Church welcomes its first female pastor
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:42

Albury takes reins at St. Matthew’s UMC

by John G. Bailey

    St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, which will celebrate 114 years of ministry this year, welcomed the Rev. Kay F. Albury as its first female pastor last summer. She replaced the Rev. Dred Scott, who served as pastor for 15 years.
    Albury’s position also makes her the first woman to head any church in Turner Station, a community that grew up with St. Matthew’s.
    “There’s been no real resistance,” [from the church or community to her as a woman of authority], says Albury, and for the veteran pastor, the role of “first female” is not a new one.
    The Miami native earned an English degree from Howard University and a master’s degree in divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta. She was ordained as a deacon in 1979 and as an elder in 1981. 
    In her first assignment in the church, Albury —at the young age of 35 — became the first female assistant pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where she served for two years. This was followed by three consecutive groundbreaking assignments as the first female head pastor at three churches: Ames UMC in Baltimore for 19 years; Brooks UMC in Calvert County for six years; and Asbury-Town Neck UMC in Severna Park for two years.

Albury describes the congregation that she now leads as “spirit-filled and Christ-centered.” She calls Turner Station, her new home, “a community waiting for a new birth.”
    The new pastor wants to harness the power of the church to reach out to that community. 
    “My sermons focus on issues beyond the walls [of the church],” she says. “My role is to be prophetic about God’s vision for Turner Station.”
    During her first six months as pastor, she has worked to establish partnerships with other churches and organizations in the community, including the Ministerial Alliance and the Turner Station Conservation Advisory Committee.
    Albury stresses that outreach activities to solve the problems of inadequate housing, unemployment and despair in the community require a “long-term commitment.”
    “Too often, we’re seasonal in our care,” she said. “But people need love all the time.”
    One of Albury’s plans is for the church to “adopt” a young man from the community with a difficult home environment who attends services regularly.
    According to Al Harris, an officer at St. Matthew’s, the congregation has embraced Albury and her initiatives.
    “She’s done well here,” Harris said. “People are enthusiastic about her. She’s got a lot of ideas for the church.”