November 21, 2019

New Interim Chaplain’s Journey Comes Full Circle

Emilee Claffey ‘22 - Staff Reporter

Interim chaplain, Bob Whittet, described his journey back to Gordon College as “coming full circle.” Even though he never, in his wildest dreams, pictured himself returning to take a teaching position at his alma mater after two decades, he said: “God had other plans.” 

During the spring and summer months, academic, and student life departments alike experienced a number of changes. At the same time, Tom Haugen was finalizing his plans to move to Montecito, California with his family and take the position of senior pastor at El Montecito Presbyterian Church. In his absence, Bob Whittet, professor of Christian ministries and director of church relations stepped into the role of campus chaplain. 

President Lindsay addressed the student body in an email sent on June 13th, describing how, “we all will miss Tom Haugen’s preaching and spiritual influence on campus,” but also, at the same time “how he is very grateful that Rev. Bob Whittet (a beloved faculty member) agreed to serve as interim chaplain as we search for a new chaplain in the months ahead.” Bob Whittet brings his passion for youth ministry, in which he has a wealth of experience, tenure as a professor at Gordon, and also his personal friendship with Tom Haugen which provides an important tie in this transition from a much loved chaplain to a start of a new chapter.

Born in New York City, Whittet spent parts of his childhood in Staten Island and New Jersey. After earning his B.A. in Biblical and theological studies as a part of the Gordon College class of ‘78, he went on to pursue a master of divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. For the past three decades Whittet has worked as a pastor and with youth ministry programs predominantly in the New England area and currently serves as an advisor and a board member for a number of national and regional ministries. 

Now living in New Hampshire, he makes an early commute into campus to teach and now also to preach. Starting his 21st year at Gordon, Whittet comments: “I’m totally energized, and I’ll do it until they tell me to stop.” Along with the chapel team, which includes Lauren Becker, Bill Mooney-McCoy, and Lora Hahs, Whittet sees this year as an opportunity to further the Kingdom of God and meaningfully speak into the lives of each person on campus. Chaplain Whittet explained on behalf of the team, that they desire “for every person to come and be blessed, refreshed and renewed. If we were a service station I would want this to be a place where people could come and get air in their tires, so they can roll through life a little smoother and with more energy.” Along with this hope, Whittet described the importance of perspective in our everyday, which reinforces this simple but poignant fact that, “the God who promised to be with us through everything really is.” 

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