From the Pastor

Dear friends,

In the next few weeks, we will bid farewell to Freya Obermuller, who has lived with us as an exchange student since last August. Freya, from Hamburg, Germany, has become a wonderful addition to our family — our fourth child, it seems — leading Carter and Matt to call her Freya OberWoolly. She’ll certainly be missed.

I want to thank you for your gracious hospitality toward Freya. She came to us after a mid-summer plea from the high school, when her assigned host family in Oregon needed to back out at the last minute. Early on, we asked that Freya and her parents understand that I’m a pastor, and her involvement in worship and youth activities would be a given. There was no hesitation whatsoever.

The first week after arrival, she started rehearsing with the chancel choir in preparation for last fall’s German language play, “In God’s Own Country.” Along the way, she’s developed solid friendships with members of the youth group, participating in all their activities, trips, and as a reader on Youth Sunday. She’s enjoyed her first (and only) prom, glass-bottled Cheerwine, and joined her American sister, Anna, as a member of the undefeated Salisbury High soccer team.

On her last Sunday in worship, June 3, we sang Freya’s favorite hymn, “The Canticle of the Turning,” a contemporary Irish hymn that includes a phrase well-suited for these days of farewell:

“My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws hear,
and the world is about to turn.”

Our hope is that this relationship will continue to grow through the years, so that our “goodbye” might only be temporary.

In the meantime, thank you, again, for your warm embrace. You have helped Freya and all of us see that God’s family extends far beyond these four walls. What a blessing!

Enjoy these beautiful days of summer! We’ll see you in worship.

+Pastor Rhodes

P.S. Congratulations to our high school graduates! As they take this next step in life, may they be rooted in Christ, knowing that this congregation will always be a place of peace, grace, forgiveness, and homecoming.