Search this site

Program Leader

Katerina Katsarka Whitley has felt captured by God’s grace all her life. Her earliest memories are filled with questions about God within a family that was immersed in the reading and discussion of biblical stories. So it was inevitable that she would continue her life with that story-telling, biblically-centered focus.

Born and raised in Greece she left home at 16 to study in the States. She has lived in several states, but mainly in North Carolina where she has taught both high school and college age students, something she feels she was born to do. After bringing up two daughters she started writing for publication and working for the Episcopal Church—first as diocesan editor during the ‘80s, and then as the communication and public relations person for the then Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief in the ‘90s. In that capacity she visited almost every diocese in the nation and many of our Anglican partners around the world. “This was my best job,” she says. “Photographing women and children and telling their stories for Episcopalians in our churches to see, hear, and read. I felt the connection we all have as children of God, as created in God’s image.” 

During that time, Katerina was developing the story-telling style that would be the basis of her five books—that of dramatic monologues in the voices of biblical characters. “I love speaking in another’s voice,” she says. “I love thinking of them in their historic and religious context; I ask: ‘Who was Jesus to this woman, this man? What did it mean to see him and hear him for the first time before any layers of theology and interpretation influenced our understanding of his person?’ or ‘What is God revealing to us through this particular prophet or ancient person?’” It is very exciting and very rewarding.

She sees her books as one of the many ways we approach the Light. She cherishes the miracle of Epiphany in the process of her writing and, above all, she is grateful for every opportunity she is offered to share these voices with others in her many visits to parishes and women’s groups. 

Katerina has close connections to the Diocese of North Carolina. During the ‘80s she worked closely with the directors of Christian Ministries of our diocese (Lex Mathews, then Jim Lewis), more specifically on peace and justice issues and for the Farmworkers ministry served by the North Carolina and the East Carolina dioceses. Her ministry these days is closely related to the mission of Episcopal Church Women.

She has just completed a Greek cookbook scheduled for publication in Easter 2012, and a novel set in first century Corinth is in the hands of a couple of publishers.