Share This Page

Indian Creek Valley United Methodist Charge minister retires

| Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 7:46 p.m.
Linda Harkcom | for the Daily Courier
The Rev. Paul Freidhof has retired as the minister for the Indian Creek Valley United Methodist Charge.

After 14 years, the Rev. Paul Freidhof retired as the minister for the Indian Creek Valley United Methodist Charge, which includes Calvary United Methodist Church, Mt. Salem United Methodist Church and Davistown United Methodist Church.

“He was a friend to everyone. His ministry went well beyond the pulpit. His service really was to minister to the community,” said Lori Ritenour, chairperson of the Pastoral Relations Committee.

Freidhof, 66, said his health has not been the best and felt the time was right for him to retire.

“I wanted to spend some time with my 16 grandchildren, and it's time for me to take care of myself,” he said.

He said what he will miss most is the personal relationships he has with his congregants.

“We have developed such great relationships and we have a deep love and respect for one another,” he said.

Judy Sanner of Donegal Township is a member of the Davistown church. Sanner said Freidhof was well known at the church for his compassion and being there for his members when they needed him.

“If someone was sick, he was always right there when it was going on, not two days later. He was more like family than a pastor, and I think everyone at Davistown felt the same way,” Sanner said.

Freidhof said he went above and beyond in caring for his flock in the way Sanner described because he felt it was an honor to be able to serve people more than anything else.

The popular minister said he is proud of all he was able to accomplish while serving the three churches, naming many physical improvements to the church facilities.

“We have accomplished more things than you can even imagine, and there is no debt. I don't believe in having a church in debt,” he said.

He is pleased with the spiritual programs that were started during his tenure, including a movie night, volleyball program, Prayer Journey, Pathways Bible Study, Kids Night, Gospel Sings and the Prayer Shawl ministry — to name a few.

In addition to his work in the churches, Freidhof believes it was important to minister to the community as well and he was well known for marrying couples and officiating at funerals for those who did not belong to a church. He even began a volleyball program at Calvary, with many children who participating who did not have a church to call home.

“Volleyball teaches ethics, good sportsmanship, godly principles, and we teach them fellowship. Many kids in the community may belong to no church at all, and this is one place they can come and learn these principles,” he said.

He was instrumental in the rejuvenation of the Laurel Ministerium.

“I believe in stepping out of the box. I like to see people become connected and I don't believe in barriers such as different religions,” he said.

Freidhof may be retiring, but he has no plans of resting on his laurels. He is on a three to six month sabbatical. He and his wife have moved to Bellefonte to be closer to their daughter and son-in-law, who run a church camp there. He plans to help out at the camp by providing handyman services as needed.

Having spent a great deal of time in hospitals with his parishioners and often stepping in as an advocate for them, he is planning to research patient advocacy and hospice and how to improve these areas.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.