Meet Kira Moolman Pettit and the Rev. Trent Pettit

by Andrea Meier

We are excited to welcome two new members to our staff! Kira Moolman Pettit is joining us as the director of the SJD Teaching Center and her husband, the Rev. Trent Pettit has accepted the call to be our newest associate rector. 

A rising young scholar for the larger church, Kira is completing her Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology at Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto, where she also received her Master of Divinity (with honors) and serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is excited about this unique opportunity to follow her calling as a theological scholar into ministry with a local congregation, especially one with our passion for learning and educational resources. We look forward to Kira’s help in developing a clear and compelling discipleship curriculum for growing in Christ.

Trent grew up in Louisiana and Colorado and is currently completing a Master of Theology degree from Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2020 in the Diocese of Dallas and served as associate priest at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church while living in Toronto. He will be involved with our Go Ministries and international mission relationships and will serve as a lead clergy presence for The Door, an exciting new Sunday evening worship service that will launch in 2024. 

To help us get to know them, we asked both Kira and Trent to share a little about themselves.

What called you to ministry?

Kira: As a young adult, I served in camp ministry, youth ministry, and campus ministry, always happy to lead devotions, plan a youth conference, or speak in a college chapel service. As I neared graduation, I knew I wanted to do something that would help people. My college chaplain told me I had the wiring for building community, so I went to seminary, thinking the best way for me to help people would be to help them get to know God better. During my time in seminary God affirmed that he had been preparing me to lead, teach, and preach, roles that felt natural to me and which I had already been inhabiting!

Trent: I rediscovered faith at a Methodist college ministry called The Wesley Foundation. I did not at first feel called to ministry exactly; rather, I was first told that I was. I had been talking to a friend about my plans to go to art school after graduation. He interrupted me and asked why we were not talking about seminary. After graduation, I did an intensive, year-long ministerial internship at Wesley, which confirmed that initial sense of call. Over time, I came to see that a priest is who God has made (and is making) me to be.

Tell us about your background.

Kira: My family moved from South Africa to Canada when I was very young, and we moved around a lot in Canada as I grew up. I grew up attending a Missionary Alliance Church, an Afrikaans Reformed house church, started by my parents and other South Africans, and then other Reformed churches. I studied English literature and psychology at a Christian liberal arts university and slowly became Anglican during my time at Wycliffe College, an evangelical Anglican seminary in Toronto. My master’s thesis on the theology of death in children’s literature led to a PhD dissertation on the same topic, and I am planning to defend my dissertation in the fall!

Trent: My family relocated from where I was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Colorado Springs, CO, after the 1990 oil bust required my Dad to find a new job. I was raised attending church with my family, who returned to Louisiana after I had finished high school. I have lived a somewhat transient existence since leaving Los Angeles, where I attended Fuller Theological Seminary. Since then, I have lived in Austin, Dallas, Toronto, rural East Texas, and, briefly, Cairo and Ethiopia. I moved to Toronto twice, once to get an Anglican Studies Certificate, and another to marry Kira. We were wed last year on September second!

What do you find inspiring about developing educational curriculum for the church?

Kira: In the history of theology, the church was always the locus of conversation: theology was for the church, for the sake of the world. These days a lot of theology gets trapped in the classroom of a seminary and never makes its way to the church. I’m excited to help bridge that gap and ask together, “What can we say about God, who is both so mysterious to us and also so near to us, this God who has made himself known to us through his Son, witnessed by his Word and world, through his Spirit?”

What do you see as the place as a local parish in international mission?

Trent: What a great question! We confess that God has made one Church. This is something that international mission helps us to see by connecting us to the wider scope of God’s work in the world. Understanding the larger body into which we, as the baptized, have been peopled, reorients us toward the work God is doing around us, including within our individual parish, too. I think that international missions have deepened my understanding of prayer and my understanding of what it means to be servants sent by Christ in the form of Christ to our neighbors.

What excites you most about coming to St. John the Divine?

Kira: I am excited to meet the people of SJD and get to know them and learn from them. Teaching the faith is one of the most beautiful gifts we can share with one another, because it is something we do together, learning from one another as God reveals himself to us. I am excited to see the good work God has been doing here and to join in!

Trent: I’m particularly excited to get to join the people here because they seem to genuinely desire to be a missionary and equipping church. I really look forward to getting to know the people here, to learn from them, and to help them continue to discover how God has been at work in their lives and to help them connect their particular calling to the wider body. I can’t wait to learn more about St. John the Divine, its members and as a whole, and to help deepen its missionary identity and calling in Houston.

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