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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Olive Branch: October 18, 2010

Accent on Worship
“I come, O Savior, to thy table, for weak and weary is my soul.” So writes Friedrich C. Heyder, in a hymn beloved to me which we often sang at the time of sharing Holy Communion in my home congregation when I was growing up. We sang it Sunday at our liturgy at my request, as it is also a song cherished in the tradition of this congregation. And its image of the Eucharist is a common one in hymn and theology: it is the Table of the Lord to which we are invited, and our Lord Jesus is host to us at this feast. Yet we also speak of Christ the sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So as the Church has called the place of the Eucharist a table, it has also called it an altar, reminding us of the once for all sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. These two images, table and altar, dominate our understanding of the Eucharist, the life-giving gift of Jesus’ body and blood.
Many of you likely noticed on Sunday that I faced you, the people of God, for the whole Eucharistic Prayer, from the Great Thanksgiving through the Lord’s Prayer. This is something of a change for Mount Olive, though pastors here have sometimes faced the congregation during the Great Thanksgiving and the words of institution. My theology and practice, like all of yours, is shaped by my context, my study, my experience. My whole life I have celebrated Communion in a worship space with a free-standing table and the pastor facing the people. The theology of the liturgical renewal movement of the last four to five decades has emphasized the table as the dominant image of the Eucharist, the feast to which our Lord invites us. It is what I have always known and how I was trained and shaped, and is the dominant image of the Eucharist for me as well.
But it is not just my context and experience. John 1 tells us that God is dwelling with us in the Son, “putting up a tent with us.” Jesus himself promises that “where two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them.” At his death, the curtain to the Holy of Holies is split in two, signifying that God is fully with us, even in our death. There are no more boundaries or barriers to God for us. For Christians, who are now the incarnate children of God, little Christs, God is in our midst. When your presiders have reverenced the congregation after the reading of the Gospel, they were recognizing that God is with us, in our midst. And when I face you during the liturgy of the Meal, I recognize the same thing, that this is the meal of life for us, and that God is with us, in our midst.
I have already had a good discussion with Warren Peterson, Director of the Worship Committee about this, and that committee, Cantor Cherwien, and I will continue the conversation about this at future meetings as we come to know and trust each other as pastor and committee, and you and I come to know each other and trust each other as pastor and people. I invite you, my sisters and brothers at Mount Olive, to share in this conversation as well. Facing each other during the Eucharistic Prayer doesn’t mean that other ways of understanding or practice are not acceptable. There is still a deep sense in our theology of the meaning of the altar, and our practice here of reverencing that altar reminds us that not only is this place made holy by God’s presence in and among us, this is a holy place, this is in fact the house of God, holy ground. I invite you to consider that facing each other across our Lord’s table reminds us of the same thing, and enables us to look into each other’s eyes and see the face of Christ as we prepare to share his Meal.

In Christ,

Semi-Annual Congregation Meeting This Sunday, October 24 - 9:30 a.m.
The semi-annual meeting of Mount Olive congregation will be held this Sunday, October 24, at 9:30 a.m. The purpose of this meeting is to approve a budget for 2011. All voting members of Mount Olive are encouraged to attend this important meeting.

Sunday Readings
October 24, 2010 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 30
Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 + Psalm 84:1-7
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18+ Luke 18:9-14

October 31, 2010 – Reformation Day
Jeremiah 31:31-34 + Psalm 46
Romans 3:19-28 + John 8:31-36

First Sunday Collection
Please remember our monthly ingathering of non-perishable food items and travel-sized toiletries and personal items! These items are collected on the first Sunday of each month and distributed to those in our area who need them. Donations may be brought to the receptacles in the coat room at church. Be generous!

Dusting Off Our Nametags
The Worship Committee asks all regular worshippers to consider wearing their nametags on Sunday mornings for a few weeks, so that the Crippen family can begin to learn our names and faces. If you don’t have a name tag or cannot find yours, please call the church office and we will be happy to make one for you.

Attention Middle and High School Mount Olive Youth!
I am James Berka. My wife Karen and I would love to see you on Sunday mornings as we work together to start a new tradition. We will meet together during the education hour at 9:30am. In upcoming weeks, we will be moving into a new space which will give you the opportunity to give your input on how the space will be decorated.
Our morning discussions link the Gospel with current events and issues in your daily lives, so the discussions will only get better the more of us attend. Karen and I are deeply excited to see each and every one of you!

Coffee Tasting on November 7
You are invited to a Lutheran World Relief Fair Trade coffee tasting on Sunday, November 7, during the Education Hour between worship services. Featuring four different coffees from LWR’s Fair Trade partner, Equal Exchange, (plus cocoa, tea and other goodies!) the tasting will give you the opportunity to vote on your favorites, to buy some to take home, win prizes, and find out more about how Fair Trade is making a difference.
With each purchase, you help farmers earn more for their coffee, gain access to credit, and fund much needed projects in their communities.

Book Discussion Group
For their meeting on November 13, the Book Discussion Group will read, The Red and the Black, by Stendhal, and for December 11, Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh. This group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 am in the Chapel Lounge. All readers are welcome!

Music and Fine Arts Series
Please make your donation or pledge to this year’s series soon. Someone will be in the narthex between services this Sunday to receive your donation or pledge, or you may simply mail or leave it in the office. Any amount is very helpful and deeply appreciated.

