Happy New Year!
A Message from Pastor Paul:
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
At our December Council meeting the boards of Deacons, Youth & Education, and Social Ministries brought to the council a request that the council submit to you, the congregation, for consideration and action at our January 26 Annual Meeting, the following resolution:
… that the position of Minister of Christian Education and Mission be increased from 1.0 (Full Time Equivalent) to 1.5 (Full Time Equivalent) with increased emphasis in Diaconal Ministry.
After some significant discussion and explanation, the council unanimously approved the resolution with the understanding that we need to bring you up to speed with regard to all the exciting progress OSLC’s ministry is experiencing.
On Sunday, January 31, 2010, OSLC held its 112th annual meeting. Our Coordinator of Christian Education, Kim Suhr, shared that she recently graduated from seminary with a Master's in Children and Family and that she was working to meet certain standards in order to be listed as a "Rostered Leader" in the ELCA as a Diaconal Minister. Not being sure where this “being rostered” would lead, we asked the question, “If OSLC were to call a Diaconal Minister, what would that mean?” ANSWER: A number of things from previous visioning discussions could be addressed, including ministries to the community, family, children concerns; social ministry area concerns; serving with Deacons; worship leadership; other areas.
That discussion was the impetus of a conversation and process that led us to establish our purpose statement, “Together we live God’s Word and follow Christ’s example,” as well as its attending guiding principles: Jesus is our Lord and Savior; God’s Word is our foundation; We celebrate grace; We live our faith daily; We are called to use our gifts…to serve others; and Everyone is a valued child of God. It also led us to discern that calling a rostered lay leader was what we should do. On Sunday, December 12, 2010, at a specially called meeting, the congregation voted unanimously that we begin the search that culminated in the calling of Kelly Jensen to be our Minister of Christian Education and Mission. She started on July 14, 2011.
Since that day, this position has begun to mould us diaconally into a mission outpost that cultivates, facilitates, and accompanies disciples as we improve and grow our ministries to the community and to families; as we address children’s concerns and social ministry concerns; and as we find new ways to cultivate a healthy spirituality. In other words, diaconal ministry has been helping enable us to effectively fulfill our purpose of service in the world as we seek to exemplify the servant life and seek to equip and motivate others to live it. And we have been succeeding!
Someone recently asked Kelly Jensen how she has been dividing her responsibilities between the ministries overseen by the three boards with whom she works. She said that 60% of her time relates to the Board of Youth and Education, 30% relates to the Board of Deacons, and 30% relates to Social Ministry. “Wait, that adds up to 120%!” they responded. She smiled and said, “Uh huh.”
With Kelly’s assistance we have seen our areas of social concerns grow: We have resurrected CROP Walk. We were at the table with the creation of the Chippewa Falls Mission Coalition. We are involved in visioning a community services center that would house a wide variety of services for the needy in one convenient location. We have see more involvement in volunteerism through organizations like Food for Kidz, Feed My People, The Open Door Clinic, and others.
With Kelly’s assistance we have seen our Board of Deacons empowered to establish and coordinate small group ministries. They have become more involved in connecting with our shut-ins and prospective new members. They continue to look for more effective ways to build authentic relationships and create a lasting and cohesive community.
With Kelly‘s assistance we have seen the Board of Youth and Education maintain the quality of its ministries. This is an accomplishment in itself when we consider that they previously had a staff member all to themselves. But simple maintenance doesn’t effectively capture the fact that there are exciting things happening here as well. There is a palpable diaconal sensibility coming from our educational programming. Maybe it is because more of you have stepped up to maintain the quality of what we do in light of Kelly’s “diaconal diversification,” and your passion created more than maintenance.
This is why these boards are asking us to expand our diaconal footprint. Kelly cannot do it all, and there is so much left to do. There are more volunteers to be cultivated, there are so many more areas of service that offer us and our children the opportunity to learn about and do what Jesus does.
In order to succeed and to move forward faithfully, I support their request for this half time position. I hope you will, too. Yes, it will mean some additional financial investment. If even half of our households gave $2 to $3 more a week, this would be no problem. If even more households gave an additional $2 to $3 a week, it would be even less of a problem!
I have been hearing people out in the community comment about the great stuff Our Saviour’s is up to. I have heard my colleagues express these same sentiments. Six years ago I said I believed that Our Saviour’s could truly make a difference in our community and the world. When I look around now, I see that we are!
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Please remember SIMPLY GIVING ensures both you and the church a worry free summer.
In case you don't know, SIMPLY GIVING is a means for you to have your offering automatically withdrawn from a bank account, which is especially handy during summer vacation.
If you have a question about this program please call the church office at 715-723-6048.