Tag Archives: Youth

Youth various ages

An Introduction to our new Youth Christian Education Director


My name is Benjamin Anderson and I have recently been hired as the new Director of Youth Christian Education here at OSLC! I am incredibly excited to begin this new part of my life with this congregation, and I am honored to be chosen for this position.

So, a little about me: I am recent graduate of Concordia College Moorhead with a degree in Social Studies Education. I have spent the past three summers working at VLM in which I held a position as a counselor and Explorer Coordinator.

I was born in Fridley, MN, however, I moved to Deerwood just before my second birthday so I grew up on the Cuyuna Range! I grew up attending services at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood in which I developed my faith, and so began my passion for working with youth in a faith community. I also grew up attending VLM as a camper, and every year I fell more in love with the idea of being able to be a resource and mentor for youth, so I decided to pursue a career in teaching. I pushed myself in college to take a path that would lead me to work with my peers in developing collaborative skills, so I ended up working in Residence life, as well as led camp Ministry style worship on a weekly basis.

In my spare time I enjoy anything and everything with outdoor recreation, from hiking to ice fishing. I love being a part of God’s creation. I have spent much of my life on the ice in the winter attempting to catch anything that comes on the other end of my fishing line, as well as spending countless hours riding snowmobile to get to prime fishing spots.

Again, I am thrilled to begin this adventure with you all, and I appreciate your congregation opening up your hearts and allowing me to be a part of this faith community! I can’t wait to meet everyone!




Cam Import July 2015 212

with love and gratitude…

Dear people of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,

After four years in ministry together, it is profiletime for me to take the next steps of my vocation and faith journey. In our time together you have welcomed me, empowered me, supported me, and loved me. You have helped me grow in confidence and invited me to use God’s gifts in creative and meaningful ways. In this congregation I found hardworking people who care passionately about their community, who are proud of their legacy of lifelong learning, and who live with incredible generosity and compassion. I am grateful for everyone in this congregation and the many ways you have taught me what it means to be a church.

My greatest joy at Our Savior’s has been walking alongside the young people of our congregation and community. Your curious, open hearts inspire me every week. You have shared with me the challenges and joys of growing up today, in a world already so different than the world I grew up in just 15 years ago. And yet, to each heart-wrenching tragedy and frustrating setback, you respond with grace and love. You support one another with compassion and you celebrate diversity. You live your faith in concrete ways and act as beacons of light in your own circles. I treasure every conversation and meal and journey together. May you continue to shine with the light of Christ already inside you, serving our community and world as God calls you.

I believe that with additional education I can better serve my church and world, that my church needs me to do so, and that God is calling me to do so. In August I will begin life as a full-time seminary student at United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia with the intention to become an ordained pastor. Sunday, July 29th will be my last day at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. I will forever be connected to Our Savior’s, as this was the congregation from which I was called, and the people of this community will always hold a special place in my heart.

Thank you for welcoming me and walking with me.

with love and gratitude,

Meagan Esterby

Director of Youth & Family Ministry


Hello from Houston!

Isn’t it wonderful to see the Journey come to fruition? Many of you have contributed to make this National Youth Gathering trip possible; and you are very much appreciated for your thoughtfulness and hard work!

Won’t you continue to pray for the youth and youth workers who have embarked on this important journey to Houston~ Please pray for Hailey, Kelsey, Katie, Ryan, Jace, Jayda, Alex, Eric & Meagan, and all the youth & youth workers from neighboring churches who are also attending. 

You can find updates while they are in Houston on our facebook page (Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Virginia MN) and also at  http://elca.org/gathering.


For surely I know the plans I have for you. . .

Jeremiah 29:11
“For surely, I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

This week, in many homes throughout the country, people are celebrating a graduation. People are graduating high school, college, and even in some homes (like mine) there is even a pre-school graduation party. On graduation there are special moments to reflect upon; a job-well-done, knowledge gained, challenges overcome, and meaningful friendships. There is also a time to look towards the future, and we look forward with a mixture of excitement, mourning, hope, anxiety, and curiosity.I wanted to share this passage from Jeremiah with all the graduates, to remind you that whatever adventure the future brings, you should know that God only wants the best for you and that God has already made plans for your success.

Congratulations and Blessings on your journey- Pastor Erik


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



“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.


c4c 2015 wide

Advent Vespers – Dec. 16

Amid the busyness of this beautiful season, we hope you can join us for this interactive and reflective worship service! All are invited! As we prepare for the coming of Christ, may we find time for prayer, find time for peace, leave the busyness behind us, and reach out to one another in love.

Confirmation students and their families are especially encouraged to attend in lieu of Confirmation class that evening. We will follow worship with a celebration of cookies and hot chocolate in the fellowship hall.

Cragun's group shot

Cragun’s 2015

What an amazing night at the NE MN Synod Middle School Gathering! We had so much fun growing together in faith as we worshiped, played, and studied the 10 Commandments together. During check-in time we listed swimming, “Growing in Grace” GIG’s, Pastor Mike’s message, basketball, family time, and “getting to know each other better” as highlights of the trip! We thank the LYO Board and leaders for putting together such an wonderful event! Click here to view more photos!


October Intergenerational Fun

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Inter-generational Sunday School this week! We had so much fun working together to decorate pumpkins and exercising our creative muscles after worship! Each table decorated a pumpkin (or two!), running around to different tables to beg, borrow, and bargain for different materials and supplies. The pumpkins were so creative and innovative and it was fun to see the collaboration across different generations. Click here to view more pictures!


Joint Confirmation Service Retreat at Camp Vermilion with Gethsemane

We had so much fun at Camp Vermilion last Saturday, volunteering with the Confirmation Class from Gethsemane Lutheran Church! Together we built 2 new ball boxes, dug new trenches to divert water on the hill, bud-capped a hill of pines, and enjoyed the fall colors, the lake, and Gaga Ball! Thank you to Andy and Grant for hosting us and to Kai for preparing a delicious lunch for us! Such a beautiful day working and playing in God’s great northwoods! Click here to view more photos!