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Practice What You Preach: How One Alum Embodies the Queens Motto as a Pastor 

Jan 12, 2024 By Queens University Communications

Rev. Wes Pitts ‘08 came to Queens University of Charlotte with aspirations of working in full-time ministry after school. He was drawn in by the close-knit campus community that would allow him to experience Charlotte while staying connected to his Presbyterian roots. After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in History with a self-designated minor in human rights, Pitts’ life has since been marked by service and sacrifice for the betterment of his community. Now, as the pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Reidsville, N.C., Pitts lives out the Queens motto ‘not to be served, but to serve’ alongside his wife, fellow Queens alum, Liz Whittington ‘07. 

During his time on Campus, Pitts enjoyed his involvement with the Belk Chapel long after completing his work study role there. 

“As a student, I had the opportunity to go on two mission trips to Guatemala with my peers,” he said. “I started a club on campus for Presbyterian students and helped garner funding for Room at the Inn with two other students. I also had the opportunity to travel provide aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” 

As a Community Service Scholar, Pitts completed several service hours every semester as part of his scholarship requirements where he worked for the Red Cross driving low-income individuals to medical appointments. 

“Working under Diane Mowrey, the chaplain at the time, I was really pushed to get out and serve,” said Pitts. “The courses I took helped me learn so much that I could practically apply to my work in the community. I took one of Diane’s classes on theodicy and the problem of evil which was really impactful in my life.” 

It was in another class at Queens that Pitts first crossed paths with a fellow student, Liz Whittington ‘07, who would change the course of his life for the better and become his future wife. 

“My wife and I met my freshman year (her sophomore year) in Dr. Whalen’s history of religion in America class,” he said. “We became friends and ended up taking any classes that fit both history and religion. After establishing Room at the Inn as a formal club on campus, I recruited her to be the president. We started dating shortly after that.” 

In 2010, Pitts and Whittington got married. Together, they moved to Korea to teach English before returning to the United States to diversify their impact. 

“After Korea, we moved to Atlanta where I worked with Americorps for a year serving in low-income schools targeting children that most programs overlook,” said Pitts. “Then, I went to seminary in Chicago.” 

Upon realizing his dream of attending seminary school, Pitts and his wife returned to the Charlotte area where he served as the director of Christian education at First Presbyterian Church of Statesville for five years and his wife got a job with Lutheran Services Carolinas. Four years ago, they moved to Reidsville where he currently serves as the pastor of First Presbyterian Reidsville. 

“Community service is still at the very core of who I am,” Pitts expressed. “The church I work at now wanted someone involved in the community to help connect the broader church to the community in a more meaningful way. That is something that I very much learned at Queens.” 

Outside of their careers, the theme of service extends to Pitts and Whittington’s own household. After completing about 9 months of classes and becoming certified foster parents, his family recently welcomed their first foster placement. Much like their time on campus, they hope to continue to use their time, talents, and resources to better their surrounding community. 

Serve alongside Pitts and other Queens alumni as part of the Royal Day of Service by assisting the Out of the Garden Project by packing reclaimed food to be distributed to people experiencing food insecurity. Visit this Sign Up Genius to sign up on Jan. 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.