Keeping Up With The Whittakers Part 2

Welcome to the second part of “Keeping Up With The Whittakers”! A few days ago, I blogged about our experience at Disney for Rachel’s birthday. Rachel is working on a guest post reviewing her experience, specifically at the Port Orleans resort. Look for that in the next few days.

Last weekend, Rachel and I headed up to Tennessee for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The main purpose of our trip was Rachel’s family reunion in Dover, Tennessee. We started off Friday afternoon by heading to Nashville to stay with Davis and Sherre Chappell for the night. Davis was the Senior Minister at Lawrenceville FUMC, where I served as Director of Student Ministries for 8 years. Davis also married Rachel and me!

Davis is now the Senior Minister at Brentwood UMC, which is just outside of Nashville. We have been wanting to get up to see them for the past few years and since we were driving straight through Nashville, we decided to leave a day early so we could see them.


We went to dinner at a place called Puckett’s Grocery, in Franklin. The food and overall environment were second to none! After dinner we walked around the Franklin area for a little while. There were some great shops and dessert places to check out. The whole vibe of Franklin was really cool.


After Franklin, we made our way over to Brentwood UMC so we could see the church. It is, in a word, “huge”! There’s a reason it’s one of the largest Methodist Churches in the U.S.

The next morning, after a great breakfast and conversation, Rachel and I made our way toward the reunion in Dover. We stopped off at the Parthenon first, as I’ve always wanted to see the replica in Nashville. It is awesome! We got some great pictures before making the journey to the family reunion.




The rest of the weekend was spent with Rachel’s mom’s side of the family. It was a great time with all of her extended family. They love to laugh, share stories and eat! (Sounds like my family!)

Her grandfather (Neil Moore) was born and raised in Standing Rock (Dover). So when Neil passed away last summer, her grandmother asked me specifically to come to the reunion and lead a few songs at a short memorial service out at Standing Rock. I was, of course, very honored to be a small part of the service. Rachel’s brother Travis and I played two old hymns and even Rock Top!


Some of my favorite parts of the reunion…

  • Running a 10K with 10 other folks from the family. I ended up running the majority of the race with Grey Settle (Rachel’s first cousin, twice removed), who is 74 years young! This guy is awesome! I loved getting to talk with him during those 6 miles.


  • Lisa (Rachel’s mom) and I winning a very competitive game of cornhole. Seriously, we were down huge and came back to win!


  • Offering the blessing at the family lunch on Sunday for the whole reunion. Neil Moore used to offer this prayer every reunion, and I was asked to offer thanks this year. It was a huge honor.
  • Being a part of Neil’s memorial service (see above).
  • And, of course, being with Rachel and her family. I feel so blessed to be a part of this family. I love them very much.

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All in all, the past two weekends have been a lot of fun. Hard to believe we are in June and summer is beginning! I am 3 days away from the first of 22 different camps that we are hosting at the church throughout the summer. It’s going to be a busy one!

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