Pastoral Letter #10
Week of 20 May 2020
Dear OSL Family,
In this time of loosening restrictions, the words attributed to Peter seem appropriate: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert.” (1 Peter 5:6-8) We continue to pray that you are well and enduring in good faith these challenging days.
The Governing Board has extended the cancelation period of all in-person indoor activities at Our Savior’s through June 15. Two exceptions to this extension include serving as a polling place on June 2 and hosting the Summer Feeding Program through which children eighteen and younger may receive a free lunch Monday through Friday. Over the next several weeks, a task force will be reviewing best practices and precautions related to large-group gatherings and recommending to the board when and how to welcome folks back to in-person activities at church. Stay tuned for further updates coming soon.
A Generosity Story from the Field
We’ve been sharing generosity stories lately as part of our Faithful, Hopeful, Loving stewardship appeal. Here’s a story from Charlie Nesdahl that communicates the impact of our worship broadcast on TV.
- I called the owner of the cleaning company we use at work. During our conversation, he mentioned that he saw me on TV over the weekend. He said it looked like I was doing the children’s talk (by the way, he thought it was good.), but he also mentioned that he really liked how we spoke to all ages about the topic of giving. He mentioned a woman who talked about giving, that she was a former pastor, and that she shared a story about her giving experience and how it was impactful to others.
Moved by the message, he grabbed his checkbook after worship finished and wrote a check to an organization he supports but to which he hadn’t given a donation in a while.
Just to be clear, this was not a member of Our Savior’s, as far as I know. He was just someone who was moved by our worship service and the stories we shared. It’s a great example of how the impact of our media ministry often reaches farther than most of us imagine.
Thank you to all who returned an Estimate of Giving card as part of our Faithful, Hopeful, Loving stewardship emphasis. The cards are still coming in and by next week, we will be able to give you a more complete update. Early returns, however, indicate a strong passion for the mission of OSL with an average increase of nearly 16% per annual pledge.
If you have misplaced your stewardship materials, which were sent to you by mail around the first of the month, call or stop by the Church Office to request a new packet. As an alternative, you may find a fillable form of the Estimate of Giving card here along with supporting information. If you have any questions, pick up the phone and give Barb Haugan a call at 336-2942, or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In April, the Governing Board authorized the staff to apply for relief funds through the Paycheck Protection Program. The application was approved through our bank, Great Western, and we received in our account on April 25 a “forgivable” loan of approximately $205,000. These funds will be used over the course of eight weeks per the stipulations of the program to pay for payroll expenses, mortgage interest, and utilities costs and thereby reduce the strain on our annual ministry plan (budget) during this time of reduced revenues.
Over the past two months, a topic of much debate in the church has been the practice of Holy Communion during a time of social distancing. The bishop of the South Dakota Synod of the ELCA formed a task force to provide guidance and teaching on the matter. We are anticipating receiving a recommendation from the task force by the end of May.
Be sure to consider using our new Text-to-Give option for giving your weekly offering or for giving a special one-time gift for COVID-19 Response or Campus Cupboard or any of our other designated funds. Simply text the word Sharing to 73256 and follow the link to our online giving platform.
A Final Word
We began this letter with an encouragement; we leave you with a promise: “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)
In Christ’s unfading peace,
Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
Rev. Randy Gehring,
Rev. Tim Lemme,
Rev. Justin Kosec