MacLeod ‘humbled, blessed’ to lead Federated Church of Marlborough

Rhonda M. MacLeod of Peterborough has been called by the congregation of the Federated Church of Marlborough to be its new settled pastor and teacher.

The congregational vote occurred on Nov. 3, following the recommendation of a committee of 11 church members who conducted a nine-month search process. The church’s previous minister, Pastor Marilyn Ayer, retired in June.

MacLeod completed her master of divinity degree at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Mass. in May and was approved for ordination (pending a call to a congregation) by the Cheshire Association, United Church of Christ, on June 2. She also has a certificate in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from ANTS. In addition, she has completed a program in Basic AVP (Alternative to Violence Program).

A former middle school science teacher, MacLeod has a bachelor of science degree in biology from Stonehill College and has done education coursework at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. In her capacity as educator, she helped write the current Science (curriculum) Frameworks for New Hampshire.

She has extensive volunteer involvement with women’s prison ministry, at the State Prison for Women in Goffstown and the Shea Farm Transitional House for Incarcerated Women in Concord, where she participated in and led spirituality groups, led worship and bible studies, provided music for worship and met with individuals for spiritual care. She was a principal in the development of a coffee house in a church where she worshipped.

MacLeod was student pastor at a small church in Bridgewater, Mass., and most recently served as Director of Christian Education for the United Church of Christ in Winchester. While there, in addition to planning Sunday school lessons and Vacation Bible School, she initiated a food pantry, preached in the absence of the pastor, provided music and held the first women’s retreat at that church.

She is a photographer, a sailor, a guitarist, a fisher, a Reiki master, a voracious reader and an ardent fan of the New England Patriots. She is married to Karen Walter, a special education teacher at Boynton Middle School in New Ipswich.

She was described by her references as a woman of deep faith who speaks the truth in love, who sees ministry as empowerment of others.

MacLeod said she feels “humbled and blessed by this call to minister to and with the people of the Marlborough church.” She will be ordained on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 3 p.m. at Union Congregational Church in Peterborough.

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