Pastor John grew up on a small family farm in northwest Cincinnati and graduated from Colerain High School in 1975. He graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and followed it up immediately with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2013, Pastor John completed a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton.
Shiloh United Methodist Church is Pastor John’s fourth appointment beginning July 1, 2018. In 1982, Pastor John began as an associate pastor at Celina St. Paul’s UMC. In 1987, he was appointed as pastor to Proctorville New Hope UMC. His third appointment was as Senior Minister of Church of the Cross United Methodist in Kettering; the Whitakers served there for twenty-three and one-half years.
This year, Pastor John and his wife, Mary Lynn, celebrate forty years of marriage. Mary Lynn has a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing. She served most of her career as a Hospice nurse. She is the founder and former director of HavenHope, a residential ministry in Dayton for women in recovery from addiction and trauma. Their eldest daughter, Rebekah, works in animal-care and has a little dog named Emily. The Whitakers’ middle daughter, Rachel, is married to Matt Jessup and serves on the Praise Team at Church of the Cross. Their youngest son, Michael, is married to Shaundra Hill and are expecting in November. The Whitakers have six grandchildren that range in age from eight to two years old. John's mother and two sisters (Carolyn, Amy, and Kelly) live in Colerain Township only thirty minutes away. His brother, Mark, lives in North Carolina.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, John practices numerous spiritual disciplines including journaling and dreamwork. He completed the two-year Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership program with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in 2009. This continuing education process explored Christian contemplation. Pastor John is a student of human personality and certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Pastor John also sees a spiritual director on a regular basis. Pastor John is currently in a three-year continuing education program with Tim Schoonover, the Shiloh Leadership Council Chair, entitled Creating a Culture of Renewal led by church consultant, Rebekah Simon-Peter.
Pastor John enjoys games with his grandchildren, reading, and the outdoors. He is an avid birder and has seen over 860 different species of birds.
Children’s Ministry Preschool Directorbcarter@shilohumc.com
Beth is married to Chris and mother to two children. The Carter family began attending Shiloh in the fall of 2014, after moving from Oklahoma, where Beth served for five years as Elementary Children’s Director at McFarlin Memorial UMC. Prior to her service in children’s ministries, Beth’s Masters of Education influenced her eleven years of experience as an elementary school teacher in Kentucky and Oklahoma.
Beth’s work at Shiloh is focused on partnering our Preschool and Children’s Ministries with families, emphasizing the teachings of Deuteronomy 6:
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Beth directs Shiloh Preschool to help children learn and grow in a safe, Christian environment. She also works with children, student, and adult discipleship to come together as Family Ministries.
Children's Ministry Directorkshea@shilohumc.com
Kathy has been coming to Shiloh since she was 12. Shortly after coming to Shiloh, she was confirmed. And although she didn't think seriously about it at the time, she started feeling a closeness to Jesus and a call to be involved in some sort of ministry.
Her passionate for teaching kids about Jesus began then. But her commitment solidified years ago when she and her husband lost an infant daughter, a twin to her son, Joe, Shiloh's organist.
The outpouring of support and prayer back then helped her young family get through that painful experience. She knew she would always try to pay that compassion back through working with children at the church.
"Every child deserves to know Jesus," she says.
She first taught Vacation Bible School 16 years ago. She wanted to decline the job, but God kept nudging her. It was that "incredible" experience that pushed Kathy into more work with children's ministries. She believes her role is to lead by example and to partner with families to work together to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
She loves it when she's teaching a Sunday School class and can see that moment when a child really gets the message. One of her favorite things is helping direct Shiloh's well-known Christmas play. During rehearsals, the adults emphasize that the kids are doing ministry work through their acting. She likes seeing the kids realize that they're making a difference.
When she's not planning Sunday School lessons or Vacation Bible School, Kathy likes to hike. Really hike - as in take a backpack and be gone in the woods for days. Fitness and healthy eating are big parts of who Kathy is also. She loves to walk her dog, Shamrock, and exercise. She ran her first - and probably only - half marathon in 2011.
Her motorcycle helmet is currently collecting dust. But on it is one of her favorite Bible verses: Philippians 4:13:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Jim, for 35 years. They have four sons - Joe, Matthew, Peter and Sam. They are also new grandparents to Cecelia.
Kathy oversees and leads Children’s Ministry at Shiloh. She connects with children in Price Hill and tutors with Whiz Kids, facilitates mid-week groups, VBS, Upward, and the children’s Christmas play. She also works with the discipleship team as a part of the Family Ministry Team. You can contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Modern Worship Coordinatortworks@shilohumc.com
Theresa has been married to her husband James for 11 years and is a proud mother of daughter Ella and son Jonah.
Theresa has been involved in worship since she was ten years old and she has not left God or music since! She believes that worship is more than just the stage, worship is about the encounter with the Holy Spirit. She has been writing her own music and channeling God's call since 2011 and is excited to live in to worship ministry here at Shiloh. Her favorite bible scripture is Isaiah 43.
"Worship is warfare before we get to hear the word. We can turn our focus on Him."
Theresa manages all aspects of Modern Worship including music, stage design, and the Modern Worship teams. You can contact her at email@example.com
Traditional Worship Coordinatorjsuit@shilohumc.com
It seems as though Jerry has been making music for most of his life. From singing with his mom and dad in his home church as a child, to playing piano and organ in a little mission Baptist church in Haysville, Kansas in his youth. Jerry attended Friends University in Wichita, Kansas where he studied music education and sang in the elite choral group, The Singing Quakers. Upon graduation with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Church Music in 1979, he moved to Cincinnati to study voice and choral conducting at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Jerry sang at Knox Presbyterian Church for two years as tenor soloist/section leader while working to complete his Master’s Degree. In 1981 he was hired by Oak Hills Local Schools to teach vocal/general music at Bridgetown Junior High School.
Jerry and Joy were married in 1982 and Jerry was hired as Music Director of Shiloh United Methodist Church where he served as Chancel Choir director and Youth Choir director for a time. Jerry has played in the church handbell choir and sung for weddings and funerals. Jerry retired after twenty-five years of service to Shiloh in 2007 but was called back into service in the summer of 2015. Jerry currently serves as the Traditional Worship Coordinator and Chancel Choir Director. Jerry and Joy have two adult children, Diana and Aaron, and four adorable grandchildren.
Jerry Suit oversees all aspects of Traditional Worship at Shiloh including directing the Chancel Choir, selecting the hymns and responses for worship, liturgy, and coordinates the Traditional Worship teams.
Few people are more connected to Shiloh than Joe Shea. He has been attending for more than 31 years – all his life.
He has been a part of just about everything music-related the church has to offer. Growing up, he played hand bells and sang in the choir. He helped lead the children’s choir. His mom is Kathy Shea, Shiloh’s children’s ministries director.
After graduating from Oak Hills High School, Joe went to the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education. He currently operates his own piano teaching studio. Find out more about his piano studio by clicking here.
So in 2011 when Shiloh needed a new organist, the church turned to maybe the most obvious person – Joe. Although he is a pianist first, he was thrilled to take the job and is still perfecting his organ-playing technique.
When he’s not at either of his music jobs, Joe can be found working on his golf game. He also likes to cook and read all kinds of books. He is happy that Shiloh allows him to use his passion for music as a ministry.
Joe Shea assists every week in traditional worship through piano and organ accompaniment and providing all service music. Joe also accompanies for weddings, funerals and other special events. You can contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.