A Message From Our Bishop
AUGUST 26, 2019
The Rev. Dena Whalen will begin as the new vicar of Church of the Advocate, Asheville, in early October.
Dena comes to Asheville from Wilmington, North Carolina, where she served as rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church for six years. Dena and Gary Whalen were married in 2015 and now look forward to enjoying life together in Asheville, where Gary has lived for over thirty years.
Church of the Advocate is Dena's sixth call in her 27 years of ordained ministry.
After graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1992, she returned to Jacksonville, Florida, to serve as associate priest and chaplain at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church & Day School and then as canon at St. John's Cathedral. Next, Christ Church, Greenville, South Carolina called her to serve as senior chaplain at their school and as associate in the parish. Before going to St. Paul's in Wilmington, she served for ten years as rector of Grace-Calvary in Clarkesville, Georgia, in the Diocese of Atlanta.
While at St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida Dena regularly served as celebrant and preacher at St. Mary's Episcopal Church and Outreach, a community very similar to Church of the Advocate and The Red Door. The Holy Eucharist on Sundays was, and continues to be, the hub for a ministry that springs from the radical hospitality of Jesus. Dena was involved with their food pantry, tutoring, pastoral care, and hosting residential mission groups at St. Mary's.
Dena earned a Doctorate in Ministry in 2018 with an emphasis on congregational development. Her thesis focused on the Church's role with people as they age in place and how leaders can work together to achieve sustainable change in communities.
Dena has two grown children and two grandchildren that are her "pride and joy!" She enjoys gardening and music. She and Gary look forward to creating a home together and hiking the local trails with their two dogs.
Please join me in welcoming Dena.
The Rt. Rev. José A. McLoughlin
VII Bishop of Western North Carolina