Finalist Forums For New Chaplain Held, Include Two Baptists, One Episcopalian

6 min read

Kip Lynch ’22

Contributing Writer

Jack P. Carroll ’24

Managing Editor

In an email addressed to students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, May 20, Dean of Student Life and Director of the Bantam Network Jody Goodman revealed that the search committee for a new College Chaplain and Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life had narrowed the search to three final candidates. The search committee interviewed the following candidates via Zoom over the course of a three day period earlier this week: the Reverends Katrina E. Jenkins, Trevor Beauford, and Marcus G. Halley.

The Rev. Katrina Jenkins graduated from Syracuse University and received her Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School. Ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA, she currently serves as Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life at Rollins College. She formerly served as chaplain at Illinois College and Protestant Chaplain and Multicultural Center Liaison at Bentley University.

After describing the role of the previous chaplain in her own baptism, Renita Washington ’22 asked how Jenkins would plan on getting students involved in faith communities on campus and in the city of Hartford. Jenkins stated, “I’m a relationship builder…I go into every place in terms of allowing people to get to know me…and how I can be involved.” She described how at Rollins, the historic Knowles Memorial Chapel, while beautiful, could be intimidating depending on how one approached faith. Stating “I also believe in hospitality,” Jenkins described how they opened up the kitchen and lounge, stocking it with different appliances in a bid to welcome students. Lamenting the effects of COVID, she described how “the chapel traffic had really picked up and…I had students coming in to study in our lounge.”

Director of the Women & Gender Resource Action Center Laura Lockwood asked Rev. Jenkins, “How do you create an interfaith community where people feel respected and welcomed and equal?” Describing interfaith as her specialty, Jenkins responded, “We do all kinds of things…to gather together the community and educate folks,” listing events such as movies and holiday baking. Additionally, Jenkins stated, “We recognize that not everyone wants to be involved with religious life,” noting that a secular and a pagan group of students sought their own spaces at Rollins College. Jenkins described how “I was really open to sponsor these groups because I feel like voices need to had [sic]…one young woman said she really got a lot of pushback because she was like ‘I don’t talk about being pagan in my classes because I’m afraid of what even some of my professors have said to me.”

Based on concerns previously raised by alumni, the Tripod asked how the Rev. Jenkins intended to engage with the College’s historical relationship to the Episcopal Church and the community on campus. Jenkins stated “this is my second time that I’ve been the first in a school that has been traditionally something else…I’m used to being the first in navigating around those kinds of things…I’m an advocate for everyone. This is how I put it to people: we all want to have our voice.” She additionally stated that “I’m here to advocate, number one, that people have their voices and are at the table and also to advocate that we learn and understand and educate one another.”

The Rev. George E. Andrews II ’66 responded to the Tripod’s question, stating “Well, I’m an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. I graduated from Trinity, and I could care less whether or not the chaplain is an Episcopal priest or not. I just think that there’s such an opportunity and such a hunger among young people today that anything you can do to encourage their spiritual life and development. It’s great.” The Rev. Andrews was formerly headmaster at St. George’s School and Saint Andrew’s School, both of which are affiliated with the Episcopal Church. In addition to serving on the Governing Board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, Rev. Andrews started a business, G.E. Andrews & Associates, that places Episcopal priests in schools.

The Rev. Y. Trevor Beauford graduated from Winthrop University and received a Master of Divinity from Howard University. Ordained in the Baptist tradition, Beauford currently serves as Interim College Chaplain and Interim Co-Director of Spiritual and Religious Life at Trinity College as well as Pastor of Union Baptist Church. He formerly served on the Pastoral Leadership Team of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Responding to questions about Trinity’s engagement with the Episcopal Church, Beauford informed the Tripod that he “always makes sure that we have somebody who is Episcopal on our team to help maintain that tradition.” When addressing alumni concerns about the College’s relationship to its Episcopal origins, Beauford stated that “it is critically important that most people don’t fear change–they fear loss.” Beauford explained that with a non-Episcopalian chaplain, “You don’t lose anything. You gain the ability to keep what you have and to grow the Chapel community–particularly in being open, welcome, and affirming to many other traditions that may find their space and their home in the space of the Chapel.”

The Rev. Marcus G. Halley graduated from Johnson C. Smith University and received a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he received a Master of Sacred Theology in Anglican Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South and is currently working towards a Doctor of Ministry from the same institution. Formerly the Rector of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church on Lake of the Isles and Missioner for Evangelism at the Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Halley now serves as Priest-in-Charge at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in West Haven and Dean of Formation at the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. He also previously served as Resident Chaplain at Sewanee: The University of the South.

When asked about the tension that can arise when creating a more diverse institution, Halley responded that it is important for all members of the Trinity community to “lean into new relationships” with each other. As the College’s chaplain, Halley indicated that he would prioritize “creating the room” or developing a safe environment for discourse within the campus community. Responding to questions about Title IX, Halley confirmed that he has experience in Title IX training, mandated reporting, and creating safe spaces.

In a statement to the Tripod, Dean Goodman revealed that the search committee received over 40 applications for the position. She explained that “prior to the search process, we held focus groups to solicit feedback and input about this position from faculty, staff, students, alums, and Hillel Board members. During the search process, each of these constituents are scheduled to meet with the candidates this week.” Staff in the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life previously raised concerns to the Tripod over the search process. Goodman indicated that “A decision will be made in the upcoming weeks.”

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