“Whether you are in a parish in Danvers or on campus at MIT, it’s classic people are people,” Keith-Lucas said.
For more than five years, Keith-Lucas led the former Calvary Episcopal, across from Town Hall, before it merged with the Peabody church. This was the first time that she led a church, after being an assistant at Trinity Church in Randolph.
Keith-Lucas was raised in a small town, Sewanee, Tenn., where her father, Timothy Keith-Lucas, teaches as a professor at The University of the South, an Episcopal school known as Sewanee.
“I don’t think there is a more Episcopalian place than Sewanee, Tenn.,” Keith-Lucas said.
In her younger years, it was not her desire to become an Episcopal priest. She attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and was a religious studies major.
A turning point came in college, when her grandfather, Alan Keith-Lucas, died. He was active in the National Association for Christians and Social Work and was a professor of social work.
“It was the first time a person really close to me died, and the feeling that I needed to be back in church was really connected to his legacy and what he stood for in my life and so many people’s lives,” Keith-Lucas said.
The Episcopal church next to campus had a woman deacon serving at the altar, and she felt life in the church could be her calling, but it took time for her to decide.
She studied religion at Harvard University in graduate school, considered becoming a curator of religious art and artifacts, and worked at a museum. In 1997, she met her husband, Jake Montwieler, while attending a small parish in Allston. The church had a strong tradition of laypersons being involved in services, and that’s where Keith-Lucas found her voice.