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Pastor puts online prayers on paper

The Rev. Frederick Engdahl, Jr., with his wife, Gail, and their Irish Setter Gabby, publishes books of prayers. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
April 20, 2011 - A year and a half ago, Rev. Frederick R. Engdahl, Jr. of Clarkston had no use for the Internet in his ministry.

"I was computer illiterate," he said. "I thought it was too time consuming."

But when his son extolled the benefits of Facebook, he signed up, writing and posting prayers on the social networking website.

"Now I post prayers and meditations every day," he said. "I made it part of my morning practice."

One regular reader was Debbie Barry of Independence Township.

"He was our pastor when I first moved here," Barry said. "I loved the prayers. They were very inspiring and written beautifully."

She and Engdahl's wife Gail both thought he should be a writer, but he needed some prodding.

"I wanted to show him how it would look in print, so I had it printed for him," Barry said.

She collected his Facebook postings and printed them in a book, "Prayers and Meditations," presenting it to Engdahl this past November as a present commemorating his 25th anniversary as a minister.

"It was a wonderful gift," Engdahl said.

A second book, "Blessing of the Season," has also been printed, and a third is in production.

"It's amazing how it's come together so quickly," Engdahl said.

The books reflect the church calendar. The fourth in the series will be about Lent, he said.

"It's an opportunity to engage with considerable depth my relationship with God," he said. "It's stream of consciousness, how the spirit moves through me."

Fred and Gail, along with their two boys, Robby and Timmy, enjoy Michigan's outdoor activities, and they are avid canoers and kayakers many of Fred's outdoor photos illustrate the books.

Fred grew up in Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University and has a master of divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He served parishes in Florida, Oregon, and Michigan. For more information, check www.wordclay.com, Amazon.com, and other online book distributors.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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