Making space for hope, love, support

The following was published in the Valley News on August 16, 2019 and written by Pastor Kyle Seibert. The article can be found here.

* * *

Anger. Fear. Grief. Lament. Sadness. Despair. Anxiety. These are emotions that we have all labeled within ourselves or others from time to time.

These are some of the emotions that I have felt recently with news of more mass shootings. These are some of the emotions that the congregation I pastor, Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry, have felt these past days, months, and years. Our “thoughts and prayers” led us to action, and we hosted a “Community Vigil for the Victims of Gun Violence (And the Rest of Us)” last Friday evening.

I spent much of the week speaking with and interviewing with news outlets about the vigil. They were all interested in the voyeuristic aspects of a church engaging violence. They wanted to know if we would have security present and what active shooter training was like. The articles, news clips and photographs that were published all framed our vigil as a political movement against legislative actions by President Donald Trump and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

They all ignored the realities of death.

Not one mentioned our Upper Valley community coming together to share in their lament, to support one another in their grief, and face the human realities of violence and death — forming a space rooted in love.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Our culture avoids uncomfortable emotions. But we as a church decided to sit with them and face them head on with a diverse group from the Upper Valley. That is what is newsworthy: Diverse peoples, supporting one another in their humanness, in their tears, and in their mourning.

The Friday vigil was not a cheap, partisan charade to make those in attendance feel good about themselves. The vigil was about creating space to come together to grieve, find power in being together and hope for a future.

Hear me: We need sensible action. Absolutely. But we also need to really and truly face what disturbs our souls. While that might not sell news, it is a sign of hope in these troubled times.



The writer is the pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry in Hanover.

Join the Conversation. Sunday Morning Study Group returns September 15th!

rohr book for CROur Sunday Morning Book Discussion Group return Sunday, September 15th at 9:30 a.m. in the Emmaus Room (the green room at the end of Cana Hall).  We’ll be discussing “The Universal Christ” by Richard Rohr.

Please read the brief introduction, “Before We Begin” before the first gathering.  You can read the intro online.  If you have any questions, please contact Wendy Manganiello or the church office.

Who Should Receive OSLC’s Micah Award This Year?

We invite members and friends of OSLC to nominate one or two persons in our congregation to be recognized as a MICAH Award recipient(s) this fall.

Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

The Micah Award should be given to someone who exemplifies this Scripture. They are someone who is a real model of faith by their words and actions. They could be someone who does incredible community service, who always volunteers to help when help is needed, be it through work, prayer, and/or financial support.

Previous Micah award winners have been John Fenley & Madeline Boughter, Dan Cofell & John Erickson, Gisela Jones, Wendy and Paul Manganiello, Peggy Sadler, Liese Shewmaker, and Irma and Woody Graf. Please do not cast your vote for them.

To  submit your nominee(s) and let us know why you’ve chosen that person or person, complete this OSLC Micah Award Nomination form.


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What’s Your Story?

Editor’s Note:  The Rev. Leila Ortiz served as guest preacher and was elected to  serve as Bishop of the Metro DC Synod of the ELCA at the Metro DC Synod Assembly held June 14-15.  We’ll add links to the storytelling presentation by keynote speaker Margot Leitman as well as the sermon by the Rev. Leila Ortiz when they become available.

New England Synod Assembly Report
June 7-8, 2019

On June 7th, Pastor Kyle, Lars Johanson and I (along with close to 500 other participants) attended the New England Synod Assembly in Worcester, MA and discovered what this unusual and enticing title for a Synod Assembly was all about. As we learned from Margot Leitman, our Keynote Speaker, “Everyone has a story and connecting with strangers creates great stories which unite us and shows how similar we really are. Why we do what we do in the ELCA and in our own individual lives gets the stories out of our heads and into the world for all to hear. It is important for us to tell why we do what we do in our worship and work as members of the ELCA and in the activities of our daily lives. Continue reading What’s Your Story?

Food Pantry Needs

Stop by one of the food pantries with your donations or bring non-perishables to worship any Sunday!


  • LISTEN’s food pantry supplies qualifying households in our service area with 1-2 weeks of groceries each month. We also have a personal care room for toiletries.
  • LISTEN relies on food drives and donations to keep the pantry in stock. We get wholesale pricing to ensure cash donations are maximized.
  • In 2016, LISTEN spent $33,285 on food for community dinners and the food pantry. 575 unique households received assistance from the pantry.
  • 3 bags of groceries can save a household $90.

Continue reading Food Pantry Needs