top of page

Pastor’s Report

September 17, 2019


Prior to  Labor Day were using a congregationally developed version of the Chicago Folk Mass before moving to the current congregationally developed German Mass liturgy. We had beautiful music from the Marsh Mountain Consort in August and another Marsh Mountain Consort plus for worship on 8 September.  This last Sunday, we enjoyed music which included the Middle School pianist Alex Skiles, A viola student from Frostburg State University, Ruth Seib on the recorder, and Cindy Bessey with her guitar.  These last two weeks have have included as many as 30 worshipers to include members, visitors, and Roman Catholics looking for an 11:00 Mass.  SOTH (and our visitors) have been invited to participate in a joint Mountaintop Reformation Service scheduled for Emmanuel Lutheran Church  on October 27th, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.  We have also been invite to a “German-themed dinner” which will be served immediately following worship in Emmanuel’s fellowship hall.  I always remember how Reformation Day leads us quickly into many approaching festivals let alone the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas!



The Thursday Bible Study continued this month at “Canoe on the Run”.  The new change this month is how the start time has been pushed back an hour to 10:00 a.m.  This small group study is open to all visiting and regular participants.  If you know someone who might be interested, please invite them to join you in focused time upon God’s Word.  All (brothers & sisters) are welcome.  Bring a bible of your choice.  Loaner copies are available for use.  We finished Jeremiah several weeks ago and will be beginning Acts, Chapter #2 this Thursday (19 Sep).

After taking August off Life after Forty-Five (LAFF) returned for local cuisine with friendship and fellowship to the Fireside Deli and Wine Shop for a reprise visit on September 10th.   A good time was had with many farm related jokes.  Please join us next month as we kick-off Autumn Glory Week with an Oakland Train Station tour led by Ralph Biltz before we sit down for a night of fun, food, and fellowship this “ghostly” time of the year.  We will be eating somewhere yet to be announced in Oakland.  Ask a neighbor, friend, or recent visitor(s) to join you  (we enjoyed several visitors last month for this very reason).   Your invitation may be all the Holy Spirit needs to bring community and humor to a neighbor!

The local ecumenical “Mountain Top Ministerial Association” had its first meeting of the school year at Faith Evangelical Free Church.  The Lutheran Mountain-top Pericope Study took August off before starting-up again yesterday (16 September) on my deck on Boy Scout Road.   The Lutheran Pericope Study group will be making a reprise visit to my deck for their October 21st scheduled meeting.


While The Students in Need Group (SING) Committee is preparing for the opening of the Garret College Food Pantry after mid-terms, the clothing and school supplies mission is underway.   If you want to be part of this Garrett College-based student ministry, please talk to our SING Chairperson: Linda Luedeke.


We have about nine months to work with Garrett College, SING, and interested congregations to consider, develop, and  submit a Food Pantry grant application for a Domestic Food Grant from the ELCA.  To date, both the Accident Parish and Emmanuel, Bittinger have shown interest in working together with the College to explore options.  I will continue discussions with the remaining Garrett-based Mountaintop Lutheran Congregations and will meet with College officials after my return from the World Scout Jamboree and my vacation.

I continue serving as a Veteran Representative to both the Garrett County Homeless Committee and the Commission on Aging.  The bimonthly Homelessness Roundtable met last week (10 Sep) at the Garrett County Health Department.  There was discussion about needing housing for as many as 19 “households”in Garrett County.  I suggested Town View Village in Accident had one market-rate one-bedroom apartment available without any subsidy.   Subsequent discussion made it clear that there is a shortage of one-bedroom units in our county. 


The Senior Market-rate Housing Preliminary Study was on hold while I served as a Chaplain for the 24th World Scout Jamboree and took vacation to visit with family and to attend family events.  I look forward to working with the fundraising chair to develop fund raising options for raising the $3,500 (previously $5,000 needed for our “full study”) which will define details (e.g. price points, services, and possible locations) for our county.  Options to raise money for the needed  “full study” include:   Barbeque chicken dinner(s), Hand Bell concert(s), sports tournament(s), person-to-person contacts, (other thoughts?).  Community Action will be working to help me arrange a meeting with other groups who are interested in working to fulfill some of these newly identified senior needs.  Community Action arranged an internal funding line to support this initiative and will provide tax-free donation letters for any contributions made through them.  If you know anyone who would like to contribute to this NOW validated initiative, please contact our fund raising chair (Ann Smith) directly at

Game Night Continues.  If you want to suggest a future Game Night focus/game, or just want to see what’s been suggested for our next session; please go to “Garrett Gamers” on Facebook, or by checking out the SOTH Facebook page.  We had 12 gamers last week and played three different games.


Town View Apartments is a 501-C3 nonprofit subsidized housing facility for the elderly and disabled in Accident, MD which is operated by the Accident Community Housing Corporation (ACHS).  ACHS is working to establish the true nature of its reserves before exploring options to provide additional housing services within its “greater Accident” market-area.  We had been awaiting publication of our first Capital Needs Assessment study which must be re-accomplished.  The study’s payment was agreed to be made upon delivery.  The original contractor never finished the report before  stopping to return calls, e-mails or letters.  While we’ve lost 3-4 months due to thi firms inaction, we are initiating a new study.  If you would like to be a part of this development, please let me know.  Additional board members are needed if you want to bring your knowledge or skills to bear for elderly in need.



Thank you for letting me attend the 24th World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Scout Reservation in Mount Hope, WV this summer!  I was partnered with a fulltime trauma and substance abuse chaplain and learned a lot as we jointly worked to care for staff members who were unable to take care of themselves.   My mother’s sister (Gayle Freudenwald) came in to spend time with mom and had a great time.  Many thanks to all of you who invited them in and helped them to explore the area. THANK YOU!!!

Thank you again for the opportunity to minister to more than 46,000 scouts, scouters , and vendors from around the world, to include specifically those from the following countries with whom I served:  Australia, Columbia, Taiwan, Argentina, Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland, Thailand, Ireland, Mauritius, Slovenia, South Africa, Italy, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, and the USA!  I ‘m happy to say that I planned my first multilingual protestant worship service which included German, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Norwegian and English, along with hymnody (posted on-line) which could be sung acapella in many of these languages.

My  vacation to Racine and  Milwaukee, WI allowed mom and I to take Gayle home, for me to attend the annual meeting of the National Lutheran Association on Scouting, and to visit several relatives and family friends.  I was also able to rediscover several distant relatives’ gravesites which had gone “missing” decades ago.  I also enjoyed my retreat with classmates at the Gettysburg campus of the United Lutheran Seminary which included a visit to the cupola of the “Old Dorm”  at the original Seminary Ridge “Schmucker Hall” location.  My mother, brother Dan, and I attended the marriage of my brother Scott’s daughter (Rachel) in Michigan on the 31st of August and spent a few days visiting with friends and family in the greater Grand Rapids area.

The Synod’s Fall Continuing Education is set for October 8-10 at Chief Logan State Park Lodge.

Pastor Rick

bottom of page