McLeod grew up in Birmingham. She earned a bachelor's degree in history at the University of Alabama and was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority. She married and raised five children in Birmingham while serving in the Junior League and as a member of St Luke's Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook.
McLeod met her second husband, attorney Henry "Mac" McLeod, on a blind date. They married on November 25, 1970 and enrolled together in seminary at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee in 1978 and she graduated second in her class in 1980. She was ordained a priest later that year and joined St Timothy's Episcopal Church in Athens, Limestone County as Co-Rector with her husband. They took the same positions at St John's Episcopal Church in Charleston, West Virginia in 1983.
On June 5, 1993 a special convention of the Episcopal Church elected McLeod to serve as the denomination's first female diocesan bishop, heading the Diocese of Vermont. She was consecrated by Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning on November 1 of that year.
During her episcopacy, McLeod presided over a nearly 50% increase in communicants in Vermont, as well as an increase in per capita financial pledges. She oversaw stabilization of finances and financial practices and promoted innovative ministries utilizing lay leaders. In addition to her role as Bishop of Vermont, McLeod served as Secretary of the House of Bishops and on several Episcopal boards and committees. Throughout her pastorate, McLeod demonstrated commitment to the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons as rightful members of the church and of society. She gave testimony to that effect before the Vermont General Assembly and wrote a pastoral letter explaining her views which she directed to be read in every parish of the diocese.
As a writer and poet, she has contributed to several publications.
McLeod retired from active ministry in 2001.
- "Mary Adelia McLeod" (August 18, 2014) Wikipedia - accessed December 16, 2014