Thom Friedrich is the pastor of Sonlight Christian Fellowship, GCI’s congregation in Loudon, New Hampshire. Thom and his wife Marlene have been married for 29 years. They have two adult children, Ian and Emily. “We do look forward to having grandchildren someday, but there are none yet, which is just as well since neither of our children is married!”
Thom grew up on a 65-acre homestead in Candia, New Hampshire where his parents still live. Thom says he had a fairly typical upbringing, but as the youngest of five children, “I was able to learn from the mistakes of my older siblings (well, mostly).”
Thom said he initially didn’t have much interest in school and was held back in fourth grade. This proved to be a blessing. “I ended up with a teacher named Mrs. Heart who, in keeping with her name, taught me to have a love for learning.” That love led Thom to focus on theatrical arts in high school, which might seem an unusual path to prepare for where he is today, but Thom said it helped form him. “In high school, I involved myself in Chorus and Drama, excelling in both. I totally enjoyed performing in front of an audience! Perhaps that is why I took to preaching so well.”
Thom joined the Coast Guard where he spent four years. It’s also where he met Marlene. Following his military service, Thom tried a couple different vocations, the second of which led him to his knees in frustration as he sought God’s help. Soon after this prayer, Thom said, “I was hired by a small manufacturing firm where I learned drafting and design, which is still the vocation I enjoy to this day.”
It was around this time that Thom and Marlene were seeking answers about God. “Marlene far more earnestly than myself,” Thom points out. “So when I saw a pile of Plain Truth magazines at a local pizza shop, I grabbed up a copy, knowing that Marlene would be interested.” That was the beginning for Marlene. She started sending for literature and reading everything she received. “I was a bit less zealous,” Thom said, “but I could not help but be influenced by her zeal. Then one day as I was trying to read and understand a piece of literature from WCG, I prayed that God would help me make sense of it. I was blown away by his immediate answer to that prayer. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Thom and Marlene joined GCI in the spring of 1987 and Thom joined Spokesman’s Club soon afterwards. This training also proved helpful. “As soon as I graduated from club, I was asked to provide sermons about once every other month.” The frequency in sermons increased as the changes took place within the denomination. “Our local congregation began making greater use of those who had reasonably good speaking ability.”
Thom had already been serving as the worship coordinator for the congregation for about five years when he was commissioned as the congregation’s Assistant Pastor on October 5, 2002. “The following spring, our Senior Pastor Ron Stoddart transferred to Utah, leaving me in charge. Although I cannot say I have ever felt called to this position, I certainly recognize that I have been gifted for the task.”
Thom enjoys pastoring and said, “The greatest part of being a pastor is the opportunity to clearly convey the gospel to those who desire better understanding.” And Thom, like most good teachers, enjoys learning as well. His most memorable moment as a pastor was “when I came to understand the great love of God and the power of Trinitarian theology in reaching the lost.”
Understanding and sharing our teachings on Trinitarian theology is what Thom enjoys most about being part of GCI. He feels our understanding is on the cutting edge of a spiritual and teaching revival. “The insights currently being shared have invigorated my desire to learn and grow as a child of the Father.”
Thom has never given up his love of the arts. “I love to write poetry when I have opportunity, not the award-winning type, but the kind that makes people smile. I recently had the great privilege of writing a poem for my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary.” He is also passionate about music. “I have a love for music that fills me to bursting. If it were possible, I could spend every waking hour singing, whistling, humming. Unfortunately, jobs that allow this are few and far between.
This love of music ties in with Thom’s relationship with God. When asked when he feels closest to his Papa/Father, Thom said, “When I am singing his praises. Many times I have found myself bursting into worship as I look up at a star-filled sky. To think that the God who created all that still has time for me–awesome!”
2 thoughts on “Thomas Friedrich”
It’s good to get to know you better Thom. Thank you for your years of faithful ministry. I look forward to seeing you next month.
Glad to read this article, Thom. Of course, nothing in there is new to me. I’m just glad more people know about what God has been doing in you and Marlene’s life over the years. God Bless.
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