Whitsitt installed as Vice Moderator of the 219th General Assembly

Dreams of a Wikipedia PC(USA)

July 8, 2010

Photo of a woman placing a liturgical stole on the shoulders of a man

The Rev. Landon Whitsitt receives the vice moderatorial stole from Moderator Cindy Bolbach on Wednesday afternoon. —Photo by Tony Oltmann

The Rev. Landon Whitsitt wants the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to be like Wikipedia, the open-source online encyclopedia. It’s accessible to all, and anyone who wants to can make a contribution.

It’s a vision for the church that Whitsitt shares with Cindy Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010), who selected him to be the vice moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010).

Whitsitt, 33, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Liberty, Mo., defines the open-source church as “making sure that people can do the things they feel like they need to do to make church work for them.”

To Whitsitt, the ministry to which God calls church members is as valid as the ministry to which God called him.

“I’m a big believer,” he said, “in the priesthood of all believers.”

Whitsitt had a bit of a C.S. Lewis moment Satuday night when Bolbach was winning on the fourth ballot.

“I felt like Prince Caspian,” he said. “Aslan asks him, ‘Are you ready?’ Prince Caspian says, ‘No,’ and Aslan says, ‘Then you're ready.’”

Whitsitt said his to-do list has just two items so far. “keep promoting the idea that Presbyterians have it within us to trust one another to be the open-source church that will allow all people to pursue the ministry to which God calls them.”

And he wants all Presbyterians to recognize that “there is lots to be hopeful over. Our churches are full of wonderful, wonderful people who love Jesus Christ.”

Whitsitt and his wife, Jerilyn, have four children, Ian, 12, Simon, 8, Julian, 4, and Rowan, 2.