The Rev. Leigh Preston Appointed Interim Associate University Chaplain

June 28, 2024

Vice-Chancellor Rob Pearigen announced the appointment of the Rev. Leigh Preston as interim associate university chaplain in an email to campus this morning. Preston will begin her service on July 1, 2024.

"Among a talented field of candidates, including clergy from three different countries and representing 12 Episcopal dioceses, Leigh stood out as a leader who couples pastoral warmth and care with a deep investment in the lives and experiences of students at both the College and the School of Theology," Pearigen wrote. "She is a respected leader in Latinx ministry across the Episcopal Church, and an ally and advocate in helping the church that she serves share the Gospel of Christ and be ever more inclusive and just. Having been shaped by the Episcopal campus ministry at the University of Georgia and Peterkin summer camp in the mountains of West Virginia, she brings enthusiasm for the many ways that an adaptive church can support the spiritual lives of young adults."

As interim associate University chaplain, Preston will work with student leaders and others on staff to develop the Sunday morning worship offerings of All Saints’ Chapel. In partnership with Lay Chaplain Mary Margaret Murdock, she will plan and help lead Growing in Grace, the chapel’s informal Sunday night service. She will nurture opportunities for students, colleagues, and community members to build relationships and a sense of belonging. As a member of the Special Events Team, she will work with colleagues from across the institution on major events such as Lessons & Carols, convocations, and Commencement.

"Leigh is already well known to many at Sewanee. Since 2017, she has served as an instructor in the School of Theology, teaching classes in Latinx theology, spirituality, and worship as well as pastoral Spanish," said University Chaplain Peter Gray.

Since 2021, she has given her time as a clergy associate at All Saints’ Chapel, working to create the collaborative Day of the Dead and Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations. Prior to her work at Sewanee, Preston served as an associate rector at two large Episcopal parishes: St. Paul’s, Chattanooga, and St. Stephen’s in Richmond, Virginia; as priest-in-charge at St. James’ in Hartford, Connecticut; and as missioner-in-charge in Quezaltepeque, El Salvador.

Pearigen shared the members of the search committee and thanked them for their work, "I am grateful to the individuals who, in the midst of the spring semester, served as members of the advisory search committee, ably chaired by the Rev. Peter Gray. Together, they make up a meaningful cross-section of the Sewanee community, and their wisdom and input were essential in helping make this decision."