Watching Pastor Hank pray will make you cry.
He tips his head to one side and squints; the way people do when they’re really listening.
Then a calm, perhaps what the Bible calls “the peace that passes understanding,” blankets the space where you are.
“Jesus always shows up,” the new minister at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church - Rev. Dr. Henry “Pastor Hank” Corcoran says.
His multi-lingual knowledge will wow you.
What he calls his hippie freak roots aren’t shocked by the detours folks take to the Divine.
Coming from a charismatic background, he’s not a typical Lutheran minister.
Studying the Hebrew word “tselem” in Genesis, and comparing it to an idea in Ephesians, he talks about wanting people to understand that being created in God’s image gives them “an identity in Jesus.”
That didn’t come to him easily around a campfire singing “Kumbaya.” It was trial, lots of them – and error, some of those also.
He’s quick to say he’s still learning today, even with two master’s degrees under his clerical collar.
Growing up, he saw what he describes as “the hypocrisy in religious people, and looked for significance everywhere but in Jesus.”
He was barely a teen when the intricate design of a single maple leaf assured him there had to be a Creator behind that perfection.
While exploring the Eastern religions looking for that Creator, he was, he says, “flabbergasted” that random people repeatedly talked to him about Jesus.
He prayed, “Lord, I don’t know, but I want to know,” and says God began the process of revealing Himself.
Corcoran and his wife Beth have been married about 45 years and have three children and 12 grandchildren.
Daughter Sarah is a swim coach, golfer and yoga instructor in Colorado.
Daughter Hannah is married with six children and lives in North Carolina.
Son David is also married with six children and is a computer machinist in Illinois.
The couple lives in Conway, and he’s pastored at Christ the Servant just a few weeks.
On his first Sunday at the church, he talked about the first two of the three parables that Jesus told, responding to the Pharisees’ protest about Him associating with sinners, the lost sheep and the lost coin.
His second week, he says, “We marveled together at the Father’s gifts to the returning Prodigal.
“When they are examined through Middle Eastern eyes, their richness and significance blow one’s mind.”
The gospel is the center of his ministry, he says, and he “sees salvation from a Hebrew perspective, as expansive as needed to reverse the damage of sin in this world.”
Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, at 2105 U.S. 501 East, Conway, across the street from Horry-Georgetown Technical College, meets for traditional worship at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday.
Sunday school is at 10 a.m. for all ages.
The phone number is 843-347-4914 and the website is http://www.ctslconline.org.
Corcoran is interested in the balance between the brain’s left-side logic and the right-side’s emotion, and stresses the necessity to use both to relate to God.
“People need to dream the dreams of God and bring them into reality, and we need our whole brain to do that,” he says. “We need to be present to the Lord as a whole person.
“Our left brain is how we make rational sense out of our right brain experience.”
People coming to the Grand Strand are often in transition, sometimes misplaced, and looking to re-create their lives, he says.
“These people are in a season of vulnerability and opportunity, and they’re willing to hear the great things God has done.
“My heart is touched by Truth, and I’m now in a place where I can teach this to other people, including people outside the church.”