Pastor Dave Heckler began his ministry among us on August 1, 2009 after serving in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod for 22 years.
In many ways, ministry at St. Paul’s is a return home for Pr. Dave and his family. He was born in Sellersville and raised in Franconia Township, just across the field from the Indian Valley Country Club and down the road from Little Zion Lutheran Church, an active and lively congregation much like St. Paul’s. He graduated in 1979 from Souderton Area High School, and received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Delaware in 1983. He received his Masters of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1987 and was ordained at Little Zion soon thereafter. From 1987-2009, Pr. Dave served in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod in full-time pastorates at St. James in Hobbie, St. Mark’s in Pond Hill, Maidencreek in Blandon, and St. Paul's in Hawley, and part-time pastorates at St. Mark’s in Lackawaxen, St. Luke’s in Greeley, St. Jacobi in Shohola, and St. Peter’s in Hughestown. Pr. Dave also served as the ministry partner and resident musician for the joint Lutheran-Episcopal Saturday evening Eucharists at St. John's Episcopal Church in Hamlin, as well as in several “union church” contexts with United Church of Christ partners. Within the wider church context, Pr. Dave has also been a longtime active member of Northeast Penn Synod committees coordinating Appalachian, Small-Town, & Rural Ministries, Mission Partnerships, World Hunger, Lutheran Campus Ministry at Kutztown University, and Accessibility Ministries serving as the chair of the latter two committees for several years. And since January 1, 2016, Pr. Dave has also been serving as the pastor of Christ Church of the United Church of Christ in Trumbauersville, PA, renewing his partnership with the UCC.
Throughout his ministry, Pr. Dave has been very active in volunteer positions. He served on the board of Wayne County Habitat for Humanity, coordinated or helped to coordinate CROP Walks for Church World Service and 30-Hour Famines for World Vision, and has been actively involved with both Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts of America. In this area, Pr. Dave has worked with the planning team for Keystone Opportunity Center’s “Sleep-Out for Hunger and Homelessness”, is the founder and board chair of Advocates for the Homeless of Upper Bucks, our Code Blue winter emergency sheltering ministry in Upper Bucks County, and is active with HUBBUB (“Helping Upper Bucks Be Universally Better”) and several countywide groups ministering to our homeless neighbors.
Pr. Dave has two sons, Stephen and William, and a daughter-in-law, Christine Cousins. Pr. Dave also has a granddaughter, Chloe Marie Heckler.
Here is, in part, his response to the question about his core convictions and sense of call: "To me, ministry’s not just a job— it's a calling, a passion, a privilege, and a constant challenge. And because the love of God in Christ is always reaching out in forgiving love, I continually seek to stir my people to reach beyond themselves— to grow so that they may serve, to find joy in serving others, to live rather than merely survive."
Pastor Dave at the Beach Retreat
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