In summer, the world seems lush. Vines reach up every wall. Flowers bloom, then wither from the heat. Every plant  bursts forth in wide green leaves.

Trees, especially, are in their glory. In the three months from June to August, the forest experiences a period of wild growth. Young quaking aspens can grow as fast as corn. The girth of white spruce trees can expand by over an inch in just a few weeks.

Perhaps because of this, the Tree of Life is a beloved Christian symbol. Revelation describes it in chapters 2 and 22, offering its fruit to the faithful and its leaves for healing to the nations.

And for us, the Tree of Life is also a reminder of the Cross, upon which Christ defeated the power of death.  As Adam of St. Victor wrote, in the 12th century,

Love be warm, and praise be fervent, 
Thou that art the Cross’s servant, 
⁠And in that hast rest from strife: 
Every kindred, every nation, 
Hail the Tree that brings Salvation, 
⁠Tree of Beauty, Tree of Life!

At a time when life is everywhere, it is good to remember where life really comes from.


“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 94:6)

Can YOU Make Worship Happen?

It May Be a Call from God

Especially as summer comes and people travel, we have a real need for worship leaders to make our services beautiful and joyful.

Please prayerfully consider participation in 2019 in one or more areas below. None of these duties is difficult, and we will happily provide training.

On Saturday Evening

The Saturday service is simple, and does not require many assistants.  Voices of Praise (God bless them!) does most of the heavy lifiting. But we do need an Assisting Minister and a Greeter each week.

If you can read a lesson and offer a prayer – or just welcome worshipers as they come in – contact Tamar Yager (

On Sunday Morning

The 8 and 10:30 services both require greeters, ushers, Altar Guild, acolytes, crucifers, lectors, Communion Assistants and Assisting Ministers. It is a lot of people – although many hands does mean light work.

During the summer, we use Setting 10, for which no chanting is required.

If you are willing to help, or simply wonder if you have the gift for it, contact Pastor Michael ( about any of these positions.

For Assisting Ministers, Communion Assistants and Lectors, contact Bruce Noble ( / (703) 401-3395).

A Gift for Good Shepherd

Courtesy of the Confirmands

The green frontal, manufactured by R.J. Toomey, is purple on the reverse side, so that it can also be used during Lent!

Our 2019 Confirmation Class (with their families) has purchased a splendid new altar frontal – in order to give it away as a gift!

For many years, we have been a partner congregation to Good Shepherd, Bialla, in the Islands District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea. The vast distance has made it difficult to send people, or even gifts. Our congregations pray for each other, and we offer money for the synod’s education and malaria projects, but we rarely have a chance to do anything directly for the people of Good Shepherd.

This year, we are able to change that. The Confirmation Class customarily offers some useful gift to OSLC, but this year they were eager to help our friends at Good Shepherd. Because Pastor Michael is part of an ELCA Global Mission visit to PNG, he will have the opportunity to deliver a gift in person.

At the request of Pastor Tobby Eleasar, the class gathered money for a green superfrontal. As Pr Tobby said, members of Good Shepherd will see it on the altar every Sunday for six months of the year, and think of their friends across the world.

The 2019 Class Gift

Given by

Sandy Benfit in honor of Abbie Breeding
Renee Breeding in honor of Abbie Breeding
Kyle Crowne in honor of Our Saviour Lutheran Church
Sharon and John Fuelinger in honor of Matthew Fuerlinger
Karla Kolb in honor of Drew Kolb
Jack and Lisa Mallam in honor of Camille Mallam


How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? (1 John 3:17)

Home Visitation Ministry to Form

Comfort and Connect

Can you spare an hour each week to sit with an old friend or read the Bible to somebody ravaged by Alzheimer’s Disease?

Our Saviour is forming a new Home Visitation Ministry. The mission of this group will be to visit our shut-in members in their homes (which includes nursing homes).  Pastor Michael will coordinate and provide training – contact him at or (540) 359-2826.

