Come June 15, Miami will have one less beam of light, kindness and a warm sense of humor, when the Rev. David E. Imhoff retires as the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Miami Springs. He has served the church and the Miami Springs community since August 2008, and says it it time now to return to Jacksonville to be full time with his family — wife Jeanne, three adult children, a sister and sister-in-law.
Imhoff was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and attended high school and college there, graduating from Eastern Kentucky University, where he met his wife.
“We've been married 44 years,” he said proudly.
Although he is a second-generation minister — his father, uncle and a brother were pastors — Imhoff said it was not his intention to become a minister. A Catholic priest, an Episcopal priest and a Methodist minister convinced him that the ministry was his calling.
“The all ganged up on me and said, ‘Just do it for one year and that will tell you if this is what you want to do.’ After I got into seminary at the University of Chicago, that did it,” he said. “I was just going along for the ride to see what would happen.”
In February 1973, he was ordained to the ministry in Dallas, but had served as an intern for two years before that. Since his ordination, Imhoff has officiated over some 1,700 funerals, 2,000 baptisms and 1,000 weddings.
“I have even buried some people I never saw,” he said.
He has served congregations in Dallas, Toledo and Springfield-Dayton, Ohio, and Jacksonville. He also served as a children’s hospital chaplain in Norfolk, Virginia, and was campus pastor to 50,000 college students in Richmond, Virginia. He was a dean in Ohio and now serves as dean in the Miami-Dade Conference of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Imhoff has served on numerous religious and secular boards throughout the country. Here in Miami, he was instrumental in starting the Miami Springs Clergy Association, served on the LSF Advisory Board and became a member of the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews.
He is past president of the following organizations: Hialeah-Miami Springs Rotary Club; the Academy of Parish Clergy; and the Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida. Imhoff also serves on the Thrivent Financial Board of Directors in Miami.
In addition, he has led and organized youth groups in every assignment including one at Grace. He is a big supporter of the scouts. Currently Grace has three separate scouting ministries in Miami Springs.
He is a friendly, outgoing pastor, who, with his wife Jeanne, raised seven children and cared for 450 foster children during the 10 years they lived in Ohio.
During his stay at Grace, Imhoff also has helped strengthen the Grace Learning Center and conducts chapel with the children every Friday morning, parish administrator Roy Bassave said.
“Everyone wants him to baptize their children before he leaves. He's already baptized seven children this month. In fact, he’s been baptizing babies nearly every week since we announced his retirement,” Bassave said.
Imhoff said he will remain in the clergy ranks as an interim pastor in other assignments.
On May 31, Grace Lutheran Church will have a retirement celebration at the Embassy Suites at 3974 NW S. River Dr. in Miami Springs. The celebration will start at 6 p.m. with a social hour follow by dinner at 7 p.m. The program will be at 8:15 p.m.
Imhoff's last service will be 10 a.m. June 15, Father's Day, followed by a reception in the social hall.
Tickets to the retirement celebration cost $45 and can be purchased by calling Bassave at the church, 305-888-2871.
Christian Homes prepares for golf event
Get ready for a great day of fun at the Christian Homes for Children Ninth Annual Charity Golf Tournament on June 21.
The event will be at the Historic Country Club of Miami, 6801 NW 186th St., Hialeah. Registration will start at 7 a.m,. followed by an 8 a.m. tee time.
The $125 fee includes a continental breakfast, awards luncheon, unlimited beverages on the course, golfer gift bags, a chance to win prizes and more. All proceeds will directly benefit abused and neglected children throughout South Florida in the care of Christian Homes for Children.
For more than 39 years, individuals in South Florida and throughout the United States have helped the Christian Homes for Children volunteer network provide safe homes of love for more than 1,100 abused and neglected children. You, too, can become an instrument of God’s mercy by supporting the organization’s endeavors.
St. Basil gets a new pastor
The Rev. John Fink has been assigned as the new pastor of St. Basil Catholic Church at 1475 NE 199th St. in North Miami Beach. He was appointed after the Rev. Peter Lickman died last month.
Fink was appointed by Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Church.