During the pandemic, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Saviour and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church – both in the Bronx, New York – made the faithful decision to partner together in mission and ministry. As each congregation maintains its unique identity, both remember that we serve as one Church, one Body of Christ as His people. In this, one of the great mission efforts of the partnership has been the further growth of Our Saviour Lutheran School.
Our Saviour Lutheran School is an educational community that inspires academic success, cultivates holistic growth, and instills faithful Christian character in a caring, thoughtful, and engaging learning environment. Affectionately known in the city as “OSL”, the school community desires to live out the mission of Christ’s Church through education. The school leadership has made clear an intentional focus that the Church throughout the world has overlooked for far too long – that of racial justice & equity. Being located in the Bronx gives the school a unique mission opportunity to serve BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color) communities that are far too often underserved and overlooked, especially by the wider Christian church. The school continues to engage the needs of those who have been affected by historic injustice, oppression, and inequality, through intentional planning, education, ministry, and service in the Bronx.
One of the ways this is occurring is through the athletics program at Our Saviour Lutheran School. Developed under the guidance and dedication of Peter Wehye, the Director of Programs (and National Falcons Head Coach) at OSL, the young men’s basketball program at the school has become a national powerhouse. This has led to an incredible opportunity to bring many young men into the school, allowing them to learn, know, and share the love of Jesus, both through their life in the school community and as a part of their athletic pursuits. The school is also expanding their programming as they seek to add additional opportunities for young women in athletics, as well as programmatic additions for both young men and women in the arts.
This past season, the OSL National Falcons – the school’s top team – played incredibly in their league, The Grind Session. The Grind Session is an international elite prep basketball league that is focused on empowering student-athletes & their families with the knowledge to navigate the process of moving through High School basketball to the intercollegiate ranks. In this league, every team is filled with elite-level talent, with some of the top student-athletes in the country playing for The Grind Session World Championship. Through hard work and dedication, led by Coach Wehye, the OSL National Falcons won their first ever Grind Session World Championship in 2022! Playing a daunting 35-game schedule, which included a victory over the semi-professional Overtime Elite basketball team, the Falcons finished with a 27-8 record, including a 14-game winning streak to close the season. They completed an incredible tournament run, capped by a victory of West Oaks Christian Academy – another perennial national powerhouse. They also finished this season as the 13th ranked team in the nation, according the Max Preps National Top 20 Rankings.
Through this incredible ministry of the congregations and school, seven young men will enter college next year with full scholarships, including multiple at the NCAA Division I level. Additionally, young men on the other teams at OSL will also be attending college with full scholarships. Even more, many of the underclassmen have
received full scholarship offers and will be able to do the same in the years ahead through the work of the athletic program. As the school continues this great ministry, it has also afforded other partnership opportunities for the school to encourage students who are not involved in athletics to grow and receive scholarships for their academic pursuits. Thankfully, God continues to provide ways that the young people being served at the school and the congregations would further pursue their education and achieve a greater future, trusting in the promises of our Lord and giving him thanks, praise, and glory throughout their lives. Thanks be to God for His incredible gifts, received and shared at Our Saviour & Trinity, especially as we all continue to engage the world with the Gospel of Hope!