Each person has different needs, and so each visit may be a little different. Some people enjoy a good chat; others can’t talk very well, or even speak at all. Some want to know what they’re missing at church; others may not remember the church very well. But they are all part of our community, and each one needs a connection.

To be clear, this is not a Eucharistic ministry – our pastors prefer to handle sacramental duties by themselves. This is a ministry of visiting, listening, caring and reporting back to the pastors.

If you feel a call from God to care for your sisters and brothers in Christ, please contact Pastor Michael.

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

–Matthew 25:36-37

Social Ministry Activities

May-June 2019

These are some of the ways that our congregation has served the poor this past month.

Food baskets filled:

  • 1  (May-June)

Food Distribution:

  • 83 households
  • 163 individuals
  • 37 under 18, 69 over 60 (May)

People Helping People:

  • $4,693 for rent and utilities
  • $962  total income


  • 23 families
  • 30 individuals
  • 19 children
  • OSLC volunteer hours, 66 (May)

May activity:

Collected and delivered $700 for Head Start Easter baskets.

June activities:  

Food collection for Summer Food Program. Lists available at church in the Narthex. Last day for collection will be July 7th.

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?

–Dorothy Day, Loaves and Fishes (1963)


Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.  (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

Junior High Servant Event

July 21-26

Parents! Why does your youth who just completed 6th, 7th, or 8th grade need to go to JHSE at Virginia Beach for the week of July 21-26 this summer? To help ignite their passion for service, to help them learn that the world is a bigger place than themselves, and to have them think about their relationship to God in a new way!  Best of all, the cost is $110.

For more info, call or text Tom Bartkiewicz at 540-270-8120.  Registration is open at

New This Year:
JHSE will include a water-park trip!

What Draws Young People to Church?

According to Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation, released in 2018 by the Barna Research Group, 59% of American 13-to-18-year-olds identify as Christian.  Asked what appeals to them about the church, they answer:

  • The church is a place to find answers to live a meaningful life (82%)
  • The church is relevant for my life (82%)
  • I feel like I can “be myself” at church (77%)
  • The people at church are tolerant of those with different beliefs (63%)

Of course, like many of their elders, they are skeptical when they find Christians who are hypocritical, snobby or deny basic scientific information. Let’s not do that!


Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. (Acts 2:46-47)

Faithful + Bold + Serving

My First Time at Synod Assembly

Note: The ELCA’s Virginia Synod met at Roanoake College on June 7-8. Along with our two pastors, Our Saviour sent three lay voting members: Charity Shorey, David Raecke and Tamar Yager. We also sent six members to the Youth Assembly: Tom Bartkiewicz, Bridget Shorey, Paige Shorey, Jael Tucker and Tekla Tucker. Theodore Church and Tom Yager also dropped in from time to time. In this note, Tamar describes her first participation in a synod assembly.

I am so blessed and honored to have been chosen as a lay voting member of the Virginia Synod Assembly.  Even more of an honor was that Pastor Michael asked if I wanted to be the crucifer in the opening worship.

Six years ago, when Tom and I joined OSLC I would never have imagined I could serve in such a role. I was raised Catholic and was very active in my church until I moved to Virginia. I was very disappointed with the lack of lay involvement in the business and decision-making of the Catholic church in Virginia and with the lack of ministerial roles for women. At the Synod Assembly, I felt like I had a say in decisions as much as those ordained.

The torrential rain for the two days of the assembly was not going to dampen spirits for those of us gathered to network, conduct business and learn about all the programs in our Synod. Before I went, I read the guidebook in its entirety. I kept wondering how we would get through all the information in 36 hours. I’m sure glad I read it because things moved quickly. I was so impressed that so much information was given in a short time.

We even had time for enriching worship!  I can’t wait to use what I learned to help our church community. I would be honored to serve again should that opportunity come up.

Fifth Sunday Brunch

Sunday, June 30 at 9:15 am

Come one, come all to our 5th Sunday brunch on the last day of June!!!

