Louise Westfall

Louise Westfall became Central’s senior pastor in 2011, following pastorates in Cleveland, Detroit, and Iowa. She received a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She has co-authored two Bible studies– The Face Is Familiar: Remembering Unnamed Women in Scripture, and Peacemaking in Mark: Restoring God’s Community of Men and Women.  Her dissertation Listening Beyond Our Differences: Conversations about Abortion was honored with a faculty prize.

Louise believes the Church is a community of transformation and the congregations she’s served have resettled refugees, built homes with Habitat for Humanity, tutored urban school children, converted a closed church into a Boys and Girls Club, and helped enroll people in affordable health insurance. Her leadership has helped make connections between suburban and urban, Black and White congregations, and among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Increasingly she considers the Communion cup a central symbol of faith representing God’s love poured out for all, and the Table a place where everyone is welcome.

Louise is the mother of a son, Paul, an attorney in Washington DC.

Get to know Louise through her “top ten” list:

  1. There is no sermon that can’t be enhanced with a baseball reference.

  2. Her son is an attorney because he learned at church that we’re supposed “to do justice…”

  3. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness or necessarily of sadness, but of feeling deeply.

  4. Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.

  5. The church would be perfect, except for the people.  Except for the people, the church would be nothing.

  6. Jesus is a rock in a weary land.

  7. Music has charms to soothe the savage breast. . . . and galvanize the fearful heart.  All kinds of music:  hymns, symphonies, folk tunes, jazz, opera…

  8. There is no such thing as a long walk spoiled.

  9. Pigs can fly.

  10. The church is a place where you see pigs fly.

Louise's Strengths

Worship leadership/preaching