Rev. Krystin Granberg has officially removed ‘interim’ tag

She becomes 13th installed pastor in Riverdale Presbyterian Church’s long history


After a multi-year search, the Riverdale Presbyterian Church has announced the installation of a new pastor.

It turns out it is the same person who has led the congregants since 2017 as interim pastor. The Rev. Krystin S. Granberg will become the church’s 13th installed pastor May 7 since its founding in 1863, just in time for its 160th anniversary.

“I have felt warmly welcomed and I’m excited about serving this historic church and community,” said Granberg, in a release. “It’s wonderful how I’ve been received.”

Since Rev. Mike Hafele left in 2016, the church’s pastoral search committee had been on a hunt for a new pastor. The New York City presbytery approved their decision to elevate Rev. Granberg in March.

She grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with her brother and sister. She described Elizabeth as a very diverse city both racially and ethnically with Catholics, Jewish and Protestants.

She received a bachelor’s in communications from Denison University in Ohio. She then worked in advertising and marketing for a magazine in New Jersey. Following that, she did a stint selling advertising for The New York Times in Dallas and New York. She later taught English in China for three years before attending seminary.

The reverend was drawn to theology and church when what she described as a “spiritual 2x4” slammed her in the back of the head.

She became ordained in 1996 at the Princeton Theological Seminary. She was an interim pastor at a series of churches before winding up at Riverdale.

Despite the change in direction she still believes all experiences help to prepare one for ministry. When she taught English in China, she got to speak to a classroom with a variety of people with different ways of approaching life. Even in terms of what’s important in business is the same for congregations, Granberg told The Riverdale Press, with people coming from different backgrounds.

She felt called to the Riverdale Presbyterian Church in particular.

“The church was intriguing, the search committee was honest and open, and I’ve always felt that God has surprises for us. I also love the diversity of the congregation, including age, gender, and race. The congregation also comprises people from many religious backgrounds,” said Granberg in a news release.

She commended the congregation’s commitment to weekly worship especially during the pandemic. Another thing that appeals to her is the religious diversity of Riverdale as a community.

“I’m certainly glad to work with my interfaith brothers and sisters,” she said. “There’s an orientation to service in Riverdale that goes beyond any individual congregation – a commitment to the world. Working in service together. I’ve been excited to see how God is leading this congregation with its commitment to social justice, service to the community, and growing in ways that can deepen our connections to one another.”

According to the church’s website, it welcomes anyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, economic or family status. Anyone seeking “an open and inclusive spiritual home where people genuinely care for one another” is invited to join them on their journey with God.

“We are a reflection of God’s kingdom and God’s creation,” she said. She thinks their worshiping experiences have opened different perspectives at the church and ways to enter into worship and even for social justice.

When asked what she envisioned future to be like, she said rich and deep as people and the church continue to come out of the pandemic, with providing a place for spiritual growth and commitment to the community.

Rev. Krystin Granberg, Riverdale Presbyterian Church, interim, Rev. Mike Hafele, God