DARRINGTON — The Rev. Janet Loyd took a different path to her ordination last week as a priest in the Episcopal Church.
A longtime teacher, Loyd, 55, is on her second generation of students at Darrington Elementary School. She couldn’t leave her first-graders to go to seminary, so the Episcopal Archdiocese of Olympia designed a special program for her education. It ended up being a 10-year process.
Loyd, one of a few women in the church who serve rural congregations, led the celebration of the Eucharist for the first time Sunday at her home church, Transfiguration Episcopal in Darrington.
The small church has about 20 parishioners who have depended on people such as the retired Rev. David Price of Monroe to fill the pulpit on Sundays. While they can’t afford to support a pastor, in Loyd they now have one of their own to guide them.
What her congregation will call her hasn’t been decided. Loyd plans to respond to Pastor Janet, Mother Janet or even Father Janet — what ever makes people comfortable. Most likely they will continue, affectionately, to call her Jan.
The altar in Transfiguration Episcopal is lined with dark cedar panels that set off Loyd’s new spring-green vestments, which she wore Sunday as she broke the bread to serve during communion.
Transfiguration Episcopal Church and St. John Mary Vianney Catholic Church across the street are surrounded by tall second-growth Douglas firs. Their buildings once were bunk houses owned by a logging company. The churches share more than local history and religious tradition, however.
Loyd’s ordination ceremony June 20 was held at the Catholic church. Many people in Darrington attended the ceremony, which also celebrated the longtime close ties between the two churches.
“It’s an extraordinary relationship,” Loyd said. “We’re in this together.”
Loyd grew up in the Episcopal Church in Southern California. She moved to Darrington in 1987 to take a teaching job and start a small horse farm. She joined Transfiguration Episcopal. There were times when no priest was available to offer Sunday services. Loyd wondered about filling that role.
“God made many things possible, allowing me to be able to become a priest. I had student teachers who covered for me on Fridays at school. I had a car given to me so I could serve my (internship) in Seattle. I had help from St. Aidan Episcopal on Camano Island,” she said. “So as the process went on, I knew the call I had felt from God was genuine.”
Loyd said her primary goal for now is to help the church grow and to attract some of her former students.
Eileen Draper, Loyd’s colleague at school and friend at church, said the congregation is joyful and relieved that Loyd attained priesthood.
“Jan’s always on the bright side. I’ve never heard her say anything negative,” Draper said. “She is the embodiment of joy, faith and dedication. This was worth the wait.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.