Rev. Kyle Delhagen


One of the things you learn growing up as the son of a minister, is that a pastor’s family is as much called to a congregation and place as the pastor themself. My wife, Elena, and our two children,

Jumah - 15, and Atticus - 4, not only keep me grounded and remind me of God’s love and joy every day, but they deepen my ministry in profound ways. As a husband, a biological father, and a father of an adopted daughter, my understanding of our relationship with God has been stretched, challenged, and changed in amazing ways.

My life of faith has been profoundly shaped by many people and in many places. As a young person, I found my spiritual life being influenced by the church family and friends I was always around. My church youth group provided many opportunities to study God’s Word, talk about what it means to be a Christian, and also to put our faith into action. Some of the most formational moments in my spiritual development were on service trips during school breaks to Staten Island to work with the homeless, hungry, and those suffering from HIV/AIDS. All of this set me on a very early path to ministry.

Throughout college, I struggled with my call to be a pastor. Having grown up as a pastor’s kid, I tried to avoid where I sensed God was pulling me, but when God has a desire for your life, it is hard to ignore! I spent six summers during and after college working at Camp Fowler in the Adirondacks, and then two years working in youth ministry before going to seminary at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey. Following graduation from Seminary, I spent a year working as a Resident Chaplain at a Philadelphia Hospital, which taught me a lot about being a pastoral presence in times of grief and trauma.

In the few years following, I turned to teaching at a private Christian school in center city Philadelphia, where I taught tenth and twelfth grade English. During that time I was a part-time pastor of a small Reformed Church outside of Philadelphia. In that experience, I found myself drawn more and more to full time parish ministry. Since October of 2016, I have served as Pastor of Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, where I have continued to be challenged and stretched, finding fullness in this particular time and place of God’s family.

The following is an excerpt from our MIF:

  1. What is the congregation’s or organization’s vision for ministry? Additionally describe how this vision is lived out. 

We strive to be a visible sign of God’s love, demonstrating Christian values through worship, fellowship and service to others.

2020 challenges prompted us to adapt and find new ways to meet and worship, which were surprisingly successful. We continue to ​ evolve and adapt to changing technologies and opportunities. We long to gather for​      worship, communion and fellowship when it is safe once again.

Mission is a priority. Members participate in many service projects through our active Mission & Social Witness Team and Presbyterian Women. We strive to increase our awareness and support of needs within our church, community,  country and world. We would like to expand our participation in both social justice and environmental issues.

We are currently engaged in discussions of our mission study to focus on future actions for our church. We hope this discernment process will fine-tune our mission goals and cultivate ways to expand our congregational capabilities, leadership and stewardship potential.

We want a pastor to challenge and energize us. She/he will help us create activities and opportunities for young adults and families with children. We hope to increase diversity in our congregation. We want someone who will bolster confidence in our abilities to find new ways to live out Christ’s teachings in our world.


  1. How do you feel called to reach out to address the emerging needs of your community or constituency?

 We feel called to address a variety of challenges within our own congregation: aging issues, health concerns, support for young adults and families with children, the need for continued spiritual renewal and education. We routinely share information so that everyone is aware of specific situations involving members, friends and neighbors.

Moving outside our doors, we find challenges within the community and nearby cities: food insecurity, poverty, homelessness, social justice issues and the loss/lack of connection to faith communities. We look to our community leaders in the school system, library, town government and police department to help identify these needs and make suggestions to provide help and support. We have begun to act as a resource for ways to address these.  We have been involved in service projects, partnerships (such as a local campus ministry) and volunteerism to address many of the above issues. We would especially like to find new ways to engage those in our community without a current faith relationship.

Beyond our community we see environmental issues, hunger, lack of education and the need for disaster relief.  We have a partnership with a congregation in Malawi and participate in many Church World Service projects. We have sought insights through previous mission/study trips to Malawi and the US-Mexican border.  We have worked on disaster relief efforts after hurricanes.  We look for new opportunities to carry out Christ’s message.


  1. How will this position help you to reach your vision and mission goals?

The pastor for HUPC is one who can relate to people of all ages, and especially reach younger minds and show them they are an important part of the church. This pastor can deliver insightful and thought-provoking sermons that will motivate all ages to action.

He/she can help us find more ways to reach out to, assist and engage those in our community without a current faith relationship. We would like a pastor who will help us build on our welcoming atmosphere for such people, so that they may experience the openness of our congregation.

We would also like our new pastor to help HUPC act on our need and desire for diversity (age, gender, race, political ideology). We hope diversity stimulates dialog leading to understanding, tolerance, creative problem solving and a sense of belonging.

We value mission and seek a pastor who can continue to educate us on the theological background for mission and stewardship and help us identify why we are drawn to mission support, experiences and projects. This individual can encourage us to identify our own reasons for wanting to help others and can promote a passion for mission work within our community and beyond.  We look forward to a person who will provide leadership and structure for our various ministry teams to create a multi-pronged approach to mission projects.


  1. Provide a description of the characteristics needed by the person who is open to being called to this congregation and/or organization.

Our next pastor will

  • have a rich theological foundation and be able to relate scripture to modern societal challenges be spiritually grounded
  • be a good communicator, collaborator and delegator
  • effectively communicate with Session, mission teams, Deacons and staff plus meet with them regularly
  • offer our ministry teams guidance and support and help them coordinate their goals and activities
  • be empathetic and able to offer comfort to the congregation and assist the Deacons in providing pastoral care, as needed, to shut-ins, those with medical issues and members in distress.
  • be responsible, reliable and organized
  • be able to lead us toward our vision of being a mission-focused church within our abilities and opportunities
  • share our respect for work/life balance and the importance of self-care
  • be a creative thinker who can bring fresh ideas to the table
  • be a warm, flexible person with an aptitude for building bridges across generations and differences
  • be able to relate to congregation members of all ages and with diverse points of view and backgrounds
  • be able to work effectively with technology and help us incorporate it into our programs walk on water (checking to see if you have a sense of humor!)


  1. For what specific tasks, assignments, and program areas will this person have responsibility?


  • Work with Worship Team and staff to organize, prepare and lead weekly, seasonal and special worship services
  • Work with Worship Team to explore options for new, alternative or additional worship services
  • Serve or arrange for monthly communion at regular and special services, including home communion for those unable to attend the monthly communion
  • Officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals

Pastoral Care

  • Teach us how best to conduct hospital, nursing home and shut-in home visits
  • Provide spiritual care and counseling


  • Moderate Session meetings and support the work of the Deacons
  • Support and work with church ministry teams
  • Serve as head of staff
  • Schedule open office hours at various times

 Christian Education

  • Work with Christian Ed Team to develop a variety of programs to help us grow in our faith
  • Lead confirmation preparation as needed
  • Help us identify, nurture and develop leadership potential and provide opportunities among members for the work of Christian service

 Community relations

  • Build relationships in the neighborhood and community to help us engage the community around us, share our faith and serve others
  • Work with all HUPC Teams to create activities and programs that will bring neighbors into our church and/or take the church into the neighborhood

 Connectional church relations

  • Actively engage in the Presbytery