First Presbyterian Church in California will welcome the Rev. Dr. Grafton Eliason as pastor to their congregation on Sept. 8.
In addition to this position, Grafton is a professor and coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the Department of Counselor Education, Graduate Studies and Research at California University of Pennsylvania. Grafton has a special interest in pastoral care, counseling, cross cultural studies, spirituality, existentialism, grief and loss.
He has enjoyed co-leading a number of mission trips, and believes that the mission volunteers gain just as much from their experiences as the people they help. So far, they have worked and studied in India, Peru, Belize, Puerto Rico, and South Africa. They have been able to work in schools, orphanages, homes for the elderly, addiction centers, and police academies.
Grafton is an active member of the National Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team and has responded to crises throughout the country. He volunteers with the Yellow Ribbon Program and works with military returning from active deployment. He was recently awarded Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania Hero Educator and is a Paul Harris Fellow for the Rotary Foundation of Westmoreland County.
He and his wife, Trisha, who is a licensed professional counselor, have four children ranging in age 1 to 10.
The public is invited to join First Presbyterian Church in welcoming Grafton and his family at the 10 a.m. Sept. 8 service.