The pews at Christ Lutheran Church in Marshfield may be empty of warm bodies this Holy Week, due to the Governor’s Safer at Home Order, but the members of the congregation are still smiling up at the pastors as they preach – through photos. Congregation members have been sending in photos of themselves, which are then taped to the church’s pews.
“We had been seeing other posts on Facebook about churches putting member’s photos in the pews, and we really liked that idea of having the people we love pictured in the room,” said Pastor Andrew Belt. “It reminds us of the people we love and are serving and helps fill the space when it is otherwise weird to be preaching to a camera.”
“I like the faces when I’ve preached!” said Pastor Daryn Bahn. “It reminds me of all the people in the congregation.”
“Preaching is the continual dialogue between God, His Word, and His People. It is hard to have that conversation without God’s people gathered, so having pictures of them reminds me of that purpose that preaching is meant to deliver God’s goods to actual people,” added Belt.
Yvonne Rosche and Sandi Frederickson also surprised the pastors by placing the church’s PUPPETS ministry puppets in the pews.
“It really brought a smile to my face, and was very creatively done, with puppets at the keyboard, drums, and microphones, too,” said Bahn. “It will make Easter very festive for us as we do our live streams, and be another reminder of all the people we’re reaching with the live stream and all the members of our congregation that we’re keeping in our prayers every day.”
Though Holy Week looks a bit different this year, Bahn and Belt are grateful for technology that allows them to continue their work.
“We’re so thankful to be able to reach out using the Facebook live streams and YouTube and cable access and every way we can, while still helping everyone in the whole community and being a positive witness by encouraging people to stay at home as much as possible,” said Bahn.
Bahn added that many churches across the U.S. are planning to ring their church bells on Easter morning.
“I heard they plan to ring at 7 a.m., 33 times, in honor of the approximate number of years Jesus lived on the earth before His death and resurrection to rescue us from sin and death,” he said. “So we’ll try to ring the bells 33 times then, too!”