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Celebration of Community and Commitment


O God, you have called your servants

to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,

by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.

Give us faith to go out with good courage,

not knowing where we go,

but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Dear Members and Ministers of Our Saviour’s, Friends in Christ,

The Prayer of Good Courage is beloved by many of us. It is a prayer we turn to as a community when it is time to say farewell and godspeed to beloved members of our community. It is a prayer that graces our transitions, and it is a fitting prayer for us in this moment. We are currently in transition together: waiting for an interim pastor to join us, weathering an ongoing pandemic, and getting ready for deeper discernment conversations about how God is calling us to be the church today.

We have drafted a budget for 2022, but the truth is that much remains unknown about how the Spirit will lead us in the coming year. As we know from our experience of 2020 – life is always unknown, even when we think we know what is coming! When we face the unknown, we can sometimes feel fearful, which can lead us to retreat and hoard our resources. But we are called to journey by faith – with good courage and trust in our loving God’s abundance and provision!

As you consider your financial commitment to our ministry for 2022, I invite you to embrace a spirit of Good Courage Giving. When I think of Good Courage Giving I think of the little boy in John chapter 6. When a hungry crowd surrounds Jesus with no food in sight, Jesus asks the disciples, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” The disciples say – it’s impossible; we don’t have that kind of money! But then, a little boy steps into the unknown with courage – offering his two fish and five loaves of bread. You know the rest of the story – everyone gets fed!

How might each of us step forward in this time of facing the unknown, with a spirit of Good Courage Giving? As Rico Morales shared in his stewardship talk, we are not called to ‘give until it hurts,’ but to give with joy trusting in God’s abundance and the blessings that flow when we share in love. I invite you to think of what brings you joy at OSLC. Is it worshipping outside at the 9am service and delighting as the children bring forward their noisy offering? Is it singing in the choir at 10:30 worship or joining our livestream from your living room? Is it sharing community meals cooked by the wonderful April Smith? Is it knowing there is a community praying for you and supporting you? Did you experience joy over the pandemic from faith food boxes or the virtual Christmas program?

Perhaps you are joyful about being part of a congregation that seeks to put its faith values into action. As we prepare to make our financial commitments, I want to highlight a particular change to our budget: we are adding a budget line for reparations. The Reparations Team at OSLC made this recommendation for our community after hearing Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs of the Minnesota Council of Churches invite all predominantly white congregations to make reparations an ongoing budgetary commitment, recognizing the harm that white churches have been complicit in over the decades and the responsibility we have to repent and contribute to repair for those harms. We are beginning with a modest $9,000 amount, and we hope to grow that amount each year. Together as a community, we will discern how to distribute the money to support black and indigenous communities. Because part of our approach to reparations is about letting go of control, we will offer the money as ‘no strings attached’ gifts for black or indigenous-led organizations to use. Adding a reparations budget line is one way we live out our goal of dismantling white supremacy; it is one way that we live out repentance and a commitment to being neighbors who contribute meaningfully to the healing and repair of generational trauma and harm. We make this addition again in a spirit of Good Courage – stepping out even when things are unknown. Rather than waiting until we have total clarity on how to use the money (which can be a tendency in white supremacy culture), we are moving forward leaning into this action, trusting that the Spirit will lead us. Perhaps this budget commitment inspires some extra giving from you. How might you increase your giving amount to support our reparations budget line? And, I wonder - how might this commitment in our budget spill over into other actions in your life and our life together?

As we look to live out our faith and values in 2022 and beyond, it is your investment of time, talents, and finances that makes our ministry and mission possible. Our Saviour’s is a generous congregation, and I invite you to continue to your support with good courage. To fill out your commitment card online; visit https://forms.gle/kQgY1qMt1EaqmJxH8 or find the link on our website to do so. We will make our financial commitments as an act of worship and commitment on Sunday, November 14.

Thank you for being the church together. I thank God for each one of you!

God’s grace and peace,

Pastor Martha


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