A new pastor in Point Reyes

02/06/2014

Kaye Whitney, the new pastor at Point Reyes Presbyterian Church, felt a calling to the ministry over four decades ago, but gender norms dissuaded her. “Back when I was a young girl, women weren’t necessarily accepted into the ministry… So while it called to me, I didn’t see a way to enter it.” Instead she became a math teacher. Though it was a field for which she also felt suited, the call to the church remained, and a few years ago she saw a newspaper ad for a seminary program and decided to go for it. “This is your chance, kid,” she told herself. When she enrolled at the San Francisco Theological Seminary at 61, she was one of the oldest students. Ms. Whitney was hired as an interim pastor at Point Reyes Presbyterian after the retirement of Carolyn Osborne, and her position was made permanent last month. It is her first job as a pastor. Ms. Whitney, who lives in Benicia and also volunteers as a hospital chaplain in Antioch, is still getting to know the community. “We want people to know we’re welcoming,” she said. The congregation is small, about 15 to 20 people, but asked whether that’s something she might try to change, she said, “That’s something God grows.”