In March, our daily lives and routines were forever changed due to the arrival of COVID-19. Our attempts to maintain our normal activities came to a halt as we suddenly had to rethink how we live in the community. 

Our church ministries were affected as well. Our church building at Lakeside Lutheran Church has been closed to the public since March. However, the ministry of the church has continued to support the community in various ways. 

Lakeside Lutheran is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Virginia Synod. It follows the guidelines and recommendations of the ELCA, the Virginia Synod, North Carolina state Law, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in showing our love, care and support to the whole church and our community by keeping in mind how we can best keep everyone safe while providing the same ministry that we have always provided.

From the start of the pandemic, Lakeside formed a worship team, under the leadership of the Rev. Sherrie Hofmann, to bring the congregation together on Sunday morning via YouTube. 

They receive comfort by being together spiritually even though they are apart physically. There was a learning curve as the team adjusted to talking and singing into a camera while missing the interaction with an in-house congregation. 

Many hours of planning and preparation go into bringing everyone together. As the pandemic continued, the worship team transitioned into the reopening team as plans were made to begin drive-in services.

Beginning Sunday, June 28, Lakeside will come together via drive-in services as well as YouTube services (YouTube channel: Lakeside Lutheran, Littleton, NC).  

The drive-in service will be held in the church parking lot at 8 a.m. each Sunday as they begin this new phase of worship. YouTube services will continue to be available by 9 a.m. each Sunday. 

For those having difficulty viewing the YouTube service, a digital video disc or compact disc is available upon request. 

As control of the virus occurs, they hope to progress to worship in the outside pavilion in the future. Protecting church members and visitors is the primary objective.

Following Sunday services, adult education classes are held via Zoom at 10 a.m. All are invited to participate. The Zoom link will be provided if you get in touch with Pastor Hofmann at lakesiderev@gmail.com.

Church members have continued to support the community through ministries such as providing needed school supplies for Vaughan Elementary School students when in-school learning stopped. These supplies were.placed in school packets given to them for home use. 

Even though the Community Easter Egg Hunt was canceled, church members met to prepare Easter bags that were delivered to children who participated in John 3:16 activities throughout the year.

As COVID-19 cases began to stress our medical community, a Hero Fund was established to provide gift cards to members of the congregation involved with medical services. These gift cards were used to provide a meal for members and their co-workers during a difficult day at work. 

Loving Needles, the church prayer shawl ministry, provided prayer shawls to those members involved.

Support of the entire congregation is important while unable to have in-person church services. During this time, the church council has been making biweekly phone calls to church members. 

Pastor Hofmann has been making physical distance visits to check on people and see if there are any special needs. 

Maintaining contact during this time with a phone call or a simple plate of cookies may help those without live-in support from others. Those with computer experience are also invited to a Thursday morning “Coffee Catch-up” via Zoom. It is a great time to visit with members usually seen each Sunday at the church service.

One of the largest ministries at Lakeside is the food bank. Around 32 Lakeside members make up the team along with others from four area churches. This team sorts, packs and delivers food to over 700 families. 

Food donations have dropped from 6,000 lbs. per month to under 3,000 lbs with meat donations dropping from 1,450 lbs. per month to just over 200 lbs. 

When donations are reduced, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina helps to bridge the gap with food supplements. Every two weeks, a group will travel to the Raleigh branch to restock needed supplies. 

In the last two months, Lakeside has been provided with 2,500 lbs. of free food to help the community. 

The community is encouraged to provide financial support to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C. so they can continue to provide support to the 34 counties they serve with free or reduced cost food.

All these ministries keep members active and involved, but the most exciting ministry is the church expansion and renovation that will begin as soon as permits are obtained. This project, when completed, will provide more space for community activities and fellowship.

Please join Lakeside Lutheran Church at their drive-in worship service each Sunday at 8 a.m. in the church parking lot. 

Someone will assist you as you enter the parking area. 

As you arrive, you will be given a bulletin and instructed to tune to 87.9 FM on your car radio. 

If you would rather remain home, join the YouTube worship service found on the Lakeside Lutheran Church, Littleton, NC YouTube channel. 

You can also go to the church website page, lakesidelutheran.com and click on the YouTube link posted there, or on Lakeside Lutheran Church of Littleton, NC Facebook page.