On Sunday morning, the Edgartown Federated Church officially called Rev. Amy Edwards to be their new pastor. As pastor, Ms. Edwards said she will be looking for the person in the back row, the one who might not be sure if he or she belongs and is ready to dart out the door of the church. “That’s the person that I would hope to connect with,” Ms. Edwards said sitting in one of the church pews this week. “Other people are coming to church no matter what. A lot of people are looking for something spiritual but have this idea of religion and church as very closed minded, rigid. The person in the back is someone who’s on the fence a little bit.”

Ms. Edwards’s spiritual journey weaves together a story of grief, sobriety and community. Her position as pastor comes after careers in both law and social work. She graduated from the Andover Newton Theological Seminary in May and was confirmed by the Edgartown congregation on Sunday.

Ms. Edwards lives just across the sound in Westport and will make the Vineyard her home permanently when she moves into the parsonage house in mid-September. She will bring her black Labrador puppy, Simon Peter, with her to the South Water street home.

Ms. Edwards grew up in Rhode Island. Her father was a lawyer and her mother a minister. Ms. Edwards practiced as a litigator for 10 years, but eventually began to feel unfulfilled, and turned to mediation work.

“That felt better, but if I was helping families in conflict maybe I could help them before they get to this conflict, that would be great,” she said. So she turned to social work and became a therapist. Ms. Edwards practiced for 15 years, working in schools and in private practice. That eventually led to the creation of a holistic health center, Lotus Rising. “I realized recently, it was my first draw to help build and lead a faith community because it was a very spiritual community,” she said. “We had a lot of workshops related to faith and practicing.” But after Ms. Edwards’s husband, Michael Pierce, was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live, she closed the holistic center and decided to spend more time with her family. At the same time, she became involved with her local church in Little Compton, R.I. The minister kept calling on her to help with pastoral counseling and volunteer work, and finally asked her to preach.

“I was like, what?” she said with a laugh. “But when I got up in the pulpit, and every time since, it feels like home. It is more home to me than any place. It was totally unexpected.”

After preaching in that format for several years, Ms. Edwards had a wakeup call.

“I really am called to do this and it was just my head telling me not to, and my heart was saying yes,” she said. “So I listened to my heart.”

Ms. Edwards’s husband, Michael died four years ago.

“I took a year to not do anything but heal and grieve,” she said. “And then I started seminary. Which was actually really healing, it was a beautiful place to be in the midst of still really grieving. It was very supportive. I love school but seminary has been just so exciting.”

An attorney turned pastor, Ms. Edwards now looks at her life as a mosaic. “For each of the things I’ve done in my life you can see that one piece and it doesn’t make sense all by itself, but when you step back and look at the whole picture there’s such a continuity between law, social work and ministry, and being able to use all of those skills in this. It just feels right.”

But part of that mosaic was a long period in her youth when Ms. Edwards turned away from the church. She attended a United Church of Christ church when she was young and her mother eventually became a UCC minister during Ms. Edwards’s teenage years.

“I said, I’m not paying attention to that, I really walked away from church for a long time,” she said. “Some of the messages I got and maybe I made them up, were a lot of judgement and not a lot of open-mindedness.”

She eventually found her way back through yoga and studying the Sikh faith. She is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher, which takes on the message that God is everywhere, and began doing Buddhist meditation.

“Those things opened me to maybe I could go back to the church with a more open mind and see what it feels like,” she said. “When I went back I was like a sponge.”

Ms. Edwards was also drawn to the community of church. Her husband was a commercial fisherman, lobsterman and scalloper for years, and he would be on the water for long periods of time. Ms. Edwards said she also found her way back to church through sobriety and Alcoholics Anonymous, when “talking about a higher power” made sense and a natural progression began to show itself. “I’m a very transparent person, this is who I am, this is my history,” she said. “I’m in recovery and have been sober for 20 years. I’m very open about that.” Ms. Edwards said she was drawn to the beauty of the Vineyard, but even more so to the people of the Edgartown church.

“I’ve never met a more loving and welcoming community,” she said. “There’s something that is so giving and generous.”

Ms. Edwards preached her first sermon on Sunday, titled We Need Not Walk Alone, a message she hopes to carry beyond the confines of the church.

“I think that’s where I am in terms of this congregation, I’m trying to say I’m the pastor . . . but we’re doing this together.”

Ms. Edwards is still getting to know the Island. She visited here in her 20s but hasn’t been back since. Many congregation members are giving her tours and she’s looking forward to exploring the Island on her own this fall and meeting more of its residents.

“Wherever I am, I will be a minister to the whole community, not just this church.”