OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #45
Week of 9 June 2021
Dear Our Savior’s,
It’s been nearly fifteen months in the making—but this may be the last COVID–19 pastoral letter we send your way. Life is beginning to feel more and more normal as infection and hospitalization rates drop to single digits and folks emerge from their hunkered-down lifestyles. Thanks be to God!
We are enjoying more and more of you returning to in-person worship and hearing your stories of resilience amid this pandemic. Though the past year has brought its share of challenges, the Holy Spirit has been present through it all in ways that have not only helped us weather this public health crisis but also advanced the mission we share here at Our Savior’s to proclaim Christ and nurture faith that connects to everyday life. May God continue to bless this ministry with an abundant measure of grace.
A Matter of Urgency
The response rate for our recent stewardship appeal has been much slower than what we typically experience. While this may not come as a surprise given the year we’ve lived through, it is making the work of planning for the next year of ministry extremely challenging.
If you have not yet returned an Estimate of Giving that indicates your intent to invest in OSL’s mission, please do so as soon as possible. God has given us important work to do, but we cannot do it without your generous support.
This week, Pr. Shelly Gehring submitted her letter of resignation, which indicated that she has received and accepted a call to serve as pastor at Grand Valley Lutheran Church in rural Canton, South Dakota. Pr. Shelly’s appointment to Our Savior’s and Church on the Street will end July 14. We invite you to join us in congratulating her on this new chapter in her pastoral career and praying for God’s blessings in this time of transition.
We also received this week a letter of resignation from Pr. Don Lehmann, who has been serving most recently as one of our visitation ministers. Pr. Don’s faithful, selfless service to this congregation has spanned more than 30 years. We are grateful for his partnership and we wish him Godspeed as he embraces retirement more fully.
Can We Get an “Amen!”
As we emerge from pandemic mode, it’s important to recognize those whose efforts behind the scenes made it possible for us to continue our worship life in a meaningful and impactful way despite significant restrictions. In July, we will shine the light on our media and communications team as a way of lifting up the good and faithful work they have done over the past fifteen months or so, which has resulted in an expansion of our congregation’s reach throughout the region. Our ministry is stronger today because of the great work of our television team, audio/visual techs, Facebook Live moderator, and communications and support staff. When we take the time to celebrate them next month, we invite you to share your appreciation and support for a job well done.
More and more of you are venturing back to in-person worship and other activities here at church and we are delighted to see you again. Throughout the summer, we have a number of opportunities planned that will give us a chance to gather and get reacquainted with each other. Given the amount of time we have been apart over the past year, it will be important to be intentional about reconnecting and reorienting ourselves to the mission we share so that this ministry will not only be sustained but continue to serve the community well. When you’re ready, come and join us. We’ve got work to do and we’ll do it best when you’re an active part of the team.
75th Anniversary Update
In celebration of our 75th birthday at OSL, the Governing Board has authorized some needed repairs and upgrades to our facility as well as a special thank-offering opportunity. More details will be coming soon, but if you see construction activity around the facility in the coming weeks, you’ll know it’s all part of preparing to celebrate this exciting milestone anniversary.
Our Ministry of Prayer
We invite you to join us this week in praying for healing for Don Wylie, Daryl Franken, Wayne Hughes, Laura Brandt, Deb Ver Steeg, Chuck Ver Steeg, David Lehmann, Gerald Boe, Eloise Elmen, Barb Iverson, and Deb Jensen; and for comfort and peace for Greg and Libby Hintgen and family on the death of Greg’s brother. We also continue to hold Pastor Tim Lemme in our prayers during this time of sabbatical rest and renewal.
Grace and peace to you all,
Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
Randy Gehring, Justin Kosec, Shelly Gehring, and Tim Lemme
P.S. Special thanks to Chad Mickelson, whose devotional is included with this letter. We hope that you find his reflection meaningful as we move into Ordinary Time as a church.