OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #37
Week of 10 March 2021

Graphic for Lent 2021

Dear Our Savior’s,

Our Lenten journey continues under the theme Promises, Promises. Not only are we hearing again and again, as we encounter some of the great stories of the Old Testament, of the faithfulness of God in keeping promises, but we are also wrestling each week, as we engage with some of the Psalms, with our tendency to break promises, fall away from God, and cause harm to our neighbor. In all our Lenten experiences, may we be renewed as God’s people with the assurance of God’s steadfast love for us and for all of creation, a love that rests solely on God’s goodness and not on our performance.

Holy Week Planning
Plans are underway for observing Holy Week at Our Savior’s. Here’s an initial look at how you might participate this year:

Palm Sunday – Worship will be held according to our regular schedule: Saturday at 5:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary; Sunday morning at 8:45 in the Celebrate Center and 10:15 in the Sanctuary. Palm branches will be distributed and used in worship. Note: For those who want palm branches for use at home as you worship via television (FOX, 9:00 a.m., KSCB, 1:00 p.m.) or Facebook Live (Celebrate, 8:45 a.m.; Festive, 10:15 a.m.), swing by the church on Saturday, March 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, to pick some up in the south circle drive.

Maundy Thursday – Worship will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Celebrate Center on April 1. For those who are not comfortable with in-person worship, we invite you to attend worship in your car parked in the south parking lot. The evening service will be broadcast via AM radio and will include interactive elements—including Holy Communion—that will be the same or similar to what is experienced in the Celebrate Center.

Good Friday – Worship will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary on April 2. This service will also be streamed live on Facebook at 6:30 and televised on FOX at 10:00 p.m.

Holy Saturday – On this day between the grief of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday, an open house art installation, “Stations in the Street” by Scott Erickson, will be available in The Gathering Place throughout the day on April 3 as well as online on our Facebook page and website. This will be a self-guided devotional meditation that will explore the drama of Holy Week and the emotions it creates within the context of Jesus’ promise to give us himself so that we might live.

Easter Sunday – Morning worship will be at 7:00 in the Sanctuary, 8:45 in the Celebrate Center, and 10:15 in the Sanctuary. As usual, the 8:45 and 10:15 services will be streamed live on Facebook and broadcast on FOX (9:00) and KSCB (1:00) respectively. In the event that attendance exceeds our COVID–19 room capacity of 175, The Gathering Place will be used as overflow.

Listen Learn Love Lead: An Anti-Racism Opportunity
The South Dakota Synod (ELCA) is offering a Diversity 101 training to all who are interested. Facilitated by Willette Capers of Augustana University, this session will unpack the meaning of diversity, equality, and inclusion from a holistic approach. Participants will be able to analyze cultural awareness, identify how diversity, equality, and inclusion influence daily interactions, and evaluate social responsibility. This session also looks to unpack power, privilege, and oppression and their impact on society. Participants will be able to identify the meaning of power, privilege, and oppression, and conceptualize theories that analyze the dismantling of unearned privilege, the challenges of being an effective ally, and the advantages of difference.

Two sessions are available: Sunday, June 27, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., and Tuesday, November 16, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information or to register, contact the synod office, 605-274-4024.

COVID–19 Protocols
The Governing Board next meets on Wednesday, March 17. On the agenda will be a review of our current pandemic safety protocols and discussion about a potential timeline for a systematic rollback of some of the restrictions that have allowed us to safely gather in person at Our Savior’s for the past eight months. At this writing, the protocols currently in place remain our guide for appropriately and faithfully caring for each other during this time of pandemic. Thank you for everything you are doing day after day to demonstrate your love for your neighbor. Together, with God’s help, we will get through this.

Our Ministry of Prayer
Finally, our Lenten disciplines include intercessory prayer. Please join us this week as we pray: for our two- and three-year-olds and their families on the completion of their first faith milestone, Welcome to Church; for Coryill (Toady) Weeg, Ann Pederson, Marilyn Lee, David Lehman, Deb Versteeg, Richard Steers, and Owen Shay, all of whom have requested our prayers for healing; for MaryJane Stalheim, and Dean and Teresa Stalheim and family as they mourn the death of Glenn Stalheim, and Randy, Joan, and Jackson Fink as they mourn the death of Randy’s mother, Delores Fink; and for an extra measure of grace for Eli Duke and Evan Kruse Wagley and their parents, Ryan and Brianna Wagley. Eli and Evan were baptized at OSL last Saturday.
Be well and press on,

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