Singing and guitar playing greet group upon arrival for visit to German friends
A GROUP of 31 from Paignton's Christians Together have returned from an eventful trip to Hamelin in Germany.
For some, it was a returning visit. For others, it was a first time experience for the twin town.
"And what an experience," said Charlene Thornberry, of Methodist churches in Paignton.
"Arriving at the coach depot, we were greeted by singing and guitar playing, smiles that were miles wide, arms open stretched to say hello once again to these friends. It was very emotional."
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The group enjoyed a bilingual Sunday service with a sermon shared by Rev Bob Boyle and Rev Dermot Thornberry.
Rev Thornberry, who was a manager with a pest control company before entering the ministry, told the intrigued congregation that the Hamelin mayor had especially invited him to rid the town of the returned rats.
"A gift in the form of a light blue altar cloth embroidered with the Christians Together in Paignton logo was presented to the Münster Kerk at the end of the service.
"The church is celebrating their 1,200 year anniversary this year.
"The week was filled with amazing outings to castles, open air farm museums and the VW Autostadt in Wolfsburg to name but a few.
"Our hosts could not be faulted in their generosity and love as they cooked, entertained and forged friendships with us.
"There were special programmes put on for the younger members of the group and as usual the German youth pastor Caarsten Overdick was a real success with his programmes and singing."
She added: "In four years' time, we return to Hamelin so why not think about joining us for a trip of a lifetime.
"In 2014, they return to Torbay and we will be doing the hosting and entertaining.
"The Germans love coming to Torbay — they think the coastline is magical. We always need more hosts so do think and pray about helping out.
"We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who had a part in organising this trip but especially to Chris Carter and Debbie Trewern who did an amazing job in planning and preparing a week of wonderful experiences."