Rev. Kingsley celebrates 15 years

He heard the call at age 13 and is still going strong in 'warm, caring community'

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  • The Rev. David Calvin Kingsley with his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Kathleen, with the tree that parishioners planted in honor of his 15-year anniversary as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen, which appears in the background. (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • The Rev. David Kingsley cuts the cake at his surprise picnic honoring his 15 years as minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen. (Photo by Geri Corey)

“People know who lives next door to them, and they take care of each other. I like that.”
The Rev. David Kingsley

By Geri Corey

— The Rev. David Calvin Kingsley, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen, knew when he was in seventh grade that God wanted him to be a minister.

“I had an epiphany," he said. "I felt an overwhelming presence that I should be in the ministry, but I didn’t know what to do about it.”

The Rev. Richard Shannon Graham, minister of his church in Titusville, Pa., where Kingsley grew up, told him that if it were a call from God, it’d never go away. If it isn’t, he will find something else that’s good and profitable to do. The Rev. Graham’s concluding advice: “Now concentrate on being a 13-year-old.”

Kingsley followed his pastor’s advice and pursued a traditional path. When he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and after four years of service, enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in three years with a double major degree: English literature and psychology, with a minor in sociology.

Now the time had come to follow his calling. Upon college graduation, he sent an application to Princeton Seminary — the only application that he submitted.

“God, if you want me, take the application. Well, darn, if he didn’t!” joked the pastor.

Three years later, after earning a Master‘s in Divinity from Princeton University, Kingsley’s career had its start. He was first an associate pastor in the First Presbyterian Church in Park Ridge, Illinois for three years; then he spent 11 years as pastor in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; and then four-years as pastor in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Then came his calling to the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen.

He arrived in Goshen with his wife, Mary, their blended family of four sons — “big” Jeffrey, Robert, Scott and “little” Jeffrey — and their infant daughter, Kathleen.

Time for celebration

June 15 marked Rev. Kingsley’s 15 years as pastor of the Goshen church. Parishioners felt it was a time to celebrate!

As it happened, two trees on church property needed to be removed, so congregants made plans — as a surprise — to replace one tree in the pastor’s honor. They planted a maple tree, dedicated to grow in remembrance of the Rev. Kingsley’s time at the First Presbyterian Church on Park Place in Goshen.

Of course, Presbyterians love a good party, and as another surprise, everyone joined together on the grounds of the Mason’s Lodge on Main Street for an old-fashioned church picnic. Naturally, there was homemade food, music, baseball for the youngsters and young at heart, and plenty of fellowship.

The Rev. Kingsley is happy ministering and living in Goshen.

“The people are warm, community minded and caring,” he said, adding, “They have a real sense of what it is to be a community.”

He’s pleased with the pride that residents take in the community, like refurbishing the fountain in the village center with lights and flowing water and the good feeling of camaraderie at the Great American Weekend festivities when not-for-profits raise funds and have a good time together. The community takes pride in its schools, as well as pride in caring for their own property, he said.

“People know who lives next door to them, and they take care of each other," he said. "I like that."

He noted that the community dinners sponsored by the local churches and the food pantry show communal care for others.

“Life is a roller coaster — full of ups and downs, but overall it’s thrilling,” said the minister, mentioning some of the problems in Goshen — for instance, the conflicts over the government center and Valley View, and not having a grocery store. “With God’s grace these things will work out,” he said.

The Rev. Kingsley plans on staying at The First Presbyterian Church until life takes him in another direction.

“I’m comfortable here, and new things are happening in the church all the time," he said.

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