Portrait by James Birks
William R. MacKaye, a former Episcopal seminarian and an accomplished journalist who combined spiritual and editorial interests in a noted journalism career, died Aug. 21, 2023. He was 89. A career writer and editor who worked for several notable newspapers, he left The Washington Post in 1989 to become founding editor of In Trust. We asked colleagues to reflect on his life and legacy.
Rebekah Burch Basinger, Ed.D., consultant; project director, In Trust Wise Stewards Initiative
I first met Bill in the early 1990s, when the magazine was still in its infancy. His approach, marked by positivity, inclusivity, and a commitment to constructive journalism, extended far beyond the pages of the magazine. Bill fostered a spirit of ecumenism and open dialogue; his non-judgmental stance resonated with colleagues, and his attention to detail extended to every aspect of the magazine – from its covers to his gem-like editorials. As In Trust has evolved, his foundational contributions remain.
His approach, marked by positivity, inclusivity, and a commitment to constructive journalism, extended far beyond the pages of the magazine.
Christa Klein, Ph.D., president emeritus, In Trust Center (2003-12)
Our professional relationship began in 1989 with the inaugural issue. Our interdependence was evident and enduring: We navigated challenge with mutual and profound respect. Bill’s editorial expertise ensured a balanced and high-quality publication, and his gift as a crusader for justice consistently guided In Trust to clarify the editorial direction. His compassion and Christian heart are his legacies.
Doug Lewis, Ph.D., president emeritus, Wesley Theological Seminary (1982-2002)
Bill envisioned the magazine as a support platform for seminaries and their boards. We worked collaboratively to transition to a magazine format: His creativity and editorial mastery were evident, and his vision extended well beyond the magazine. Bill also was deeply committed to parish ministry skills; he was an integral part of the church. His belief in educational programming for the church’s ministry shaped In Trust’s direction. I always appreciated his humor and easygoing nature; the imaginative and creative touches he infused into every facet of the magazine laid the foundation for the expansive scope of the In Trust Center today.