Church service extends to parking lot and beyond
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
The COVID-19 lifestyle has affected lives in every way imaginable – even the way we worship. “What does that mean to a community who is used to gathering?” queried Pastor Creighton Laptak Jr., of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Crossroads (ELCA).
Back in March, most churches shuttered their doors. Some with advanced technology could broadcast their message to a website, but others were not in that position. Pastor Creighton said he began to put out a newsletter and even if they could send a message by email, some people in the area couldn’t receive it due to the technology not being available everywhere.
Bringing “on-the-go” communion to parishioners was something the pastor could do and still does. But, just a couple of weeks ago, the church was able to get a FM transmitter to broadcast to the parking lot and beyond. They are excited to not only offer the service in that way, but, people can take the sacraments from their vehicles as well.
The pastor said he was thankful for the Council who made it possible to reach out, in this instance literally, as far as possible, to bring people in. “We just wanted to reach out to everyone and let them know we are here,” noted Donna Siebert, a member of the church community at St. Paul’s. She said, “We can come together – even if in the parking lot – and feel like community.”
Pastor Creighton invites anyone who would like to partake, saying, “The sacraments reach across so many denominations…Christ rejects no one.” Of course, this is optional, you can attend the service and not partake. “I want them to have the sacrament because it is such a vital part. It’s there at the ‘table’ where the chaos of our lives is right.” In a recent Sunday bulletin it reads, “Our worship includes Holy Communion. As Christians in the Lutheran heritage, we believe that our Lord Jesus is physically present “in, with, and under” the bread and wine we receive. However, if you believe that Jesus’ body and blood were given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins, you are welcome to commune with us, regardless of your faith background.” He says sacraments are very powerful and all are welcome.
The pastor has a strong leading of the Holy Spirit to be where he is at this time in his life. He hasn’t always been a pastor, matter of fact, this is his first pastorate. He has a strong background in theatre management and design where he directed and participated in many community groups. “That [the theatre] is about illusion and relations – building,” he noted, saying it is somewhat like the church…relationships and always building. So, while the church is evolving as the country deals with a pandemic, the pastor isn’t phased. He knows things change, and often something better comes from it in the end.
He describes this time of COVID-19 as a “wilderness journey”. He says from the beginning they began to try to keep contact with people even if it meant not in person. Then in May, the church doors opened with a different look. The doors they used to come in and out were changed, and people only sit in every other seat. Things have definitely changed, but that doesn’t mean God changes, according to the Pastor.
He invites everyone to come to the church located off 229 near Batesville. You can contact the pastor at 812-655-4616 or email: Creighton.firstname.lastname@example.org. The church’s phone number is 812-934-3970 or email email@example.com. The church webpage is: stpaulscrossroads.org.