Hudson Presbyterian welcomes new senior pastor

by Mary McKenna

Pennsylvania native the Reverend Shawn Carafa is now senior pastor of Hudson Presbyterian Church after what church leaders said was a “long, prayerful search.”

Carafa, who began his new role following an Installation Service on April 23, joins Hudson Presbyterian with his wife Meg, sons Colton and Oliver and daughters Summer, Paige and Elizabeth.

Growing up in a Roman Catholic household in western Pennsylvania, Carafa admitted to falling away from the faith as a teenager and growing increasingly skeptical of the truth he now embraces in Christianity. It wasn’t until college that “the Lord revealed Himself” enough to convict him “that the Bible is true, that it is His word” and that his other pursuits of “stereotypical college stuff like partying” were “lacking,” he said.

“God used a variety of people to lead me to Jesus,” Carafa added, recalling how Meg, a fellow student at the time, turned down an invitation to go out with him because of her commitment to Thursday night Bible study.

“There were some seeds planted,” he said. “I got involved in campus ministry. I started leading Bible studies. I discovered I do enjoy this, enjoy studying the Word and talking and interacting with people in that kind of context.”

It was those seeds that bore the fruit of a newfound, “saving faith,” according to Carafa, and gave him the confirmation he needed not only to begin dating Meg but also to pursue a life in ministry.

Upon earning his undergraduate degree in English, Carafa went on to receive his Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from the Westminster Theological Seminary. He served as youth pastor at the historic Forks of the Brandywine Evangelical Presbyterian Church and most recently as senior pastor at the Williamsport Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Attica, Indiana.

Carafa, who said the Lord led him to Hudson Presbyterian, is looking forward to what the future holds here. He’s aware of what he called “a good general excitement” among the congregation about “engaging with the community again,” post-COVID, and especially living out more fully the church’s mission “to know Jesus, serve Jesus, and bring others to Jesus,” something Carafa said he intends to model in his ministry.

“I’m hoping, over time, to work to make this a church where we really are dedicated to the Bible and having opportunities for people to study together to know Jesus,” he said.  

He also emphasized a church culture that’s warm and inviting and a desire to welcome visitors.

“I hope that everyone who visits here feels as welcome as me and my family have felt since we’ve come here,” said Carafa. “My long-term goal is to just be that Christian presence.”

Long time congregant Brenda Homjak is pleased to hear it and to welcome Carafa to her church family, grateful for his Evangelical Presbyterian training and the way he’s “wrapped his arms” around their missions and youth programs.

“Pastor [Carafa] is so down to earth,” Homjak noted. “He and his family represent the good and positive in this modern world.” ∞

Photo: The Reverend Shawn Carafa. Photo submitted.