Twins Cori and Leah Glendenning grew up at Orchard Park Wesleyan Church in Western New York, where their dad served as senior pastor. Through life lessons at home and shenanigans in youth group, Leah and Cori developed a deep appreciation for their upbringing’s way of preparing them for lives of faith.
Leadership & Lectures
Cori and Leah have grown to appreciate the gift their parents gave them in centering their family rhythms on relationship with Christ.
“We are very fortunate to have parents who are good people,” Cori explains. “Just because someone’s a pastor doesn’t mean that they’re a good person.”
“When I was younger, I took for granted having a spiritual leader in my household,” reflects Leah. “It was normal for us, but not everyone has that. Our family dinners would often turn into deep conversations.”
“We got a lot of lectures,” laughs Cori.
Accountability & Vulnerability
When it came to high school, many young people in their affluent suburb chose drugs and alcohol. But for Cori and Leah, the protection and accountability of their community kept them from destructive lifestyles.
“We knew people were watching us more closely,” explains Cori. “That’s probably why we didn’t do certain things.”
But being part of a pastor’s family at times caused a superficial distance between the sisters and their friends at school.
“In high school, I remember people commenting that my family was so put together,” Leah shares. “But every family has their issues. We have issues too, even though they may be different than yours.”
Finding a balance between being a normal family and being representatives of the gospel required discernment and maturity.
“Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I felt like I couldn’t be vulnerable with anyone because I didn’t want them to think our family was falling apart,” admits Leah. “But vulnerability is necessary in any relationship.”
Community & Connections
One of the great benefits of a life structured around church schedules is the lasting community created through congregational life. Cori and Leah’s father has pastored at Orchard Park Wesleyan throughout their lives, which made it possible for their family to establish deep roots in the community.
Leah and Cori continue to get together with their church friends at meetings they’ve affectionately named “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
“Usually after high school, friends drift apart, but we still have a solid friend group,” shares Cori. “We had a lot of kids our age at church, and our church community was pretty tight knit.”
Even going off to college, the larger Wesleyan community continued to be a strong foundation for the sisters. Cori went to Indiana Wesleyan University, while Leah attended Houghton College.
“When I went to Houghton, I was still in the Wesleyan Community,” Leah explains. “Everyone knew who my dad was. In a family that has influence and leadership, you have lots of connections and new friendships come easily.”
Leah and Cori are now both back in Orchard Park. Leah is pursuing a career in the film industry. Cori is studying for her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
The sisters count themselves blessed by their unique upbringing as daughters of a pastor.
To sum it up, Cori laughs: “Being a pastor’s kid is pretty legit.”