OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #41
Week of 7 April 2021
Dear Our Savior’s,
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
These familiar words punctuated Easter worship this past Sunday as we proclaimed together our faith in the one whom the grave could not hold. We pray that each of you are experiencing in this season of hope and new life God’s unbounded grace in ways that are both renewing and empowering.
Due to elevated new COVID–19 infections in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, we have adapted our rollback of certain pandemic safety guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety as we gather for worship. Until further notice, unison speaking in worship will be allowed but not unison singing. With more and more of us getting vaccinated, we are confident that we will be able to return to unison singing in the next couple of weeks. Let’s keep working together to make that happen.
Despite these necessary restrictions, it is important to remember that our calling as followers of Jesus remains the same: we will speak and act out of love for our neighbor as we live through these extraordinary times. When we gather together, we will do so in ways that provide for the safety of the community even as our protocols allow for greater participation. Thank you for all that you are doing to live out this holy calling.
Pastor Tim’s Sabbatical
The primary purpose of this week’s letter is to highlight Pastor Tim’s upcoming sabbatical. Included in worship this weekend will be a Rite of Sending for Pr. Tim. His sabbatical will be from April 12 through July 12. Here’s a letter from him that gives you an idea of what he has planned:
A Time of Sabbatical Rest and Renewal
There is a key word in scripture that reminds us of the importance of, every so often, taking time away; that word is “sabbatical.” It refers to a time of rest, a time of renewal, a time of self-care. Jesus himself knew of the importance of taking time away. When he needed to, he would retreat to the desert for a time alone in prayer, together with God, where he would find renewed strength to continue the ministry he had begun.
The call to ministry can be extremely demanding, one that requires a great deal of time, sacrifice, and energy. In order to maintain a healthy and vibrant ministry, pastors are given the opportunity, every six years, to step back, refocus, and re-energize themselves in body, mind, and spirit. This is a time of sabbatical leave.
The congregation of Our Savior’s has recognized the importance of maintaining the health and wellbeing of their pastors, and as part of each pastor’s call, embraced the importance of providing sabbatical rest to their pastors every six years. In January, I began my 20th year of serving at Our Savior’s and submitted a proposal for a sabbatical leave. This leave was approved for the period April 12–July 12 and will include rest, time with family and friends, and time for focused study. I look forward to returning with renewed energy, focus, and ministry ideas to share with all of you.
I would like to extend to the Governing Board, Pr. Randy, the OSL staff, and the congregation my sincere gratitude for this time away. My thoughts and prayers will be with you all during my leave. May God bless this time and the ministry we share in Christ’s name.
Our Ministry of Prayer
Finally, we invite you to join us this week in prayer: for Pr. Tim and his family as he begins his sabbatical; for our Pre-K students and their families who are celebrating their Walk with Jesus faith milestone; for Macki Anne Pankonen and her parents, McCord and Nicole Pankonen, as they give thanks for Macki’s baptism; for (healing) David Lehmann, Deb Ver Steeg, Ron Goergen, and Cathy Nelson; for hospice patients, especially Richard Steers; and for those who lost loved ones to COVID–19 this past year. May God bless our congregation and each of our ministry partners during this sacred time.
Grateful for you,
Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church