For pastor Eric Friedrichs and his wife Tara, a move to Florida to lead Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace, begins a new life chapter.
The Friedrichs' children, 18-year-old fraternal twins, just left home for college.
And, after 14 years serving a church in Columbia, S.C., Eric Friedrichs says he looks forward to empty nesting somewhere new.
Friedrichs, 47, debuts behind the Christ our Redeemer pulpit Aug. 6, replacing interim pastor Edward Benoway.
The church reached out to Friedrichs and offered him the position, which he accepted with great interest.
"It's a new adventure," Friedrichs said. "We are excited to be a part of the big-picture vision of Christ Our Redeemer."
As a boy Friedrichs knew he wanted to help people. Growing up Lutheran in Athens, Ga., he attended church camps and earned Eagle Scout badges. By college, he decided to pursue full-time ministry. He studied at Newberry College and Lutheran Theological Seminary in the southeast; then began his work at a church in Savannah, Ga.
"It's a privilege walking with people through different parts of their lives," Friedrichs says. "For me, the call came early. The foundation was there."
The position at Christ Our Redeemer appealed to Friedrichs for many reasons, one being the church's music and worship arts ministries.
Friedrich studied music in college. He plays guitar and bass. His first service at Christ Our Redeemer will be the church's well-received 9:30 a.m. Americana service, which features bluegrass and patriotic songs. The church also hosts a regular Jazz-style worship experience.
"When the church approached me, they said we think you have gifts that would work well for our congregation" Friedrichs says. "When we met, things just clicked. I have this sense of adaptability. I'm a hard worker and I have a real appreciation for the arts."
In his free time, Friedrichs plans to check out some of Tampa Bay's golf courses and hit the bike trails. He and his wife purchased a home in New Tampa, not far from Flatwoods park. Christ Our Redeemer, 304 Druid Hills Road, Temple Terrace, will host a welcome party for the couple following its Aug. 6 service.
"I am excited for folks to show us around the area," Friedrichs says.
For more information, visit corlutheran.org/about.