What’s New With YOU?
Updates from congregations around the church of the Lutheran Confession
90 Years of Preaching the Gospel
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church is approaching its 90th anniversary of preaching the Gospel of forgiveness to the Buffalo City and beyond. As with all things, we give glory to God for what He has done through dedicated men and women of the congregation, along with the long list of called servants who have served here.
Since our last report a casual observer might say little has changed. When it comes to the pure teachings of God’s word, that’s a good thing. A few updates do come to mind.
For decades, Redeemer in Bowdle, South Dakota, has hosted the Joint Area Reformation Service, or JARS. Our pastoral study club invites a preacher from another conference, and members gather from around the Dakotas and Nebraska to worship and have a meal on a Sunday evening around Reformation. Redeemer asked Our Savior’s to assume the responsibility of hosting this special service, which we did, first in the fall of 2019 with Neal Radichel of Immanuel, Mankato as our guest preacher. Unfortunately, we didn’t hold JARS last year due to . . . well, you know why.
A lot has changed around here due to the virus. While those changes are common to many Lutheran Spokesman readers, you may find our circumstances and response to this crisis interesting. In North Dakota, all restrictions placed on churches came in the form of recommendations. Here at Our Savior’s, we felt blessed to have the freedom to decide for ourselves how to respond. We suspended in-person services on March 18th of last year and resumed them on May 17th.
Masks are not required but also not looked down upon at Our Savior’s. We’ve blocked off a few pews and reduced the size of each table at communion. We have had no monthly potlucks. VBS last summer was a “take home” affair and the Children’s Christmas Eve program was recorded and posted online.
While not going to church seemed as strange and wrong to us as it did to many of you, we came out of the experience with a lot of positives:
• We began recording services and devotions and posting them to Facebook. Technological challenges related to this (including a steep learning curve for the pastor!) were overcome. We discovered that it wasn’t that complicated after all and we probably should have been doing it all along.
• A stronger connection with members-at-a-distance was established and is being maintained.
• We developed better communication between leadership and members via email and text.
• We learned to respect and listen to each other’s varying levels of concerns in this time when factual information about risks seems hard to come by and “qualified opinions” are often contradictory.
The parsonage garage was replaced during the last year. Members in the congregation who are in the trades found an opportunity for a “free” 25’x25’ modern garage to replace the much smaller and aging one we had. Anyone familiar with building projects knows why the word “free” is in quotation marks. Concrete, permits, electrical, grading, and so forth all cost money, but a combination of generous financial gifts and a lot of volunteer labor made it happen.
Our Savior’s was very happy to host the Tour Choir of Immanuel Lutheran College on March 14th. We give glory to God for what He continues to do through dedicated and selfless students who share the Word in this way. We especially thank Him for the thirty-three tours directed by retiring Professor John Reim (see page 15) and, of course, his decades of teaching at ILC. Thank you, Lord, for Professor Reim!
Time flies. We were surprised to get a request for an update from the Spokesman, until we realized that it has been over six years since the previous article. We’re still here at the corner of 5th Avenue and 4th Street SE in Jamestown, still meeting at 10:00 A.M. every Sunday, and still thanking God for sending His Son to die for our sins so we sinners can stand righteous in that great Day. Come, Lord Jesus.
Until then, come on by and see us!
James Naumann is pastor of Our Savior’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jamestown, North Dakota.