The brunch will be held on Sunday, June 30 between services (9:15am), so please bring a breakfast dish to share. Invite your friends and family members and enjoy a morning of good food and fellowship.

Contact Sandy Benfit:

It’s a Patriotic Potluck

Saturday, June 6 at 6:30 pm

Bring your favorite red, white and/or blue food!

Join us after the 5:30 service, or just come for a patriotic potluck. Maybe you’re thinking spaghetti or salsa with blue and white chips or caprese salad, potato salad with red, white and blue potatoes or berries with whipped cream. Can’t think of anything red, white and blue? Just bring your favorite entree, salad or side dish. Or just bring yourself. We’re always glad to have you!

For information, contact Tamar Yager. or 540-631-7222.

Clean-up help is always appreciated.

Anniversary Planning

OSLC is 60 years old!

Let’s celebrate with some activities and events. Please join us for an introductory committee meeting to plan our celebration. We’ll meet at OSLC from 3:30-4:30, Saturday, July 6. Can’t make it, but still interested in helping out or contributing ideas, contact or 540-631-7222.

Stay in Touch

It is often hard to stay in touch with our friends and neighbors – help make it easier!  If you move, or change your other contact information, please let us know by contacting Sharon Hammel, our church secretary, at (540) 347-3224 /

Likewise, if you have joined another church, or would prefer not to receive newsletters or emails, let us know that as well. We’ll be sad, of course – but at least our records wil be up-to-date.


  • Betty Ann Martin O’Leary, a founding member of Our Saviour, died on June 10. Her funeral was held at church on June 25.
  • Rose Flohr, another founding member, has moved to Poet’s Walk, 33 Woodlands Way, Warrenton. She welcomes visitors.
  • Gloria Buck has moved to  English Meadows, Rooom 111, 239 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton.

Thanks to Jim Hottle …

For spending a couple of days on the roof of our porch, tending to the cross. He has filled the gaping hole in one arm, patched, cleaned and painted it so that people passing by can see that Our Saviour takes pride in its building, and rejoices in the Cross of Christ.

From Our Council President

Charity Shorey

Most of us will agree that church attendance across the country is down, including at OSLC. The question that many of us want an answer to is “Why?” Studies show that the number one reason is that members attend less frequently then they did just a few years ago. Three decades ago, an active church member would be someone who attended church three times a week. By today standards we call an active church member someone who attends three times a month!

So how do we engage members so they become more active in the congregation?

One way is to have more small groups which helps members to build relationships and grow their faith. Groups of all kind connect members to each other and give people a sense of belonging. Increased involvement means they have an integral part in our ministry and are more likely to attend regularly.

Another way is to work to become an outwardly focused church. In many declining churches, members are more concerned with their needs instead of focusing on their neighbor’s needs. Some of OSLC best ministries are ones where we are focused on helping and educating others. What is the best way can we reach out to members and invite them to join quilting, ECHO or VBS? What other ways can we help our neighbors? Focusing on the community outside our doors gives us opportunities to share God’s message and connect with others on a deeper level.

Change is needed at OSLC and we need to be flexible and open to new ideas. OSLC Council is committed to helping our congregation find solutions to our stagnating church attendance. We need to have faithfulness to God that he will provide the way.

The congregation council and I would love to hear your thoughts on ways we can improve our members time commitment to OSLC and increase our weekly attendance. Email me your ideas at

The Finance Corner

If you subscribe to the theory that no news is good news, you will not have worried there was no financial report the past 2 months.  The totals above speak the good news.

We have managed to take care of administrative costs (the biggest being the yearly insurance payments and some minor property upkeep) and all the while helping our neighbors as Our Lord commanded:  Easter Baskets for Head Start families, supplies for SAFE,  and donations to People Helping People, Habitat for Humanity, and our sister congregation in Papua New Guinea.

Thanks to all for your generosity.