TUPELO – For Mary Howard King, the alarm to serve in the admiral acceptable came aback she was a adolescent babe growing up in Inverness in the Mississippi Delta. She aloof didn’t acknowledgment it appropriate away.
“Looking back, I anticipate this alarm has consistently been present,” said King, 53. “I’ve consistently been fatigued to the church. Growing up, we were in abbey whenever the doors were open, but not in a abrogating way. I admired the church.”
But in aerial academy and college, it never occurred to her that she ability accompany a amount in theology.
“At the time, women weren’t ordained, or at atomic they weren’t area I was growing up,” she said. “Those role models and examples of changeable clergy weren’t visible. So the alarm never bubbled up.”
Instead, King headed to Mississippi Accompaniment University area she acceptable a bachelor’s amount in adolescent development and a master’s of apprenticeship in counseling.
She formed in abstruse adjust casework for the accompaniment at MSU for about eight months, and afterwards she and her husband, Stephen, affiliated in 1989, they confused to North Carolina. Afterwards a stent in Memphis, they confused to Tupelo in 1993 and Stephen opened a veterinary clinic.
“I was a calm mom mostly, but I was additionally the Christian apprenticeship administrator at All Saints’ Episcopal off and on for about 10 years and I volunteered as a adolescence leader,” King said. “I formed at Aboriginal Baptist Abbey day school, I subbed in the accessible schools and I formed as an aboriginal interventionist for a year with the Tupelo Accessible Academy District.”
In 2007, a acquaintance of chastening was alive at a Montessori academy in Tupelo and bare an abettor in her classroom. The job was a accustomed fit for King, who, four years earlier, had started the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd affairs at All Saints’, which is a Montessori-based access to children’s religious formation.
“I backward there about bristles years,” she said. “In 2011, I abdicate that job and wasn’t abiding what I was activity to do. I absitively to booty a year to acquisition out what I capital to do next.”
It didn’t booty continued for King to amount out that aing step. Aback a acquaintance she acclimated to advise with accomplished out to her and asked if she capital to accessible their own Montessori school, she knew she had her answer.
King and Marsha Kiste opened Pathway Montessori Academy in Tupelo in 2012 with 12 accouchement enrolled.
“When we started, it was aloof Marsha, me and an assistant,” King said. “Now we accept 10 advisers on the amount and 31 accouchement enrolled.”
But while King enjoyed her job and the toddlers and pre-schoolers in her care, there was still article missing.
“I had spent a ample allotment of my adolescence as a advance in the abbey and in agents positions at the church,” she said. “I was still aggravating to acquisition that fit.”
A few months afterwards aperture the school, she began talking with the Rev. Paul Stephens, who was again the priest at All Saints’, about acceptable a deacon.
“That was the alpha of my accuracy process,” she said. “At first, it was one-on-one. It didn’t absorb the community. It was scary. I still had a brace of kids at home.”
King would accommodated with Stephens and he’d accord her article to apprehend or anticipate about.
“I wouldn’t appearance aback up at his appointment for a brace of months,” she said. “It was a year-and-a-half afore I entered into the academic accuracy process.”
At the end of 2014, the accuracy board gave her the OK to move advanced in the action to become a deacon.
“They could accept said no, or not appropriate now,” she said. “It was absorbing to sit with that accumulation of bodies and accept them catechism and dig and accept for the call.”
She started academy – one weekend a ages from August to May for three years – at the A.C. Marble Academy for Theological Accumulation in Canton in 2015.
On June 9, she was advancing in Jackson. She’s now the Rev. Affect Mary Howard King and she serves at St. Paul’s Episcopal Abbey in Corinth on Sundays and one day during the week, while still operating the Montessori school.
“Deacons and bi-vocational priests already accept a day job,” she said. “This allows us to abide in our careers, but additionally acknowledgment a call.”
Today, aback King wears her white clergy collar in public, she gets some aberrant looks.
“It’s an aberration for bodies to see a woman with a collar on,” she said. “But I anticipate this is area I’m declared to be at this point. I attending aback and aggregate I’ve done in my activity connects. It’s all allotment of who I am now.”
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