Pastor Marcel Castro transplanted his wife, Andrea, and children from Chile to the United States four years ago. He attended Mid-South Christian College to prepare for ministry. In Chile, Castro received a degree in Chemistry. He left his business in the hands of his father-in-law and answered the call to full-time ministry here in the states. After graduation, he and his family moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Castro serves as the Spanish language pastor at Steamtown Church. Steamtown started with the vision of giving teenagers multiple Gospel opportunities.
In 2005, they purchased the old Boys and Girls Club building in West Scranton to house their efforts. Soon, the founders realized the best way to reach teenagers and influence their community was to minister to the parents as well. In 2008, Steamtown Church started services in a local hotel. The church body grew during their tenure at the Red Roof Inn. In 2013, the church purchased their current location, which was once a Catholic cathedral. The vaulted ceilings and sanctuary design offer unparalleled acoustics.
The Spanish language congregation functions as an expression of Steamtown Church and is not a church plant. Spanish services began in June of 2017. Both English and Spanish services occur on Sunday morning in the same location but at different times. Pastor Castro connects the various ethnicities among his members by learning new words and understanding which ones to avoid; different dialect nuances lead Castro to use a more inclusive, neutral Spanish when he communicates. The service departs from many other Spanish congregations — with its casual dress and mix of both contemporary and traditional songs. After services, fellowship meals and gatherings happen in the church cafeteria.
Castro enjoys using technology to improve the life and ministry of his congregation. He began livestreaming the Spanish service several years ago with just his smartphone. Since then, the need to broadcast live prompted the English language congregation to livestream as well. “The elder board sees the need to improve our equipment,” Castro says. “Having good image and sound quality are very important, so that people can connect and enjoy the worship. They can become discouraged if these two components aren’t in check.” Upgrades to broadcasting equipment allow both congregations to fine-tune the online product they offer. Steamtown purchased a switcher and plans to acquire more cameras in the future. A bi-vocational staff member leads the technology and audio/visual team, composed of staff and volunteers.
Recently Pastor Castro launched the Spanish Bible Institute — an online environment that joins a teacher in a Spanish-speaking country with students in America. A missionary in Peru conducts theological training using Zoom and Google Classroom. The money raised through class fees supports the teacher’s mission work. Castro hopes the Spanish Bible Institute will produce trained, able leaders from among his congregation to spearhead ministry in other churches and communities.
Castro chose a pair of Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 UC as his prize after winning a recent Bose Church giveaway. He owns Bose QC headphones and looks forward to owning the updated version. Previously, he won a Bose S1 Pro portable PA speaker during a conference he attended in Florida. He is overjoyed to be the recipient of both pieces. Castro praises the S1 Pro, “It is very high quality. The sound is wonderful!” He uses the speaker outside with great success. He simply states, "It’s awesome."