Please listen to the radio on WMFG 1240 AM Sunday mornings at 10:30 am or tune in to our TV Broadcast—channel 5 Tuesday’s at 6 pm or Wednesday’s at 8 am. You may also follow us on Facebook and You Tube.
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Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship/Communion Service Thursday, December 24th, 3:30 pm, virtual only
“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
So the Gospel of Luke summarizes Mary’s response to the shepherd’s testimony after an angelic appearance had convinced them to “go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place with the Lord had made known to them!”
In response to the shepherd’s testimony Mary’s response appears subdued and reflective, maybe almost demure – a simple smile on her face as she takes in what these robust, mangy shepherds have testified concerning the birth of her first born Son: But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
Through the years, as I have studied the Nativity of our Lord I have tended to focus on all of the frantic activity that comes to us through Joseph struggling to find shelter for his pregnant wife, the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, the heavenly host signing: “glory to God in the highest”, all of this seems to match the holiday season where there is so much to do and not enough time to do it.
With all of the doing both in the Nativity story as well as our lives, I have overlooked this simple but yet powerful verse of being as the Virgin nurses her newborn son: But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
But this Christmas I am convinced that I will be sitting next to Mary pondering more than doing, thanking more than acting, and reflecting more than performing.
It’s interesting to examine the verb “ponder” as it comes to us in the original text, it literally means to “watch over carefully”, “to tend to in ones mind”, not too totally different than one might tend to ones mind in a Mindfulness Meditation, finding ones anchor in the swirl of a world that is out of control. And what might Mary’s mantra have been? “Let it be unto me, for I am the handmaiden of the Lord.”
As Mary “celebrated” that first Christmas we have more in common with her than we could possibly bargain for: the threat of a pandemic, a government that was often divided and challenged, separation from her family when she needed them the most, not to mention a world riddled with protest, politics, and partisanship. Through it all Mary embraced an uncertain future, and put herself mentally, physically, and spiritually in the hands of her Lord, gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And what Mary pondered on was the greatest Christmas gift of all.
Merry Christmas! Pastor Kevin
Our Savior’s Emergency Food Shelf –Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Please consider donating to Our Savior’s Emergency Food Shelf as it continues to offer a life line to those individuals/families that find themselves in unexpected circumstances. Thank you and God bless.
As in past years, members and friends of Our Savior’s are being offered the opportunity to donate funds for the Christmas season to poinsettia plants and/or the mission project. Each plant costs the church $17, any dollar amount contribution is appreciated. If you wish to donate for poinsettia plants to decorate the sanctuary and cheer our members and/or snow pants to warm Hibbing children make checks payable to OSLC. If you wish to have your dedication, for poinsettias or our mission project at home listed in the Christmas Eve bulletin your contribution must be in the office by Tuesday, Dec. 15th. Contributions are appreciated at any time and in any amount, please indicate on the memo line which fund you wish to support. Blessings to you and on your generosity.
Children’s Quilt Project: 2020 Update
Even with the pandemic, it has been another amazingly productive year for the children’s quilt makers at Our Savior’s. Our teamwork this year was all tag team as we worked to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. We decided early in the spring to keep our hands busy and were able to make and donate 173 quilts this year. All of these quilts were donated locally. 54 quilts have been given to the Salvation Army for Christmas gifts; 50 quilts were given to the local hospital for newborns; 26 quilts were put into our church clothes closet; St. Louis County Public Health nurses received 34 quilts; and our local public schools received 9 quilts. We received generous funding this year from OSLCW and some very kind and generous individuals. We also received some beautiful fabric donations.
Congregational Care & Life
As I write this, we’re about a week away from Thanksgiving. It will be a very different holiday for many. The restrictions that we are observing will mean that some will not be able to share a Thanksgiving feast, some will be alone, and many will feel nostalgic about meals shared and good times in the past.
As inconvenient as we might view our circumstances, we still have enough to eat, a bed in which to sleep, and a warm home. As a community, we grieve the loss of our annual community Thanksgiving dinner. It provided wonderful food and fellowship for many, and we regret that many people will be isolated and unable to eat a meal with others. We pray that next year will provide a sense of normalcy and peace.
It was a very unusual Deer Hunting opener, also.
The women of OSLC should have been making lefse, doughnuts, cookies, baking and cleaning and preparing the fellowship hall and various rooms for our main event of the year.
Our Holly Days Bazaar never happened!!! Bazaar week never materialized! Many of us missed the frantic activity and welcoming our friends and neighbors to enjoy the traditional turkey salad lunch. Some of us, I’m sure, were relieved and we had a chance to remember bazaars of past years and the fun we shared.
BUT, because we did not have the bazaar and have served no funerals or luncheons our finances are woefully short! We have pledged to support the missionaries to the tune of $4,000 per year and without any bazaar income we need help.
Would it be possible to give a donation to the OSLC Women in the amount you would have spent at the bazaar to help bail us out? I realize this year is far from “normal”, and we don’t want to impose any hardship on our members, but if you can contribute to this very worthwhile fund it will be much appreciated.
