The Promise is to You

Passing the Torch

Nine months ago, I went for a walk in the park on a relatively warm day in early December. The sidewalk was wet with melted snow. Dirty piles of snow still lay all around. Grey clouds covered the sky, but as they drifted, the sun peeked through.

I sat down on a bench to pray. There was a lot on my mind. My thoughts and prayers seemed to flow out like the breeze. Then there was peace.

A thought came and jolted me. It wasn’t even a thought; it was more like sudden knowledge. I was meant to leave my job at Christ the King Parish and go do charismatic ministry somewhere else.

There. That was it. It hit me the way other words of knowledge have come—completely unexpectedly, profoundly resonating as true, and leaving me again with peace.

This was a total surprise, because I had never wanted to move anywhere. I grew up in CTK, have volunteered here since I was a teenager, and have been honored to lead the Upper Room ministry. What surprised me even more was how right this new thought felt, and how I was actually rather excited at the prospect.

The following months were filled with prayer, discernment with my spiritual director, conversations with family and close friends, and watching how the Lord allowed the events of life to unfold.

The conviction that I needed to leave was confirmed in many ways. Until I knew where the Holy Spirit was calling me to go, though, I knew I needed to stay put and to continue cultivating Upper Room.

Not long ago, a position opened for a Director of Religious Education and Evangelization at St. Mary Catholic Church in Williamston (SE of Lansing). Fr. Mark Rutherford, a priest who is passionate for the Lord and is formerly from CTK, leads a wonderful team there. They are focused on bringing their parish into the fullness of all that the Holy Spirit has for them.

Yes, I got the job. I will finish August at CTK, and after Labor Day I will start at St. Mary. I will be moving to that area as well.

And yes, now this is all happening very fast.

I am very excited for this new endeavor…and I will deeply miss the people of Christ the King and Upper Room. It was a dream come true to be able to lead this ministry.

I have met so many wonderful people here. In fact, our cumulative attendance since we started counting in mid-2013 is over 26,000!

It has been sheer joy to worship and watch the Holy Spirit move among us. He has revealed His Presence in so many ways: in the Eucharist, Scripture, the people, our praises, vibrant music, praying in tongues, prophecies, words of knowledge, healings, inner transformation, intimacy with God in the depths of our hearts, tears, laughter, learning, growing, gifting, empowerment…and so much more.

Upper Room was formed almost seven years ago around the example of the Early Church in Acts 2:42-43: “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

We duly wove together Mass, classes, fellowship, Praise & Worship events and other special events, and the Lord has indeed done many wonders.

We’ve seen cancer healed, people in hospice healed, hearts, backs, shoulders, legs, ears and more physically healed. Most frequently, and more importantly, people’s hearts, minds, and souls have found healing and new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. A sampling of stories is here.

All of this has not been without challenges; the enemy hates what is happening here. Leading Upper Room has been a glorious cross that I’ve loved to embrace. It will always have a special place in my heart.

To Everyone Who Has Come to Upper Room: Thank you for coming! I have loved worshiping with you and hearing the roar of so many voices raised in song. Your desire for the Holy Spirit inspires me. Keep stoking the fire and your light will burn brighter and brighter!

To All of Upper Room’s Volunteers: I don’t have words to thank you enough for making the vision of Upper Room a reality. Each of you, no matter how “small” your role, has been needed. Your gifts have given numerous blessings to others, and I appreciate every one of you!

To Upper Room’s Advisory Team: You have carried leadership and coordinated countless practical points that have made Upper Room come together beautifully. Thank you for sharing your perspectives, input, and what you hear from the Lord. Doug Helderop, Dcn. Lou Russello, Carolyn & Bill Millard, Del & Mary Jo Paquin, Bill Kangas, Nanette O’Brien, José Mattei, and Bryan Alfonso, I pray that our God who is never outdone in generosity will bless you abundantly!

To Dr. Mary Healy: Upper Room would not be what it is without you. Thank you for being willing to entrust leadership to “the next generation.” Thank you for mentoring us and for so generously sharing your wisdom with us. Your gift of leadership and your zeal for the Holy Spirit have started ripples that will travel far.

To Christ the King Parish: I have been a parishioner here all my life. I remember recognizing even as a child that the “grown-ups” knew Jesus personally and really believed in Him. That was how I first learned about having a relationship with Him. Thank you for grounding me in Jesus and teaching me about the Holy Spirit. I am very excited to take out what I have learned.

To Everyone Reading This: Please pray for CTK’s leadership and for Upper Room’s Advisory Team as they discern what the Holy Spirit has next for Upper Room. May the Holy Spirit flood them with His love, wisdom, unity, courage, power, and joy. And in your own individual prayer times, ask the Holy Spirit what He has for you. You may be wonderfully surprised! (See our blogs and past classes mp3s for tips on listening and discernment.)

CTK is hosting a going-away dinner for me this Friday, Aug. 24, between the 5:30pm Mass and 7:45pm Praise & Worship. Please bring a dish to pass.

My last Praise & Worship will be that evening, the 24th, at 7:45pm. We’ll take time to worship and listen to the Lord as we always do, and then I’ll share more about what’s happening. I hope to see many of you there!

The Holy Spirit has wonderful plans for Upper Room. He has promised a great “wave” of His Spirit for us and for the whole Church. Pursue this! Pursue Him!

I’ll leave you with the words of St. Paul, which I echo with my whole heart. Please pray for me, and know that I will be praying for you.

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you,
praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the One who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus….

And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ for the
glory and praise of God.
(Phil 1:3-6, 9-11)


By Christy Whiting, co-founder and outgoing leader of Upper Room

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