Born in Providence, Macedo was raised in East Greenwich and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Rhode Island.
“I met my husband at U.R.I., and we moved to East Providence and brought up our three children there,” she said.
Macedo worked as a journalist for 12 years at the East Providence Post and the Seekonk Star.
She was also active in church committees, serving as a lay speaker and working with teens at Camp Aldersgate United Methodist Youth Camp.
Macedo received her calling in 1998.
“I never expected to be a pastor. I thought my calling was in lay ministry,” she said. “My calling was very powerful.”
It happened while she was teaching a workbook study called “Become Alive in Christ.”
“We were praying and holding hands when I felt this incredible experience,” she said. “I felt this fire, this heat, that came down through my body. I was surprised the people couldn’t feel it. It was so real, so physical. I didn’t hear a voice, but had thoughts that were just there, the words: ‘I want you to preach and teach and be a shepherd to my people.'”
Macedo entered the graduate program at Boston University School of Theology in 1999.
“No one was more surprised than me,” she said. “At age 50 I went to seminary. It was an incredible experience, but also hard. But I know God wanted me to do it.”
She said that her saving grace was the help she received from the other graduate students, who banded together for study sessions.
“I wouldn’t have come through it,” she said. “There was so much reading that it was overwhelming.”
In 2002, Macedo was appointed to her first church, Burrillville United Methodist Church in Rhode Island. She served in the half-time position while attending seminary.
“That year my three children also decided to get married,” she said.
Macedo graduated from seminary in 2004 and awaited her assignment through the United Methodist system that would place her somewhere in New England.
“So I went to Grace United Methodist Church in Bangor, Me.,” she said, noting that it was difficult to leave the house the family had lived in for 28 years.
In June 2009, Macedo was ordained.
“It is a long process in the Methodist Church,” she said. “Licensed pastors have to have a master’s degree in Divinity to be ordained.”
She added that ordained pastors are guaranteed a full-time position.
Macedo enjoyed her five years of ministry in Maine, especially mentoring a woman who eventually entered seminary. But when the congregation decided that they could only support a part-time pastor, she awaited another assignment.
“I was happy they moved me back here,” she said. “I have two married sons in Rhode Island, and each has a child. My daughter also lives in Webster, Mass.
Macedo began her duties as pastor of Acushnet-Wesley United Methodist Church on July 1, 2010.
“Any transition is difficult,” she said. “It takes a few months to learn how they like things done. There is a lot of very strong lay leadership here, which is a blessing. Now I can concentrate in certain areas.”
Consequently, she has focused on their Sunday School program and increasing church attendance.
“We’re getting a new, fresher curriculum using an interactive DVD,” she said. “This encourages more families to come. I think as pastors we’re expected to encourage growth because the main mission of any church is to introduce people to Jesus, to make disciples of Christ. The goal is not so much to increase the numbers as to find a way to introduce them to our church and the good news.”
She also started weekly Bible studies, offering them on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. They are independent studies so participants are welcome to attend whenever they can.
“They are open to everyone,” she said. “I encourage people to do small group studies. They increase commitment to the faith by bringing in Scripture to understand the nature of God and how He works in our lives.”
She said her preaching style is very Christ-oriented and that even when she is teaching about the Old Testament, she ties in the good news and salvation.
Her reporting and editing skills also have been put to good use in her ministry.
“I like writing sermons and my newsletters,” she said. “And I’m still a good editor.”
Two years ago the Macedos went to England on a Wesley Tour, visiting the places associated with his ministry; and last October, they traveled to Israel on a tour organized by their bishop.
“They were wonderful,” she said of the pilgrimages. “I never would have done any of those things if I wouldn’t have been a pastor.”
Acushnet-Wesley United Methodist Church, 67 Main St., holds services on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m. For more information, call the Rev. Kathy Macedo at (508) 995-7197.
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