Catherine Anderson, the NE MN Synod Minister for Discipleship and Christian Community recently sent another of her outstanding updates to the leaders of the Synod, that included this insight:
We know planning and returning to ministry this fall isn’t going to be easy. Covid variants, parent and youth
hesitation to gather in- person, anger that we aren’t doing enough in-person, young people who aren’t
eligible to get vaccinated and the impact of 18+ months of disruption mean the path forward isn’t necessarily
I must admit, I have been minimizing those impacts as I have been involved in planning ministry with you for the coming month and beyond. A really big part of me wants to plan as if everything will be normal, or “normal-ish.” In spite of the little stuffed Tigger on my desk reminding me not to “bounce back” but “bounce ahead,” I keep slipping back into “it will be like before” mode.
It will not be like before.
There is some evidence of that already as the Christian Education Team and Worship Arts and Music Team have tried to get a sense of how many of you we will be directly working with in the coming months. So far, very few of you have let us know if you will be coming. Sunday Worship’s “in-person” numbers rise and fall like a Midway ride at the State Fair. Our cooperative Confirmation Ministry Team with Zion has encountered the same ambiguity.
Bottom line? We don’t know who to plan for. Catherine offered this encouragement in her article for us in the midst of this transition, “But regardless of what comes, God is still at work in and through you, multiplying your ministry in ways you can’t even imagine. You are enough because your God is abundantly more than enough!”
With that encouragement, there are things your Council Advisory Team here at Our Savior’s is called to lead us into, now, during this time of transition prompted by the retirement of Associate Pastor Karen Linné.
1. Pastoral Ministry will be supported. Pastor Joy Armstrong has been contracted to serve, at least for a transitional time (and hopefully beyond), as 10 hrs./wk. Visitation Pastor. She will also be the first Pastor to be contacted for Supply Preaching and emergency contact in my times of absence. Pastor Joy is a member here at Our Savior’s, an ordained ELCA Minister of Word and Sacrament and eager to begin her service here in mid-September.
2. Planning for the future will be supported. This is another ministry that the Council Advisory Team is called to lead us into. To that end, Pastor Phil Blom, an ordained ELCA Minister of Word and Sacrament and son of Our Savior’s (his father was Pastor Arnold Blom, who served Our Savior’s during the construction of the bulk of Our Savior’s current building) will be contracted to help lead us in Transitional Planning. He too is eager to aid Our Savior’s in pro-actively planning for the best ministry to meet the transition at hand and beyond. We expect his service to start with Our Savior’s in October.
3. The functional aspects of the entirety of Our Savior’s ministry will be supported. The Administrative Assistant will return to a “full-time” position, enabling Our Savior’s current Administrative Assistant, Katie Keller, more effectively function for the good of all the ministry teams and staff.
Together, those temporary adjustments to Our Savior’s staff configuration, will not exceed the budgeted expenses planned for Pastor Karen had she remained in her call as our Associate Pastor.
There is a lot going on. There are lots of moving parts that we don’t even yet know about. But Catherine is right, I believe, God is at work in and through you… us! God is preparing to multiply the ministry we share as God’s people here at Our Saviors “in ways [we] can’t even imagine. You are enough because your God is abundantly more than enough!”
Together we can “bounce ahead!” I believe that, so I remain on that journey with you!