A Decibel Disparate: Exposing the community to local artists: musicians, writers, designers, performers, thinkers, who are doing things outside of the “Annapolitan box.” You will find no sailboats or Blue Angels here. This is a place for raw and unique talent. Let us look at our city with a “view askew.” Diversity is life.
By Brianne Leith
Photography by David Adkins
“We are only human. There is only so much we can know in this life.”
When Trey Kennedy first told me he was going to become a priest, I was taken aback. He was so young. Then I stopped. I closed my eyes. I let the soothing sound of his voice flow over me. I listened to his words. Yes, he was going to be a priest. With his drive, passion and love, Trey is going to be a great priest.
Becoming a priest mainly falls under the category of “thinker” out of the Annapolitan box, but under further scrutiny being a priest is being an artist. Every week a priest has to be inspired and write a new sermon to preach before a congregation. They take a passage from The Bible, deeply analyze it, compare it to modern life and create a speech to move an audience of all ages. They have to engage people who have been sitting in hard seats and possibly do not want to hear what is being said. They are musicians playing on your heart and mind. They paint the world ugly as it is and cover it with the beauty and potential of hope and faith. They are the actors, a mouthpiece, for God.
But priests are beyond artists. They are artists for a higher understanding. They are teachers of a supernatural redemption.
“I was interested in Theology and I was good at it, but I did not feel called to be a priest. Then before Sophomore year of high school I went to England and France with the Diocese of Alabama. The Bishop Sufferagan one day looked at me and asked, ‘So, what’s on your mind?’ Without thinking I asked, Should I be a priest? That was the moment. The call.” Trey’s light and smiling demeanor became very serious as he talked about the call of his life. “I was too young to fully realize what it meant, but of course as I got older the calling got stronger.” His dark eyes shone with excitement and reverence.
Trey Kennedy was raised in a conservative Episcopalian church. He attended an Episcopalian school for his early education. With the influx of new and changing English teachers he had, he did not read very much. He decided in eighth grade to read The Bible straight through, Genesis to Revelation. “That was a bad idea….but I knew then that I wanted to do something Theologically-based.” Trey chuckled nervously to himself at first, but it blossomed to an assured full-hearted laugh.
“People, my peers and priests who didn’t know me, had said that they thought I should be a priest, and after awhile you cannot help but listen to them. I don’t react to peer pressure well. I normally do the opposite of what people pressure me to do. I would have not been a priest simply because they told me I should…if I hadn’t had that experience in England.”
“There are a lot of people who could be priests, but shouldn’t be. It’s what God wants.” I turned my head away from my notes to look at Trey. “Why does God want you to do this?” We were sitting in the perfect place for this interview, on a bench on the side of St. Anne’s Church on Church Circle. “That’s a hard question to answer. I could sit here and spout off my attributes, qualities I have or things I have done…but it is more. He is God. He decides.”
I had met Trey the first day he trained as a barista at City Dock Coffee. He had told me he was a St. John’s College student; I found out later he was called as a worker of God. During his time at St. John’s he was going through the process of the Episcopalian Church. He discerned with members of the parish, meeting with them six times. The Church had to approve.
“I was told to wait, because young people going into the priesthood is unusual…I had no idea that my age was an issue. The discernment process is really tough. I had to go in front of people who knew me all of my life and who were very skeptical of me. The process is still going on.” Trey plays with the cuffs on his oxford button down shirt as he talks throughout the interview.
Trey has been involved with St. Anne’s, attending and doing things with Communion, like chalice bearing, while awaiting his destiny. “Amy Rictor is Rector and her husband Joe is great also. They are a great team and have been really supportive and helpful. They are really building the parish to what it used to be.”
Trey is entering into his second year of nonacademic experience. The first he had spent living Downtown and working at City Dock. “I really learned a lot about people working there. The Church wants you to learn to talk to people and knowing how to react to them. The process for priesthood prepares you and toughens you up. ” The second year he plans on tutoring kids in Washington, DC with a group called City Year. In the following Fall, he will know if he can move on. The bishop will decided where he goes to Seminary for three years.
Trey loves and wants to stay specifically with the Episcopal Church. “The great thing about our Church is the idea of the ‘middle way.’ Truth is not found in one extreme or the other, it’s in the middle. I think it is an Aristotle theory…I could be wrong.” Trey smiles a wide and toothy smile. “What’s right is never an extreme…it may be closer to one than the other, but it is not either or.”
“There are a lot of things we do not know. But really all you need is that Jesus died for you.”
The bells rung at the church for the seventh time, it was time to part. “You know I’m interested in other things too, Philosophy and Math. I play the classical guitar. I dabble in photography…I fence…I got to direct eliminations and it’s really hard to do that.” My smile spread across my face, and I suppressed an adoring chuckle at his sweet and kind nature. “I want this article to be about your uncommon plan for your life. It’s so unique.”
“I’m a simple man, a simple but a complex man.”