OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #3
Week of 1 April 2020

Dear OSL Family,

Greetings in the name of the One who comes to us, “humble, and mounted on a donkey,” our Lord Jesus, the one “who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21) In these days of social distancing and high anxiety over an invisible enemy, know that you are not alone. God is with us; God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46)

Stewarding Relationships  
Here at church, one of our priorities during this time when we are not able to be together has become finding ways to remain connected with one another. We are doing this in a number of ways:

    • These weekly letters remind us that we belong to a community that draws upon its faith to persevere through the challenges of life, that rallies together around the mission we share to proclaim Christ through thick and thin and nurture faith that connects to every part of everyday life, and that seeks to care for one another and the world in whatever ways we can.
    • These letters have also allowed us to distribute key information each of us needs in these days of uncertainty while reminding us of our call to take care of not only ourselves but also our neighbor.
    • Our Caring Ministries team, including our Stephen Ministers, has been reaching out to those who may be more likely to feel socially isolated during this time of being apart. If you feel like you need someone to help you in these days of uncertainty, please reach out to the team by phone (336-2942) or by email: Pr. Tim Lemme, tlemme@oslchurch.com, Michelle Anderson (Faith Community Nurse), michelledanderson60@gmail.com, Maribeth Anderson (Visitation Minister), meanderson4710@gmail.com, and Deb Harlan (Caring Ministries Coordinator), bdharlan77@hotmail.com.
    • Our Youth and Family team has been finding all kinds of creative ways via social media to connect with children, youth, and families so that faith is nurtured through caring conversations and interactive activities.
    • Our Love in Action team has been coordinating our congregational response to the reality of COVID-19 in our community, working primarily through our ministry partners who are well equipped to provide resources and assistance to those in need.
    • Our Worship team, which includes not only pastors and musicians but also TV technicians, presentation specialists, and social media wizards, has been leading us in innovative and interactive worship experiences that have helped strengthen our sense of belonging to one another while keeping us rooted in God’s word of hope and grace.

Now more than ever we are seeing the value of tending to and stewarding the relationships we share with each other–for the sake of community and for the sake of the mission we share.

COVID-19 Resource
Speaking of caring for ourselves and each other, click here to access a helpful resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about what to do if you get sick with COVID-19.

Pr. Sami’s Farewell
Another relationship we need to steward well in the weeks ahead is our relationship with Pr. Sami. For the past five years, she has served faithfully in her first pastoral call as our Pastor of Youth and Family. We have known for some time that she and her family are moving because her husband Josh has received a call to serve as a chaplain in the United States Navy. None of us, though, ever anticipated any circumstance that would prevent us from celebrating in person her ministry among us. Yet, here we are.

As an alternative to a reception here at church, we are inviting you to shower Pr. Sami with cards and greetings in the next few weeks so that she will know without a doubt how much her ministry has meant to you and your loved ones. Please mail your cards to the church by April 17, 909 W. 33rd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57105. We will present them to her in worship on April 19 when we bid her farewell and Godspeed.

Holy Week
Finally, next week is that time of year when we immerse ourselves in the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. We invite you to walk that journey with us; here’s the schedule for the week:

Palm/Passion Sunday, April 5, Bishop Hagmaier preaching. Celebrate Worship: 8:45 a.m., Facebook Live; 9:00 a.m., KTTW. Festive Worship: 10:15 a.m., Facebook Live; 1:00 p.m., KSCB.

Maundy Thursday, April 9, 6:30 p.m., Facebook worship event.

Good Friday, April 10, 6:30 p.m., Facebook Live; 9:00 p.m., KTTW.

Holy Saturday, April 11, devotional video posts on Facebook, on the hour, 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Easter Sunday, April 12, Celebrate Worship: 8:45 a.m., Facebook Live; 9:00 a.m., KTTW. Festive Worship: 10:15 a.m., Facebook Live; 1:00 p.m., KSCB

A Final Note
Remember in these days of social distancing that you are not alone. Regularly reach out to those you love to stay connected. Take heart in knowing that you belong to this community called Our Savior’s. Steward each of your relationships with love and compassion, that you might find strength for the days ahead and experience the presence and power of the One whom the grave could not hold.

Grace and peace to you all,

Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
Rev. Randy Gehring,
Rev. Tim Lemme,
Rev. Sami Johnson,
Rev. Justin Kosec