On Monday, Rev. Thomas McKenzie and his 22-year-old child Charlie were killed in a car crash. The two were en route to New Mexico where Charlie, who had recently changed their legal name, was set to start their senior year at college.
“It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you that this morning, Thomas and his 22-year-old daughter Ella died in an accident on Interstate 40 west of Nashville,” wrote Church of the Redeemer’s associate pastor Rev. Kenny Benge in an email.
“They were driving to Santa Fe, New Mexico where Ella was to continue her studies at St. John’s College. Thomas was just beginning his well-deserved sabbatical.”
Mckenzie is survived by his wife Laura and daughter, Sophie.
McKenzie was a beloved figure in Nashville, Tennessee where he pastored Church of the Redeemer, an Anglican Church he co-founded. He was author of The Anglican Way and a number of other books, and was also a popular figure on social media where he’d offer pop culture commentary from a faith lens.
In his final blog post, McKenzie expressed excitement about the sabbatical he had just started, which would include a trip to Europe. “I’m most grateful for Laura’s support–she’s an amazing wife!” he wrote. “I’m also thankful for our bishop, vestry, and staff, as well as my family and friends. I’m grateful for you, as well. Church of the Redeemer is such a wonderful community. I ask for your prayers, and will look forward to seeing you upon my return.”
On social media, Christians gathered to express their shock, grief and memories of the man they knew as Father Thomas.
He was the finest among us. Not sure my faith would’ve survived without his pastoral care. Lord, have mercy.
— Drew Holcomb (@drewholcomb) August 24, 2021
So heartbroken last night over the deaths of @thomasmckenzie & his daughter in a car crash, grieved for his wife & their remaining daughter & all who are devastated by the news, all I could think about was the day when God will wipe away every tear. I was moved this morning when pic.twitter.com/j9meYPN6KU
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) August 24, 2021
All of us who loved this great and faithful and kind man are grieving. @thomasmckenzie ministered to countless of us of various denominations, and we all respected him. Pray for his family and church at this moment of great sadness. https://t.co/dwDfhbpOIS
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) August 23, 2021
One more thing about Fr. @thomasmckenzie who died today. He is in both of my books. I thought today of this passage about him in LotO. He taught me the liturgy. I will imagine the communion rail stretching for miles this Sunday, like Thomas said to do. And he is at the feast. pic.twitter.com/TEzoMSXK3e
— Tish Harrison Warren (@Tish_H_Warren) August 24, 2021
“Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: deal graciously with those who mourn, especially Laura and Sophie,” Father Kenny’s email message continued. “Surround them with your love, that they not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”