In over 120 years, St. George’s School in Middletown has never had a female chaplain. Until now that is. Reverend Jackie Kirby was just recently made head chaplain and is thrilled to be in this honorable position. Kirby was originally an associate chaplain at St. George’s School and recently transitioned to her new position. She was formally inducted and honored at a special service on Thursday, January 18th in the St. George’s Chapel. Last year, St. George’s School welcomed its first female head of school Dr. Alixe Callen.
Kirby explains her history and her passion for St. George’s by saying how she has always wanted to be at this church. She came from divinity school at Yale and had heard such wonderful things about St. George’s, it was always her goal to progress to a position there. It was the school’s reputation for being challenging but very motivational and supportive of the students enrolled that got her thinking about her future and where it might take her.
Reverend Kirby was born and spent most of her life just outside of the Baltimore area. She grew up in an Episcopal home and her family practiced regularly however when she was enrolled in high school, her faith was put on the back burner a bit. When Kirby graduated from college and got a job teaching English at Boston University, religion started to play a larger role in her adult life. She was reunited with her Episcopal faith during the time that she was attending a Unitarian Church that employed a Buddhist pastor that was very respected and very well liked in the community.
Kirby then made the decision to attend Yale for divinity school and she also achieved her degree in literature. Her life’s work took her to St. George’s School shortly after and she has been there since the year 2014 with her husband and their nine-year-old daughter. They reside on campus and Kirby leads all religious services on campus as well as teaches two classes each semester.
Kirby is honored to be the first woman to hold this position of chaplain. She is embracing the role that she has been given as well as all the responsibilities that the job entails. Not only does she take her job very seriously to be a role model for young women on campus, but she is available to help anyone that may need it to promote religious wellness and understanding in all different sects. Since her induction as head chaplain, a new interfaith prayer group has started up on Tuesday nights and it is currently being run completely by the students who participate.