The Rev. Galen Mirate To Be Installed as First Female Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Albany at Celebration of Ministry Service

Staff Report

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

When the Rev. Galen A. Mirate became Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on New Year’s Day 2022, she became the first female Rector in the church’s history, which dates to 1851.

In a special service at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, the Right Rev. Frank Logue, the Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia, will officially install the Rev. Mirate as Rector of St. Paul’s. The Celebration of New Ministry Service is open to everyone to attend.

“We are delighted to welcome the Rev. Galen A. Mirate to Albany to serve as the 20th Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church,” Genvieve Marcus, Senior Warden of St. Paul’s Vestry, said. “And we are delighted that Bishop Logue will be visiting with us again.

“The Celebration of New Ministry service, which we will observe on Saturday, is used to formally induct a priest as Rector of a new parish. It signifies the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our history and allows our parishioners to celebrate a new leader of our parish family. Mother Galen comes to us not only as the 20th Rector of St. Paul’s, but also as the first female Rector in our church’s 171-year history.”

While women have served as priests, assistant priests, deacons, and interim rectors at Episcopal churches in Albany and Dougherty County—the Rev. Mirate has previously served as Interim Rector at each of the three local Episcopal churches—this is the first instance in which a female priest has been called to serve as permanent Rector. The Rev. Mirate was called to St. Paul’s following a nationwide search that was made lengthier by the impact of the COVID pandemic, which greatly restricted travel and personal interactions during a large portion of the search period.

“Other female clergy have served in various capacities at St. Paul’s, but the Rector is the clergy who is in charge,” the Rev. Mirate said. “I’ve served at a total of 22 different churches in the Diocese of Georgia, in a variety of different positions. I’ve been a supply priest, an associate, an interim, a priest-in-charge and I’ve been a vicar, but this is the first time I’ve been Rector.”

Immediately before coming to St. Paul’s, she served as Interim Rector at Christ the King Episcopal Church in Valdosta. The Rev. Mirate did her seminary training at the University of the South, School of Theology, in Sewanee, TN. She also received a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia, and a B.S. in mathematics and a B.A. in physics, both from Emory University. She and her husband, Dr. Donald J. Mirate, have one adult son, Milo Mirate.

She served 3 ½ months in late 2018 as Interim Rector at St. Paul’s during the period when the church was in the early stages of preparation for its search for a new rector. “I have to tell you, I didn’t want to leave,” she said. “I feel fortunate. This is just a place I love to be.”

The Rev. Mirate said serving as permanent Rector brings “a different focus to the ministry. When it’s temporary, there’s less of an opportunity and less of an expectation for a deep involvement and deep relationships. Now, since this is a permanent position, I have freedom to formulate close relationships with everyone in the congregation. And I have the opportunity and a deep desire to reach out to the people who are homebound.”

The Celebration of New Ministry Service is a beautiful reminder to clergy, Vestry and the congregation that they must work together to further the ministry of the church.

“One thing that’s really wonderful about the installation service is it not only welcomes a new Rector, it reminds the congregation that it’s always a partnership,” the Rev. Mirate said. “We’re all in this together. That’s true of every church, but the great thing about this service is it makes it quite explicit. And there’s not a group of people that I would rather walk beside than the people of St. Paul’s.”

Senior Warden Marcus said the feeling is mutual at the church that on Oct. 24, 2021 celebrated its 125th year at its present location at 212 N. Jefferson St. Bishop Logue also visited St. Paul’s for that milestone event.

“We are excited to begin the next 125 years under the leadership of a woman who brings such a strong sense of faith, a boundless energy for service to others and a passion for both our church and our community,” Marcus said. “Mother Galen has imbued our parish with a renewed sense of vibrancy and a focus on truly living our faith each day, and we are very excited to see where her leadership takes us in the future.”

For information about St. Paul’s, please visit www.stpaulsalbany.organd the church’s Facebook page,