On behalf of the General Presbyter Search Committee and the Boards of Lehigh and Lackawanna (Administrative, LVT), we are excited to introduce you to our new exec, the Rev. Denise Pass. She was unanimously approved by both the committee and the boards.

Special thanks is offered to the members of the search committee: Lynn Ingram, Dave Oriel, Deb Prince, Jim Thyren, Susan Gilbert Zencka, Marge Ziegler and personnel team member, Kim Miner (from First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem). They worked very hard, completing a search in six months with an outstanding candidate.

Denise self-referred to this committee, finding herself intrigued by our merger process and our search for ways to best do ministry together
in the coming years. People spoke very highly of her skills and her heart for relationship and ministry; one comment was, “She is a bright green GO!”

Born in Fort Worth, TX, but moving to Denver with her family, she calls Colorado home. As a single mother, Denise raised her son and daughter in Littleton until 2003 when they moved to Princeton, NJ, so that she could attend Princeton Theological Seminary.

Graduating with a M.Div. in 2006, she served congregations in Cincinnati, OH, and Garden City, KS. Most recently, she served as Executive Presbyter in the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks (the front range of the Colorado Rockies to parts of western NE).

She has been privileged to serve the broader church and higher governing bodies in a variety of ways, including as a Teaching Elder Commissioner to the 222nd General Assembly (Portland, 2016), and the 225th GA (Louisville, 2022). Denise has cared for large urban and small, rural congregations, and coordinated preaching and care-giving workshops for elders and deacons in those communities. She’s fully trained in Transitional Ministry and holds one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Denise is Level 1 Certified through the Kansas Leadership Center’s “When Everyone Leads” program and has 60 hours of training for Coach-Specific Training by the International Coach Federation. Denise hopes to complete that certification in the near future.

One highlight of Denise’s ministry was the receipt of a $50,000 grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation through their Clergy Renewal Program. She then spent the summer of 2017 traveling abroad experiencing “Creativity and Community: God, the Arts, and Us.” She’d love to tell you about her sabbatical!

Denise’s son, Edward, is finishing his third year of research toward a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kingston, London, UK. Her daughter, Katy, is an actor in the Colorado Front Range area, specializing in work as a Standardized Patient for the University of Colorado Medical School. Sebastian, a 1½ year old Scottish Terrier, rounds out Denise’s family.

Denise says, “So much about my ministry has been about building relationships and finding creative ways for us to be the Church. I am thankful for all the faithful, innovative, and dedicated colleagues I have been privileged to minister with in so many places and soon as the Shared General Presbyter of Lehigh and Lackawanna Presbyteries!”

This emphasis on relational ministry and her openness and easy approachability were things that attracted the committee. Paired with her experience, love for smaller churches, apparent skill in creative ministry, and eagerness to serve with this soon-to-be-new presbytery, the committee felt God had provided an excellent candidate and the boards agreed.

We are excited for you to meet Denise and share your hopes and dreams, while considering how you can participate in God’s new creation to serve NEPA. Two meet and greets have been scheduled in early August when Denise starts, one in each presbytery (to make it geographically easier to get there). All are welcome to either meet and greet! NO excuses (says the personnel chair) for providing her with a warm welcome and nurturing this new partnership which God has provided.


  • First Presbyterian Church of Stroudsburg: Sunday, Aug. 4 from 2-4 p.m.
  • First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit: Sunday, Aug. 11 from 2-4 p.m.