Category Archives: News

Our Saviors Lutheran Church of Virginia, Minnesota News

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Weekly Witness ~ Pentecost Sunday

John 15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.”

This Sunday is Pentecost! Such an amazing day when we celebrate the Holy Spirit and reflect on the leadership, guidance, and power that the Spirit continuously bestows upon us and the church. During worship, we talk a lot about Jesus and God the Father, but we spend just a small amount of time talking about the Spirit. This lack of time devoted to the Spirit has left many people confused about the who the Spirit is and what the activity of the Spirit includes.

I found Professor Jones’ words (Wartburg College) to be very helpful, “In John, Jesus’ preferred term for the Spirit is the Paraclete. The Greek noun Paraclete is related to a verb that means “I call alongside.” The Paraclete, then, is the Spirit of Truth whom Jesus calls to accompany his followers as helper, counselor, advocate, and guide. Jesus promises to send the Paraclete as a replacement for his own presence among his disciples.” Jones further writes, “Jesus describes the Paraclete as the Spirit of truth who will expose sin, righteousness, and judgment and who will lead Jesus’ followers into all truth. It is vitally important that readers understand what Jesus means here by truth.

The Spirit of truth is not focused on propositional, dogmatic truth. Jesus does not send the Spirit to ensure that the community makes no errors in its theological descriptions of the Trinity or of the precise nature of Christ’s presence in the consecrated bread and wine. No, Jesus sends the Spirit of truth to help his followers live in the Way of Jesus.”

I hope to see all people at worship on Sunday. It will be an amazing day. Celebrating an amazing promise. A promise given to an amazing group of people.

God’s Peace~ Pastor Erik

Choices

Weekly Witness ~ You Did Not Choose Me But I Chose You. . .

You did not choose me but I chose you. John 15:16

These are words spoken by Jesus to the disciples and they are also words spoken by Jesus to you.

It seems to me that people today have more choices in their lives than any other time in human history. To name a few; what to eat, what to wear, where to live, where to go on vacation, which topics to study in school, which career to pursue, who to love, how to treat others, how to worship God, etc. Everyday is filled with choices. Often times the abundance of choices lead to more opportunities and the ability to engage in fulfilling activities, but the abundance can also distract and overwhelm us.

Knowing that God chooses us and that we don’t choose God is very good news. It is good news because it means that our place in God’s Kingdom and the abundant love poured out onto us doesn’t depend on us. This is great news because as much as we try, humans are not always dependable and reliable. We often fall short, and we make poor choices. The good news is that God loves each and everyone of us so much that God is unwilling to risk the relationship. There is an old phrase, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” In terms of your relationship with God- the choice has already been made.

Blessings~ Pastor Erik

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Voyageur’s Lutheran Ministry

VLM is  an Outdoor Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that offers summer and year-round camping programs for God’s people of all ages.

Voyageur’s Lutheran Ministry  “provides opportunities for Christ-centered spiritual growth, leadership development, and outreach in God’s great northwoods.”

Spring is around the corner (we think); you may be interested in a few upcoming events & activities:

Friday Family Overnights and Camp Work Days 2018:

Camp Hiawatha | April 27-28th

Camp Vermilion | May 18-19th

Join us on these Friday evenings for dinner at 6:30pm, games, campfire, and fellowship. Stay overnight and after breakfast on Saturday, explore the camps on your own or join in on our Camp Work Days (April 28th, May 19th)  as we get our sites ready for the summer! Open to youth groups also! This is a great opportunity to introduce new friends to camp and to help us out! This event is free if you help with Work Day, or $50 per family if you are unable to stay. Please contact the VLM office with questions or to sign up at 218-666-5465.

Mother’s Day Brunch May 13th,  10:00am – 1:00pm.

Celebrate Mom at Camp Vermilion with this menu: pancakes, egg bake, coffee cake, baked oatmeal, fresh fruit and more!

Cost is $15 for adults, $7 for kids 4-11, and free for those under 3. RSVP is helpful at 800-331-5148.

 

Mission Jamaica 2018

Members of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church have joined others from various  churches in Minnesota and surrounding states to serve in Jamaica. We provide medical care, help residents build homes, and join them in worship and work.

J’ABODE (formerly Habitat for Humanity) – There’s always work to be done for housing. Mission Jamaica missionaries help make simple, decent and affordable housing a reality for families that are in the greatest need.

What we do-Dig footings, pour concrete and tie steel. The focus in Jamaica is to build 16’x20’ one room homes or add-ons to existing homes. We work side by side with future new owners and the community.

In January of 2018 we had over 20 people go to Jamaica  to continue in the work of building homes, and also assist with in care of children at an area orphanage. This Mission continues to be a big part of OSLC, and the congregants’ lives.

If you are interested in going you may speak with Bob Rutka about joining next year’s team! No matter your skill level, there will be something exciting for you to take part of!

Called to Serve

 

 

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Food Shelf Giving Throughout the Year

Our Savior’s raised funds with our Annual S(o)uper Bowl of Caring Day on Super Bowl Sunday! The proceeds we collect for this benefit the Quad Cities Food Shelf to tackle hunger in central St. Louis County.

During the year, we have several events and special  times that we collect funds to give to Quad Cities Food Shelf, like giving in March, when funds are matched in the state of Minnesota through Food Share! WELCA, our Women of the ELCA group also gives regularly to combat hunger in St. Louis County.  We also collect funds during Lent for the local food shelves.

There are many ways you can give, along with others at OSLC, to help families and children thrive in our area and beyond. You will find that people here have big, generous hearts, and are always willing to help area organizations keep food on the shelf for those  who may need that little extra to get through the month.

Shovel in the ground, close-up.

