Timothy W. Whitaker was born in Vicksburg, Miss., on Oct. 5, 1948. He is married to Melba J. Jarvis of Brandon, Miss. They have two sons, Scott and Eric. Scott is married to Michele Wrobleski of Buffalo, NY.
Bishop Whitaker attended public school in Warren County, Miss., and he is a graduate of Warren Central High School in Vicksburg. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Hinds Jr. College, and he was graduated summa cum laude from Millsaps College in 1970. He was graduated summa cum laude from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in 1973. He has been awarded numerous academic honors including being admitted into Phi Alpha Theta, a history honorary society, and Theta Phi, a theology society. He received the Award for Academic Excellence from Candler School of Theology in 1973. He was awarded honorary doctorates from Bethune-Cookman University in 2001 and Florida Southern College in 2002.
The bishop was ordained deacon in the Mississippi Conference in 1971 and elder in the Mississippi Conference in 1974. He transferred to the Virginia Conference in 1975. In the Virginia Conference, he served as pastor of rural, small town, suburban and center city churches. He was the Superintendent of the Norfolk District when he was elected to the episcopacy on Feb. 27, 2001 and assigned to the Florida Conference. He was appointed a third, four-year term in the Florida Conference during the Southeast Jurisdictional Conference on July 18, 2008.
As an elder in the Virginia Conference, Bishop Whitaker served on many conference committees. He was President of the Board of Discipleship, Vice President of the Board of Global Ministries, and Chair of the Division of Elders of the Board of Ordained Ministry.
During his ministry, Bishop Whitaker was involved in a number of community service agencies, including Hospice, sheltered workshops, a soup kitchen and tutoring inner-city children.
Occasionally, he has published articles in magazines and newspapers, including The Christian Century, Circuit Rider, Lectionary Homiletics, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
A student of patristics and the history of the early church, Bishop Whitaker is interested in recovering the living tradition of the Christian church for equipping the contemporary church to fulfill its mission in a pluralistic and secularized society.
Personal interests include reading modern American poetry and cycling.