In 2019, the Reverend Y. Trevor Beauford became a part of the Spiritual and Religious life team at Trinity College. I recently sat down with him to discuss everything from Mather swipes and personal lessons to his future aspirations as a new Trinity chaplain.
From Florence, SC, to Charlotte, NC, to Union Baptist, and now Trinity College in Hartford, CT. What has the journey been like for you?
Trinity is work that gives me life. It’s the work that gives me energy and breath. Being a pastor [at] Union [Baptist] is really wonderful and fulfilling. Whether as pastor of my church or my time spent at Trin, my deepest passion is working with youth and young adults.
As a youth pastor for 11 years, Chaplain Beauford calls joining the Trinity team a “Godsend”. Describing it as “life-giving” because of the flexibility he gets as a chaplain. As he puts it, his work is more than just a job.
As the pastor at Union, I have numerous roles and responsibilities. My days are half and half: both my pastoral work and then my CEO/administrative work. For my role at Trinity, my main focus is always with students—meet them, talk to them about spirituality, the love of God, and their life—which is amazing! That’s why it’s life-giving.
Connection to Trinity
Chaplain Beauford recalled that his journey to Trin began three years ago when he met Matthew Rivera ’20 and several students from Trinity’s Men of Color Alliance (MOCA) at a “Welcome Back’ ‘ start-of-the-semester event organized by Calling All Brothers.
I love students. So, I went up [and] introduced myself, “Hey, I’m Pastor Trevor!”
He later reached out to Matthew for breakfast, and to discuss ways to keep students involved in the Hartford community.
It seemed very fast… I said, “I’ll come to campus,” and Matthew said, “I’ll swipe you into Mather.”
You know Matthew. He is the king of networking. After we had breakfast, we agreed that some [MOCA] students would come to serve in [Union’s local] breakfast ministry.
Keeping their words, Matthew and Pastor Beauford stayed in contact, which created more opportunities for Pastor Beauford to meet more Trinity students.
Matthew and I kept talking, I met other students through the breakfast ministry, [and many students] that came back and served again.
It was the quintessential snowball effect. Students started bringing other students and thus, Pastor Beauford’s Trinity connections grew exponentially. Eventually, it became clear that many students who called Union Baptist, in Hartford, home, wanted Pastor Beauford’s presence on campus as well.
That first year, it just kind of worked out. I [initially] agreed to do Faith Circle, and I was going to do it inside Umoja. I came and met with Chaplain [Allison] Read, and she said, “Why don’t you join our team?” So, I said, “Sure, why not?”
But, Chaplain Beauford wasn’t immediately thrust into his Chaplain role, as he notes:
I was a super-duper part-time person then.
(Stopping to reflect before stating wittingly)
Now, I’m established as staff. I got the ID and the parking pass to prove it. Some meal swipes, a t-shirt, and a Trinity hoodie. You know, I guess I’m official.
He is official, in both his credibility among the students and college credentials. And, it all can be traced back to that one guest meal swipe.
After hearing the origins of his journey to campus, I was curious to hear about any life lessons in those two and a half years that prepared him for his time at Trin.
He quickly responded:
I can get too smart for my own good. I pride myself on being a competent professional, right? I believe I’ve got it covered. I read my journals. I do what I got to do… but I’m learning that I have to be more and more dependent daily on what I believe God has directed me to do.
Taking nothing for granted, he expressed with reverence the appreciation he has for each interaction with students he meets, programs he leads, or sermons that he preaches.
Now, I’ve been in a place where I’m like, “Yo!” There’s no way that my relationship with Trinity could have happened without, in my mind, what God was doing. And so now, I’m just like “Ok! I’ll depend on God and see if it works.”
What Beauford wants Trinity students to know?
I, Chaplain Read, all the team in religious life are here because we want students to openly explore who they are as people of spirit. We’re told to study hard in our classes for our minds, but we’re not ever really encouraged a lot of times to say, “but you also are not all mind and body. You’re not just flesh.”
Even though Trinity isn’t a religiously affiliated institution, what are you looking forward to regarding spiritual life on our campus?
Deepening the work. I look forward to meeting students. Every time I meet a new student and have a conversation, it is pure joy. I get to hear their stories.
And, for my final question, I wanted to know what Chaplain Beauford considers his favorite spot on campus?
I love being in Mather, and just watching the energy and traffic of people and students. I thoroughly enjoy being in the cafeteria. If I could set up a little office with my laptop, and just be there seeing students kind of going to and fro. I’d enjoy that.
All joking aside, feel free to invite Chaplain Beauford to a meal with you on campus. He’ll gladly accept (and he has his own swipes now). And, if you’re looking to find him around campus, to just chat or as a mentor, you can usually find him: Mondays 1 p.m., Tuesdays 2-5 p.m., & Thursdays after 2 p.m. in his office in the Trinity College Chapel.
Let’s Be Social: @rev.trev