NORTH ADAMS -- The Rev. Kathy Macek will return to All Saints Episcopal Church this weekend to lead services on Saturday and Sunday. Although perhaps returning isn't quite the right word -- All Saints was still St. John's Episcopal Church and Macek had not yet started her journey to the priesthood when she left the area in 2001.
Born in Adams, Macek's family moved to Southern California, but after graduating from college, Macek returned to live all over the Northern Berkshires.
"I lived in Adams, North Adams, Williamstown," recalled Macek. "I attended St. John's in Williamstown for a while, and then St. John's in North Adams."
Macek was working in the Bibliography of the History of Art at the Clark Art Institute, doing work for the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. However, in January of 2001, the Getty decided to move operations back to LA, and Macek decided to take the job transfer.
"It was a great job, so I followed," explained Macek. "The job transfer brought me to LA, and it was there where I felt I had a call to the priesthood in the Episcopal church."
It was 2003 when Macek decided that she might be interested in joining the ministry. After a lot of soul-searching, she decided it was worth talking about with her priest.
"I did some follow-up discernment, met with my spiritual director, prayed and talked about it," said Macek. "I applied to the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles to be admitted as a postulant, and that's sort of the first stage. You have to go to a retreat, you're interviewed. If they approve that, you get to go to seminary."
Macek had been very active in her parish in California, the St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Van Nuys. She felt increasingly drawn to working in the church, although at first, she was skeptical of her own inclinations. Still, after more consideration, she found that the initial impulse had not disappeared, and eventually decided that it was a course worth pursuing.
"It's hard to describe," said Macek. "I felt like I was being led to do this. I'm a little older, so I felt: [In] this stage of my life, is this real? I thought and prayed about it for a while. Sometimes you get an idea in your head and it just won't go away, so I talked to my pastor about it for a while, and he agreed with me, so we started on the process to get a spiritual director for my discernment, and we decided yes, I should pursue this. So I made the formal application to the diocese to be admitted to the process. I just had a strong sense that this is what I needed to do."
Macek entered the seminary in 2007, where she stayed for three years. After graduating in 2010, she got a summer internship in La Grande, Oregon, at the Episcopal camp at Cove.
"One summer when camp was over I stayed on," recalled Macek, "And St. Peter's was looking for a new rector. My husband and I moved to La Grande, and eventually they decided they wanted to call me as their priest, so I was ordained, and have been serving there ever since."
This weekend, however, Macek had some vacation time, and decided to visit her family in the Berkshires.
"I knew All Saints was between priests, so I thought it would be a wonderful experience to come back and be with them again in my new capacity," Macek explained. "So I offered to worship with them this weekend, asked the bishop, and that was that."
Macek describes the church here in the Berkshires as "a spiritual home away from home," and believes that people attend largely for the community. With many people currently struggling in life, she believes people are looking for support.
"People just want to have a place where they can go and feel they're part of something beside their family, where they can be with God and other people on the same path as they are," she said.