Pilgrim Congregational Church

Senior Pastor

The Reverend Dr. S. Derek Austin

Derek Austin currently resides in Jaffrey, NH.  He is finishing his current post in Portland ME, serving as the Interim Senior Minister at Williston-Immanuel Congregational Church, and has served churches in New England as a transitional pastor for the last 15 years.  Although being raised in upstate NY, Derek went to school on the west coast and lived most of his adult life in San Diego, CA, until relocating to New England in 2005. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            With a Bachelor degree in Music and a Master of Arts in Education, Derek taught vocal music at a performing arts magnet school in southern California, and was the conductor of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, before pursuing his Doctoral studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary and entering .  Besides pastoring, Derek has served on several committees in several New England conferences that both resource and explore the changing nature of ministry, church life, and non-profit dynamics. 

Leadership development has been a cornerstone of Derek’s ministry, honing an expertise in change management, transitional dynamics, vision strategizing and corporate goals assessment; and for four years also served as Director of Clergy Development for Chautauqua Institution in western N.Y.  He also values the ability to challenge parishes to invest themselves in the deeper expressions of worship, spirituality and the Christian life.

Having previously come from a more conservative Christian background, his ‘coming out’ story in the midst of that environment echoes the pain and loss of many LGBT men and women who have had similar journeys – and brings to pastoral ministry the growth and experience that comes from such challenges. 

An avid traveler and one who enjoys an active life, Derek can be found during his free time hiking the Berkshires or White Mountains, kayaking NH lakes, attending live theater or concerts… and is a devoted Game of Thrones  fan.