OKEECHOBEE — Kay Mueller, who has been filling in as interim pastor for Church of Our Saviour since their former priest retired, was ordained to the priesthood Sunday.
Originally from Nashville, Mueller spent 23 years in the field of executive management, working for Peterbilt Motors Company. She was national customer service manager for a time and also served as region manager for the northeast region of the United States.
She met her (now deceased) husband in 1997. He lived in Vero Beach, and she came to Florida for a meeting in Orlando. She had family in Vero and wanted to spend a little time visiting before her meeting. “It was one of those destiny type meetings,” she said. “I was married to my career and not a person.” He was managing a restaurant in Vero Beach at the time, and Mueller took her family out to eat while she was visiting. Her relative lost her bracelet that night, and Mueller called the restaurant to see if it had been found. Learning it was there, she went back to the restaurant to pick it up and met the manager. They hit it off so well, he invited her to lunch the following day, and the rest was history. She was living in Dallas at the time, and they had a long-distance relationship for two years before they married. He passed away in 2003 from esophageal cancer.
During the hurricanes of 2004, Mueller stayed in Vero Beach but decided she couldn’t handle any more hurricanes and moved back to Nashville only to discover she could no longer tolerate the cold winters.
In 2007, she visited an old friend who had retired to Okeechobee and really liked the town. The following year, she decided to become a “Snowbird” herself and rented a place for two months. “That’s when I started going to Church of Our Saviour,” she explained. The following year, she stayed for four months and then purchased her own place in Seminole Cove in 2009.
“I began to hear God calling me to ministry and in 2017, I was ordained as a deacon. The ceremony was right in the middle of Hurricane Irma, and no one was able to come to Orlando for the ceremony. All flights were canceled, and my family was stuck in Tennessee. Even local friends could not come due to the storm.”
In 2015 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, recovered, and pursued the diaconate. In 2019, she began to feel led to the priesthood. She was 66 years old at the time and was a little hesitant. “God doesn’t give up on you though,” she said. “It’s His will and not your will.” Once she got used to the idea though, she thought about her life and all the obstacles she had overcome. She said the things she has gone through — nursing her husband through cancer and then grieving his loss, surviving her own fight with cancer, succeeding for many years in a male dominated career and many more trials — has prepared her to help others through their own obstacles. “Everything you go through is for a reason, to pay it forward, to help others through these things.”
In May of 2021, the Church of Our Saviour priest retired, and Mueller was appointed interim pastor in charge. She has served in that capacity ever since. Meanwhile, she has been completing her studies at seminary and going through the process with the diocese. She took her general ordination exam in August which is the final step before ordination.
The Rt. Reverend Gregory O. Brewer, bishop of the diocese of Central Florida, ordained Mueller at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 9, 2022 at the Church of Our Saviour located at 200 N.W. Third Street. In addition, he installed her as rector of the church.