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Letters from Pastor Jean and Council President Phil Yokers on the current blessings and challenges for the Beautiful Savior community

Dear Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church community of faith,

To say none of us would have imagined that we would be in the circumstances we are seems an understatement. And yet here we are. We are learning in real time what it means to be a congregation dependent upon another congregation, and what it means to be a congregation at its deepest level of meaning – detached from a building and the traditions/practices developed as a congregation within a specific building. We will be learning much along the way these next few months, even though we wouldn’t have chosen this path of learning (if anyone had asked us!).

That being said, even this early on we are learning as we go and being enveloped in others’ prayers and good wishes, creating a lift of gratitude to counter the weight of the demands and change required to move on. Thank you to all who are stepping up to do the work of transitioning into this reality within which we now find ourselves. And thank you to all who hold in prayer those doing the work as well as facilitating the process of discernment which will be required as decisions need be made when restoration eventually begins.

I suspect that for many of you that it is hard to perceive the degree of damage inflicted on our building; “leakage” comes nowhere close to capturing that reality even while the images that come from the word “flooding” don’t quite fit. The building was deluged—washed out by rain that was not only given direct access through temporary covering inadequately applied at best, for the rain that came, but also funneled throughout the building by the venting into which it drained. It is difficult to capture the soaking that occurred in a way that communicates why a long recovery is required before we are back in building in any familiar fashion. 

While my intention was to offer some ritual and a walk through of the building this coming Sunday, the change of plans to come together with the people of Immanuel and Bishop Jaech requires this plan be rethought. We may not be able to move through the building together the following week, although Shannon (the person serving as Restoration 1’s project manager) and I will try to come up with a new plan, holding a ritual and service of prayer outside the building will also serve in processing our grief. I anticipate a new plan will be shared in the rewind and/or e-blast this coming week. Know that majority of the internal walls are being taken down to studs, ceilings opened, and flooring (carpet & linoleum tile) removed as a number of dryers working on overdrive to dry out what remains. 

The restoration company plans to really focus on work in the sanctuary, in hopes that we can return to inbuilding worship earlier than we will have access to other parts of the building. At this point there is really no way to provide any real estimate of when we will be able to return, other than to say “after a lot longer than we might think or hope.” 

Please be gentle and patient with yourself and others, even as you recognize that it is normal to experience a fluctuating range of emotion typically associated with grief; there will likely be times we feel prickly with one another and agitated within ourselves – especially early on in adjusting to current realities that cannot be changed. 

It is my intention, as well as that of the entire council, to communicate circumstances as forthrightly as possible. This first week has involved packing out items more important to the continuing ministry and business of Beautiful Savior, including seeking a place to “land” for worship and bringing the current program year to a close. Contractors and insurance brokers and adjusters have had to be engaged and repeated visits to our building made as a path forward was being sought. 

While it may feel for a while that we continue mired in chaos and uncertainty, we are finding ways to “settle in” and carry on. Staff and leaders continue to be accessible by email, phone, and text, and while I am not accessible for drop-in visits in the familiar spaces of our building, there are a plethora of coffee shop and other public gathering places where we can meet, as well as space available for more private conversations at Immanuel Lutheran or, as you are comfortable, in your homes/yards. 

Remember—the building is not church, but instead is a place where the portion of the Church identified as Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church has gathered. We will again gather at 12513 SE Mill Plain Blvd, and we have a lot of discovery time to come before that occurs. Join with me, please, in praying for the guidance and stirring of the Holy Spirit as we uncover the calling and expression of ourselves we’d maybe not been able to see without having had our expectations rather much stripped away. 

God is good! All the time! God is good.

Pastor Jean

Dear Beautiful Savior Folks,

Your Church Council has been scrambling to plan for the needs of our church family during this time when we are unable to use our building. The outpouring of other congregations and groups with prayers, offers to provide space and use of their facilities, has been simply wonderful. Most if not all the many groups that have met in our building have found space in other church buildings and facilities. We simply cannot thank God enough for such love and care shown to Beautiful Savior in our time of need.

Immanuel Lutheran has offered space and times for our use on both Sundays (between their worship service and that of another congregation) and Wednesday evenings for program year activities. They are welcoming us even as their pastor (Pastor Adrienne) is preparing to leave on a three-month sabbatical. Our gratitude for their unhesitating offer of hospitality cannot be fully expressed with words. To mark the beginning of several months of sharing space, we are joining in combined worship and fellowship this first Sunday (May 5).

Another gracious gift is that Bishop Rick Jaech was already to be with us on May 5th—now he will preach at the combined worship service that begins at 9:30 am.  After worship will be a shared coffee hour/reception so that we all may begin to form relationship, and people from both congregations will have opportunity to interact with Bishop Jaech at this time of both expected and unexpected transition.

The regular schedule we will observe in the months of our meeting in the space of Immanuel will begin the following week. On May 12th (Mother’s Day) and following, Beautiful Savior will join in worship at 11:45 am. For the remainder of the calendar year, Wednesday evenings will hold the regularly scheduled events, except not including the Wednesday evening dinners we have enjoyed on third Wednesdays. 

Please know that Pastor Jean and your Church Council are eager to connect with you, share what we are doing, and answer your questions. We expect to hold monthly forums where questions can be asked in community, and updates shared, as well as creating occasional opportunities to come together in fellowship for nurturing connection.

Blessings in our Gracious Lord Jesus,

Phil Yokers, Council President

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Joint service at Immanuel Lutheran May 5

This Sunday, May 5th, we will gather at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 8310 MacArthur Blvd for a joint service at 9:30 am. Pastor Jean and Pastor Adrienne will preside. We are blessed for both congregation


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