Highlights from the Vestry Meeting
The Vestry met on Monday, October 11, for the first time with our new Pastor, Joseph Crippen. Much of the time was spent with introductions and explaining goals and objectives of the various committees. Otherwise, it was business as usual. One of the most important accomplishments was the adoption of the new Joint Agreement between Mount Olive Lutheran Church and Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation on Bequest Distributions and Memorial Gifts. We now have a working document that clearly establishes guidelines for designated and undesignated gifts to Mount Olive and/or the Foundation. Also finalized is the Mount Olive Wish List. The list will be updated and coordinated by Vice President Brian Jacobs, and a new list will be hung every Sunday on the bulletin board which displays altar flower donations in the office. The wish list is a vehicle through which all can pick and choose certain items that may be over and above committee budget, but which would still enhance our facilities and programs. The 2011 budget was approved to be set before the congregation at the annual budget meeting slated for October 24th between services. It was also noted that most of the staff reviews have been completed, as per congregation bylaws. The most notable staff and committee reports were Diana Hellerman's review of the new Godly Play Sunday School program, and Paul Schadewald's report of streamlining the Global Missions programs and becoming more focused on missions at which we excel. Paul Sundquist, Treasurer, also commented on the monthly giving report. He noted that our giving still falls well below budget. We anticipate that the coming meetings will be productive and active and that Pastor Joseph Crippen will add a great deal of thoughtful perspective.
- Brian Jacobs, Vice President

The Wish List
The Mount Olive Wish List is now posted on the bulletin board next to the altar flower donation list in the church office. Each item is separately listed, along with its projected cost. There may be some shipping costs involved, so the donor may certainly round up to offset those costs, or wait for clarification for total cost before remitting payment. There is space for a donor's name and phone number so that the donor can be contacted about how best to send the funds for the item donated.
Currently, there are over 40 furniture items, as well as banner stands and several Godly Play items on the list. The Vestry hopes that members will find this to be a satisfying way to give, to the glory of God, certain useful items needed to enhance our learning, fellowship, office, and worship spaces. In addition, the Mount Olive Wish List is available for all committees who are in need of funding certain items or events that are beyond the annual budget. Feel free to search for the item you'd most like to donate and sign up today!! We've already received an anonymous donation of the new reception desk for the West Reception area. We believe there may be one more anonymous donation as well. While we appreciate all donors, we'd prefer to publicly thank and recognize them if possible. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, simply call Vice President, Brian Jacobs, so that arrangements can be made, and so that particular item can be removed from the list. The list will be updated every Sunday. Thank you for perusing the list and thank you for your generosity!

From India With Love
In 1987, Mount Olive helped to fuel the launch of the Bethania Kids ministry, and to this day has continued to support it through its mission offerings and prayers. The mission of Bethania is "to bring wholeness and hope to poor, abandoned and disabled children in south India, and to equip them to share God's love." This is accomplished through day care centers, after-school programs, orphanages, a sewing program for girls, and centers for disabled children and adults.
On Sunday, November 14, the congregation will have a rare opportunity to meet two of the ministry's India workers and to hear first-hand about the work they are doing. Godfrey Henry Immanual and Paramadass, visiting the States from India for the first time, will speak at our education forum, and following the second liturgy there will be an Indian meal - an opportunity to welcome them to Mount Olive and socialize with them.
Mark your calendar now so that you can see and celebrate what your Bethania support is doing. For more information, contact Missions Director Paul Schadewald, Gene Hennig, or Mark Spitzack.

National Lutheran Choir (and Alumni!) to Present Brahms’ Requiem
On Monday, November 1, at 7:30 pm at Benson Great Hall at Bethel University, the National Lutheran Choir commences its celebratory 25th concert season with the annual All Saints Festival. This year's offering includes a complete performance of Johannes Brahms' A German Requieum. Artistic Director David Cherwien will conduct 100-voice choir comprised of current NLC singers augmented by alumni singers from the group's quarter-century of choral artistry. Joined by a full orchestra and guest artists Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano, and Jon Nordstrom, baritone, don't miss this world-class performance of one of the great choral masterworks!
Before the performance, beginning at 6:45 pm, Mary Ann Feldman (former Showcase editor, program annotator, and historian for the Minnesota Orchestra) and Paul Westermeyer (Professor of Church Music at Luther Seminary) will present a lively pre-concert discussion about Brahms, his life and music.
For additional information or to purchase tickets, please visit,, or call 612.722.2301.

Consecration Sunday set for Nov. 14
Consecration Sunday, the day members of Mount Olive pledge their intentions for giving in 2011, will be Sunday, Nov. 14. This is a date change from the October calendar, so please take note. At worship that day members of Mount Olive will be invited to offer pledge cards declaring their intent for giving to the ministry God has called us to do together. These pledge cards and current third quarter contribution statements will be mailed to members the first part of next week. Then, on Christ the King Sunday, Nov. 21, there will be a focus on opportunities for service in the ministries of Mount Olive held between services, as well as a celebratory meal following the second liturgy. As we end the Church Year, we will commit ourselves in these two weeks to the work God has placed before us here, and all members are invited to participate in these events.

Thank You with All our Hearts!
Thank you, sisters and brothers at Mount Olive, for your gracious, kind, and generous welcome on Oct. 17, to us and to our extended family. Thank you to the many who cooked, served, and cleaned up after a truly wonderful meal. Thank you to the many who took the time to greet us and make us feel welcome. Thank you to all who led and assisted and prepared for the worship which was a praise of God to be remembered and cherished. This was such a sign of God’s grace to us, and we are grateful to you all! You have made us welcome with the love of Christ, and we are delighted to be with you in this ministry and life together!
– Joseph, Mary, Hannah, Martha, Rachel, and Peter Crippen

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