OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #29
Week of 18 November 2020

Dear Our Savior’s,

Our country will soon observe the annual Thanksgiving holiday. We write this week to convey to each of you how thankful we are for you and your support of the mission of Our Savior’s.

These are extraordinarily challenging times. Even so, your partnership continues to make ministry possible in ways that provide hope, comfort, and an experience of God’s presence through the gifts of worship and community. In many cases, these things are just what people are longing for at a time when so much is uncertain. Thank you for your faithful partnership.

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving imageBecause this year is unusual in so many ways, we are including with this letter a devotional resource for the week of November 23. We invite you to use this resource as a way to encounter how God’s people in scripture found hope and gave thanks throughout all the seasons of life. There is even a ritual you may use as you gather for Thanksgiving, however that will occur for you this year. We pray that this devotional will be a blessing that enables you to express your gratitude to God, whose faithfulness endures even amid pandemics and all the rest that 2020 has brought upon us.

A Plea from Our Neighbors in Healthcare
Throughout this pandemic, we have grounded our response as a congregation in our theology, which calls us to love God by loving our neighbor. The reason we continually remind you to stay home if you’re sick or have been exposed, wear a mask when you are with others, keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and others, and practice excellent hand hygiene is all about caring for our neighbor. This is what God calls us to do.

The plea to take these basic measures is now being amplified by our healthcare workers, who are reaching or exceeding their limits to care for the critically ill. They are at a breaking point and are desperately crying out to us to band together to slow the spread of the coronavirus. If we don’t, they tell us, people—perhaps someone you love—will likely die needlessly because we no longer have the capacity to care for them.

Friends, this moment may very well be a defining moment in our shared history. What will be our response? In the words of our liturgy this month, “let baptism be our guide,” that holy rite in which God erases the things that divide us and unites us through water and the Word into the one body of Christ for the sake of the world.

We call upon each of you to strive every day to live into that unity and calling and do everything within your power to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Let this be our witness to the world, that the sacrifices each of us makes are secondary to the wellbeing of our neighbors.

Worship Details
Following our basic safety protocols wherever we are enables us to continue to gather safely for worship. Join us on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary, or on Sunday morning—Celebrate at 8:45 or Festive at 10:15. All services include contactless Holy Communion, a feast of welcome that nourishes us to serve our neighbor.

We understand if you aren’t ready to join us for in-person worship, so be sure to catch us on KTTW/KDLT 46.2 (FOX) at 9:00 on Sunday morning (check your local listings; the channel may have changed recently) and on KSCB (cable) at 1:00 Sunday afternoon. Also, Sunday worship will be streamed on Facebook Live at 8:45 and 10:15 a.m., and recordings of the Sunday services will be posted on our website each Monday.

Calling All Leaders!
This past weekend, we heard an invitation from members of the Policy and Leadership Development Committee to consider nominating someone—yourself or someone you know—to serve on the Governing Board. Nomination forms are available at the Welcome Ce

nter and on the OSL website. Please prayerfully consider who you think God might be calling to serve in a leadership role here at Our Savior’s and submit your nomination by December 15. For more information, contact Anne Rieck McFarland, annerieckmcfarland@gmail.com.

Prayers of the People
One way we care for our neighbors is to intercede for them in prayer. This week, please pray for (healing) Ardis Loge, and (grieving) Al and Arlys Stanga on the death of their son-in-law Bruce School; for Bobbie Jo Leggett and family after the death of her brother Andrew Hoelker, for Fran Noteboom and family upon the death of her husband Doug; for Rhonda Anderson, and Rick and Jaye Anderson upon the death of their brother Robert Anderson; and for Neal and Jenette Merrill, Lloyd and Cyndi Olson, and Melissa and Charlie Nesdahl and family as they grieve the death of Dorothy Merrill.

Be well and press on,

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

P.S. We’re looking forward to celebrating Advent and Christmas with you. Watch for more details coming soon.