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Letter from the Congregational President – Oct. 2, 2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
Here is an update on our Vacancy Journey…
This coming December is OSWLC’s 25th year. Pastor Mann has led us on this most wonderful journey, and for that, we wish to honor and celebrate both him and Sally at an “Appreciate & Celebrate” event on November 9th. You can volunteer to assist with this celebration by reaching out to Nikki Deacon.
The MMSLG has completed the process of establishing a Transition Committee, which is to act as an open group that supports group decisions, fosters change, solicits input from the congregation, and communicates freely about the transition. The MMSLG and the Transition Committee met with District President, Rev. Dr. John Denninger, of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, to kick-off the process and understand our options as a Congregation. As I noted at the August Congregational Meeting the direction we take is up to the congregation. President Denninger and his team are here to help us and offer guidance, but the choices are ours to make.
With that, the Congregation has a choice to consider. Would we like to consider an Intentional Interim Pastor or a Vacancy Pastor in the new year?
An Intentional Interim Pastor is a called pastor for a fixed period of time, they specialize in transition, would assist in sustaining our ministries, and will help us with this large change to our ministry.
A Vacancy Pastor is contracted for specific services, covers basic pastoral needs, and could be a rotation of pastors.
Note: Pastors serving in these roles would NOT be eligible for a Tenured Call, their purpose is to assist during our vacancy only. Additionally, a Voters' Assembly is needed to establish a Call Committee and to vote on a Call.
The MMSLG and Transition Committee is looking to gain feedback from the Congregation on this topic. Please reach out to the MMSLG or a Transition Committee member with your thoughts.
God’s blessings to you!
Heather Ann Schigur Novak, Congregational President
Letter from the Congregational President – July 24
I am reaching out to provide follow-up related to Pastor Mann’s retirement this upcoming January. The MMSLG has reached to District President, Rev. Dr. John Denninger, of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and received our “Vacancy Journey” package which provides guidance as we move forward. We have scheduled a September meeting between the MMSLG, Church Administration, President, Rev. Dr. John Denninger and his team to walk through our options and next steps. Additionally, the MMSLG will be forming a Prayer Team and Transition Team over the next month.
The MMSLG will provide additional information at the August 18th Congregational meeting, and I look forward with seeing you there. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach to myself or any member of the MMSLG.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and God’s blessings to you!
Heather Ann Schigur Novak
Letter from the Congregational President – June 19
Dear Friends in Christ,
I am reaching out to provide support to you and to wish Pastor Mann all the best on his decision to retire. This is an exciting new chapter for Pastor Mann, and a new chapter for Our Savior’s Way.
While change can be hard at times, I want to reassure you that the Mission and Ministry Servant Leaders Group (MMSLG), is actively working on the next steps to move forward in the future. We are reaching out to our District President, Rev. Dr. John Denninger, of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and will be creating a transition committee. In addition, we will work closely with Pastor Mann, Pastor Labuhn, and the church staff throughout the transition process. The MMSLG will be providing you more information over the next few weeks and at our August congregational meeting.
I would ask for your prayers and support during this time, and that God would continue to richly bless Pastor Mann and Our Savior’s Way Lutheran Church. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the MMSLG.
Heather Ann Schigur Novak
Pastor Mann Announcement – June 18
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This letter serves to announce my decision to retire on Epiphany—January 6, 2020. I want to thank you for the many ways you allowed me to be your pastor. As the years go by I will remember with joy our time together. I trust the same will be true for you.
I have been the pastor of Our Savior’s Way Lutheran Church for 25 years. I’ve watched children be born. I’ve baptized, confirmed, performed marriages and funerals. I’ve visited hospitals and shut-ins. I’ve seen Our Savior’s Way grow from a small group of 27 people meeting in my living room to a thriving congregation with a bustling Open Arms Christian Child Development Center. I have been privileged to work with excellent church staff and lay leaders. Together we have realized many dreams, lived through a few trials, and persevered. Together we have faithfully served our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the mission of His gospel.
While I am leaving you, there is One who remains constant—Jesus Christ. He has been here from the beginning and He will be with you for the rest of time. My prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit of Jesus to guide you into the future, because I believe that Our Savior’s Way will always have a vital purpose in God’s plan. It may not always look like the church we have today. There will be challenges to face and decisions to make. But a passion for the gospel and our shared mission—To glorify God and make disciples for Jesus Christ by: FORMING RELATIONSHIPS, EXPERIENCING JESUS TOGETHER, and SHARING GOD’S LOVE—will see you through.
Some of you may wonder why I am choosing to retire now. Certainly, the events of the past year have caused me to reevaluate God’s calling on my life. The death of my father and brother brought home to me the understanding that our lives on this earth have an end point. I have tried to consider how I can best serve Him with the time He has given me. After much prayer, I have come to know that God is leading me in a new direction.
While the retirement of a pastor is certainly a significant time in the life of Our Savior’s Way, it is not unexpected and I believe we have in place a leadership team and staff who will develop a plan that will enable this congregation to move confidently and boldly into God’s future. As we make this transition over the next six months, I will ask you to remember this above all else—while I am moving on, God is staying put. I commend to you the words of the Prophet Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Blessings to you all,
Pastor Bill Mann