“We’ve had vacations canceled because of the state police. I’ve had leaves canceled. It seems like I’ve always worked weekends,” McCarty said.
Now that he’s joined the ranks of clergy, he has a different perspective.
“I really like this weekend work. I like working on Sunday,” he said.
McCarty, who grew up attending St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Hancock, said he and his family were in church every Sunday, whether he was behind the pulpit or not.
He’s had several callings in his life and has been blessed to be able to answer them.
“It’s been a long, gradual transition. All vocations are something we’re called to do. I was called to law enforcement, and I got a call to ordained priesthood,” McCarty said.
McCarty said he started feeling called to ministry in 1991.
“It was something for 10 years I tried to run away from,” he said.
No longer able to ignore the call, McCarty first became a deacon, knowing how demanding and time-consuming the process to become ordained was.
“It was all God’s planning and timing,” said McCarty, who graduated from Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wis. He completed his seminary training through a combination of residential and online learning.
The two careers might seem at odds, but not to McCarty. He said while working for the Maryland State Police, the Hancock Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, his job involved dealing with how the mind works and the law, but not with the soul.
Ordained ministry allows him to work with the whole person — mind, body and soul.
His official title is the Rev. Steve McCarty, but parishioners at St. Andrew’s Church in Clear Spring call him Father Steve.
“The day of ordination, someone said they’d never seen me smile so much,” McCarty said.
McCarty’s ordination was held on Pentecost Sunday, June 12, in the chapel at Saint James School. Right before the service, McCarty recalled strong winds, thunder and rain that toppled the canopy outside and caused the power to go out.
Even with no organ or lights, the congregation sang on.
“It was like a rush of the spirit came through, then the sun came out,” McCarty said.
Steve and Melanie McCarty, both 52, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in November. The couple, who live in Halfway, met at Valley Mall while seniors in high school — he graduated from South Hagerstown High and she from Williamsport High.
Melanie, whose maiden name is Mummert, was working at the mall and Steve worked at a nearby gas station.
“She was the only person who got full service at a self-service pump,” McCarty said with a laugh.
The McCartys have two grown sons, who participated in their father’s ordination service.
“My family has been very supportive,” McCarty said.