Meet YTI’s Western Washington Coordinator, Kim Cancelosi. Kim represents YTI in the Bellingham area and organizes activities and classes for YTI’s Bellingham sessions. In addition to chasing after her three children, Kim loves reading, drinking coffee, playing board games, and cheering on the Seattle Seahawks along with her husband Joe.
Tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, your family?
I’m the youngest of four kids and grew up going to a very small private Baptist school, so I guess you could say I was pretty well sheltered. Moving up to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University filled me with equal parts excitement and terror. A secular school! Away from home! Filled with strangers! Of course, that’s exactly what I needed in order to grow up as a person and as a Christian. The day that I met Joe on campus actually really embodied that whole experience. Our first conversation ever touched on politics, abortion, and finally (when he found out I’d attended a Christian high school) he said, “So you’re a Christian? Do you want to talk about God or something?” He definitely kept me on my toes and still does fifteen years later.
We are definitely a case of two people with very different personalities, backgrounds, and interests who come together to really balance and complement each other. I tend to be the cautious bookworm and his free and adventurous spirit helps me broaden my horizons. Of course, we share a love of humor, which we’ve successfully passed on to all three of our children. Humor has been important as we balance raising two typically developing kids along with one sweetheart with special needs and delays.
Jay Smith, YTI’s president, was your pastor at FBC Bellingham several years ago. What was that like?
I first met Jay at the start of my sophomore year of college, shortly after I turned 19, when he began driving a van from the WWU campus down to First Baptist on Sunday mornings. We always had lively conversations on the way to church, talking over our perspectives on faith, politics, and life in general. Jay has always had a big energy and vision. He has the ability to see the potential in you and make you believe you can actually live up to it. That encouragement has made a tremendous difference to my husband, my church, and myself personally.
What is it about YTI and its vision that appeals to you?
I love that YTI has an innovative vision built on a firm foundation. The need for leaders in the church to have both a solid theological perspective and the ability to think creatively about their methods and to engage in dialogue with the culture around them is pressing. I watch as so many of my peers look at the church’s response to the issues of the day and the concerns of their hearts and find that response wanting, so they throw the baby out with the bath water. It excites me to be a part of a team that is not only working to help leaders in the church have the ability to cling to God’s truth but also connecting in a meaningful way with the people and community they are trying to reach.