When Terri and I were moving from Minnesota to Alabama, part of our trip included an audiobook called The Anglican Way. It was a time in our lives of major shifts. A major move. Moving away from ministry into something that was a complete unknown. And knowing I was moving away from the denomination I was raised in and had been a minister for 30 years.
I had fallen more and more in step with the rhythms of liturgy in a Sunday service, so we were going to explore several churches when we moved to Alabama who had more formal liturgical services.
The book was refreshing. Simple. Clear. And we knew we had found a way to a spiritual home in Anglicanism.
Thomas McKenzie was the author of the book. He was also pastor of Redeemer Anglican Church in Nashville. About a year later we were able to visit his church while we were visiting friends. I was able to personally thank him for his work.
Thomas McKenzie was tragically killed in a car accident yesterday along with one of his daughters. They were just starting out on a trip together so he could be with her one last time before she started her senior year in college. He was driving with her to the college then he was going to fly back.
It was the first day of his sabbatical.
I had followed McKenzie on social media and was always thankful for his reasoned voice and generous orthodoxy. The witness of those mourning his death on social media tell of an incredibly gracious and generous spirit.
He is survived by his wife and one other daughter.
In a time where we are constantly bombarded with bad news after bad news of toxic churches and toxic leaders in our culture, Thomas McKenzie modeled something completely different. He was what the Church can be and he left plenty of examples behind. There are so many more like him who pastor in the same way. It is tragic to lose one like him.
Hear us in our grief, O Lord. Comfort the family of Thomas McKenzie in this time. Be with your Church. Amen.