Pastor Mark Whitsett- Cedar Lake Spotlight

When did you begin your career with Cedar Lake?
I laugh a little bit at the thought of being with Cedar Lake as a career.  In so many ways my connection to Cedar Lake happened long before there was a Cedar Lake, in my callings as a child of God, as a parent, husband, university professor, neighbor and pastor.  By the time I came to Cedar Lake in 2007 there was a path and a larger picture that already had Cedar Lake in view as a vocation or calling rather than a career.

What is your favorite memory of your time with Cedar Lake?
It is impossible for me to capture a favorite, especially a memory, simply because I have come to realize that the individuals, their families, the CL staff, and Cedar Lake as an organic presence have become woven into the fabric of my life as a person.

Tell me a little bit about yourself: family, hobbies, etc.
I grew up in both the country and city in Northeast Ohio. My grandfather was an inventor and engineer who gave me great freedom to explore and discover, which has been a pattern for most of my life.  My wife Margy and I have been married 46 years and have six adult children (4 girls 2 boys) and 8 grandchildren with one more due in August.  In retirement, I am looking for “what’s next” in terms of calling and service with the gifts that God has given but also looking forward to allowing myself “to be” in the moment and the person I am with.

What is your favorite annual event?
For me and I think for others too, the MOST SIGNIFICANT event is the annual Christmas Program at the Cedar Lodge Chapel (which was deeply missed during the last year).  The level of participation, enthusiasm, joy and love is hard to describe without being there and experiencing it firsthand.  It is one of the most authentic ways of celebrating Christmas that I have ever known, not because I have been involved with the program but because of the genuine, unfettered anticipation that comes to full expression in the message of God coming to be with us in Christ and then joyfully shared with each other in that moment.

Anything else you’d like to share?
In the last few weeks, as I have had a supporting role in seeking that person who will ultimately follow me as Cedar Lake Pastor, I have come to realize, even more so, how dear the people at Cedar Lake are to me.  I am truly excited for Cedar Lake as a new pastor will come and be woven into the Cedar Lake Family.  But I also know it feels a little bit like leaving your son or daughter at college.  You are entrusting them to someone else’s hands and it’s hard to give up that “child” to capable, caring persons. My sense is that I will continue to have ways of connecting to Cedar Lake in the time ahead and I look forward to seeing what the years will bring to ALL by the blessings of God.