When moving forward means going back
|On July 1, Eldon Fry officially returned to Grantham to serve as the Messiah College pastor.
By Melissa (Heller) Stratis '97
I can still feel the drama of Eldon Fry's last chapel service at Messiah College in the spring of 1997. When students caught a glimpse of Eldon at the start of the service, loving pandemonium broke out in Brubaker Auditorium. Students applauded and stomped and yelled out their appreciation. A group of guys spelled "E-L-D-O-N" across the back of the upper balcony, a blue letter on each torso. Eldon stood quietly on the platform, facing the noise, his head slightly bowed and his eyes soft.
"I'm horrible at goodbyes," he says, his voice warm and gravelly with its Midwestern edges. "I'm just terrible at it. So I don't say goodbye. I just say, 'See you later.'"
As it turns out, Fry really couldn't say goodbye to Messiah College. This fall, after five years of ministry in Colorado and three in Minnesota, he returns to Messiah's campus to serve once again as its college pastor
. Somehow, just like many other steps of Eldon's spiritual journey, this new opportunity is both unexpected and the product of something larger that God has been doing all along in his life
— leading him to places where he can connect with and encourage the people around him.
"Eldon brings warmth to a room," says Kris Hansen-Kieffer, dean of students. Associate College Pastor Evie Telfer agrees: "We really wanted someone accessible, who would hang out, reach out intentionally, who would make an effort to identify with students. Eldon is the epitome of that."
There is a natural ease in the way that Eldon Fry connects with people. It doesn't matter whether he faces a gym full of students, a search committee, or a single person over a cup of coffee. In that moment of connection, with words or without, Eldon conveys something he discovered years ago
— God's love.
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