Robbin Brent Whittington Joins Living Compass
Robbin Brent Whittington is a woman of many talents. She owns and manages her own publishing company. She organizes Wisdom School events with Cynthia Bourgeault, a renowned author, retreat leader and teacher of the Christian contemplative tradition. And until recently, she directed the Center for Spiritual Resources, a shared ministry of the Cathedral of All Souls and the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.
To her delight, Whittington’s passions and gifts have coalesced in her new job as Living Compass’s director of publications and resource development.
“My passion, experience, and gifts are connecting people with what matters most to them on their spiritual journeys and lifelong formation,” she said in a recent telephone interview. With her new job at Living Compass, “I feel this great sense of cohesiveness of all these things I love to do. It makes me feel like I’m serving in the way I feel called to serve.”
Whittington worked five years as director of the Center for Spiritual Resources, a ministry also supported by several partnerships, including the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. Her many accomplishments included creating “Living a Life of Substance,” which featured resources that included enneagram workshops, Circles of Trust discernment committees, and Wisdom Schools with Cynthia Bourgeault.
Whittington is a member of FORMA, a national organization for professional Christian Educators and Episcopal Communicators. The publishing company she founded in 1993, R. Brent and Company, produces and publishes books and resources for enrichment, education and inspiration. In addition to everything else, she also teaches classes on how to use the Google suite of productivity applications in ministry so people can spend less time trying to stay organized and more time on what matters most.
She and her husband, Tom, live in East Asheville and have two sons and a grandson.
Whittington’s primary responsibilities at Living Compass are to oversee the publishing of all print material, the development of new print resources, and to develop online versions of various Living Compass wellness classes. Her first task has been to partner with the Living Compass team to update the Living Compass brand and the look of all its resources.
“I was honored to be a part of helping them to rebrand and retool their mission statement,” Whittington said, “and now I’m working with them to begin to reimagine how best to grow and expand their materials. I’m excited about making sure the voice and foundational theology of Living Compass get extended into the general public. While this is an area they have long imagined, with the addition of my energy, it makes it more possible, in terms of bandwidth.”
Whittington originally heard of Living Compass through friends and colleagues. In 2012, she met the Stoners at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, but the relationship really took off in 2014.
“In the spring of 2014, two of our clergy from the diocese had recently returned from a congregational vitality seminar in Calgary, Canada,” Whittington recalled. “They were on fire for this book, ‘Fierce Conversations.’”
Whittington read the book and was totally taken with it.
“We don’t have enough fierce conversations in the church, telling the truth, having the hard but vitally important conversations,” she said. “So I went trolling the internet, looking for more information on Fierce Conversations and lo and behold, it turns out that there was a Fierce Conversations training offered at the newly completed Nicholas Center, located on the fifth floor of the offices of the Diocese of Chicago, and Scott Stoner was one of the facilitators.
Whittington attended that training in the fall of 2014. While there, she renewed conversations with Scott Stoner about Living Compass, and he asked her to come back to facilitate a Living Compass team retreat. The relationships and synergy that formed there eventually led to her new Living Compass position.
“I love that Living Compass helps people connect with resources that deeply matter for people of all ages on their spiritual journeys,” she said. “The other thing I love is that Living Compass is deeply rooted in Scott’s 30-plus years of experience as a psychotherapist, spiritual director, and as an Episcopal Priest. There is much depth and value to be gleaned from resources that have grown out of his experience and in Scott’s gift for creating resources as experienced through the lens of the Episcopal Church’s via media, or middle way.”
Whittington said she also deeply appreciates how Living Compass uses accessible language in all of its materials.
“If we are going to feed people who are hungry, we can’t use exclusive language,” she said. “It is important to look at how we can remove jargon from the language we use in church, because God is so much bigger than the Episcopal Church. When we use exclusive language, we repel those whom we seek to invite into a deeper relationship with Jesus, inadvertently making him inaccessible.
“It’s rarely inviting to use language others don’t understand,” Whittington continued. “I am always thinking of those who are entering our churches for the first time. While those of us familiar with the liturgy are able to easily join the rhythm of the service, for those new to the Episcopal Church, it must be like going to a dance and not knowing the steps.”
“With Living Compass, instead of jargon, it offers unconditional acceptance of people wherever they are on the journey. Because of its ‘middle voice’ approach, people from all walks of life are invited to experience anew the wholeness we were given at birth by God at the intersection of faith and wellness—a living compass using faith as guide pointing us toward our own true north, our own path to wellness. What a gift to offer the world!”
by Lu Stanton León