian women’s fare that focuses heavily on Proverbs 31 and lightly on indignities around gender.

The CEB Women's Bible Hardcover

The CEB Women’s Bible is a specialty edition of the Common English Bible, sold and distributed by Abingdon Press, part of United Methodist Publishing House. As a contributing editor, Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli shares, “I think the vast, inclusive number of women’s voices that we have represented in the writings is beautiful and wonderful.” All five editors are women, as are all 80 of the commentary contributors. The team includes mainly seminary professors and pastors, but also Christian novelists and a rabbi.

Mixing Christian faith and social justice: Ginger Gaines-Cirelli ‘96 M.Div.

By Ray Waddle December 1, 2015

Growing up in a small town, Ginger Gaines-Cirelli ’96 M.Div. saw the wounds caused by poverty and segregation. Growing up United Methodist, she saw the urgency of connecting personal piety and social action.