John Willingham was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. The son of a Presbyterian minister, he graduated from Davidson College in 1980 with a B.A. in economics. For the next three years, he worked as a manager for the telephone company now known as Bell South until the fall of 1983 when he left to study at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree in 1987 with a concentration in preaching.
He was ordained in and served the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Sterling, Kentucky for five years until becoming pastor of the Matthews Presbyterian Church of Matthews, North Carolina, in October of 1992. During those years, John earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago's McCormick Theological Seminary with a concentration in church re-development. He has served as pastor of the Doylestown Church since July of 2003.
In addition to his work in those congregations, John has been active beyond church walls. He helped organize a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Kentucky, served as a commissioner to Synod and General Assembly meetings and as moderator of the Presbytery of Charlotte. Currently, he is a member of the General Assembly Nominating Committee and served as moderator of the Executive Presbyter Nominating Committee for the Presbytery of Philadelphia.
In his life away from church, he enjoys quiet nights at home and planning the next family trip, tending to the lawn and reading good books. A life-long admirer of Abraham Lincoln, he has cheered for and fretted over the Atlanta Braves since childhood.
He has been married to Lori, a native of Fillmore, New York, since 1987. She is a Certified School Nurse who works primarily in a local middle school. Their son Michael is a CPA with Deloitte in Philadelphia where their daughter--in-law Corey teaches at an all-girls school in the city. Their daughter Emsley is a Registered Dietician who works at a senior care living facility. 2016 marked the start of an exciting new chapter in their life with the birth of their first grandchild, Emma.