Special Thank You from Paul and Wendy

Liese, Paul, and Wendy - IMG_2491
Liese Shewmaker, left, introduced honorees Wendy and Paul Manganiello at the 2017 UVIP’s Micah Hero celebration.

Dear OSLC Community,

Wendy and I would like to thank the members of OSLC for choosing us as the recipients of this year’s Micah award. We also are grateful to of all of you, who on a daily basis are Micah heroes, quietly carrying out acts of justice and walking humbly with your God.

When Wendy and I arrived in the Upper Valley in 1979 we were mostly concerned about my career and our young family. Fortunately we found a church home at Our Savior.

Sophia Assur
Sophia Assur (1921-2012)

It was there that we met a saintly woman, Sophia Assur.  She loved the Hebrew Scriptures and Micah was her favorite Prophet. She would lead bible studies and really made us understand the importance of working for social justice. She was constantly challenging us on matters of homelessness; food insecurity both at home and abroad; mental illness; income inequality; health care; outreach to refugees; etc.

How we develop as individuals is not only genetic, but also environmental.

Becoming empathetic and compassionate are learned traits starting with our parents, but we also are the summation of the individuals we are exposed to throughout our life. Hopefully we all will mirror those individuals who are caring and loving, seeing our God work within them.

Sophia is no longer with us; she is a Saint in heaven. Wendy and I would like to accept this award on her behalf. I don’t think we would have engaged with so many wonderful organizations in the Upper Valley that work to help those who are disadvantaged if it wasn’t for her.

Thank you all for all the work you do, please take heart and continue doing God’s work.

Below, many from OSLC attended the United Valley Interfaith Project Micah Hero celebration on November 12th.

2017-11-12 Micah Hero Celebration - Paul, Wendy and group from OSLC CROPPED

Ongoing Vigils in Manchester are Making a Difference. You Help Ensure A Powerful Presence.

Participation in ICE Vigils is Making A Difference! 

See a special thank you for your support here.

Help Ensure the Powerful Presence Continues at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which continues to ask immigrants without documents to return for check-in meetings in Manchester, sometimes with airline tickets in hand. Our presence has made a difference in slowing down deportations especially for 60+ Christian Indonesians who came to the US many years ago. The next vigils will he held November 29, December 5, December 8, and December 19.  Vigils are from 8:30 – 10 a.m. at the Norris Cotton Federal Building, 275 Chestnut Street, Manchester. Meet a 7 a.m. at the CCBA to carpool. We will return to the CCBA by 11/11:30 a.m. Please signup here.21367040_1617111501654177_4618948390388660212_o

Reflections on Stewardship and the Reformation, by Kirk Oseid

This Temple Talk was delivered on Sunday, October 8, 2017, by Kirk Oseid.

Of course, today’s temple talk is primarily about stewardship – recognizing how our financial commitments fund the operations and ministries of OSLC and the ELCA. We also stress the value and importance of pledging – because it helps us to plan – to steward – the gifts we want to share. That is, how to get the most bang for the buck.

But this year is also a special time to reflect on Luther’s Reformation – what it means to us and how it relates to stewardship.

Growing up Lutheran I managed to reach adulthood with barely a clue about the details. For me, this 500th Reformation anniversary has been an opportunity to revisit the core beliefs of Luther. Lo and behold, after a little reading and web-surfing I now see more clearly the structure of Luther’s beliefs as they are applied to our worship services within this sanctuary and to serving others outside these walls.

As we heard last week, the nugget of Luther’s breakthrough goes beyond the point that we are saved by grace alone, not works. (Did you watch the wonderful documentary “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World?”)  Since we are saved by grace through faith, we are freed from slavishly performing works in hopes that the scale of our sins and our works balances toward God’s favor. We are now free to perform works with vigor – and joy.

Two years ago I spoke about 1 Corinthians 13:1:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

Paul was urging the Corinthians to continue their generous support of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, which may have been suffering from droughts that plagued the region at that time. Corinthians is chock full of verses that we use over and over during stewardship campaigns. (This ELCA Stewardship placemat illustrates 10 of them.)

Luther often repeated his own principal of “gospel alone, faith alone, scripture alone.” Luther paid particular attention to Paul’s words to the Corinthians. In fact, Luther’s 43rd thesis was:

“Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying indulgences.”

Which is another way of saying our faith and God’s grace has freed us to serve others.

