Ministry Spotlight:
Susan B. Anthony Elementary School

Photo of Susan B. Anthony School

“…why do you stand looking at the sky?”

Jesus’ friends were staring after their leader. Some, perhaps, shielded their eyes against the sun as Jesus rose into the sky.

As Jesus rose toward heaven—wherever that is—they watched their guide, their purpose, faded from view.

For years, the people swarmed Jesus; their job was to feed and to listen and to follow. Jesus died, leaving them bereft. But then he rose again, and he resurrected their sense of purpose.

For years, Jesus had brought the people to them. What would they do now?

The answer came with a question:

“…why do you stand looking at the sky?”

The angels pointed them toward the ground beneath their feet. The angels told them to go out into the world. If they were to find Jesus again, they wouldn’t find him staring up to heaven.

After all, they had met Jesus on the road. That was where they’d find him once again.

The mural in the Sanctuary at Our Savior’s is an ever-present reminder of the angels’ question. Why stare up at heaven, when there is work to do in the world?

In 2021, we summarize this mission with a simple phrase: At OSL we connect faith to everyday life. We know that if our congregation is to find Jesus in Sioux Falls, we cannot merely stare at heaven. We must go into the community.

And if you want to really know a community—its vitality and challenges, the health of its families, how it balances care for the wealthy and for the poor—you talk to its teachers.

call-out quotation

Our Savior’s has a decades-old history of school-church partnerships. For ages, OSL had worked alongside Hawthorne elementary school, and OSL’s Women of the ELCA (WELCA) chapter has generously given to Hayward, Garfield, and Susan B. Anthony (SBA).

About a year ago, your Love in Action Core Ministry Team began researching how we could reinvest in these partnerships. Could we find one school where we could establish relationships with the staff, support the teachers, and provide encouragement and resources for the students?

We found an eager partner in Nancy Krueger, a retired principal and OSL member. Nancy wedged her toe in the door at SBA, where she and Pr. Justin met with the staff to begin forming relationships.

In October’s Intercom we shared some of our early efforts to support SBA: “seat sacks” (seatback bags) for kindergarten classrooms; test-time snacks for students; masks for every student at SBA; conference meals for teachers.

call-out quotation

We entered 2021 with a vision to expand this partnership beyond just a small team. So we began this year with a challenge to the staff: Can your ministries each commit to sponsoring a classroom for a book drive? Together, the women’s circles, WELCA, Stephen Ministry, Children’s Ministry, the Love in Action Core Ministry Team, the governing board, and the staff raised enough to gift each classroom with books for every child.

Throughout all this work, staff member Debbie Theis has provided leadership and cooked meals. The Love in Action Core Ministry Team continues to brainstorm strategy. And Nancy Krueger remains a one-woman expert and leader for this project.

As we move into the next stage of this work, we want to expand these relationships. We want to get to know the teachers as individuals. When in-person mentoring continues at SBA, we want to expand to provide mentors from our congregation. We need one or two people to represent OSL during monthly PTO meetings. Gifts of money will provide even more opportunities to support children and their teachers.

We want to pace ourselves in this work. We want to listen to our partners and build our relationships. We want to know whom to pray for at SBA and how we can ask God to support them. We want to know, and to love, our neighbors in that school; and to understand the challenges faced by the students they serve.

Certainly, then, we will meet the God who is already at work in that place.

—Pr. Justin Kosec

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