When Pastor Michele Kaufman decided she wanted to have “live” Palm Sunday and Easter services last spring at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Mountaintop, she and members of the congregation decided to hold drive-in services on the church grounds. Jim Doxsey, a member of the congregation, purchased a low-frequency FM radio transmitter so members could listen to the service inside their vehicles. The concept worked well, and the outdoor services continued throughout the spring and summer.
In the spring, the congregation completed work on a prayer garden at the rear of the church where Pastor Kaufman conducted the services. Recently, the church moved its 9 a.m. service indoors, but kept the 11 a.m. gathering outside. As late fall arrived, the congregation came up with an idea to allow the pastor to continue to conduct the outdoor service, even in inclement weather. They built her a “Pastor Pod.”
The approximately 6×8 foot “Pastor Pod” is located adjacent to the church parish hall. It was constructed using two-by-four supports, has a platform, and a roof and is enclosed in plexiglass.
The 9 a.m. service was moved indoors, maintaining social distancing and requiring masks,” Pastor Kaufman related. “But we wanted to keep one of our services outdoors because several members of the congregation are dealing with cancer and other health problems. We wanted to make sure they could attend services, but be safe.”
The congregation and surrounding community have embraced the concept of the Pastor Pod with great enthusiasm. We have had people from as far as 25+ miles from St. Paul’s worshipping with us. We have several families from neighboring congregations from different faith traditions attending on a regular basis because of the safety factor. A local business “loaned” us Christmas trees; members used Thrivent monies to decorate for the holidays. A member from another congregation spearheaded the Christmas Tree lighting event held in December. Our annual Christmas Dinner and Hanging of the Greens went on as planned with a “twist.” The creativity and innovation and resilience this congregation has displayed in these trying times has been an inspiration. It has been our modern day Reformation! We are church in every sense of the phrase!