Stewardship PostcardHow do we want to act out this principal of Christian faith? Recently we have reflected on “God’s Work, Our Hands.” There are many ways to serve God and our neighbors. A postcard that was mailed to you recently (credit to Nancy Vogele and Susan Ferraro) celebrates some of these ways. All of you have contributed to these ministries with your own unique offerings of time, talent and treasure (the Holy Trinity of Stewardship).

To Luther, gospel is primary, vocation is holy, stewardship is integral. During stewardship season we are asked to consider and reconsider how each of us individually can best support our ministries. Needs are ever changing and our own situations change, too. Prayerful consideration is required each year, over and over, in order to make good decisions about our contributions. Luther said:

“People go through three conversions: their head, their heart and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.”

If you are like me, you need a reminder and a little reinforcement to make the effort to commit – Luther’s words are helpful in this regard.

Each of us are asked to perform such an exercise this fall. Think of it as a personal re-affirmation that you make each year – a personal, ongoing reformation of how you plan to love others as Christ first loved us.

Pilgrims who begin the El Camino de Santiago – The Way of Saint James – are often told that “everyone has their own Camino.” The Camino has a powerful attraction – and effect – on everyone who walks it, unique to each of them. I’m sure our own faith journeys and continuous reformations of faith are also unique. But we look forward to meeting one another at the end – and helping each other along the way.

Thank you for your consideration and generosity this Stewardship season.

Sanctuary, Support, and Accompaniment for Immigrant Justice

Several of us were able to attend the Interfaith Vigil for Immigrant Justice in Manchester, NH on September 5th. Hundreds turned out from all over. Please pray for undocumented immigrants and their deep fear about being deported and separated from loved ones.

These are very difficult times for our neighbors who face the growing threat of deportation from their homes. The United Valley Interfaith Project  (UVIP) is urging all faith communities to discern how we can make an offering of our many capabilities to stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Many members of UVIP have been gathering in Manchester on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Norris Cotton Federal Building to provide support, prayer and witness as immigrants come for their required check in with I.C.E.

At the August 1st check-in appointment, 27 Indonesian immigrants were told to come back in September with one-way plane tickets proving that they will leave the U.S. in November. Three Latino immigrants and one Indonesian were held and detained for deportation on the spot. What we have feared has become real, awful and urgent; emphasizing our need to act now.

What can we do? As a UVIP Member Group, which has expressed energy for immigrant justice work, there are many ways — large and small — that we all can help.  We can…

  • Attend any of the upcoming ICE Prayer Vigils in Manchester, NH on September 11 or 19
  • Offer financial, spiritual or other support to a family whose breadwinner has been deported.
  • Raise funds for legal fees or plane tickets.
  • Write letters, sign petitions, and use the power of the pen in other ways

The bottom line is that we cannot allow this to happen right before our very eyes without supporting our immigrant sisters and brothers in some way.

There is also a small Immigrant Justice Core Team which needs to be made bigger by including at least one person from each member group which has expressed interest and energy for engaging in the Immigrant Justice work that UVIP and others in NH and VT are ramping up to do. Paul Manganiello has agreed to be our point person with Lars Johanson as a back up.  We can always use more people.

Please contact Gisela Jones or Rosemary Affeldt or the church office if you are interested in getting involved or just learning more about these efforts.

“GOD’S WORK, OUR HANDS”

elca gwoh

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. –Teresa of Avila, 16th century Spanish nun (1515-1582):

Along with many other ELCA Congregations, we will celebrate “God’s Work, Our Hands” Sunday on September 10.  In order to create a personal and meaningful worship experience and day, we would love it if you took the time to fill out a four-question survey.  Here are the four questions you will be asked: Continue reading “GOD’S WORK, OUR HANDS”

Bread for the World, Offering of Letters

This “Temple Talk” was delivered by Paul Manganiello on June 4, 2017, Pentecost Sunday.

Our Savior Lutheran Church is Covenant Church in the national Bread for the World (BFW) movement.

BFW is an Ecumenical Christian advocacy organization working to reduce extreme poverty and hunger both here, in the US, and abroad. Great progress has been made and hopefully extreme poverty and chronic hunger can essentially be eliminated by 2030.

Although faith communities have been very generous, charity alone is not enough. Food assistance from private charities in 2013 was approximately $5 B, but food assistance from the Federal government was more than 20X that amount, $104 B. Continue reading Bread for the World, Offering of Letters