God has answered our prayers! The Vestry and Search Committee are overjoyed to announce that the Rev. Beth Magill will begin her call as 7th Rector of St. Michael's on Sunday, December 10.
A native of Alexandria, Beth grew up as a member of Christ Church in Old Town. From a young age her parents instilled in her that participation was the most important part of the "work of the people." As a result, she was very active in the church, community and Diocese. Beth was a camp counselor at Shrine Mont, in fact.
In what would be a brief pause from an inevitable calling, Beth attended William & Mary as an undergrad, receiving a BA in Sociology. Soon after, she attended Yale for her Masters of Divinity and Diploma of Anglican Studies. Ordained in 2009, Beth's first call took her to the Diocese of Texas where she served as an Associate at St. David's in Austin. In addition to her liturgical and pastoral roles in this large, urban parish, Beth reinvigorated youth ministry at the church, overseeing programming for weekly youth group meetings and two Sunday school classes.
Her next and perhaps most formative call was as Missioner to the University of Texas. For five years, Beth served as the equivalent of a vicar of a small church. Not only was she the sole preacher and worship leader at the largest Episcopal Student Center in the state, but she was also responsible for all fiduciary responsibilities (including successful stewardship efforts), supervision of staff, training of lay leaders, convener of discernment committees and upkeep of all facilities.
Parishioners from Beth's time at UT couldn't say enough about her. One told us "I was inspired and empowered by Beth's leadership. She has a selfless, motivated nature and an open mind. I observed these characteristics in places one would expect, like the pulpit, but I observed them mostly in how she carries herself day-to-day."
After her excellent work at UT, the Bishop tapped Beth for a Diocesan-wide position as Missioner for Congregational Initiatives. In this role, she oversaw all campus ministries in the Diocese--including the start of six new campus ministries--and traveled throughout the state working to enhance congregations large and small.
And that's just her work experience, folks.
Her continuing education, certification and volunteer experiences fill up another two pages of her resume. (Single-spaced.) One notable effort is her work supporting the victims of human trafficking. When she learned Texas was home to two of the top five cities in the U.S. suffering from this epidemic, Beth coordinated with Magdalene House, a Nashville-based recovery program, to create a sister program in Austin. As the Founding Board Member, she formed the advisory board and led fundraising efforts to open a new home in Austin.
So why leave all this to come to St. Michael's? Well, being a Missioner certainly certainly touches many, many lives. But the nature of the work required Beth to move on to the next parish once her guidance began to take hold.
"The rhythm of communal worship shaped my identity as a priest," Beth told us during discernment, "and it is central to what draws me back to parish ministry. Naming and celebrating the sacred in our midst-through pastoral relationships, celebration of the sacraments and the marking of ordinary life as holy -- this is what calls me to St. Michael's."
And we as a congregation are blessed for it. When our Profile Committee determined that St. Michael's needed 1) an inspirational leader 2) an accessible advisor 3) an effective administrator and 4) a community connector, I don't think the Search Committee thought we'd be able to check all four boxes so confidently. God clearly thought otherwise by bringing Beth to us. The fact that she's a spectacular preacher and such a warm, joyous presence is just the icing on top.
So please join us in welcoming our new Rector for her first Sunday on December 10 (and, of course, all the many Sundays that will follow). If you have any questions in the meantime, don't hesitate to ask!