New Trinity United Methodist Church Pastor Susan Whitley had a bit of a delay answering her call to the ministry.
She and her husband, Mark who is also an ordained Methodist Minister, are settling into their new digs at Trinity. Last Sunday was Susan’s third as pastor here.
They moved from Skiatook, where she was pastor for 7 1/2 years, June 26 and her first day to preach was June 28.
Rev. Whitley has also pastored churches in Coweta, a two point charge at Mounds-Schulter and Drummond.
She said she was first called to the ministry at age 15 attending youth camps and rallies and doing evangelistic service.
“I felt like God wanted me to be a minister but the church where I grew up didn’t have a place for women,” she said.
A 23-year career as a first grade teacher came along when she heard the Lord still calling.
“I had served in a lot of different ways but in early 2000 I realized that call was still there and I was able to answer,” she said.
Her favorite part of her job?
“My favorite thing is the chance to get to know people and get to walk side-by-side with them through all seasons of their lives,” Rev. Whitley said.
“I’m talking about the weddings, watching their children grow up and even the funerals and illness,” she said.
Rev. Whitley has been in local pastoral ministry since 2006. Mark, who most recently pastored the Collinsville church, is currently on temporary medical leave.
“That’s why we are here in Purcell because usually they have to find two churches for us,” Rev. Whitley said.
“We’re really happy to be in this part of the state since our three children and our grandchildren live in Norman and Oklahoma City,” she said.
“My husband said, ‘we’ve lived here all these years and never lived south of I-40’. Now we have,” she said.
Susan and Mark have three adult children and four grandchildren. The Whitleys are both originally from Lake Charles, La.
Rev. Whitley earned her Master of Divinity degree in 2012 from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa.
Rev. Whitley, who is good friends with former Trinity Pastor Bert Potts, said they are very excited to be here and are looking forward to learning more about the people here.
“I want to be involved in the community,” she said. “I’ve been in Rotary for a long time and been very active.
“I look forward to getting to know what the needs of the community are. I’m anxious to know what the ministry of this church needs and the community as well,” she said.
Rev. Whitley extended an invitation to anyone who doesn’t currently have a church home to feel free to come by and check Trinity out.
They meet in person at 9 a.m. in the fellowship hall and at 10:30 in the sanctuary.
“We meet in two different places so we don’t have to sanitize between services,” the reverend said.
And, you can see the service online at 10:30 on Facebook live.
Prior to COVID-19, the new pastor said church attendance was in the 60s but due to the virus has shrunk.
The personable pastor said one thing people need to know about her is that she is a huge sports fan.
Being from Louisiana she naturally loves the New Orleans Saints.
“I usually say, Go Pokes, Who Dat and Thunder Up. I love the Thunder,” she said.