Sloan speaks at The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation

John McKee (Kee) Sloan signs books for Tommy Bryan as Bill Portera and Patricia Cantrell Harris wait their turn.
Staff Writer

Many people return to West Point after living here, but few leave a parish priest and return as the Bishop of Alabama. But that is what the Right Reverend John McKee (Kee) Sloan, has done. There was a large crowd of people at The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation who were happy to welcome him back to the first church he was assigned to after receiving his Masters of Divinity degree.

"It is so good to be back here," Sloan said. "One of you showed me a photo of when I was here thirty-six years ago. I was so young, I was slimmer and I had dark hair. What happened?"

Sloan said he doesn't believe we ever become, we are always still becoming.

"We are always growing and becoming what God created us to be," Sloan said. "I don't think we ever get there, but we should never stop trying."

Sloan has written two books, Jabbock and Beulah, both under the pen name, Kee Sloan. Jabbock is about a coming of age story. Based on himself and a man he knew while he was growing up.

"The character Jake is based on a man I knew named Jimmy Lee Washington," Sloan said. " He was a scoundrel, an alcoholic and a Christian."

Sloan said during his time as priest at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, he had a state-of-the-art Commodore 64. He used that computer to write the books.

"I had no idea the things I was writing would ever make it into print," Sloan said. "But after Jabbock, my agent and my publisher wanted another book. All that meant was they made money off the first one."

He began writing again, off and on when the time presented itself. That book became Beulah, and will be the next book, as well.

“Jabbock was about growing up," Sloan said. "Beulah is about meeting my wife, Tina. I had been divorced for about two months when I went to a summer youth camp and met her there. The book Beulah has a horseshoe on the front and some people think its about a horse. Well, it's not. Tina and I fell in love playing horseshoes at summer youth camp."

He said the settings in his books are true, the people are based on those he's known and loved.

"The town in the book is West Branch, based on West Point and Olive Branch," Sloan said. "All through the books is what I believe about God, Jesus and the church."

According to Sloan, Rufus Ward is almost called by name in Beulah, he is called Ward.

"Ward is a fun-loving character," Sloan said. "Who is also a smart aleck, not at all like Rufus."

Sloan is retiring in 2020 as Bishop of Alabama, and those members of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation let him know he's always welcome to be their priest any time he would like to.