If you drove by Trinity Lutheran Church at 35 Furman Street in Schenectady, NY, you’d probably think it looks like pretty much any other old church building. You’d be tempted to think that it was just like any other church in the area…but you’d be wrong. Inside this beautiful, but unassuming church building is a vibrant, multicultural congregation that has been giving the opportunity to spread the Gospel of Hope not only with their neighbors down the street, but with their neighbors across the globe. And it all happened because of Covid-19.
“When I heard that we weren’t going to be able to gather for worship, I was very worried. I didn’t know what we were going to do” said Pastor Patrick Singh. Pastor Singh has been leading the congregation for the last 8 years. In that time, the congregation has transitioned from a small Caucasian congregation to a growing and vibrant multicultural ministry that fills the sanctuary to capacity.
Pastor Singh’s worry was how were they going to continue to reach out to the community? How were they going to be able to stay in touch?
“I’m not very good with technology. Just ask my kids. Whenever I need something done to my phone, my computer, my t.v., I call up one of my kids and ask them to fix it. So when people were saying that we were going to have church online, I didn’t know where to start.”
But God did. He had already put the pieces in place to help Trinity continue to tell about Jesus. Through a partnership with Immanuel Lutheran Church and Zion Lutheran Church, Pastor Patrick received the technical support to get him up and running online.
And the provision didn’t end there. God also lead someone to donate a camera to Trinity as well as volunteers to help train a team of Trinity members to produce the online worship services each week. Just one week after pausing in person worship, Trinity’s unique and vibrant worship was streaming online.
That’s just about when the strange things started happened. First, Pastor Patrick got a phone call from someone in Canada who enjoyed his services. Then he got a check from someone in Australia. Then a member told him that a whole family in India was getting together to watch his services each week. And as if that wasn’t enough…a Hindu man was baptized two weeks ago after watching services with his family and meeting Pastor Patrick. And now his family is watching back in Guyana.
When you ask Pastor Singh about it he says, “At first I was surprised by these phone calls and messages coming from all over the world. Now, I’m not as surprised, but I am very humbled. God is good. To him be the glory.”
But wait…there’s more. Trinity isn’t just reaching people across the globe. They are reaching people in their own neighborhood as well. Pastor Patrick has been spearheading a joint effort of Trinity, Immanuel, and Zion in Schenectady called the “Three Church Fund”, a fund set up to help those who have come on hard times financially due to Covid 19. Pastor Singh has shared over $12,000 in gift cards for food and clothes with those in need.
“The stories break your heart,” said Pastor Singh. “You hear about families hurting. You hear how they are struggling. It’s good to be able to help them.”
But again, God has had more in mind than just helping with a family’s physical needs. A number of these families are now coming to Trinity’s outdoor worship every Sunday morning. People have been baptized because of the care that Trinity, and Pastor Patrick, have shown. And the word is spreading about this Lutheran church who helps people and the great pastor who is there.
From one church in upstate New York to the ends of the earth, the Gospel of Hope, our Gospel of Hope, is changing lives and changing eternity, one view, one like, one share, one conversation at a time.