ONE of the longest and most active ministries within the Presbyterian Church has come to a climax following the retirement of c from the congregation at Crumlin.
Remarkably, Brian has occupied the pulpit there since 17 March 1977 following a spell as the Assistant Minister in Glengormley.
Born and raised in north Belfast, he committed his life to Jesus as a teenager.
Explaining how this came about, Brian revealed: "I left the Boys' Model School at the age of 15 in 1959 and began working career in Belfast. It was over the summer of that year that God began to speak to me. I had been brought up in connection with Argyle Place (Now West Kirk) Presbyterian Church in Belfast where I was a member of the Boys' Brigade. It was in the Autumn of 1959 that my B.B. Captain pointed me to Christ."
He continued: "As I grew in the faith I felt the call of God to the Ministry and studied at night to gain university entrance. I went to Magee University College Londonderry in 1967."
During his ministry in Crumlin, Rev. Kennaway has witnessed the transformation of the religious and political make-up of the community, by way of an influx of population from West Belfast. This has dramatically changed the make-up of the population from being 70% Protestant in 1977 to 80% Catholic in 2007. In spite of this unsettling change, a harmonious relationship has been largely maintained through his work with others in the community.
He has served the work of education in the local area. He was a member of the Board of Governors of Crumlin Primary School for 28 years - 25 years as Chairman. He also served on the Board of Governors of Crumlin High School for 28 years.
Brian is also active in the wider Church serving on a number of Boards and Committees of the General Assembly. He is presently serving a second term on the General Board as well as the Church and Society Committee. He has been recently appointed to the Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed along with Dr. John Dunlop to serve on the selection body for the appointment of church representatives to the Civic Forum. A lifelong member of the Orange Order, Brian was Convenor of the Education Committee of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland from 1992 to 2000. It was in this capacity that he became the first Orangeman to officially visit Leinster House. On Wednesday 5th March 1997 he held discussions with the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Avril Doyle T.D., and Professor Tom Bartlett, the Irish Government's Advisor on '98, on what both were doing to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of the 1798 Rebellion. Brian himself has always been willing to go anywhere and talk to anyone about his beliefs and convictions. He created history by being the first Orangeman to address the Triennial Convention of the Ancient Order of Hibernians on 28th September 2002.
In September 1998, he visited the United States under the International Visitors Programme (IVP) sponsored by the United
States Information Agency (USIA). During this visit he examined the diverse nature of Education and Church Life, as well as examining various Conflict Resolution programmes. These Conflict resolution programmes included "The Institute for Multitrack Diplomacy" in Washington, as well as sharing in the "Conflict Resolution" programme in Boston College. In Los Angeles he examined the "Days of Dialogue" programme as well as the 'Word of a Difference Programme' to combat sectarianism, produced by The Anti-Defamation League.
Brian visited South Africa in February 2003 as part of a Parades Commission initiative funded jointly by the Parades Commission and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa. During his stay he examined the various ways in which South African society had moved on from their conflict. As part of the wider cross-community group he also completed a short course on conflict resolution techniques.
He has written extensively on Orangeism and Unionism for newspapers and journals, as well as being a contributor to the forthcoming Dictionary of Irish Biography. His book The Orange Order: A Tradition Betrayed was published in 2006. Interestingly, Brian is also an active member of the Council of The Irish Association, whose aims and objectives he enthusiastically endorses. He has served on the Irish Government's Inter-Departmental Committee, for the development of the Boyne Site, and was a regular contributor at the Police College of the RUC/PSNI.
As he contemplates retirement from active ministry, Brian is looking forward to spending more time with his family, which includes his wife, Elizabeth and three grown-up children.