This beautiful family is so special to me. Not only are John and Elya our pastor + pastor’s wife, but our friends. John did our wedding and premarital counseling, not only because he happened to be our pastor, but because we look up to him and his wife, as individuals and as a unit. As someone pursuing a call to pastor, I’m inspired and challenged by the way the Whitten family prioritizes the health and closeness of their family, but still invests deeply and intentionally in their church family and community.

A pastor and their family do not solely define a church, but they set the tone and atmosphere, and lead the church into the kind of community they will be. After spending all of our time as undergraduate students struggling to find a community and church to call home and a place that felt safe to be vulnerable and invest in, it has been the very best two years of feeling welcomed, affirmed, included and at home. This is no small gift, and leaves us loving our church and feeling forever thankful to the Whittens for fostering an environment that is a warm, challenging and encouraging home to so many.

These are such good people. I’m honored to know this family, and I cannot wait to meet their sweet new little one in just a couple weeks!

scroll + enjoy.