Windsor Naething: Answering Her Call to Ministry

By Jeff LeMaster

When Windsor Naething was ordained as a deacon at Grace Northridge in San Antonio on January 27, 2024, the occasion marked the conclusion of a journey that began many years ago. But it also represented the beginning of a new chapter of ministry. And in some ways it felt like the natural continuation of a path that stretches both behind and in front of her.

Windsor grew up attending a Baptist church about an hour from Houston. Her first introduction to Anglicanism was in high school, when she attended some youth events with friends at a local Episcopal church. Then in college at the University of Texas at Austin, she got involved in Canterbury, an Episcopalian college ministry, and started serving as an acolyte.

It was then that she first heard God calling her to a life of ministry, specifically a call to serve as a chaplain. As she explored this calling, the path toward ordination as a deacon came into focus.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in child development and then a master’s in educational psychology at UT Austin, the newly married Windsor and her husband, Richard, moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and joined an Anglican Church in North America congregation.

Windsor jumped headlong into serving her church in Albuquerque, continuing to respond to the call to ministry that God had expressed to her in college. In 2015 she engaged in continuing professional education to further equip her in ministry, and in 2017 she started a pursuit of a Master of Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. A year later, she and Richard moved to San Antonio and soon thereafter got plugged into Grace Northridge.

Windsor continued answering her call by serving at Grace on Sunday mornings and by getting involved in congregational care. Knowing of Windsor’s call to the diaconate, Brit+ Carpenter, rector of the church, encouraged her to attend Living Classroom (now Live The Mission) in 2022 to learn and become more connected to the AMiA. Windsor recalls that Grace had experienced a difficult season leading up to the annual AMiA gathering of clergy and lay leaders, and she was encouraged by the response of people at the conference whom she was meeting for the first time.

“Even as we went through a difficult time … the way we moved forward after that made me think, ‘this isn’t just a body I want to be part of, but it’s an organization [in which] I am comfortable having some sort of authority in my ministry. So it was affirming for me to be there for that,” Windsor says.

It was after that experience that Windsor officially began the process to become ordained as a deacon in the AMiA, culminating in early 2024.

“I’m excited that I’m here now,” she says. “In some ways it was really long, but it also happened a lot sooner in life than I thought it would. I’m just grateful for the way I can see all the people God brought in my life along the way, whether it was a one-minute conversation with someone or mentors who have been in my life for a couple of years or God leading me through situations that made me ready for this role.”

In addition to her new role as a deacon, she has a relatively new role as a mom. Windsor and Richard adopted their now 1-year-old son right after he was born. Her eyes light up when talking about her family, and she is grateful for Richard shouldering the brunt of baby duty during services so that she can serve the body.

Looking ahead, Windsor is energized by the opportunities to serve as a catalyst for calling others up to serve the church. “One of the things we’ve prayed about is ‘how do we equip the body to care for one another?’” she says. “How do we teach people how to care for each other well? How do we help to share the burden with clergy? Pastoral care is the whole church’s responsibility.”