OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #14
Week of 17 June 2020

Dear OSL Family,

Kingdom of Heaven logoWe began a preaching series last Sunday, The Kingdom of Heaven. In worship, we heard Jesus’ words to his disciples, “You received without payment; give without payment.” In these days of pandemic and protesting, we hear in these words our call as followers of Jesus, people who have been shaped by extraordinary grace to be bearers of grace to the world—bearers of the kingdom of heaven to a world broken by sin and suffering. This is at the core of who we are and what we are striving to be about at Our Savior’s, even at a time when life is anything but normal.

Well, How Did It Go?
In an attempt to resume in-person worship, outdoor Celebrate Worship was held last Sunday with about 110 in attendance. The morning air was cool, the wind was stiff, but the spirit among those who gathered in the parking lot was joyful. We were grateful to be able to welcome people to worship and actually see some of the folks we were welcoming.

Of course, we followed the recommended precautions as a way of caring for each other—physical distancing was observed, masks were worn by many, offerings were placed in stationary baskets, and we refrained from shaking hands or giving hugs. Still we felt a strong sense of community after three months of separation. It was a good morning.

Our experience was not without a few equipment casualties. The wind toppled both a TV camera and a small speaker used by one of the vocalists. We don’t know yet whether either of them is repairable. Normally the wind speed would have driven us indoors for worship but because indoor worship was not an option, we were committed to making the outdoor option work even if it meant borrowing rocks from the Healing Garden to anchor equipment in place.

Going forward, we will abide by our usual standards for conducting outdoor worship – air temperature above 60° by 8:00 a.m., wind speeds below 15 mph, and relatively dry conditions with no rain in the forecast.

What about This Sunday?
This Sunday, 21 June, weather permitting, we will again hold Celebrate Worship in the south parking lot at 8:45 a.m. At this writing, the weather forecast is favorable but if we cannot meet the above criteria for being outdoors, we will revert to our practice of distance worship, which is broadcast on KTTW (FOX) at 9:00 a.m. and Facebook Live at 8:45 a.m.

If you plan to join us for outdoor worship, please care for your neighbor by following these guidelines:

• Staying at home if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel sick.
• Bring your own lawn chair(s) or blankets unless you plan to remain in your car during worship.
• Practice good hand hygiene before, during, and after worship. Hand sanitizer will be available.
• Keep 6-10 feet between you/your group and others.
• Wear a face covering. A limited supply of cloth and disposable masks will be available.
• Place your offering in one of the containers provided.
• Holy Communion will not be celebrated.
• Avoid physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.) with anyone outside of your immediate household.

 

What about Indoor Worship?
The Resume Task Force has completed its work and forwarded to the Governing Board its recommendation for resuming indoor in-person activities including worship. The board will meet next on 18 June and will notify the congregation of its decision regarding the resumption of indoor in-person activities soon afterward.

In Gratitude
With nothing but gratitude in our hearts, we announce to you that Lavada Woods submitted her letter of resignation recently after working faithfully on the OSL staff for about ten years. Her last day with us will be 30 June, and we will miss her dearly. When you see Lavada, be sure to thank her and wish her well.

Prayers of the Church
Please pray this week for healing for Susan Kincaid, Sharon Trumbull, and Betty Bottum’s brother and his wife and daughter. Pray also for the families of Raymond Engh and Lyle Boysen who died last week.

A Final Word
Our preaching series leads us this Sunday to consider the cost of following Jesus, who said, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) May the Holy Spirit prepare our hearts to receive Jesus’s words this week and empower us to share the kingdom of heaven with the world.

Be well and press on,

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

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