by DawnMarie Hayes, Presbytery
Pastor Mary is a life-long Presbytery of Cincinnati disciple. Her father grew up going to Norwood Presbyterian Church where most of the family baptisms took place (including Pastor Mary) and most of the family weddings, including her parents.
Her family moved out to Heritage Presbyterian Church before she entered school. It is here she grew up in the church with a focus on mission and justice. Her mother worked for the Synod of the Covenant, where as a young girl Pastor Mary saw firsthand the injustices surrounding our country’s healthcare system and immigration policies.
Mary enjoyed Youth Sundays as she shared the summer youth mission experiences with the congregation. These experiences were foundational in the development of Pastor Mary’s belief in a just and loving community.
Call to Ministry
So it is not surprising that it was on a youth mission event when a conversation with Rev. Stainton opened Pastor Mary’s heart to ministry. “. . . a couple months before leaving for college, three of my mentors told me not to be a lawyer for different reasons.”
“I was lost, angry, and confused. What was I going to do?”
“A few days later, while delivering mulch with the rest of the youth group, I had a conversation with my pastor. He asked me about how getting ready for college was going, what I was going to study, etc. I told him that I currently had no idea because everything had changed. Pastor Kevin went on and asked me what I liked to do to help me have an idea of what else I could study or do. I listed off reading, mission work, getting to know people, learning about God, etc. He looked at me and said, ‘And you can’t think of a career where you can do those things?’ “
“I responded that those things are not a career, but rather hobbies. Pastor Kevin said, ‘Well, I do those things for a living,’ with a smile on his face. That was when the light bulb went off for me. My call was shown to me at that moment and it has kept growing and becoming clearer over the last four years and has led me to Venice Presbyterian Church for my first pastoral call!”
Pastor Mary’s Mom and Dad live in her childhood home and continue to worship at Heritage PC.
Her younger brother Jack is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. He was married, this past August, to his high school sweetheart, Hannah. And he started graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, OH.
Her partner, Yash has become a strong member of the family. He moved to the states, from India, several years ago. He moved to Ohio just over a year ago. Yash is a Business Analyst with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and is working on his Master’s degree.
Pastor Mary’s ministry is tied to the historical, Biblical, real justice and mercy-bringing Jesus. She says “I love to speak about, read about, learn about, and work towards economic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, etc. justice.”
Pastor Mary continues, “My ministry is about love, transformation, growth, justice, mercy, and peace. Often ministry is about being in an uncomfortable realm to grow closer to God, to listen more to the Holy Spirit, and to follow more closely to Jesus.”
Pastor Mary describes her most recent “God Moment” and as I read it, it became clear it is a message we all need to hear. In the quietness of our days as we turn our hearts to Our Lord, we hear what we most need to hear from God.
“The most recent God moment I had was during a virtual spiritual retreat. The leader of the retreat had us all do lectio divina on a scripture passage. She had us close our eyes, listen, and imagine ourselves into the story. While I laid on my couch, listening, I felt my skin shiver, tears come to my eyes, and the voice of God whisper, ‘Rest, know you are enough. Know you are loved.’”