Photo by Lawrence Rogers
By Lawrence Rogers
On March 29, 2017 University Chaplain Tom Macfie (C’81, T’89) announced the addition of Lay Chaplain Kayla Deep (C’15) to the All Saints’ Chapel staff. Deep, who graduated from the college magna cum laude as an English major and religion minor, has returned to the mountain after a year working with the Episcopal Service Corps in Memphis. Her work began on the Costa Rica outreach trip over spring break, and she will serve as lay chaplain for the next three-and-a-half years, sharing the responsibilities of the office with Rob McAlister (C’12) until commencement this May.
It wasn’t until Deep got to Sewanee that she adopted Episcopalianism. “I grew up Catholic, but then I was Presbyterian and then Methodist.” Deep admits that the complexity of the Episcopal liturgy and the return to high church after the more informal Presbyterian and Methodist services were a bit of a shock. It was a class on the liturgy and the traditions of the Episcopal Church that she took as a Sacristan that brought her into the Episcopal fold. “I love high church… I love incense and all that,” but the class helped her realize that “it wasn’t just show and smoke and mirrors, that there was a reason for everything.” Deep also says that as an English major she particularly appreciated the symbolism surrounding Episcopal conventions.
But despite her love for high church, Deep also appreciates the informal settings of Growing in Grace and Catechumenate, both events she is charged with overseeing. The former is simply an informal church service, designed to make students feel welcome with its communal atmosphere and live music. Catechumenate is more of a Bible study, a space for processing with students, community members, and faculty.
Deep figures that if she does end up working as an ordained minister, she would prefer to work as a chaplain in a school or hospital setting rather than in a church, so this position is a great start to her professional life. She thinks that after her term as lay chaplain is finished, she might decide to pursue her Master of Divinity but is not currently worrying too much about the future. Until then, she will focus on serving as a resource for spiritual health and preparing for the upcoming Holy Week services.