Pastoral Letter #7
Week of 29 April 2020
Dear OSL Family,
We greet you this week in the promise of God’s unfading peace through our risen Lord Jesus. Even in days of uncertainty, may you know this peace, which is not a result of a lack of suffering but which comes through a life of faith rooted in the repeated actions of worship, prayer, praise, and service.
In the last week, we have extended to each of you the invitation to share your generosity story with the community here at OSL. We begin this week’s letter with such a story, an illustration of how one person’s generosity gives way to even more generosity.
Recently, Our Savior’s received a substantial gift from the estate of Arda Peterson of just under $160,000. This gift came to us without any designation and was given out of Arda’s deep love for this faith community and its mission to proclaim Christ and nurture faith that connects to everyday life.
At its meeting on 28 March, the Governing Board voted unanimously to tithe 10% of this generous gift as additional benevolence and asked the pastoral team to discern how to direct these funds in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, Our Savior’s will be providing assistance grants in the amount of $5,000 each to three of our ministry partners who are serving on the frontlines of this community’s pandemic response among our more vulnerable neighbors: Church on the Street, Pueblo de Dios, and Charis Ministries. Additionally we will be sending cards of appreciation to each staff member at Susan B. Anthony Elementary School along with a $50 Hy-Vee gift card (purchased through OSL’s Youth Ministry) to encourage the staff as they provide ongoing education to their students under difficult teaching/learning conditions. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Your Generosity Story
Because Generosity is one of our core values here at OSL, we want to hear your generosity story. Click here to access the form where you can share your story. All of the stories we receive will be recorded and archived on our website so that the story of OSL’s generosity may be told well into the future.
Also, keep your eyes open for stewardship materials that will be arriving in your mailbox soon. When they arrive, review them to catch a glimpse of our vision for ministry for the coming year and consider prayerfully how you will continue providing life-changing support of Our Savior’s mission. In worship on May 10, together we will make our offering to God by completing our Estimate of Giving cards and asking God’s blessing on this ministry that we share.
What If I Need Help?
First, if you are having trouble right now, reach out to someone. If you are having trouble with bills or rent or food, contact 211 or visit www.coronahelpsf.com. If you are struggling with anxiety, it is a legitimate struggle, and your healthcare providers have resources for you. If you need help but don’t know where to start, call us here at the church. We will point you in the right direction.
If you need a mask, we have some of those to share. If you need food, check out the weekly Feeding South Dakota food distribution at the fairgrounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and the Faith Temple Food Giveaway at the fairgrounds every Friday, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Given the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have extended the cancelation of all in-person activities at the church through May 17. The south entrance of the church is unlocked Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon to allow for mail delivery, and the Church Office is open with minimal staff during those hours.
As decisions are made in the days and weeks ahead regarding the “re-opening” of our community and state, your leadership team here at church will be discerning when and how we will be offering in-person activities once again here at OSL. Until that time, stay connected with us via our television and Facebook Live broadcasts, our social media ministries offered weekly via Facebook and Zoom, our prayer ministry, our website, or by simply giving us a call here at the church. We would love to hear from you.
A Final Word
The Bible readings assigned for this Sunday include two beloved readings about sheep. We leave you this week with a few thoughts from Rev. Joe Natwick of Dickinson, North Dakota, who was the featured writer this week for Luther Seminary’s “God Pause” online devotional: “Remember, you are the sheep, and it is not the will of your shepherd that you suffer. It is the shepherd’s will to suffer so that you may have life. Because the shepherd loves the sheep, and Jesus loves you! So be your Shepherd’s sheep—and listen for your Shepherd’s voice.”
In Christ’s unfading peace,
Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
Rev. Randy Gehring,
Rev. Tim Lemme,
Rev. Justin Kosec