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Oakdale Presbyterian Pastor To Retire After 14 Years

By Leah Williams

Rev. John Campbell will be delivering his final sermon at Oakdale Presbyterian Church this Sunday, September 1, after 14 years.

Campbell said he feels the end of his chapter that has taken him on a loop from California to Iowa and Wisconsin to now southern Illinois.

“I am just finishing my part of a mobile journey,” Campbell said. “It’s the story of my life, moving around.”

He said he felt a sense of calling to ministry after he had graduated college but decided to postpone any additional involvement and training to a later date. In 1991, he and his wife began taking classes through a distance learning seminary program.

“We signed up for one class per quarter, and we did that for five years,” he said. “ We then had a situation with the company that I had worked for for 20 years. We had no car, no kids, no money so what did we do? We go to school.”

Campbell would finish his master’s degree in divinity. He would then relocate to Iowa to undergo an extended pastoral study for 18 months in Iowa. After he was ordained at the end of December 2000, he pastored his first church in Wisconsin before coming to Oakdale Presbyterian Church in 2005.

Campbell said some of his favorite memories over the past 14 years include volunteering in the annual Oakdale Eggstravaganza and homecoming as well as dressing up as Santa Claus each winter for the Alfeldt Christmas tree farm.

“I am going to miss the more casual, easy going lifestyle,” he said. “I know city living, having lived in Oakland and Pasadena all of those years. But the last 14 years have been about the countryside and I am going to sort of miss that laid back lifestyle.”

Campbell also said he plans to continue writing his Faith Perspective column for the remainder of the year. He said he has enjoyed writing and the comments he has received from readers.

“It is always a surprise when someone stops me on the street and says I read your column and I really liked it,” he said.

Campbell is relocating once again to Springfield. He says while he has some ideas about what to do after his retirement, he adds that he is open-minded to what the new chapter unfolds.

“It just sort of been like God has opened doors. At certain times, you just sort of feel certain directions,” he said. “It’s like now, a lot of people ask me what I plan to do next, and I say I don’t know. Whatever God opens up.”

Rev. John Campbell will have his last sermon at Oakdale Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 1.

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