Big ideas in a small town

University Church podcast highlights community, spirituality

The entire population of Walla Walla County houses just under 60,000 residents, but the valley holds a unique, rich culture that often goes unrecognized. The Walla Walla University Church launched a series of community-oriented podcasts in October, coining the tagline, “The podcast about big ideas in a small town.” Each episode centers around an aspect of the region and applies it to Americans and Seventh-day Adventists as a whole.

Kris Loewen, pastor for communications and worship, hosts the series alongside fellow University Church pastors, Alex Bryan and Jenn Ogden. “We have the same conversations we have on the podcast in the office every day,” Loewen said. “We started talking about how cool it would be to include our church members and other people in these types of talks.” After about two years of incubating the idea, the team decided to turn on the mics and broaden the discussion.

The team selects topics on the basis of current events, prominent personalities, and unrecognized histories in the valley. Previous episodes have covered the local Klicker Strawberries farm, the town’s homeless camp controversy, Walla Walla sweet onions, and the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Administration Medical Center.

“Our hope [is] to kind of paint this quaint, fun portrait of a real town, and then have conversations about ideas and issues that are relevant to anyone anywhere,” Loewen said. The biweekly podcast does just that. The series description states, “Grow and explore the spirituality that emerges exactly where you are; come to feel what life is like in SE Washington State.”

Episodes of the Walla Walla Podcast are posted at and can be downloaded free on iTunes.

Posted May 11, 2017

Kris Loewen, University Church pastor for communications and worship