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Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

As we move from the celebration of Christ’s birth  and all the Christmas business, we are now entering the New Year in the Northland with frigid weather! Well, we should be used to it by now, right?

You can still be brave and come to worship with us this Sunday,

Christmas 2017New Year’s Eve day at our 9:30 am service. We promise to have the coffee on . . . and plenty of warmth from those inside to keep you going throughout the upcoming week.

May you enjoy this Christmas Holiday season and the New Year with family & friends, and especially with the warmth of the Lord’s love within and around you!

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Let there be WONDER

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last Sunday we celebrated the Advent and prepared for the birth of Christ with the Youth and Family Christmas program, “Let there be Wonder.” It was FANTASTIC!  Thank you to all who participated in organizing, planning, and performing. There was so much joy and laughter in the church. The Christmas Play warmed our hearts with its message of being in wonder and awe at the glory of God.

This is a special week for us and for all Christians around the world. This week, many people will gather with family and friends, express their love for each other by giving gifts, and celebrate God’s glory through song and story. I encourage you all to take a moment to reflect on all the blessings God has given and thank the Holy Spirit for leading Our Savior’s through these exciting times, and please join us for worship Sunday, Dec. 24th at 9:30 am and 4pm.

I pray for safe travels for you and your loved ones.

Always remember, God loves you and so do I.

Happy Advent~ Pastor Erik

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500 Food Shelf Items

As we climb “500 Steps” towards a stronger financial future, let’s serve our neighbors and collect 500 non-perishable items for the Food Shelf!

Brought to you by the newly formed Hunger and Justice Team.  Follow us on Facebook (Hunger and Justice group at the OSLCMN Facebook page) or sign up on the Mission & Ministry board in the narthex.

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100 Steps of “500 Steps Up” Goal

We are excited to share that together we’ve raised $3,000 (100 Steps) toward our $15,000 (500 Steps Up) matching goal! We thank everyone who gives so generously of their resources and time to build, strengthen, and share the ministries of our congregation!

There is still time to give before the Dec. 31st deadline. Click here to make a donation, or continue reading to learn more about this exciting appeal.

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will be glad and rejoice in it.”  Psalm 118:24

Dear Faithful Friends,

Thank you, thank you for all you do.  Our Savior’s Lutheran Church has so much for which to be grateful.  As a congregation, we have some exciting steps ahead in our Christian journey.

OSLC has been strengthened with Colleen Brown serving as our secretary.  And have you noticed all the children in worship?  Our Youth Director Meagan Esterby continues to ignite energy in young people throughout our community.  We are very blessed with a renewed caring spirit through many of our evangelical ministries.  When we join together each step of the way, we really do make a difference.

As the Call Committee continues their mission identifying our next pastor, we remain confident that God is guiding our church family.  We give thanks for the blessing of Bridge Pastor Joyce Piper, as she walks with us in Christian mission.

Yet there are concerns because the financial picture is less bountiful.  Currently OSLC is approaching the maximum amount allowed to borrow.   The Finance Ministry Team has come up with an appeal to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation.  We’re calling it “500 Steps Up”.  This opportunity takes 500 steps up a “mountain” to reach a goal of $15,000 at the top.  An anonymous donor has committed to match donations, up to $15,000, given through December 31st towards this “500 Steps Up” appeal!  This means dollar for dollar, all “500 Steps Up” donations will be doubled!  With this challenge, OSLC will be able to repay the line-of-credit and put us on a strong financial footing for the New Year!  Please note these matching funds do not include regular giving to the general fund, which is also greatly needed.

Heartfelt thanks to all of you for giving so faithfully of your time, talents & resources.  There will be a poster in the narthex showing the progress we make in donations towards the “500 Steps Up” appeal.  If you are able to give towards this challenge, please designate on the memo line of your check to “500 Steps Up” or click here to make your special “500 Steps Up” offering online.

In Christ’s Love and Peace,

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Council and The Finance Ministry Team

Nathan LeBeque, President

Charlie Baribeau, Treasurer

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Youth and Family Ministry Update

Dear friends,

The last few months we have celebrated many baptisms in our church! What a blessing and joy as we walk with the families of our congregation!

We celebrate this baptismal theme in Confirmation each year, both by exploring the five baptismal promises at our Confirmation Camp Retreat in August and affirming those promises again during one of our Confirmation devotions at the start of our year together.

At a workshop this summer our speaker explained how children, teenagers, and all people seek three things: an identity, a role, and a place to belong. As a faith community, we have the important responsibility to help the children and youth of our congregation discover those answers as the children of God!

In Baptism and Affirmation of Baptism we are named and claimed as the children of God (identity), we promise to “serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for peace and justice in all the earth” ELW 236 (role), and we are welcomed “into the body of Christ” ELW 231 and promise to “live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper” ELW 236 (place to belong).

Even amid overwhelming schedules and competing weekend activities, what we have to share is important. It is not flashy new activities, spaces, or programs. It is the grace, purpose, relationships, and community we discover in our baptisms. And that really is worth sharing.

with joy,

Meagan Esterby

Director of Youth and Family Ministry

meagan@oslcmn.com • 218.410.4704

 

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Ref Fest @ Camp Vermilion

Dozens of campers and retreaters from our church have already enjoyed the beautiful new dining hall at Camp Vermilion! What a warm and welcoming space this new building provides for all guests in God’s great Northwoods as they learn and grow in their faith.

