Chaplain search committee hosts preliminary meeting

By Anna Mann

Vice-Chancellor John McCardell recently announced that campus chaplain Tom Macfie (C’80, T’89) would step down from his position as chaplain of All Saints’ Chapel. McCardell subsequently disclosed the formation of the Search Advisory committee in an email mid-June. 

According to the email, the committee will be run jointly by the chair of geology Bran Potter and the Associate Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Rev. Patty Rhyne (T’06). The committee will contain 15 additional members including members of the Board of Regents, deans of the school, undergraduate and School of Theology students. 

According to Potter, the first committee meeting took place on July 10 to discuss the job description to be posted online and distributed by the HR office. He explained that the committee’s primary function is to consider all applications, narrow the search, and advise the Vice-Chancellor before he presents the potential new chaplain to the Board of Trustees. 

Potter concluded by explaining that he and Rhyne were pleased to be offered the responsibility of co-chairs and were excited to help select a “key leader for the extended University community.”

According to Macfie, the responsibilities of the chaplain include responding and evaluating the spiritual needs of all students, faculty, staff, and community members. Macfie stated that in addition to leading worship, the chaplain must “deepen our sense of what it means to be an Episcopal institution in the 21st century.”

He continued by explaining that he will welcome the new chaplain in 2020 and celebrate the “last adventures” of Lessons and Carols, Holy Week, and commencement.

As to his plans after the 2019-2020 academic year, Macfie said, “I have a few writing projects on God, nature and friendship. Pamela [Macfie, Professor of English] and I will spend more time in Maine. I will continue to carve wooden birds and may build another wooden boat. A bit more time on the Appalachian Trail. All of these will be the foundation for a good start!”

McCardell summed up campus feelings well in his May email announcing Macfie’s departure when he stated, “Tom has served the Episcopal Church and the University of the South in invaluable ways, and his devotion to our students and the community—not only Episcopalians, but those of all faiths or no faith—has been unmatched. I am grateful for the consistent care and wise counsel he has brought to this role.”