Cloudy
65°
Cloudy
Hi 66° | Lo 56°

Priest Comes Home to Serve in New London

The Rev. Jay MacLeod, left, is shown during an installation ceremony this week with the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Rob Hirschfeld. 		Courtesy photograph

The Rev. Jay MacLeod, left, is shown during an installation ceremony this week with the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Rob Hirschfeld. Courtesy photograph

A Kearsarge Regional High School graduate who has been serving as a priest in England has returned home to become rector of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New London.

The Rev. Jay MacLeod was installed this week by the Rt. Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire.

MacLeod, 52, graduated from high school in 1979. He has since earned degrees from Harvard and Oxford, and met his wife, Sally Asher, while studying in England as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of Ain’t No Makin’ It, a sociology textbook.

The MacLeods spent four years in Holmes County, Miss., as community organizers. He trained for the ministry at Lincoln Theological College in England and was a parish priest in Bedford, England, in what’s said to be the country’s most culturally diverse neighborhood. He pioneered sports and oral history projects to reach out to young people. An announcement from his new parish said his interfaith ministry “received national acclaim, and in 2005 MacLeod hosted a visit from the Prince of Wales.”

“Throughout his career, Jay has revitalized congregations and reached out into communities,’’ said Richard Haines, a member of the search committee at Saint Andrew’s, where MacLeod has been serving since September. “He’s certainly doing that here,’’ Haines said. “You can’t find a place to park on Sunday mornings.’’

The parish announcement quoted MacLeod as saying he’s “thrilled to be home.’’

His start on the path to the ministry wasn’t conventional. MacLeod said it began when he was a college junior, when he went to India and Nepal to live and work among Tibetan refugees. “My Buddhist friends gave me a spiritual nudge that started me on a journey that led to the Christian priesthood,’’ he said.