Though the building is nearly finished, the fundraising goal for the building, the “Watch them Flourish” appeal, is far from complete. To support this mission, the Lutheran churches of our entire Laurentian Conference are joining forces to host a fundraiser, the…

“REFORMATION FESTIVAL”

Commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a full day of fun,  Saturday, October 28th, and help raiser money for VLM’s “Watch them Flourish” appeal for the new Dining Hall!

Schedule of events (come for all or part of the fun!):

  • 9-10am Register for the 2K Walk, 5K Run, or 5K Trail Run ($20/person or $30/family)
  • 10:15am 2K Walk / 5K Run / 5K Trail Run
  • 11:30-12:30 Picnic Lunch ($5/person; 0-3 free!)
  • 12:45 & 2pm Grace Space Options
  • 3:30-5pm (Root) Beer & Hymn Sing
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Sunday Bible Readings – Month of October

You may find it helpful to read the weekly passages before each Sunday’s Worship service.

Sunday, Oct. 1  Jesus’ parable about two sons who don’t do what they say reveals surprises in the reign of God, such as prostitutes and tax collectors going before others into God’s kingdom. In the reading from Ezekiel the people question whether the ways of the Lord are unfair; instead they are to repent and turn to the Lord. Paul urges us to look to Christ as a model of humility, looking to the interests of others above our own. Nourished by the broken bread and shared cup, we offer our lives for the sake of our needy world.

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32  The fairness of God’s way
Psalm 25:1-9 
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love. (Ps. 25:6)
Philippians 2:1-13 
C hrist humbled to the point of death on a cross
Matthew 21:23-32 
A parable of doing God’s will

Sunday, Oct. 8   In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable of the vineyard, an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread, that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.

Isaiah 5:1-7 The song of the vineyard
Psalm 80:7-15 
Look down from heaven, O God; behold and tend this vine. 

Philippians 3:4b-14 Nothing surpasses the value of knowing Christ
Matthew 21:33-46 
The parable of the vineyard owner’s son

 Sunday, Oct. 15   In Isaiah we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever. In Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. In our liturgy God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.

Isaiah 25:1-9 The feast of victory
Psalm 23  
You prepare a table before me, and my cup is running over. (Ps. 23:5)

Philippians 4:1-9 Rejoice in the Lord always
Matthew 22:1-14 
The parable of the unwelcome guest at the wedding feast

 Sunday, Oct. 22   In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. To gather for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than to any earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world.

Isaiah 45:1-7 An earthly ruler as the instrument of God’s will
Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]  
Ascribe to the Lord honor and power. (Ps. 96:7)

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Thanksgiving for the church at Thessalonica
Matthew 22:15-22 
A teaching on giving to the emperor and to God

Sunday, Oct. 29  Jesus’ summary of the law in today’s gospel echoes our first reading from Leviticus. We are called not only to love God with heart, soul, and mind, but also to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is out of such deep care that Paul shares the gospel with the Thessalonian community. In the confession of sins, we acknowledge that we have not loved God, neighbor, and self; yet we gather to hear the word of forgiveness and to be strengthened by word and meal to be signs of God’s love and mercy in the world.

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 Holiness revealed in acts of justice
Psalm 1 
Their delight is in the law of the Lord. (Ps. 1:2)

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 The apostle’s tender care for the Thessalonians
Matthew 22:34-46 
Two great commandments: love for God and neighbor

 

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Celebrating & Commemorating the Reformation in 2017

Martin Luther’s intention 500 years ago was reformation of the church, not division.  Unfortunately, he lived at a time when open critical dialogue was not commonly possible.  The church of the 16th century was deeply mixed with the political and economic interests of those in power at the time.  Excommunication was often used as a means of silencing those who expressed criticisms.

For the past 50 years Roman Catholic and Lutheran leaders have engaged in extensive ecumenical dialogue toward overcoming long-standing and outdated divisions.  In 1999 a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was created and agreed to, by the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), stating that the mutual condemnations of the 16th century were no longer valid.  Other Protestant denominations have recently signed this agreement as well.

Catholic and Lutheran Christians began a “Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017” already on October 31, 2016.  Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan and LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge led the common prayer service with leaders from the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.

“From Conflict to Communion” is a joint statement for the commemoration of the Reformation in 2017.  (Online link: [PDF]From Conflict to Communion – The Lutheran World Federation).

Five commitments are included as imperatives:

  1. Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced. (#239)
  2. Lutherans and Catholics must let themselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with the other and by the mutual witness of faith. (#240)
  3. Catholics and Lutheran should again commit themselves to seek visible unity, to elaborate together what this means in concrete steps, and to strive repeatedly toward this goal. (#241)
  4. Lutherans and Catholics should jointly rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time. (#242)
  5. Catholics and Lutherans should witness together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world. (#243)

We are living in a time when Catholic and Lutheran leaders are focusing more on our common unity in Jesus Christ rather than former divisions.  What a healing moment this is for our families and congregations!

In Christ,

Pr. Joyce Piper