(RNS) – The Rev. Thomas McKenzie, the rector of a prominent Anglican congregation in Nashville, and his daughter were killed in a car accident on Monday (August 23).
He was 50 years old.
there were two Headed towards According to a local news report, Texas is the first stop on the trip to New Mexico when the car they were traveling in collided with a tractor-trailer at around 9:50 a.m.
Kenny Benge, associate pastor of the Church of the Church, said: “It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that this morning, Thomas and his 22-year-old daughter, Ella, had an accident on Interstate 40 west of Nashville. I died.” Redeemer in Nashville told parishioners in an email message.
“They were driving to Santa Fe, New Mexico where Ella was to continue her studies at St. John’s College. Thomas was just starting his deserved rest.”
Earlier in the morning, about half an hour before the accident, McKenzie tweeted about his visit. “First day of rest” he posted. “Driving to New Mexico with Your Kid… Today’s Goal? Shamrock, Texas.”
Mackenzie was a longtime pastor of the Church of the Redeemer, an Anglican church in the Congregation of North America, which he helped found after leaving the Episcopal Church. He was famous in evangelical circles in Nashville, with friends in several denominations.
He was the author of The Anglican Way and several other books and was a frequent commentator on social media about films and current events.
I’m on a church committee @redeemernash. We have just voted to distribute $20,000 to help women in Afghanistan, earthquake victims in Haiti, and poor local children eat healthy food. God is good!
— Thomas McKenzie (@thomasmckenzie) August 19, 2021
Best-selling author Stephen Mansfield had been a part of Mackenzie’s congregation for years and was counted as a friend. He was stunned to hear the news of Mackenzie’s death.
“Rare are men or women who have seen a glimpse of God and whose insight turns others on later,” he said. “They wrestle with their humanity in a way that helps others wrestle with them. They freely give what they know with infectious joy. Thomas was such a soul. And that’s mine. was a friend.”
Ed Stetzer, director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, was also a friend. He described Mackenzie as having “a sharp mind and a kind heart”.
“He challenged me—and many others—to think, love, and live like Christ. He will be remembered by many because he kept pointing people to Jesus,” Stetzer said. “I remember That I was sitting together in Nashville talking about what it means to be a Vicar—and what it means to be an earthly representative of Christ. Thomas did it well, and his loss is deeply felt by many of us. “
Russell Moore, a public ethicist for Christianity Today, became friends with Mackenzie several years ago and recently visited his church after Moore left the Southern Baptist Convention. Moore said that Mackenzie would often send her texts with encouraging messages.
Until a day before going on sabbatical, Moore said Mackenzie was active on social media, encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“He was always really affirming and encouraging people regardless of their communal affiliation,” he said. “We respected him because he was serious about him, but he was also kind and light-hearted.”
After leaving their daughter in New Mexico, McKenzie and his wife Laura planned to go to England to visit the cathedral there. This tour 50. belonged toth The birthday present, McKenzie said of his relaxation in a blog post. From there he planned to walk the Camino de Santiago, a five-hundred-mile pilgrimage that dates back to medieval times.
“I am so grateful for Laura’s support—she is a wonderful wife! I am grateful to my bishop, vestry and staff as well as my family and friends,” he wrote in his sabbatical. I am grateful The Church of the Redeemer is such a wonderful community. I ask for your prayers, and look forward to seeing you when I return.”
McKenzie is survived by his wife Laura and daughter Sophie.
“The Most Merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our comprehension: Treat the mourners with kindness, especially Laura and Sophie,” Rev. Benz wrote in his note to the congregation at the Church of the Redeemer. “Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but trust in your goodness, and through our Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill the days to come. Amen.”