Pastors and Staff
DR. STEVE WATTS
Pastor, Head of Staff
Steve believes that the best pastors follow the example of John the Baptist in John 1:19-36. Three times John says, “No,” when people try to lift him up. John continually points away from himself and focuses his ministry on Jesus. “Look!” he says, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Just as it was for John, all good ministers know that Jesus is before, after, and ahead of them. Steve’s goal as a pastor is to point only to Jesus Christ, uplift him, demonstrate his love of others, and share the good news that Christ forgives sin.
In Steve’s 28 years of professional ministry, he served as both Associate Pastor and Head of Staff at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church and has served on the adjunct faculty at Whitworth University, teaching Ministry Leadership and New Testament. His background also includes ministry as Pastor of Spiritual Formation in Dinuba, CA, Family Ministries Director for La Crescenta Presbyterian church and a Ministry Program Coordinator and teacher for eight summers at Calvin Crest Conference Center in Oakhurst, CA. With a team of friends, he founded the Westminster House, an urban mission center in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane. He has been active in both the Presbytery and General Assembly and is an experienced speaker and teacher. He is a graduate of Fuller Seminary and Whitworth University.
Steve has two young adult children.
Rev. Jennie Barber
Associate Pastor of Care and Outreach
Jennie is grateful to be back in the Pacific Northwest after spending almost a decade serving as an associate pastor in Tennessee. Jennie studied theology at Seattle Pacific University and sensed a call to ministry that was strengthened through leadership and educational experiences. Following college graduation, Jennie served as a church intern before heading to Princeton Theological Seminary where she earned a Master of Divinity degree. Jennie loves to watch the Spirit work to cultivate authentic community through Bible studies and small groups. She considers it a privilege to journey with people experiencing difficult circumstances. Good food, good books, and good company bring Jennie delight. She also enjoys yoga, long walks, short runs, and skiing. Jennie and her husband Drew have three beautiful young children who bring them joy and excitement every day.
Interim Worship Director
Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, church and music have been a huge part of Kyla's life since her earliest days. Kyla went on to graduate from Whitworth University with a degree in music education and received her master's degree in conducting from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University. She taught high school band and math for seven years and has taught in the music department at Whitworth as an adjunct faculty member since 2006. Kyla has been a member of HPPC since 2008 and joined the staff as the choir director in 2016. In her role as Interim Worship Director, Kyla enjoys using her experience to empower people to share their musical gifts to help enhance and lead others in worship as well as building community. She loves spending time outdoors with her husband, David, and their three kids.
Director of Children's Ministries
Joe Bruce has been the Director of Children’s Ministries at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church since 2003. Joe has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Central Washington University and a Certificate in Lay Pastoral Ministries from Whitworth University. Joe’s love for Jesus reveals itself through his heart for children and making sure that their Christ-centered learning experience is fun. As a former Science teacher, Joe shares his passion for the beauty in God’s creation from the microscopic to galactic proportions with children at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church and around the region. Joe is married to Kathy and they enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Director of Student Ministries
Originally from Renton, WA, Mitchel spent much of his time attending youth group during the school year and spent his summers volunteering at Camas Meadows Bible Camp, a small ministry near Leavenworth, WA. After Running Start at his local community college, Mitchel attended Whitworth University, where he got his degree in Theology. Mitchel has explored working in various types of ministry: camp counseling, Young Life, pastoral ministry, and of course youth ministry. Through it all, his passion for personal connection and relationships with young people have always been the driving force behind his call to ministry. He loves to play any and all sorts of games, whether youth group games with students, tabletop role-playing games, board games, or video games.
Director of Operations and Group Ministry
Heather grew up in Enumclaw, WA and spent her summers at Buck Creek, a Presbyterian camp just out of town. She received a degree in Psychology from Whitworth College (now University) and has over 25 years of administration experience. A member of HPPC since 1998, Heather has seen lots of changes and is excited to see where God is leading us next. She is a trained small group leader and loves to create safe spaces for people to talk about their faith and their questions. Heather is always up for a walk in the woods or a meal out. She and her husband, Rob, have two teenagers.