Worship service becomes service worship: Lutheran Church of the Galilean hosts school supply giveaway

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

LAPLACE – Instead of always hosting a worship service, the congregation at The Lutheran Church of the Galilean in LaPlace has decided to dedicate one Sunday every few weeks to “service worship,” an opportunity to give back to the community.

It all kicks off on Sunday, July 24 with a School Supply Giveaway scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. at 3404 U.S. Highway 51 in LaPlace.

Supplies including notebooks, folders, ring pinders, pencils, pens and more will be distributed to St. John the Baptist Parish students. In order to receive supplies, the student must be present with at least one parent or guardian.

Rising Cane’s is supporting the event and will be donating lemonade and sweet tea.

In the past, the Galilean Lutheran Church has contributed supplies to Emily C. Watkins, the school the congregation has adopted.

“On July 24, we will be doing the school supply giveaway in place of our normal morning worship,” said Pastor Regina Hickman. “We’re trying to get to know our community even more, and letting them get to know us. We will have refreshments and people here to greet them. We just want people to know that we care about them, and they are welcome here at any time.”

According to Hickman, service worship is also an opportunity to answer the community’s questions about the Lutheran Church.

“There’s not a lot of Lutherans in this immediate area. People sometimes look at you funny and want to know what a Lutheran is because it sounds like something strange. It’s really not. The Lutheran Church believes in salvation through Jesus Christ,” Hickman said.

She added that the Lutheran Church welcomes everyone, no matter a person’s culture or walk of life, under the belief that God welcomes all. Visitors do not need to be a member of the Lutheran Church to take part in the open Communion.

Before coming out of retirement to pastor at the Lutheran Church last year, Hickman served as pastor at the neighboring Methodist Church for nine years. During the final year, she assumed pastoral duties at both church buildings.

Like other congregations in the area, Galilean Lutheran Church was pummeled by Hurricane Ida in August 2021. In-house worship service resumed only three weeks later with a makeshift arrangement of chairs replacing the storm-damaged pews.

“Everything had to be gutted up to about six feet. On Christmas Eve, it was gutted, and it felt a little bit like a barn, so we built a manger scene up front and rolled with it,” Hickman said. “We have lights again, finally. I’ve been very appreciative of the small congregation. Most of them had damage to their homes, but it didn’t stop them from doing events for Emily C. Watkins and doing outreach. They said, ‘life goes on’ and stepped up. They are a great bunch.”

The church recently offered a helping hand to another area congregation by providing worship space for Carla Ceasar’s ministry, From My Heart to Yours.

Other outreach has included the church’s annual Trunk of Treat, which was offered in a drive-thru format after Hurricane Ida. According to Hickman, the church hopes to offer a basketball clinic for local children in the future.