The Rev. Racquel Gill answered the call to ministry when she was 15 years old. She was ordained at the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church as a high schooler, in her hometown of Winnsboro, South Carolina.
This summer, Gill joined PC’s staff as the assistant chaplain for Multicultural Community Engagement. She will work with Multicultural Communities and service organizations in the Religious Life and Community Engagement office.
A Place of Belonging
Her role includes work with the Multicultural Student Union, Spectrum, Student Volunteer Services as well as the support of interfaith students.
“I like for people to feel like they belong,” Gill said. “Belonging matters to me. Inclusion matters to me. Community matters to me.”
Gill says that all students should feel like they belong, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
“Students should know that they have space here, that they have a place of belonging here, that they know that they’re not just tolerated, but they’re celebrated for who they are and that they should live in the fullness of who they are,” she said.
Answering the Call
Gill attended Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina, and was planning to teach English. While in college, she says she was still “wrestling with the call” when she was introduced to a friend and mentor who exposed her to women pastoring and leading churches.
This mentorship eventually inspired her to go to seminary instead of the classroom. Her mentor attended Duke Divinity School. Sadly, he would later fall ill and passed away. After his death, Gill decided to follow in his footsteps and apply to Duke.
Looking back, she said she believes she may have been trying to “make meaning out of grief,” but he was her reason for going to seminary.
Gill earned a Bachelor of Arts in English education from Columbia College in 2012 before enrolling at Duke, where she earned a Master of Divinity in 2015.
From Brooklyn to Clinton
After seminary, she recently served as a pastor in residence at St. Paul Community Baptist Church, in Brooklyn, New York.
She says she looks forward to working with PC students, referencing how pastoring in New York, as well as her college experience was formative for her.
“I can largely identify with a lot of the students I’ll be working with,” Gill said. “The majority of them are from South Carolina, from very small towns like myself, and sometimes college is really your first experience with difference.”
“It’s really your first experience with something other than the narrative that you came up with, so I think it’s a great opportunity to journey with students who may come to a college campus with the same thoughts that I had, the same ideas that I had, and through the journey will leave with very different questions, with very different concerns, and with very different thoughts.”
Please visit Religious Life & Community Engagement to learn more about how you can explore your faith at PC.