Who is this guy?

Hi, my name is Phil Whittall and this is my personal website. Thanks for visiting and for taking an interest in the person behind it. If you don’t find what you’re looking for or if you have some more questions, then feel free to ask.

The skinny: I’m a leader at Grace Church Stockholm, a freelance writer & editor, a runner, reader, a grateful husband to Emma & father to Noah & Anna.

The Simple Pastor is my personal blog (I’ve been writing here since 2006). I chose this name when the convention was to give blogs names other than their own, and I’ve become quite fond it. I also chose the name because I am a pastor without too many airs and graces and I’m interested in the spiritual discipline of simplicity and a simpler way of life. Many of my friends also think I’m quite ‘simple’ so that works too.

There are 3 main parts to this blog:

  1. I have a number of recurring themes I write about: church planting with a focus on post-Christian Europe; faith & technology; living well in a consumer culture & issues relating to sex & gender.
  2. I read a lot of books and there are over 180 book reviews already on this site.
  3. The world is a fascinating place and I have a great appetite for wonder, and interesting things so you’ll also find hundreds of links to things I find interesting from all over the internet.

The main aim is to discover more of what it means to follow Jesus Christ in the 21st Century that doesn’t pander to consumerism or confuse western values with kingdom values. If you’re interested in these issues then I hope this blog will be of regular interest to you.

I try to post fairly regularly and Here are some of my most read posts and some of the ones I consider the most important. They’re not always the same.

You can get the latest posts by subscribing by RSS or email.
If you’re interested in connecting more, you could always follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or if you enjoy running you can find me on Strava

Extended Biography – so if you’d like to know a little more then read on.

I was born in 1975, Ipswich, UK. Not much more to add really except it explains why I am a tractor boy. I grew up a pastor’s kid in Broadstone, Dorset. This was the church my father pastored. In 1989 our family moved to Shrewsbury, Shropshire. I was 14. I wasn’t happy. I changed churches and went here. It really helped me rediscover my faith.

At university I was not a good student and generally squandered the opportunity of studying theology. Even though I didn’t make good use of the time, I did make some wonderful friends, that have walked with me ever since. The CU was a good place for me to once again find my feet with my relationship with God. Soul Survivor helped too! I also dislocated my shoulder playing American Football for the Nottingham Outlaws. I’m a fan of the Miami Dolphins.

After studying theology I trained as a teacher of Religious Education in secondary schools at what is now the University of Cumbria. After having surgery on my shoulder I changed course and worked for Christian aid agency Tearfund serving with them in London, almost a year in Burundi and then before a second operation on my shoulder, three months in Kosovo.

After a second round of surgery I spent a year serving my church. I mostly washed up, locked gates and discovered I wasn’t a worship leader. At this point I was asked to consider church planting, which I did and began what is now Hope Church, Shrewsbury. A challenging way to begin the 21st century.

As a way of responding to the challenges between faith and consumerism, I co-founded with some good friends of mine a network for simpler living called Breathe.

For several years, I worked as a trade journalist on The Jeweller, a magazine first called Release and then Enough about social justice and for many years Christian Marketplace. I also invested in Illuminate a Christian bookshop in Shrewsbury. We were bought out by a trust in 2010

In 2004 I married my wife Emma and we now have two children, Noah and Anna and to bring the journey up to date our family moved to Sweden in 2011. In 2012 we moved to Stockholm to begin Grace Church.