Editor’s Note: This is the final story in the seven-part Leaders in Faith series that has provided personal looks at some of the pastors who devote their time ministering to the many small congregations in south central Oklahoma.
Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Ardmore, the Rev. Kay Buchanan describes herself as a “second-career” minister.
“I began the ministry inquiry process in 1996. I was appointed to my first church, Wilson First United Methodist Church, in 1999,” Buchanan said.
She attended Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, graduating in 2004 with a Master of Divinity degree.
“I was commissioned a probationary elder in The Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church in 2004 and after the three year probationary period, I was ordained as a full elder in 2007 when I was appointed to Asbury UMC,” she said.
“I always felt my first career — nursing wasn’t just a job but a vocation. I worked in many different fields of nursing but spent most of my active career in home health here in the Ardmore area,” Buchanan said. “After attending a spiritual retreat called the Walk to Emmaus, nursing wasn’t the satisfying field it had been. The flavor went out of it for me and I kept visualizing going into full-time ministry — not as a pastor, of course, maybe more like a vocational blend of nursing and ministry.”
But during the United Methodist discovery process, Buchanan said it become more evident she was called to the “elder path — including preaching and administering the sacraments.”
She answered the call, but only on a part-time basis, serving the church at Wilson and one in Loco at the same time, while working as a full-time nurse and attending school.
“One Sunday at the small church in Loco I included the Old Testament reading from Genesis about Jacob wrestling with God at the riverbank and followed with a somewhat casual prayer that God would show us our new names. The lesson?
“Never pray for what you don’t want to receive. God showed me clearly that my new name was pastor and no matter how difficult or how rewarding I hold to that reassurance that God has given me my name,” she said.
Buchanan said following a Sunday morning service a grandmother, with her two grandsons, ages 6 and 8, approached her. The grandmother related a story about her grandsons encounter with another child who threw stones at them and called them names.
“She said one of her grandsons came to her and said, ‘We need to go talk to Miz Kay because she needs to tell him not to do that, like she said in church last Sunday,’” Buchanan said. “For the life of me, I couldn’t recall saying what he heard from the sermon. It served to remind me who’s in charge of the service.”
What recharges the
Buchanan said she enjoys her ministry and calls serving at AUMC a “privilege and delight,” but she is also blessed to have a fun-loving family, including a son, daughter and “three beautiful grandchildren,” as well as a sister who lives in Kingston and a niece who resides in Madill.
“Getting together is always fun. We love to cook and eat and play cards and dominoes and talk,” she said.
She also calls her continuing participation in Emmaus gatherings “reenergizing, and monthly get-togethers with a number of the female clergy in the area, a continuing source of encouragement and support.
“My daily devotional practices keep me grounded as well,” she said.