Margaret Cowden is an ordained American Baptist minister, who retired in 2007 after 35 years of ministry. She was a pastor in Goleta, California and Boulder, Colorado, before moving east to work on the national staff for the American Baptist denomination for the remainder of her career. Her years on the pension and health plan board for American Baptists included serving as the first director of their Women in Ministry Project — a program of support and advocacy for women she founded in 1982, at a time when women clergy were a small minority of pastors in the denomination. The program continues almost four decades later.
Later, her role as Treasurer of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies led to her work with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an organization that works to leverage the endowments and pension funds of faith groups to invest funds in more socially responsible ways. Her involvement included serving on and chairing its board. Upon her retirement, she continued to serve on their board, as well as on the board of Church World Service, an interfaith organization focused on refugee resettlement and disaster relief. She was a founding board member of the Isaiah Fund, an organization created to assist faith-based organizations in their rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Margaret first came to the North Fork in 1986 as a weekender. She served on the NFWFWF board from 1994 to 1997, including serving as Secretary for some of that time. Her other involvements on the North Fork included serving on the Animal Welfare League. However, her proudest involvement was directing the Narrow River Singers for its 20 year history. She also had the pleasure of playing with the Recorder Orchestra of New York for nine years, under the direction of Patsy Rogers.
When New York State passed same-sex marriage, Margaret was delighted to officiate at the weddings of many of her lesbian and gay friends on the North Fork. In 2013 she married Chris Larkin, her partner since 1996. In retirement, they thoroughly enjoy living in Greenport with their adorable Chihuahua, Coco.