Off to new horizons
Just outside of Süderende lies the 800 year-old St. Laurentii church. The house of God, which was first mentioned in 1240, is adorned by beautiful paintings and model ships. Colourful gravestone motifs in the graveyard testify to the heyday of the whaling industry. The island dwellers were reformed as early as 1522 by Martin Luther's students. The pastors lived in the village and worked in agriculture. The older part of the old parish house (Altes Pastorat) was built around the year 1680 and the "newer" was added in 1762. History does not reveal whether the famous pastor Ricardus Petri (1597-1678), who established a nautical school in Süderende and provided the men of Föhr with training in mathematics, navigation and astronomy, actually lived to see this building.
Whatever the case may be, his lessons helped the people of Föhr become successful whalers and sought-after helmsmen for whaling vessels throughout northern Europe. Many sailors including the well-known "Glückliche Matthias" (Lucky Matthias) owed their wealth the work of the pastor. The "confirmation room" was probably also used by subsequent pastors as a nautical school. In 1969, the church sold its old parish house. The building was privately used at first and then later converted into a comfortable hotel.