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Kincannon Named Executive Pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia

April 18, 2016
Karla Kincannon

Bishop Young Jin Cho of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church announces the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Karla M. Kincannon as executive pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, effective July 1, 2016. Kincannon indicated that the decision to return to parish ministry came after many discussions with key church leadership in Virginia, her home conference. Kincannon will leave her position at the seminary on June 30, 2016.
While at the seminary Kincannon served as the director of Vocational Formation and Church Leadership and field education programs, and as artist-in-residence. She worked tirelessly to support students in their vocational development, and broadened the partnership between the arts and theological education at the seminary. Kincannon also contributed to the seminary’s commitment to intercultural competency by securing a grant from the General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church to underwrite essential research and training in intercultural competency for church leaders and by authoring a study guide for the agency’s Vital Conversations. She strengthened the relationship between the seminary and The United Methodist Church through her gifts as a worship artist and her partnerships with the Upper Room and The Fellowship for United Methodist Musicians and Worship Artists.
“I am profoundly grateful to have been a part of a stellar faculty for the past five years. It’s been a privilege to work with my colleagues to prepare students for ministry in the church, the academy, and the world,” said Kincannon. “Assisting students in refining and preparing for their vocation has been an honor. The rewards of this position have been numerous, but it is especially gratifying to hear from former students who are active in ministries that are making a difference throughout the world. I anticipate joining their ranks as a colleague in ministry as I return to the pastorate.”
Kincannon went on to say, “I am grateful for the entirety of my experience at Garrett-Evangelical as a member of the faculty, artist-in-residence, and as an alumna. The opportunity to contribute to the life of the seminary has allowed me to further the conversation occurring at the intersection of the arts and theological education in the field of spiritual formation. This has been a gift.”
When asked about Kincannon’s new appointment, Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical, said, "Dr. Kincannon has made many contributions to our community during her six years at the seminary, not only in the formal curriculum by supervising our formation programs and our field education placement efforts, but also in the ‘extra’ curricular dimensions of our life together. Karla brought the arts into all of her work and she transformed our campus and places of worship into beautiful and inspired expressions of our spiritual experience. We will miss Dr. Kincannon’s championship of the arts and her bright spirit. We send her with our blessings and with prayers for a successful ministry as she re-enters congregational leadership in the Virginia Conference."
Aldersgate United Methodist Church, a multi-site church meeting in the Alexandria area, is the seventh largest church in the Virginia Conference. Their dynamic ministry has sought to transform poverty, hunger, and homelessness locally, nationally, and globally; they continue to help women and children break the cycle of dependency; and engage in interfaith ministry, all while ministering to every generation, including an intentional effort to reach the millennial generation. The congregation’s active prayer ministry supports all of the efforts of its varied ministries and Kincannon anticipates using everything she learned – and taught – while at Garrett Evangelical as she develops a spiritual formation and arts ministry within the congregation and the community.
“I look forward to the next iteration of my vocation, returning to the local church as the executive pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church,” said Kincannon. “There is a sweetness about responding to one’s call when it leads to home and it will be a delight to return to the Virginia Conference, serving minutes from where I grew up.”
Kincannon received her master of divinity in 1981 and completed her doctor of ministry in 2014, both at Garrett-Evangelical. She is an ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church and has held numerous positions within the denomination. In addition, she has served as the director of SpiritArt Ministries, which seeks to educate individuals, groups, and institutions, about the tools and movements of the spiritual life by employing creativity as a tool for inner growth. Kincannon has published a significant number of United Methodist publications and is the author of Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection (Upper Room, 2005). You can learn more about Kincannon’s work with SpiritArt Ministries and see examples of some of her artwork at