In his 25 years at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Flatville, the Rev. James Lehmann never experienced an Easter service like 2020’s.
The only people inside “The Cathedral in the Cornfield” were Lehmann, his wife, BEV, a pianist and an intern. Together, they tried to pull off an online version of what usually is a packed-to-the-rafters service, made more difficult by spotty Wi-Fi.
What did the stuck-at-home congregation of 1,110 think?
“They appreciated the effort,” Lehmann said, chuckling.
Today, we’re happy to report, the church doors are open again, as Immanuel will host a sunrise service. It starts at 7 a.m. — later than usual because the breakfast that follows has been called off — with every other pew roped off, parishioners in masks and the talented choirs still on hold.
“Less weird,” said Lehmann, 68, one of our area’s longest-serving-at-one-church pastors. “Normal-ish.”
Like so many churches, Immanuel has been challenged during the pandemic, having to come up with remote ways to reach and teach.
“Extremely difficult,” he said. “We spend all of our time saying ‘Come to church!’ Then (last) March, we had to say ‘Don’t come!’ It was so against the grain.”
That’s what makes Easter 2021 an even more joyous occasion. If you’re driving by on Flatville Road this morning, you’ll probably hear ’em.
“We’re making progress,” Lehmann said. “If we can’t worship, then our faith soon dies.”