I miss you all and can hardly wait to spend some time socializing and worshiping with you again soon. Please follow all the advisories and health warnings so that we will all be together again soon. You’re in my prayers and thoughts and I wish you all the best as we face a holiday season like no other. Sue S.
Council Meeting Highlights (November 17, 2020)
- As of October 31, the General Fund had a positive balance of $1,424.48; however, weekly offering has fallen behind 2019 giving-to-date; announcements will be in the bulletins and VOICE
- In-person worship was canceled starting November 1; Communion elements are available for parishioners to pick up at the church office vestibule for use from home on communion Sundays
- Made recommendations to Foundation for allocation of 2021 Perpetual Fund Interest Income
- Christmas Eve services will be virtual – no in-person services will be available
- OSLC has purchased a Zoom account; we anticipate the Annual Meeting will be held on Zoom; phone-in attendance (for those without internet) is expected to be available
- New Member Classes are anticipated to resume (virtually) in the New Year
- Online, radio, and TV broadcasts of services are continuing to be provided
The Columbarium at Our Savior’s offers perpetually endowed care for the remains of those who choose cremation. It is a place of peace, solitude, and prayer restoring the ancient practice of church burial. If you would like to learn more about the Columbarium, please make an appointment with Cindy in the church office by calling 218-263-7422. An optional payment plan is available.
Confirmation News: (Grade as of September 2020 – May 2021)
3rd grade – Since we have not been able to meet in person we will present you your Bible by a social distancing method. Please pick up your packet, marked with your name, from the table in the office hallway. God Bless Each of You!
4th grade – Hope you are able to view church services on cable tv or on YouTube. Pastor Kevin presents a great Children’s Message.
5th grade – Unfortunately last spring we were unable to meet to talk about Family Devotions. A packet is ready for you in time for Advent devotions. You may pick up the packet from the shelf in the office hallway. Remember your mask and to social distance.
6th grade – Now during Advent is be a great time to do an act of kindness.
7th-10th grades – December Wednesday classes via ZOOM are Dec. 2nd, 9th, 16th
‘TIS THE SEASON…
We are all getting lots of requests in the mail from all over the USA and beyond for money. Let us think about the fact that mission that begins at home can have a great role in the future of missions beyond our local sphere. If we now equip our local children and families with food and much needed winter clothing who knows which one or more will feel loved and want to continue to serve others as they become teens and adults.
Mission Action Advent project is collecting snow pants and boots for kids in pre-k to grade 2 for the Washington and Lincoln elementary schools. Pants sizes would be 5/6 to 10/12 and boots from about child’s 9 to size 2. If you wish to donate $$$ to project simply bring or mail to church office or use the electronic giving site for the church. If you have snow pants at home that the knees are frayed or have holes, we can mend those.
We also have a challenge: dig out those letter writing supplies, those picture post cards you bought on trips, have the children use their creativity and make cards. Look through the church directory and send a note or picture to someone you may not know or know just to let them know the church has not forgotten them during this time. Kids love to get and send mail as do adults. Maybe you can create a new friendship or foster an old one. More than ever now getting people to feel connected even though we must distance is very important. A sticker on the envelope even helps to brighten the day. Let your inner child blossom and create.
Food Shelf and Clothes Closet continue to help our community. We are trying to get enough quilts ready to give to Salvation Army for our gift to them. If you could tie one quilt at home it would be great. We would supply everything needed. Call Sue at 263-4748. The children’s quilt group has their supply ready for the SA and other groups they give to.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas season. Stay safe, stay well and we pray next year we will all be able to gather as a whole church to celebrate the holidays. We are thankful for electronics in that they let us be together even though we are apart.
Let us go in peace and serve the Lord. Sue S.
Heating System Renovation Update — Yes, On October 1, 2020, the Boiler System went online and the final walk-thru was done with ARI and Iron Range Plumbing & Heating. There is a 9-item hit list of items for Iron Range Plumbing & Heating and Hart Electric. Travis has boiler license that covers this size boiler, so no upgrade is needed. Sanctuary window washing is complete and the Sanctuary carpet and pastor’s meeting room carpet have been cleaned. Final billing will not be done until later in October, but all indications are that we met original budget estimates and very little contingency funds were used. As of 10/20/2020, our costs are under $ 320,000. Donations are still being accepted toward the project. Great job by all. Mike S and Joe A, Property Co-Chairs
Clothes Closet — Our Savior’s Lutheran Church has a Children’s Clothing Closet with sizes up to 12-14. It is free to use. Usually you can receive two to three outfits, one of which is new. Shoes, boots, winter outer wear, under garments are also available most of the time. Children’s quilts are also available and sometimes twin bed sheets. If you need bath towels or bath mats they are available from another group within the church. You must call 263-7422 to request an appointment time to meet with a committee member to help you. Church office hours are Monday thru Friday 8am – 4:30pm.
