Meet the Pastor

Pastor Colleen Swingle-Titus, M.Div.

colleen-at-wedding-2fullsizerender

Pastor Colleen accepted the call of Park Street on March 1, 2015, following in the footsteps and long tenure of the much beloved Larry Hastings.

Who:  Colleen Dawn Swingle-Titus

What Else:  Current Moderator of Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry

Married:   Paul Allen Titus, Esq., (1993)

Home: Waynesboro, Virginia.  Daisy Hill Farm, 150+ year old 15 acre farm; home to two dogs (Olive & Tucker) and 20+ chickens.

Children:  Matt Wade (DC), Zach Wade (Baltimore), Morgan Wade (Seattle), and Max (JMU duke) Titus.  Max is engaged to be married to F. Noelle Pugh this fall!

Favorite Activities:  9-Rounds fitness, gardening, raising chickens and mowing on her beloved zero-turn.

Current Obsession:  Alexander Hamilton, his name is Alexander Hamilton…..

Best Reads in the past 5 years:  How to Grow a Farmer by Kurt Timmermeister; My Life with the Saints, James Martin, SJ; How to Be Here, Rob Bell

Current Favorite Playlists/Artists:  Hamilton (Broadway), Damien Rice, Freelance Whales, The Civil Wars

Podcast Regulars:  Stuff You Should Know, Robcast (Rob Bell, pastor not politician), The Liturgist (Michael Gungor & Science Mike)

Favorite Movies: Young Frankenstein (RIP, Gene), Moonstruck, Prelude to a Kiss, So I Married an Axe Murder, and Cold Comfort Farm

Here’s a bit of a Bio & Background, in the first person.

I was born (1/17/1965) the youngest of three girls to Howard and Alice Swingle, two hard-working Midwestern parents.  I was raised as a faithful and practical member in Christ Lutheran Church, Crawfordsville, Indiana, where I was confirmed into the faith ELCA faith tradition in 1978.  I was a much-ado-about everything kind of kid.  A serious athlete, a mildly serious student and a great lover all things music.  Growing up in a small town offered me a great childhood, but I was ready to branch out and find something new after high school, applied to one university, James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va., was accepted and the course of my life took a major turn.

By 1985 I had begun a family.  By 1989, I was the blessed mother of three wonderful kids:  Matt, Zach and Morgan Wade.  By 1991 I was a single mother of three and working hard at piecing together a broken life and an unfinished undergrad.  With the love and support of friends and family, meeting the love of my life, Paul Titus, by 1993 much changed.  I was married, enrolled full-time at Mary Baldwin College (Adult Degree Program) from which I graduated with honors in my double major of Sociology and Psychology.  Not to lose a beat, upon moving to Northern Virginia with husband (Paul Titus, who graduated from UVA Law, ’95) I began my Masters studies in Psychology at Marymount University.  While in the midst of my studies, our son Max was born.  Soon, we all found ourselves back in the Charlottesville area, attending Broadus Memorial Baptist Church with friends from our college/post graduate days.  It would be there that I would first be encouraged to enter seminary, and that encouragement followed me over the mountain to Waynesboro, where we now reside.

Long story short, I graduated with my Masters from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.  This educational establishment fully supported women as equals in the Gospel Ministry. (Galatians 3 lived out).  While in the orientation process I was called to be interviewed at a church that received my name from the student pool.  By September 1999 I began working with the youth at Crozet Baptist Church in a part-time capacity.  As the years passed my responsibilities grew and by 2008 I was installed as the co-pastor.  I served with love and passion making friends as close as family in that place.  However, as things must do to truly grow, I felt the need to move and try on something new.  I was thrilled to interview and finally accept the call to serve as the sole pastor for these great, open-minded and welcoming folks at Park Street!

Folks wonder how a Lutheran turned Baptist can make their way to the Disciples of Christ.  If you read the history of this denomination, it makes perfect sense, really.  Holding two covenant practices: baptism and communion – I returned to my Lutheran heritage in many ways.  Disciples are, however, non-creedal, believe in the local autonomy of the church, and their chosen form of baptism is by immersion (tho’ all forms are recognized when one joins the church) similar to the Baptists.  The Welcome Table and affirming spirit of the Disciples also reflects my Lutheran roots. So, I’d say, perfect fit…remember it even took Goldie Locks three tries, right?!