OSAWATOMIE — Sunday, June 27, marks the end of a full-time ministry career, but not ministry for the Rev. Martha L. “Marti” McDougal.
Pastor McDougal began her ministry with the Osawatomie and Lane United Methodist Churches (UMC) on July 1, 2013. McDougal said she spent her longest pastorate with these churches, spanning eight years.
McDougal has served churches in eastern and southern Kansas full-time since transferring from the Mississippi Conference to the Kansas East Conference (now Great Plains Conference) in January 1990.
She completed seminary in 1990 at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo. While in seminary, McDougal served as pastor of children’s ministry at Asbury UMC in Prairie Village.
Finishing school mid-year can present challenges, McDougal said, but the pastor of the Parker, Beagle and Fontana UMCs, the late Rev. Jessie Scaggs, was looking to retire.
Pastor McDougal made the transition and served these three churches 3 1/2 years, as well as graduating from seminary with a Master of Divinity and completing Clinical Pastoral Education at the Osawatomie State Hospital. In June 1993, she was ordained an Elder in Full Connection and was appointed to serve the Altamont and Mound Valley UMCs in the Parsons District.
Following three years of ministry in these two churches, Pastor McDougal was appointed to the Pomona and Richter UMCs near Ottawa where she served five years before transitioning to Burlington UMC where she served from June 2001 to October 2004.
Taking a leave of absence brought Pastor McDougal back to the Osawatomie/Beagle area. She worked as a substitute teacher and full-time teacher three years in Greeley, Kan., and as a social service assistant at Life Care Center in Osawatomie for one year.
Next, she would work two years as lead librarian in Parker, and at this time McDougal said she felt called back to the church.
After several years of attending church with her family at Beagle UMC, the pastor answered the call to serve the three churches — Parker, Beagle and Fontana — once again, now on a part-time basis. After four years, she returned to full-time ministry in 2013 with Osawatomie and Lane.
While in Osawatomie and Lane, pastor McDougal served as president of the Osawatomie Ministerial Association for several years.
Pastor McDougal said her call to ministry was a lifetime of attending church in her hometown of Newton, Miss., and working in a variety of capacities as a staff person and volunteer during high school, college and after college. While teaching school at Bay Catholic Elementary and volunteering at the local United Methodist church in Bay St. Louis, Miss., Rev. McDougal was introduced to the idea of full-time educational ministry.
She left after the school year and moved to Nashville to attend school at Scarritt Graduate School for Christian Workers.
Two years later, having graduated with a Master of Arts in Christian Education, she became Director of Education and Program at Poplar Springs Drive UMC in Meridian, Miss., and was consecrated a Diaconal Minister in 1986. In 1987, after many times of saying “I don’t want to be a preacher,” the calling to ordained ministry could not be ignored, McDougal said. She left Mississippi for Kansas City, Mo., and seminary.
She married Douglas McDougal on April 20, 1991. On March 20, 1992, they were blessed with their first child, Riley Creed McDougal. On May 5, 1994, daughter Monica Kathleen McDougal became the fourth member of this family.
“It has been an exciting, challenging, joyous, painful fulfilling life,” McDougal said. “We have met and served with so many amazing people over these 31 years in Kansas and of course with our family members. We could not have made it without the incredible support and love of so many people.
“While this is the end of my full-time service to local churches, it is not the end of my ministry,” she said. “I look forward to retirement, but I will keep busy with family, farm, friends and faithfulness to our amazing God!”