Projects. . .

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

My parents, especially my Dad, loves gardening. When I was 9 years old my family moved to a home with a big backyard in Colorado Springs, CO. The first project that my family and I did together at our new house that year was to completely remodel and reorganize the backyard into a serious flower and vegetable garden. We built huge raised bed gardens, pulled out overgrown shrubs, planted trees, hauled rocks and pavers, and put in new grass. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. Every year since then my Dad plants flowers and vegetables in ever square inch of the garden.

This past weekend, my family and I put together some raised bed gardens at our house. It has been something we’ve looked forward to for many years. Previously, we’ve always lived in an apartment where couldn’t have a garden. It was so much fun to put everything together. I hope Nozomi and Ronin had as much fun gardening as I did when I was a kid.  During our project, we were constantly thinking about what we should do to have the healthiest and most productive plants. Which materials should we use? Where should we put the raised beds in order to get the most life-giving sunshine? Which soil ingredients do we need to use to have the most nutritious soil? How is gardening in Northern Minnesota different than Colorado? Lots to think about and lots to do, as well as lots of happy memories and eager expectation about future harvests.

Throughout the project, as a pastor, I realized I am constantly asking these same types of questions about church. Like my garden, I want Our Savior’s to be as healthy and productive as possible. Like a garden, the question is how best to engage with resources we have. I know the church’s best resource is the people. The best resource is you. You are uniquely talented and skilled, and your talents and participation are greatly needed and always greatly appreciated.

One of the most important and impactful things you can do to nurture the congregation into continued health and productivity is to talk about the fulfilling and meaningful ministries that take place here with your friends, family, and neighbors. Then to invite them to come and see for themselves the magnificent things God is doing here.  To help you gain confidence and comfortability in speaking about what God is doing, here are some sentence prompts which I encourage you to complete. Also, I would love to hear about what you write and how other people have responded to you.

When I talk to other people about Our Saviors, I say ___________________________

One thing that is different now than when I was a kid is ________________________

I hope the church will start _______________________________________________

I’m Lutheran because

___________________________________________________

My favorite part of Sunday worship is ______________________________________

I go to church on a week day to ___________________________________________

As always, it is a joy, honor and privilege to worship with you and to serve as your pastor.

I am always available to you and open to hear your questions, comments and suggestions.

Faithfully yours~  Pastor Erik

 

 

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New Directory!

NEW CHURCH DIRECTORY

 We are excited to announce that we are updating our Church Directory. Lifetouch will provide the services to put together this important community resource. Our link to sign up for a session is https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/ycyx5sbc/ They offer photo packages if you would like to purchase pictures for your family. The dates for our photograph sessions are May 15th-19th. Tuesday – Friday  the sessions will be held from 2pm —9pm.  Saturday,  May 19th, the sessions will be between the hours of 10am-5pm.

We invite everyone in our church to participate, even if you are not planning to purchase a photo package, so all may be included in the directory.

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Youth and Family Ministry Update

 

Dear friends,

One of the most exciting parts of working with young people is walking alongside as they mark milestones in their life. In church we celebrate the many gifts children bring to our community—joy, energy, passion, and even noise. What a blessing to celebrate with children as they mark their first communion, learn to acolyte, and step into leadership roles in both worship and our community, especially the last few months as they have offered their energy, strength, and speed cleaning up after each community meal.

Their spirit and joy, in both the momentous and mundane moments, gives me so much life, as has the youth advocacy movement we are witnessing in our country right now.

This month, joining thousands of students across the ELCA as we prepare to journey to Houston, the Sr. High students are “Gathering for Advocacy”. The ELCA has a strong tradition of advocacy, and this month we lift up the ELCA’s initiative called AMMPARO. AMMPARO seeks to accompany children who are “forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement, and lack of opportunities…As brothers and sisters in Christ, the ELCA is called to bear witness to the conditions affecting so many communities and find solutions that will acknowledge the humanity in all of God’s children..”

We invite you to learn more at elca.org/Resources/AMMPARO, and join us as we pray:

Blessed are you, Lord Jesus Christ. You crossed every border between divinity and humanity to make your home with us. Help us welcome you in newcomers, migrants and refugees. Blessed are you, God of all nations. You bless our land richly with goods of creation and with people made in your image. Help us be good stewards and peacemakers, who live as your children. Blessed are you, Holy Spirit. You work in the hearts of all to bring about harmony and goodwill. Strengthen us to welcome those from other lands, cultures and religions that we may live in human solidarity and in hope.

God of all people, grant us vision to see your presence in our midst, especially in our immigrant sisters and brothers. Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors and grace to build a society of justice. “Gathering for Advocacy” from Getting Reading: A Youth Ministry Curriculum for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering)

with love,

Meagan Esterby, Director of Youth and Family Ministry

meagan@oslcmn.com • 218.410.4704

 

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“Jesus loves you…INSIDE OUT!” VBS Recap

“Jesus loves you…INSIDE OUT!” Vacation Bible School — We had so much fun this July at our (very warm!) “Inside Out”-themed VBS! Though we were a small group, we made enough joyful noise to fill the entire church, and were happy to dedicate more time to special crafts and conversations. Creating slime and “God’s Eye” crafts were listed as highlights of the week by most of the group. Thank you to our VBS guides Leah Sirotiak, Laurie Miller, and Amara Wilcox for leading the faith-formation fun all week! And thank you to the many generous souls who helped set up and prepared snack and lunch for us each day: Gloria and Steve Gagnon, Diane Vandervort, Jackie and Nathan LeBeque, Marlene Staudahar, Kathy and Mark Hoppa, Carolyn Flaschberger, Sharon Pernu, and Jesse.