Would you like our congregation to pray for any issues, problems, or health concerns you have? We believe in the power of prayer and know that our petitions are heard and answered. Please call the church office at 218-263-7422 and we will pass your request on to the Prayer Chain.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options. May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no place to go. May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all. May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
Teach Me, Lord, to Wait
“Advent” has always seemed to be a church thing. Waiting for the celebration of the birth of our Savior has always led us to events and traditions of our individual congregations… the Sunday School Christmas Program, the Choir’s Cantata, the Worship Band’s Christmas Sing-Along, Christmas Eve worship services – maybe mid-day, or perhaps midnight, maybe a lutefisk supper. We look forward to those experiences, anticipating the excitement, joy, and peace they bring as they lead us to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
Those things happen at “church.” What happens in the “rest of our lives?” Are we waiting more eagerly for Santa? Do we get more excited about the good deals we’ll get while shopping? Are we even more eager for Christmas to be over, so all that hustle and bustle, busyness and stress will be done with for another year?
As Christians, our anticipation ought to be focused on the coming of the Christ-Child. I believe the secular aspects of the season, which have become so significant in the world around us, ought to be background shadows… not necessarily eliminated, but not the most prominent parts of our Christmas celebrations.
This year will be different! This year most of us won’t be able to watch the children act out the nativity story in front of the church’s altar. We won’t listen to our church’s choir lead us in sacred music. We won’t get to hold our lighted candles in the darkened sanctuary with our whole congregation singing “Silent Night.”
This year most of us won’t be able to rely on our “church” to do the “Jesus things” that are actually what the season is about. This year we’ll have to do them ourselves, in our homes, with our families. And that could be one of the blessings of this pandemic! All those events that we traditionally go to church for, can be done at home! We can light candles on our family’s Advent Wreath each Sunday in Advent. We can read the Bible’s account of Christmas in family devotion settings. We – children and adults – can act out the nativity. We can sing sacred Christmas carols with our families, even with lighted candles. We can participate at home in whatever ways our congregations are offering online worship. These things can all happen in our homes, even if we’re living alone (as I am.) In so doing, we can bring our family’s Christmas focus to Christ, to the birth of Jesus, our Savior. And we can realize that if we can do it this year, we can do it every year!
We don’t need to stop there. After Christmas we can wait together for Good Friday, and for Easter, as we celebrate our Lord’s incredible resurrection. And then we can await the Second Coming… which will happen one day.
A chorus from an old camp song based on the end of Isaiah 40 says:
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Teach me Lord, teach me Lord, to wait.
I invite you and your families to join me during these days of sometimes seemingly interminable waiting to learn to more confidently wait upon the Lord, to rely on His presence and strength, and always to trust Him.
Teach Me, Lord, to Wait
Karolyn T., written for VLM’s eTraveler, Advent, 2020
Please Read our New Bylaws and Constitution
Welcome to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (OSLC)! Upon entering, you will notice the beautiful sanctuary with stained glass windows depicting parables of Christ and the large crucifix hanging above the altar. Friendly congregational members will greet you, and as you sit in the pews, our music will fill your soul! We have an active Temple Choir and also a worship band for a more contemporary sound. Music is emphasized within each service, and the sermons will speak to your heart and feed your soul while creating a deeper relationship with God.
Our church’s mission is A Community transformed by Christ, to be Christ in the World. We invite you to join us to become “the hands and feet of Christ”. Our ownership of this mission is shown in outreach through our Food Shelf, Clothes Closet, Habitat for Humanity, and God’s work. Our hands. Sunday. The Food Shelf is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00-2:30. Our clothes closet can be accessed through appointment only by calling the church office.
Our worship service provides opportunities for you and your family to grow in your Christian faith. Children of all ages are welcome during worship and are invited to join Pastor Kevin for a Children’s Message each week. After service, during the school year, children may attend Sunday School while you enjoy coffee, goodies and fellowship with parishioners downstairs. We partner with First Lutheran (another ELCA church in Hibbing) in our Confirmation and Youth Ministry, as well as some congregational worship and seasonal events through the year. Baptism and First Communion are joyous events which precede Confirmation. Students in grades 3-11 are involved in our Confirmation program. Youth have opportunities through our church to participate in Bible camps, vacation bible school, BWCA canoe trips, national youth gatherings, church services…. On average, OSLC sends over 70 youth to Bible camp each year.
OSLC has a long and rich history of service to the community of Hibbing and the world. Both young and old participate in potluck dinners, Lutefisk suppers, pasty bake fundraisers, the fall bazaar with much of the profits benefiting ministries such as the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Service, local Bible Camps, and worldwide missionary support.
For over 60 years, we have held the White Elephant Sale in the spring, which provides clothing, furniture, appliances, sporting goods, tools, bicycles, and many other items for inexpensive prices to our community and the surrounding communities.
OSLC is a “community safe space” offering the use of our facilities to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Lutheran Social Services, Advocates for Family Peace, among others.
OSLC was formed in 1903 by Norwegian immigrants under the name “Tabor” with 23 members. It officially became known as Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in 1904. The church held a groundbreaking ceremony in July of 1952 with the cornerstone of our present church laid in October of that same year.
Please call our church office with any questions you may have. Our staff is pleased to help you!