Q&A with Rev. Bonnie Camarda

Q&A with Rev. Bonnie Camarda


Reverend Bonnie Camarda has been Divisional Director of Partnerships for The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware since 1999. She is at the heart of The Salvation Army’s initiatives to form fruitful partnerships with area business leaders, government leaders, prospective donors, fellow social service organizations and individuals looking for spiritual guidance and hope. She has degrees in Business Administration and Administrative Science, as well as a Masters of Divinity. Rev. Camarda is highly involved in her community, and in Hispanic and other faith organizations.

Q: As a bilingual leader, have you observed differences in how Spanish-speaking and English-speaking Christians engage with the Bible personally or corporately, or both? 01

I have observed that Spanish-speaking Christians tend to display their faith in a more vibrant and open manner than Englishspeaking Christians. This was very evident during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia—I witnessed thousands of Hispanic Christians marching through the streets holding signs, playing instruments and singing and dancing on their way to Mass. Spanish-speaking Christians, particularly the impoverished, seem to turn naturally to their spirituality to guide them through life’s challenges. They tend to be very verbal about their beliefs. That being said, I know Christians of all ethnicities who know the gospel, who are fervent and devoted to the Bible’s teachings, whether or not they display it publicly. Regardless of language, engaging with the Bible is so important in urban ministry, because its lessons help us address the root challenges of violence and poverty.

Q: In what ways has your education in theology and biblical studies informed your leadership both inside and outside the church? 02

I was one of the few women in that particular seminary to obtain a graduate degree at the time. I was blessed that the president of the seminary, an 80-year-old man, recognized the need for women in leadership in the next generation. Having him as a mentor helped set me up for success as a leader throughout my life.

In my leadership roles inside and outside the church, I have come to believe that biblical teaching has to go beyond the church walls. We must go out into the community. Christianity should not be centralized within a physical church; rather our faith is about connecting with people in the community and sharing the gospel.

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