I was born in New London, CT, not far from the U.S. Navy Sub Base where my dad was a nuclear submarine officer. The Navy is all over my family—my dad, my grandfather, my uncle, my brother and a host of cousins—all have been part of the wider Navy family and it’s had a major influence on my life.  We moved all over the country, usually near a submarine port or Navy center, places like Charleston, SC, San Diego, CA, Washington, D.C., Portsmouth, NH, Newport, RI, and Honolulu, HI, where I went to high school near Pear Harbor.

My mother brought to the family our religion, which was Christian Science. Her mother and grandmother were also practicing Christian Scientists and I grew up attending Christian Science Sunday School. Then, while we were living in San Diego, my family came to Christ.  I became a follower of Jesus through the dynamic outreach ministry of a Christian Coffeehouse in San Diego. My mother prayed that I would know Jesus.

Through my high school years in Honolulu, I was very active in Youth For Christ Hawaii.  Those years in Hawaii challenged my walk with Christ, especially following the death of my mother when I was 16. I became acutely aware of how precious life is and I have continued to be profoundly grateful that my mother came to Christ and shared her new faith with me.

As she came close to the end of her life, my mother and I used to have Bible Studies together and I remember in particular being introduced to Psalm 139.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139: 7-10

In our study it became clear to us both that God knows us intimately, even before we were born. We would read that psalm to one another and it opened my eyes and prepared my heart for my future in ways I never could have imagined.

I walked into Truro Church in Fairfax, VA, in my first year of college and found a place that integrated the Spirit-filled worship I had known in San Diego with the deep study of the Bible I had known in Hawaii. It was there I decided to be received into the Episcopal Church and again, that decision opened doors I never knew were there.

When I finished college I went to work at the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. and have lived in the D.C. metro area ever since.  It was during that first year after college that I started doing volunteer work with the National Organization of Episcopalians of Life (NOEL), spending six years as the editor of The NOEL News. Through the relationships I made in those years with NOEL, I became very active in the prolife movement, participating in local and national prolife conferences, intercessory prayer vigils, peaceful demonstrations, jail visitations, and being part of the March for Life for the past three decades.

In addition to serving on the staff of two U.S. Senate committees,  I have served on the staff of Episcopal and Anglican churches as well as a large global law firm in Washington, D.C. for ten years. I have also served as a Regional Advisor for Alpha USA since 1996.  I have tracked Episcopal and Anglican news as a daily blogger at BabyBlueOnline.org for almost ten years and was a member of the accredited press at five Episcopal General Conventions and the 2008 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England.  In addition, I have served as a lay president for two terms in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia as well as two terms on the Truro Church Vestry, including the vestry that voted to separate from the Episcopal Church in 2006.

Today I am the Director of Communications for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic in the Anglican Church in North America. It has been such a joy to continue participating in events organized and sponsored by NOEL’s successor, Anglicans for Life, and to see the amazing growth and substantial depth of this movement that is so dedicated to raising the banner of Life in a world so hungry for God’s love. To God be the glory!

Mary Ailes
September 2015