Rev. Gerhard P. Grabenhofer has been serving as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Corning since 1998. He is a multi-generational Lutheran with a congregational heritage that dates back to the era of our beloved C.F.W. Walther, who lead a group of German immigrants to America, seeking freedom to practice and follow confessional Lutheranism. Roughly 120 years after the birth of our Missouri Synod and about 20 miles away from where the original church constitution was signed, our pastor was born.
One month after his birth, Gerhard was reborn by the washing of water with the word through his baptism into the Christian faith at St. John’s Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Lombard, Illinois (near Chicago). It was there that he grew in wisdom and stature, being catechized and confirmed as a member of the the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He had a strong desire towards pastoral ministry for as long as he can remember. His aspiration for this noble task [1 Timothy 3:1] set him on a path to study at Concordia University Wisconsin (LCMS) in Mequon, Wisconsin, where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Theological Languages.
Upon graduation he attended Concordia Theological Seminary (LCMS) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the Fall of 1989, he began his initial field work at New Hope Lutheran Church (LCMS), in Ossian, Indiana. Between his 1st and 2nd year of seminary he did a summer Vicarage at St. Paul Lutheran Church (LCMS), in International Falls, Minnesota. Then after his 2nd year of seminary he received a Vicarage assignment at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS); a German-English bilingual congregation in Cleveland, Ohio.
He graduated from CTSFW with a Master of Divinity Degree in 1993. After being equipped in the Bible, our Lutheran Confessions, church history, and with a knowledge of Biblical Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and German, he accepted his 1st call as the Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), in Copperas Cove, Texas. It was there that he was ordained into the office of public ministry on the 18th of July in 1993.
While his Texas congregation was remodeling their parish hall, Pastor Grabenhofer started rummaging through a “box of junk” that had been uncovered. In the box he found Das Walte Gott!, a 500 page daily devotional in German that was published in 1894 from the Liturgical sermons of C.F.W. Walther. Thinking it was too important and valuable to be left inaccessible to the English speaker, in 1995 he started translating that days devotional from German into colloquial English each day, going day-by-day for more than a year. After almost 10 years of publishing delays, it was finally published in the summer of 2006 by Concordia Publishing House under the English title, God Grant It. —Although currently out of print, this encouraging book is still available from either CPH or Amazon via Print on Demand and as a Kindle eBook.
Pastor Grabenhofer also worked as part of the translation team to bring into English Exodus of the Eight Hundred by Ingerose Paust and published by Concordia University Press in 2015. This popular German historical novel details with gripping drama and exciting adventure the emigration of the Lutheran Saxons in 1838 and their arrival and settlement in St. Louis and Perry County in 1839. This is the only current work of historical fiction that places the narrative in the hands of general readers.
A few years after he began translating Walther’s daily devotional, our congregation presented a call to Pastor Grabenhofer. Although that initial call was humbly returned, after a year of persistance in prayer and petition, a 2nd call was extended and gladly accepted in March of 1998. After accepting his call to Faith, Pastor visited Corning that April with his family. He was then installed as Faith’s 2nd full-time pastor on the 31st of May in 1998. He has been faithfully proclaiming both Law and Gospel and serving us with both Word and Sacrament ever since.