The Rev. David M. Blank, Senior Pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids is celebrating 35 years in the ordained ministry. He was ordained by Bishop Kenneth R May on June 11, 1983 at the Passavant Center, Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania. Pastor Blank’s father, the Rev. Paul B. Blank was his sponsor. The ordaining body was the former Western Pennsylvania-West Virginia Synod, Lutheran Church in America – now known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Blank grew up in North Huntingdon, PA where he contemplated a career in the culinary arts or radio. Through encouragement of parishioners, friends and family he began discerning a call to the ordained ministry when he was a senior in High School. He graduated from Thiel College with a BA and majors in History and Religion (1979). He received his M. Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA (1983).
Pastor Blank has served congregations in Northwestern Pennsylvania: Bethany, Sheffield; Moriah, Ludlow; First and St. John’s, Warren; in Upstate New York: Holy Trinity, Little Falls; United, Dolgeville, Evangelic, Crum Creek and Ascension, Rome. He also served as the Director of Spiritual Care for Lutheran Care Ministries, Clinton, NY.
He began his ministry at St. Luke’s on May 14, 2015.
Pastor Blank has a passion for preaching and teaching. He also has a strong call to develop ecumenical relationships and shared ministries among churches. In 1988 Blank served Lutheran and Presbyterian communities in Dolgeville, NY. Under his tenure, the two churches formally became one parish. He was instrumental in establishing an ecumenical mid-week Lenten services using a common liturgy in Warren, PA. Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Presbyterians worship together weekly during Lent followed by fellowship and a time for questions to the local clergy. A similar format was designed two years ago among congregations of the North East Ministerium in Grand Rapids. Pastor Blank is currently assisting with worship and pastoral care at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids during their pastoral vacancy. St. Andrew’s and St. Luke’s have combined their Saturday evening services during the summer.
He has been called to serve the Church-at-Large in several capacities including Conference Dean (twice); Slovak Zion Synod Secretary; Chair of the NW PA Synod’s Worship Team; President of the Board for the Lutheran Home at Kane and is presently a member of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod’s Candidacy Committee.
He provided leadership as Cub Master, Assistant Scout Master and Board Member for the General Herkimer Council of the Boy Scouts in America. He was the summer camp chaplain for Camp Russell, White Lake, NY and was MC for the Warren Festival of the Arts.
Blank is an amateur winemaker for over 30 years crediting a member of his first parish for teaching him the art of winemaking. He has since received a certificate in enology from Missouri State University. Blank has medaled in local, state and national amateur wine making competitions.
Pastor Blank has seen many changes in the Church during his 35 years of ordained ministry. When asked what his primary understanding of his role as shepherd has been, he replied, “To love as God has loved us. For those of us who grew up in the church and attending Sunday School, we learned a song that has just as much as meaning now as it did then – ‘Jesus loves me this I know.’”
“Pastor Dave” resides in Rockford with his wife, Judy. He has two sons, Jonathan & Nathaniel, daughter-in-law, Kristin; stepsons: Sean and Ryan and four grandchildren, Felix, Theo, Winston and Sebastian.