OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #15
Week of 24 June 2020

Dear OSL Family,

Kingdom of Heaven logoOne of the questions we are encountering in worship during our preaching series The Kingdom of Heaven is “How are you bringing the kingdom of heaven to our broken world?” This is not intended to be an added burden that weighs us down. Instead, it leads us to consider the gifts we have been given through faith and how we might share those gifts with others who are feeling the weight of these extraordinary times. The Kingdom of Heaven has come near in Jesus. This is the proclamation of our faith. How might we be messengers who carry this Good News to the rest of the world?

Worship This Sunday
This Sunday, June 28, weather permitting, we will again hold Celebrate worship in the south parking lot at 8:45 a.m. The weather forecast looks good. However, if we cannot meet our criteria for being outdoors—air temperature above 60° by 8:00 a.m., wind speeds below 15 mph, and relatively dry conditions with no rain in the immediate forecast—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 to 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.

The BIG News
Perhaps you have heard by now that the Governing Board voted last Thursday to resume indoor in-person activities at Our Savior’s according to the following schedule:

• Normal Office Hours resumed, June 22. The office will now be open and staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., until further notice.
• In-person ministry activities and in-person outside events may be held at OSL beginning June 22.
• In-person indoor worship will begin on Sunday, July 5. Celebrate worship will be held at 8:45 a.m. and Festive worship will be held at 10:15. In-person Saturday worship will begin on July 11 at 5:00 p.m.

Social distancing measures will be in place to promote the safety of all who gather here at Our Savior’s. A more detailed guide of these measures will be included in next week’s pastoral letter.

The Governing Board gratefully acknowledges the members of the Resume Task Force as well as those who contributed: Jill Franken (Sioux Falls Public Health Director) and her team at the Sioux Falls Health Department, Michelle Anderson (OSL Faith Community Nurse), Dennis Drey and Dennis Hanneman (ushers), Paul Davidson (communion team leader), and Pr. Randy.

Keep in Mind
As we cautiously resume in-person activities here at church, we do so as people of faith who are called to a particular mission—to proclaim Christ and nurture faith that connects to everyday life. Our theology guides us to orient our lives not around self-interests but toward the needs of our neighbors as they define them. Moving forward, let us strive as a community of faith to lead with compassion, mutual respect, and trust in God’s promised presence in everything we do and say.

We also recognize that there may be a time in the future when we need to scale back in-person activities here at the church due to another surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. The board and the staff will continue to monitor the local situation and keep you informed regarding the ministry we share here at OSL.

Prayers of the Church
This week the ministry of your prayers is requested for: (healing) Helen Ellefson, Susan Kincaid, and Doug Noteboom; (grieving) the families of Glenn Rivers and Ray Engh, Gerald and Naomi Oltmanns on the death of Gerald’s mother, Iva Oltmanns, and Eve Dooyema and Delores Assid as they mourn the death of Abraham Assid, Eve’s brother and Delores’s brother-in-law; and (Father’s Day) all fathers and father figures as well as those who long to be fathers and those for whom Father’s Day is difficult.

A Final Word
Our preaching series leads us this Sunday to consider the ministry of hospitality (Matthew 10:40-42). In fact, Jesus puts it fairly bluntly, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Our acts of welcome and hospitality are means by which we bring the Kingdom of Heaven close to a world that is broken and hurting. How could your unique brand of hospitality be part of the offering you give to God this week?

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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