Caring Ministry

Grieving with Grace

Grieving with Grace Begins on Feb. 4 Anyone grieving the loss of a loved one is encouraged to attend the first Grieving with Grace session on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 – 11 a.m. in the Gathering Room of First Lutheran. Led by Pastor Katherine Olson, this session will include video clips on topics relating to grief, comfort from Scripture, prayer, encouragement, and access to additional resources for support. The February gathering will explore the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of grief. Additional sessions will be held on March 4, April 1 and May 6. For more details, please see the February issue of “First Word,” posters throughout the church, or reach out to Pastor Katherine Olson at or 339-1983, ext. 214.

Healthy Cooking Classes

Click here to visit the First Lutheran blog and then search Healthy Cooking for videos and recipes.

New beginning in March

Gwen Wawers

Gwen Wawers

First Lutheran Caring Ministries started a healthy cooking program last fall that has had overwhelming support and attendance. We have had the expertise of Sanaa Abourezk leading our cooking class sessions and many people have enjoyed the sessions.

Beginning in March, First Lutheran member Gwen Wawers will coordinate the Healthy Cooking program. Gwen is an instructor and chef for Plum’s Cooking Company in Sioux Falls. She will coordinate with other area instructors and chefs to offer an exciting array of classes that are sure to pique your taste buds!

Healthy Cooking classes will meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month from 6 – 7 p.m. Gwen’s topic for March 14 is LowCal desserts. Please remember to preregister for classes by calling the church office at (605) 336-3734, or on the web at These classes are open to the public, so invite a friend and come enjoy! 

Register today! The classes are free but you must register to attend. Please stop by the church Information Desk, call 605-336-3734, or register here. Register early, class size is limited.

Facing Addiction Initiative

First Lutheran Church is a Community Facing Addiction. We have partnered with Face It TOGETHER because our congregation is committed to creating a culture of care and openness for those impacted by addiction. Other congregations across Sioux Falls are also joining us in this venture.  Visit the Communities Facing Addiction webpage to learn more.

A Renewed Commitment:
Facing Addiction in 2017

The beginning of a new year is a natural time for people to examine their lifestyle and attempt  to eliminate unhealthy habits. Have you been thinking that your alcohol consumption is excessive or problematic? Are you turning to illicit substances to help you cope with the stresses of life, or are you beginning to abuse a drug that was prescribed to you?  Are others concerned for you, or are you perhaps concerned for someone you love?   Help is available. 

First Lutheran Church identifies itself as a Community Facing Addiction, together with other churches in our community. We believe that addiction recovery isn’t about making bad people good, it’s about getting sick people well, for addiction is a disease. And does not our faith teach us, “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom?” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
     Our partner organization, Face It TOGETHER, provides free, confidential recovery coaching in their office located on the southwest part of town, or by telephone. Face It TOGETHER’s recovery coaches provide individuals and family members with informal, personalized service over an extended period of time. They help clients overcome barriers to addiction wellness and develop skills and knowledge to manage their disease and stay well.  Coaches use their training and experience to provide structure, hold clients accountable to their goals, and act as advocates.  What’s more, our congregation has twelve trained Recovery Advocates who can speak with you, confidentially in a peer-to-peer relationship, about the benefits of recovery and befriend you on your journey to wellness. 
     For more information, check out the displays available throughout the church, talk to Pastor Katherine Olson or Parish Nurse Jana Elkins at the church, or visit our webpage  To speak directly with a recovery coach at Face It TOGETHER, call 605-274-2262. 

Monthly blood pressure screenings

Stop by the Trinity Room on the second Sunday each month between 9 and 11 a.m. Blood pressure screenings are essential in maintaining good cardiovascular health.

At the Time of Death

During times of grief and loss First Lutheran Church pastors and members want to share the peace and presence of the Lord with you. Contact the church office at (605) 336-3734. On evenings, weekends and holidays, contact the Pastor on call at (605) 323-7667.

Emergency Situations

In times of emergency, call the church office (Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) at (605) 336-3734. For evening, weekend and holiday emergencies, a pastor is on call at (605) 323-7667. One of the pastors will be contacted immediately. 

Nursing Home and Homebound Visits

Visitation pastors make monthly visits to those who are homebound and to nursing home residents, providing Holy Communion and devotional time. Twice a year, the pastors conduct worship in nine local care centers. Contact the church at (605) 336-3734 if you become aware of a homebound member who is not receiving regular visitation.

Hospital Visitation

The pastoral care staff maintains regular contact with the hospitalized and the recuperating. Visits are made to Avera McKennan Hospital, Avera Behavioral Center, Avera Heart Hospital, Sanford Health Hospital, the VA Medical Center, and hospice locations each weekday and other times as necessary. If you know of a member or friend of First Lutheran who enters the hospital through emergency services, please inform the church office at (605) 336-3734.    

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More than 100 people at First Lutheran Church participate in phone or email prayer chains. The prayer chain is for both those who wish to have a prayer or would like to pray for others. Call the church office at (605) 336-3734 or submit a request here.


Prayer shawls are given to those who need an extra measure of comfort, warmth and as an expression of God’s constant loving presence and care. Knitters pray as they knit each shawl. Contact the church office, (605) 336-3734, for more information.


Meals from the Heart encompasses a hands-on mission of cooking, fellowship and hospitality. Volunteers meet monthly to prepare nutritious meals at the church. The meals are portioned and frozen. Members of First Lutheran are invited to deliver them to anyone in need. The hospitality of a delivered meal symbolizes a message of Christ’s love and acceptance through the heart of caring service and our commonality of food.

Caring Ministry Staff

Katherine Olson, M. Div.
Associate Pastor of Caring Ministry
(605) 339-1983 ext. 214

Jana Elkins
Parish Nurse
(605) 339-1983 ext. 237

James E. Christopherson, M. Div.
Visitation Pastor

David Houck, B. Div.
Visitation Pastor
(605) 339-1983 ext. 234

Roger N. Noer, M. Div.
Visitation Pastor

Dennis W. Tranberg, M. Div.
Visitation Pastor