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Ashley Whetstone 

When I was 3 years old, I found my way to the family piano and started plunking out a melody I had heard in church. My parents looked at each and declared “Perhaps it’s time to get her some lessons?” I have been playing piano ever since, and started leading worship in high school after teaching myself to play the guitar on a bet. My parents were also church musicians; my father an accomplished trombonist and music educator, and my mother an amazing pipe organist. Before every church service or performance, I watched my parents whisper to each other “Soli Deo gloria”, a Latin phrase Johann Sebastian Bach signed at the bottom of his compositions which means “Glory to God Alone.” I grew up in a family of worship leaders and probably always knew I would be called to the same path. 

I received my bachelor’s degree in Classical Piano Performance from Bethel University, where I also regularly led worship for chapel and vespers gatherings and mentored other students to do the same. After graduation, I accepted a position as an Associate Worship Pastor at a non-denominational mega church. After five years at that church, I took a long hiatus from ministry and the church as a whole. In 2012, I dipped my toe back into the river at 1st Covenant Minneapolis where I led worship and arranged music for vocal and instrumental ensembles. Most recently, I was an Artist in Residence for a small Benedictine church Abbey Way.

Over the summer, I knew that my time at Abbey Way was coming to an end for a variety of reasons – most notably, that I wanted to find a church in the Mound-Westonka area for my family. I had no idea that something so close to home would present itself as an opportunity, but that’s exactly how God works so here I am!

I live west of Lake Minnetonka with my husband and a chaotically beautiful blended family - 6 children altogether. We have three pets named Mason Jennings, Kenny Rogers and Loretta Lynn. I love to cook and share meals with my family, and fantasize about becoming a famous karaoke singer.

I am honored to join Bethel UMC and lead us through a chapter of renewal that honors the rich history of this church community while leaving room for new expressions of worship.

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