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Farewell for Awhile

post written by Emma Filbrun

Farewell for a While, by Sharon A. LavyTitle: Farewell for a While
Author: Sharon A. Lavy
Series: Sometimes We’re Asked to Forgive . . . the Unforgivable (Book 2)
Major Themes: German Baptists, Romance
Synopsis: Dustin and Rebekah, just a few weeks before their wedding date, discover that they have some issues they must work through before they are married.

I have now done something I never did before in my life: Read a novel about German Baptists. To my knowledge, Sharon Lavy is the first person who has written such a thing. There have been a lot of Amish novels written (and in my opinion most of them are rubbish—don’t get me started on that one), but none set among German Baptists. Since my husband and I were both raised German Baptist, Farewell for a While caught my eye when I heard about it. I also remember meeting Sharon Lavy many years ago when she and her husband spent the night with my family.

Farewell for a While is based on a church split that actually took place in 2009. Incidentally, we have family members who ended up on both sides of the division. I found Sharon’s description of the events leading up to the division quite fascinating. She did a good job of describing Annual Meeting, and German Baptist social life.

The main character, Rebekah, is engaged to Dustin. They are eagerly anticipating their wedding in a few weeks, but then comes a stressful Annual Meeting when the world Rebekah has known all her life is turned upside down by a group of elders who seem to want to control everyone’s beliefs. With Dustin unable to attend with her, she spends the weekend trying to figure out what is going on, while her best friend Heidi can’t think of anything beyond getting a date. Back home again, Rebekah continues preparing for the wedding and helping a young girl who loses an eye from cancer. Rebekah can empathize, because she herself, as a young girl, lost an eye in an accident. Then, Rebekah discovers that Dustin has not prepared a house for them to live in, and feels that she has no choice but to postpone the wedding. When Dustin gets involved with the lives of the renters he can’t bear to evict, things really get crazy. Will Dustin and Rebekah be able to sort their lives out enough to get married?

Farewell for a While is a very realistic story. I found that it rung true all the way through; I could really believe that these events could happen. Of course, the background to Dustin and Rebekah’s story, the divide in the German Baptist church in 2009, was true. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and would recommend it for anyone who wants a true-to-life romance set among a church most people have never heard of!

No warnings!

Age Levels:

Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults


Links to buy Farewell for Awhile:


Paperback | Kindle


Keywords: German Baptists, Monovision, Romance

  1. January 5, 2016

    Hi Emma,

    I remember reading about that church split that took place in 2009 and I have often wondered what it related to and what the ramifications were for those directly affected by it. I have had extensive dealings with similar splits in New Zealand, including knowing many from various groups in North Canterbury. It’s been sad to see so many of them throw the baby out with the bath water, as they lose their faith in ‘Him’, because they lost their faith in ‘him’ (the group leader).

    I’m curious to know, with the split described in your book review being on such a large scale, what were the ramifications? Were any trends evident, in terms of people re-establishing their faith, or not losing it in the first place? Were communities dissolved or disestablished because of it? And in your opinion, was the issue that caused it insurmountable? Finally, before I read this book, does it actually touch on this subject in depth, or is the subject more of a plot definer to describe the fictional life of the two main characters?

    Even if it is fictional in every respect, your review whets my interest. I have often hankered for the simple life; being able to meet people within the context of ‘true church’ as opposed to a man made system, what brings with it a whole host of man made problems. In this book, what became of the couple? Did Dustin and Rebekah manage to walk together?

    Feel free to privately message me if you prefer. Thank you for this book review. I enjoyed it.

    PS: Are you undertaking a nursing degree? 🙂 I didn’t know that about you.

    • January 5, 2016

      We have family on both sides of the church split described in this book. The book was written by someone on the side called the “New Conference”, which broke away from the traditional part of the church. Both sides seem to be continuing the same type of dress and order of worship; the New Conference seems to have a lot more “life” (Esther was just there with them in November). As far as individuals losing or re-establishing their faith, I can’t say because I’m not there. I know a lot of people on the New Conference side are pretty excited about the direction the church is going at this point. The book, “Farewell for Awhile”, describes the Annual Meeting at which the split started pretty thoroughly, and the council meetings immediately following, but there is more in the story about the characters and their challenges with each other and the events that more directly involve them. Yes, Dustin and Rebekah managed to walk together. In real life, that has been quite a challenge; one of my husband’s uncles went with one group while his wife went with the other. Six years later, I’m not sure if that is still true. We don’t hear a lot. No, I’m not going for a nursing degree; that has been Esther’s goal and the reason she started this website, besides it being a ministry.

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