LISTEN’s Holiday Basket Program
In past years, our congregation has participated in LISTEN’s Holiday Basket Program by selecting tags from our Giving Tree and generously buying gifts for local families and seniors in need. This year the program is taking a different shape to further protect us all from the pandemic. Instead of going out and buying gifts, LISTEN is instead requesting monetary contributions. LISTEN has many families and seniors who have asked to receive holiday gifts this year – in fact, they have a waiting list of people that are hoping for help. They have committed to providing warm clothing and holiday food for 200 local individuals that have requested support. Each child will receive a $100 gift card for a local store to purchase clothing and each family (including seniors), will receive a $50 gift card for a local grocery store.
Here is how OSLC can help bring Christmas Joy to our neighbors in need:
Please consider making this donation ASAP so that LISTEN can have enough time to plan for and distribute the Holiday Baskets before the holiday season starts. Wouldn’t it be great if they receive so many donations that they are also able to bring joy to those in our community on the waiting list.
After Jim Antal’s book reading, several OSLC members have continued to meet and talk about how we as a church might want to respond to the current situation we find ourselves: the environmental and societal (economic/racial) injustice associated with global warming. How can we as individuals and a church body respond to this crisis? The group invites you to join the conversation. Contact the office for the link to the next Zoom discussion.
In the Creation Story of Genesis, after God called forth earth and sky, flora and fauna, God created humans and asked them to care for all forms of life. As God’s family, we are to be stewards of God’s creation. The future of Earth is in our hands.
As stewards of God’s creation, we have a responsibility to our neighbors. In Luke Chapter 10, we are asked: “Who is our neighbor?” In the context of the on-going climate crisis, our neighbors include not only our children and grandchildren, but also the entire global population, all future generations, all creatures, and vegetation. Our generation has a responsibility to take steps now that will have a positive effect far beyond the present moment.
The life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus the Christ, reconciles us to God, to one another, and to all of God’s Creation. We hold and live the hope that it is possible to have a new kind of world, a world infused with God’s life-giving Spirit, where creation is appreciated, respected, and protected, so that all life is nurtured. God entrusts us, people of Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry, to be God’s hands for protecting and restoring God’s Creation.
Grace and peace to you from the Triune God. It has been two months since the leadership team of this congregation made the difficult decision to move all of our ministries online and cease all in-person activities. This decision was done out of love and care for our community and our neighbors. Shortly after that decision was made, we witnessed our country and world be ravaged by COVID-19. Slews of emergency orders, federal legislation, school board decisions, summer camp closures, and public health recommendations have turned many of our lives upside down.
It is with this same commitment to loving and caring for our community and neighbors that your leadership team wishes to communicate that we will continue to worship online and virtually at least through the end of the summer, refraining from in-person gatherings.
As I write this letter to you, I can feel tears welling up from within me. I miss you. I miss our gathered community. I miss the laughter and silliness of our children. I miss the smiles exchanged after worship. I miss singing with you all and praising God. I lament the many ways that you are grieving and missing what your lives looked like just a few short months ago. We are called as Christians to make difficult decisions for the sake of the common good. As disciples of Christ, we will experience suffering. And yet, Christ suffers with us.
This decision was made in consultation with church officials, national church bodies, and public health experts. The realities are that what the church does together in worship are some of the most dangerous activities for viral spread: gathering many different households together in a common space for a length of time to speak, sing, and share a meal together. We have seen churches around the country that have reopened in the past few weeks and needed to close again due to their members becoming infected, leading to quick spread and death.
As a church, we are a people gathered around God’s Word and the sacraments. We have been faithful in centering ourselves around God’s Word these past two months, and will continue to do so. I would like to assure you that I am working diligently on a plan to celebrate and share Eucharist with you this summer, as soon as legal provisions allow.
Thank you, dear church. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your financial generosity. Thank you for your engagement. Thank you for your patience. I’d like to invite you to contact me with any questions you may have. I will also carve out some time during our Zoom coffee hour this Sunday (May 24) after worship to answer any questions you may have.
I would like to leave you with the words of Jesus to his disciples in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In the deep, abiding love of Christ,