Local church to honor beloved pastor’s wife for Mother’s Day

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TROY, N.C. -- This Sunday, millions of people will celebrate and honor the woman they call “mom.”

Usually, “mom” refers to a parent or guardian, but this weekend, church members will honor a woman they call “mother” because of her encouraging spirit.

For more than 20 years, Joycetine Whitley has enjoyed serving at Revival Temple Church of God in Christ located in Troy.

“The mission of the church is to glorify God, to edify the saints, which helps them grow and encourage them, but also to evangelize the lost,” she said.

She’s married to Pastor Paul Whitley, but you probably will not hear people call her "first lady," instead they refer to her as “Mother Whitley.”

“Some people call me ‘ma,’” she said with laughter.

“Even the ones older than her, they will say ‘Mother Whitley,’” Pastor Whitley said.

For people who attend the church, the title “mother” is not about DNA, it’s about TLC.

“She’s kind and faithful. She loves people and that’s the key,” Pastor Whitley said.

“Oh, she’s such a beautiful person. I admire her. I really do,” Doris Martin said.

Martin has been at the church for approximately 41 years – and is the first member of the church.

Fellow church member Gladys Marshall contacted FOX8 to nominate Whitley for the Good For Her segment.

“August the 16th of last year, I got really sick and I stayed in and out of the hospital. I had several surgeries. I had a total bowel replacement. Even though through her struggles she sent me cards, she called, she encouraged me,” Marshall said.

Whitely has faced her own health challenges.

She had a stroke in 2014 and is currently on dialysis; however, she has remained committed to serving others in the church and in the community.

Whitley was surprised when she heard she would be featured in a Good For Her segment.

“It made me feel really, really good and it came at a good time,” Whitley said.

This Sunday, Pastor and First Lady Whitley will celebrate 23 years at the church.