A Letter from TCASK’s New Interim Executive Director

As most of you now know, Randy Tatel has resigned from TCASK as of August 17th. The TCASK board has named Reverend Stacy Rector, long-time TCASK activist, organizer, and board member, to a one year term as TCASK’s interim Executive Director.

Here is what Stacy has to say to the TCASK community:

Author Frederick Buechner, in describing his understanding of “vocation,” says that “vocation is that place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” As a Presbyterian pastor serving Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, for the past nine years, I have known the deep gladness that comes from serving God and passionately sharing one’s gifts and convictions in ways that encourage, challenge and foster life in a community. In my tenure as a parish minister, I have felt a deep sense of calling to create opportunities for church members to engage with the world around them—sharing breakfast and worship with the homeless; developing a program for young people to serve the city of Nashville through a young adult volunteer program; providing teen-age youth with service experiences all over the country and within their own communities.

Another important aspect of my ministry has been my on-going participation in TCASK. For almost nine years now, I have been actively involved in the work of TCASK—serving as a board member for the past three years, speaking to church groups all over the state, planning worship services on the eve of executions, speaking to legislators concerning the death penalty, giving interviews to various media outlets, attending NCADP conferences, and visiting on death row. As our state continues to carry out and plan more executions, my sense of vocation has experienced a shift, leading me to embrace the opportunity to serve as the Interim Executive Director of TCASK. In this role, I believe that my gifts and passion can now best serve the deep need of our state to end the cruel and dehumanizing use of the death penalty.

I am deeply grateful to Randy Tatel, to the board, and to the many people who have worked tirelessly on this issue through the years, building and supporting this organization. My sincere hope is that together we can continue to grow and mature into an organization whose roots are deep and whose reach is wide. The death penalty is a failed public policy, which is antithetical to our faith traditions and our humanity, and with your help, I am dedicated and determined to work for its end.

As a minister, I hope to bring an understanding of Scripture, theology, as well as the concerns of many people in the pews when addressing the issue of the death penalty. Sadly, many Christians see no conflict between their support of the death penalty and the Christian faith. This painful reality is a sad reflection of the power of fear in our lives and the deep need of our communities to understand that the use of the death penalty does not make us safer. As members of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing, our vocation is to offer an alternative to the use of violence in our society by witnessing with our words and our actions to the power of nonviolence and its ability to heal and reconcile.

As the Interim Executive Director of TCASK, I hope to be a unifying, healing force for the organization as we strengthen our connections to one another across the state; as we learn from those whose commitment and work in the past has brought us this far; as we support those who are on death row and their families; as we reach out to the legal community to work together on the same team; and as together, we empower each other to be the change that we want to see. I look forward to serving with you as I begin work on October 16th. Thank you for your commitment and your support.


Stacy Rector

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I will miss Randy (my muffin) and all that he brought to TCASK, but I am thrilled to be working with someone as committed, talented, and qualified as Stacy as we move towards abolition.

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