OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #19
Week of 5 August 2020

Dear OSL Family,

Greetings! After a couple weeks of not writing, we have much to share with you, so find a comfortable chair and a cold beverage and enjoy getting caught up on what’s happening at church.

We continue to gather in person for worship, on Saturday (5:00 p.m.) and on Sunday, Celebrate (8:45 a.m.) and Festive (10:15 a.m.). All indoor services include Holy Communion, the distribution of which is contactless.

In order to follow our distancing protocol, please seat yourselves one household per row in Celebrate and, at most, two households per pew in Festive.

This Sunday (August 9), Celebrate worship will be outdoors in the south parking lot, weather permitting, and will not include Holy Communion.

If you are not ready to join us for in-person worship, catch us on KTTW (FOX) at 9:00 on Sunday morning and on KSCB (cable) at 1:00 Sunday afternoon. Sunday worship will also be streamed on Facebook Live at 8:45 and 10:15 a.m. and recordings of the Sunday services will be posted on our website each Monday.

We Did It!
On July 26, we assembled a quorum here in The Gathering Place to both celebrate ministry in the midst of a pandemic and conduct necessary business. An annual ministry plan was adopted, which we will use to steward our financial resources for the next year along the lines of our annual vision for ministry:

Out of abundance, we will joyfully celebrate God’s grace, and boldly embrace and serve all.

President Dan Van Schepen also announced and called for an affirmation of a recent decision by the Governing Board to enter a one-year pilot collaboration between Our Savior’s and Church on the Street in which a full-time interim pastor will serve both congregations. The pastor serving in this capacity will be appointed by the bishop and will be instrumental in developing the concept of a shared ministry position and testing its viability and usefulness for all involved.

Initially the synod staff proposed placing a pastoral intern in this position. When that option did not materialize, a second gifted candidate surfaced, a pastor living in Grand Forks who was planning to move to Sioux Falls with her husband, who would be continuing his training to become a nurse anesthetist. Before an interview could be arranged, her husband received an offer to teach at the University of North Dakota and they decided to stay in Grand Forks.

At this point, the names of local pastors were considered. Pr. Shelly Gehring’s name rose to the top of the list based on her educational background (BA–Social Work/Sociology, Augustana (SF); MA–Outreach/Christian Education/Educational Leadership, Luther Seminary; Certificate of Ordination, Wartburg Seminary), her decades of experience working in the church at both the congregational and the ELCA churchwide level, and her proven ability to be creative and innovative in a variety of ministry settings. The synod staff extended an invitation to her to join the conversation, which she accepted.

After much discussion and prayer, an Interim Pastor Agreement and Covenant was written and presented to the respective boards of Church on the Street and Our Savior’s, both of which approved it unanimously (Pr. Randy abstained from voting).

Because this is an interim pastor arrangement, it is a contracted position rather than a called position. Thus, it does not require the vote of the congregation.

Pr. Shelly has accepted this assignment from the bishop and will begin serving for a period of one year as the Interim Pastor of Youth and Family at Our Savior’s on September 16. Her duties will be split approximately 50/50 between OSL and Church on the Street, where she will provide critical pastoral support to a growing ministry among the unhoused of Sioux Falls. Church on the Street will also subsidize this position.

At the end of the one-year term, if the partnership seems to be working well for all involved, and if the Holy Spirit seems to be leading us to continue the relationship, the possibility exists that Our Savior’s could call Pr. Shelly to serve in a permanent pastoral position. That decision, however, would require a formal call process and a congregational vote.

For more information, click here.

Facility Update
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are installing ultraviolet light emitters in the HVAC systems of key areas in the building. These UVC emitters have been shown to eliminate nearly all airborne microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria. At this writing, UVC units have been installed for the Celebrate Center, The Gathering Place, and the office suite. Units for Fellowship Hall and basement classrooms will be installed next. The unit for the Sanctuary is back-ordered and will be installed as soon as it arrives.

Faithful, Hopeful, Loving Stewardship Update
The results of our annual stewardship appeal were also reported at the mid-year congregational meeting. We are including them here for those of you who were unable to attend.

2020 Appeal Results Total Pledged Net Change from 2019
No change in pledge 188 $457,187 $0
Decrease in pledge 53 $156,131 ($67,128)
Increase in pledge 228 $838,076 $142,037
New pledges 74 $108,010 $108,010
No new pledge 97 ($170,283)
Net Increase for 2020 $12,636

Number of pledges 2019 – 566
Number of pledges 2020 – 543
Total pledged 2019 – $1,546,767
Total pledged 2020 – $1,559,404

Prayers of the People
This week the ministry of your prayers is requested for: (healing) Jennifer Kahl, Tamee Sandvall, and Gary Theis; and (grieving) the families of Jack Carlis, Doris Milliken, and Pam Kolsrud.

Kingdom of Heaven logoA Final Word
This week in worship, we hear the story of Jesus walking on water and Peter’s failed attempt to do the same. It is a story about the power of faith and fear, a story we need now more than ever.

See you in church,

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

Want to help with OSL’s relief efforts in the face of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic? Click the button!

To date, OSL has received over $6,000 for COVID-19 relief. Thank you for your generosity!

Text to Give

Text Giving screen

Give it a try! Text sharing to 73256,
then follow the link you’ll receive!