Former businesswoman to serve as interim rector at St. Luke’s

  • Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Melanie Mudge will serve as the interim rector at St. Luke's.
Melanie Mudge will serve as the interim rector at St. Luke's.

The Reverend Melanie A. Mudge, a native of Raleigh and recently rector of Emanuel Episcopal Church in Winchester, Ky., has been selected as Interim Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury.

Her first Sunday in the post will be Sept. 1.


Mudge was selected after a lengthy interview process with several candidates, over the past several weeks by the parish Vestry.

Reverend Mudge, who retired from her Kentucky church on June 31, is entering a new phase of her clerical vocation—as an interim rector. She will lead St. Luke’s for one year while the parish searches for new full-time leadership following the recent resignation of the Rev. Whayne Hougland, who has been elected Bishop of the Diocese of Western Michigan. He will be consecrated on Sept. 28 in Grand Rapids. Hougland had been rector at St. Luke’s for more than eight years.

Over the past two years, Mother Melanie, as she prefers to be addressed, has been attending workshops and classes in the field of Interim Ministry and the transition process that parishes undergo when there is a change in leadership. She earned her certification last January.

She retired as rector of her Winchester parish following seven years of leadership in which she led the parish in a number of outreach programs, including community feeding, special Christmas events for the needy, expanded children and adult spiritual education programming and developing housing for needy families in West Virginia.

Mother Melanie has previously served churches in Cumming, Ga. and Roanoke Rapids, following her graduation in divinity education at the University of the South, Sewanee.

With an eye on a business career earlier in her life, she earned a marketing degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. preceded by a general liberal arts degree from St. Mary’s Junior College in Raleigh.

The business world did occupy her life for a while prior to entering divinity school. She was self-employed as a general contractor and building supervisor in Raleigh, operating a design-build business for home renovations and additions.

Demonstrating her multi-tasking ability, she completed course work equivalent to one’s year study at Duke Divinity School while operating her general contracting business.

The retail side of the commercial world was also part of her life during 1967-81, when she was a retail department store executive, ending that part of her career as a vice-president of The Emporium in San Francisco, a competitor of Macy’s.

Outside her priestly duties and interests, she likes to paint with pastels, loves animals and enjoys cooking and traveling.

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