Farewell Bill and Michelle Campbell

News | June 22, 2023

Bill Campbell has been a staple of Sunday worship for the past 17 years. Every Sunday, Bill arrives at St. Paul around 10 a.m., messenger bag over his shoulder, ready to set up and spend the next two hours rehearsing with the Open Spirit Ensemble and leading the contemporary worship service. Bill is the first Contemporary Worship leader at St. Paul. He will be leading his final service in July.

An initial task force was created in 2006 to propose the addition of a contemporary worship service to the Sunday morning schedule, and Bill was hired to lead the service when it began in 2007.

When Bill wasn’t at St. Paul, he could often be found just a few blocks away, on the campus of St. Ambrose University or in his studio composing scores for films and documentaries. He and his wife Michelle first moved to the Quad Cities for a music professor position with the university. Michelle is currently a teacher for Iowa Virtual Academy.

Bill and Michelle are headed to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to family. They have two sons, Forrest and Ian. Ian and his wife Bailey are parents to Alder, Bill and Michelle’s first grandchild. Their elder son, Forrest, and most of their family live in Tucson, Arizona, where the Campbells plan to spend some time as well.

What are your future plans/hopes as you make your way to the Pacific Northwest?
The short answer is creativity and family. Our family lives in various places in the western states from Arizona up to Washington state, and we hope to spend a lot more time with them. We’re aiming for the Portland, Oregon area but are content for now not being exactly sure of our new address, neighborhood, or even town.

What are you going to miss most about St. Paul?
We will miss seeing the people and worshiping together. I will miss making music with my friends in Open Spirit. It’s been one of the great joys of my life and will be impossible to replace. I think in the future I’ll conjure up the feeling of walking into the sanctuary and taking it all in. As a space, it’s full of such great energy from everyone.

“When we visualized what the St. Paul contemporary service might be, we had an outline but Bill brought it all to life. He brought the music, the work ethic, and the enthusiasm. We have spent 3+ hours a week together for 17 years. You’re not just singing in those rehearsals. There’s joking, there’s camaraderie. We all became friends. Bill knows how to pull people together and bring out the best in us as musicians and vocalists. It becomes so much more than just singing. I will miss him here. He just has so many amazing talents he needs to share with others.”
Jamie Carroll, Open Spirit Ensemble member, Contemporary Worship Task Force member 

“Bill has vision and high standards that exemplify his intense work ethic and superb talent. He is willing to work with many levels of participant commitment and musicality, embracing the challenges of making high quality music with volunteers. Bill values his relationships, just as he loves people. He would often be the first to arrive at rehearsals, setting up and greeting each group member enthusiastically as they arrived. We will miss him and his talents greatly.”
Todd Byerly, former operations director 

“When we first spoke with Bill about the Contemporary Worship leadership position in 2006, we knew he was the whole package. He was someone who knew and understood liturgical language and worship but he was not so tied into that world that his creativity would be smothered. Bill and Michelle have this beautiful sense of being grounded in tradition and history but with a hipness that brings all kinds of delightful things and creates a strong community. Bill was always open to trying new things and he’s been such a great collaborator since day one. ”
Pastor Lowell Michelson, former St. Paul pastoral resident, Contemporary Worship Task Force member

5 Comments on “Farewell Bill and Michelle Campbell”

  • Lisa Miller

    June 29, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    You and Michelle were a blessing to St Paul for so many years. You are a talented and gifted person. I appreciated the uplifted feelings I received from attending the contemporary service. The Northwest area is gonna be getting some good peeps! Good Luck in your new adventure. Thank you for your dedication.


    June 23, 2023 at 9:58 am

    Wishing you the very best on your new beginnings in your lives. I’ve always carried Open Spirit in my heart from the very first day it began, such a groundbreaking format for St Paul. And Michelle gave me a new way of thinking and doing in caring for myself through her yoga class. Your imprint on the life of St. Paul will be felt for years, and I can only imagine how blessed your new community will be with your presence. Take Care, keep in touch, and hugs and love for a bright future.

  • Barb Shinbori

    June 22, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    You really have left your imprint with St. Paul and all the wonderful members who have come to love this service that gets everyone clapping with the music! Thanks for all your love and dedication and God Bless you and Michelle and the family on this new life journey.

  • Skip Mooy

    June 22, 2023 at 7:24 pm

    Bill Campbell and his wonderful wife are a fantastic staple at Saint Pauls! My son went through confirmation with his son Ian! They created a great bond, and still keep in touch! Bill is one of the reasons I actually go to the contemporary service instead of the traditional service! He is a fantastic musician and leader in prayer! I can’t wait for them to follow their dreams and hopes and fill other peoples lives with Joy as they have with a People of Saint Paul Lutheran Church!

  • Sherry Horan

    June 22, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Although I may be just another enthusiastic singer in the crowd for 11:15 services, I am struggling to imagine my heart being filled with the joy that you always bring to our services! Your imprint will be forever treasured my me!

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