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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Olive Branch: January 3, 2011

Accent on Worship

This weekend we will have many visitors. Or will we? Thursday’s lesson is about visitors. What (who) are they hoping to see?

Imagine if the owners of the stable had a team of folks whose responsibility was to be sure everyone felt welcomed, with the word “welcome” proclaimed verbally incessantly, and plastered around on walls and printed materials as the Magi looked for the baby Jesus. Imagine thrusting membership agreements to the community “Backyard Stables for Christ.”

A few years ago I proposed the notion that the concept of “visitors” should be abolished from churches. This came about as a result of my sabbatical experiences attending churches all over the US and in Europe. So often welcome seemed so intentional I began to wonder if they were trying to cover up an unintentional exclusiveness. And I felt that they were hoping for the wrong thing. I was not there to join their churches. I was there for the same reason they were - to see Jesus. And in these perhaps well-intentioned efforts, they really set up a “we are in, and you are not” atmosphere that separated we “visitors” out in a very exclusive way.

Don’t misunderstand me: hospitality and welcome are critically important. But I found myself yearning for it being less mandated and intentional, and more intrinsic to the communities.

If we understood that ALL of us are “visitors” like the magi: all of us ALREADY IN the circle of God’s people, recipients of God’s grace, would that change how we understand all who gather at any place and time? Is the person with us for the first time any different in God’s eyes than the person who has come here for forty years? The biblical images of the stable even places animals with Christ – peacefully.

So what does hospitality look like now? First off, we see that everyone is able to do what they came to do: to see Jesus. Can we see? Do we have what is needed to participate? True inclusion sees everyone present on an equal plane. We’re all seekers alike who help each other. And I find over and over again that our participation – in full body, mind and spirit - is the most hospitable thing we can do. True participation in worship allows people to join in on an equal plane.

We should presume that this is why everyone is here: to see Jesus, and to bring their gifts. Even if that gift is merely to “play – on my drum.”

- Cantor David Cherwien

2011 Conference on Liturgy
Mount Olive’s ninth annual Conference on Liturgy will be held this Saturday, January 8, 2011. The theme for this year’s Conference is, “Holy Death: The Parish and its Liturgy at the Time of Death.” Keynote speaker for the conference will be The Rev. Dr. Thomas Long. Dr. Long will also preach on The Baptism of Our Lord, Sunday, January 9.

Cost for Mount Olive members to attend is $35/person. Registration at the door is available.

Rise, Heart: A Hymn Festival
Join us this Friday evening, January 7, at 7:30 p.m. for our annual Conference on Liturgy Hymn Festival, “Rise Heart.” The hymn festival is sponsored by Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts, and will be led by Cantor David Cherwien and the Mount Olive Cantorei. Susan Palo Cherwien will provide reflections on the theme. This hymn festival is free and open to the public (you don’t need to be registered for the conference to attend the hymn festival).

Flavors of the South
Chase the chills and enjoy foods of the South in a Southern atmosphere! Come to the MONAC brunch on Sunday, January 23. This brunch will be held in the Undercroft following the second liturgy.

As this is a fundraiser for MONAC (Mount Olive Neighborhood Action Committee), tickets will be sold for the event, between and after Sunday liturgies for the next couple of weeks. Tickets obtained in advance will be $12 for adults, $5 for children age 5 to 12. Children under 5 are free. Tickets bought at the door will be $14. Y'all come!

Prayer Office of Compline to be Offered at Mount Olive January 16 - April 17
The Minnesota Compline Choir and Mount Olive will partner to offer the liturgy of Compline on Sunday evenings at 8:30 pm during the seasons of Epiphany and Lent of 2011. The first service will be Sunday evening January 16 (The Second Sunday after Epiphany) and the last one will be Sunday, April 17 (Passion Sunday).

The choir is comprised of 18 male voices, selected by audition from a wide variety of congregations and denominations. They meet weekly to prepare for each service, and on other occasions for performances at special holiday services.
In worship, the choir assists with the liturgy, hymns and psalms, as well as offering anthems.

The Wish List
The Mount Olive Wish List has seen a great deal of activity in recent weeks. Wayne Twito recently donated two armchairs that can be used in the offices and reception or chapel areas. Miriam Luebke donated the Miracle of Christmas Godly Play set. Adam Krueger donated a stack meeting chair to be used at folding tables in the East Assembly Room. We've also received a couple of anonymous donations, one for the second sofa in the reception area and the other for the second banner stand!!

You may find the Wish List on the office bulletin board. If you are interested in purchasing an item from the Wish List, please add your name and phone number next to the item you wish to donate. You will be contacted regarding full cost, including shipping. Checks may be made payable to Mount Olive, but be sure to note "Wish List" in the memo line. Enclose in a plain envelope and write "Wish List," amount of your gift, and which item you would like to donate on the outside of the envelope, so the counters can route the monies to the correct account.
With thanks to all of our most generous brothers and sisters in Christ!

- Brian Jacobs, Wish List Coordinator

Meals on Wheels
Thanks to those from Mount Olive who drove for Meals on Wheels during the week of December 27-31: Elaine & Art Halbardier, Marian & Walter Cheriwen, Al Bostelmann, Mary & Bob Lee, Dan Adams, Gary Flatgard, Connie & Rod Olson, JoAnn & Stan Sorenson, Elizabeth & Joe Beissel, Naomi Peterson, Harvey Hanson, Tom Byers, Gary Pagel, and Andrew Andersen.

Walking Humbly
All are invited to attend the 6th annual RIC (Reconciling in Christ) Festival Worship, “Walking Humbly – The Journey Together.”

The service will take place on Saturday, January 29, at 5:00 p.m. at Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (5440 Penn Ave. South, Minneapolis). Brenda Froisland from Edina Community Lutheran Church will preach at this service and a light supper and rich fellowship be held afterwards.

Book Discussion Upcoming Reads
For its meeting on January 15 the Book Discussion group will discuss Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler, and for the February 12 meeting they will read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. Please note that the January meeting is postponed one week, due to the Conference on Liturgy.

Welcome to our new Sexton!
The Vestry is pleased to announce the hiring of William Pratley as the new Sexton at Mount Olive. William began on Dec. 29, and will be working Wednesdays through Sundays full time. He comes to us with experience as a maintenance technician at Minncor Greentree for four years and before that he was facilities manager at the Cathedral of St. Mark for ten years. Please take the time to greet him as you see him around the property, and get to know him. We are delighted to have him working among us!

Thank you!
Many thanks to Carol Austermann for designing and creating the beautiful blue chasuble Pr. Crippen wore throughout Advent, and for re-covering the two kneelers in the sanctuary. (The fabric on one of them had been burned through by a stray ember.) Thanks also to Mike Edwins, who has loaned several chasubles to Mount Olive, including the white chasuble Pr. Crippen used during the Christmas season.

Coming to Your Mailbox, Soon!
Look for an announcement and an invitation in your mail the week of January 10 regarding the Mount Olive Capital Appeal. We are entering the final months of the three-year campaign, which has made possible the wonderful renovations to our building that we enjoy week after week.

How are we doing? Very, very well – thanks to your faithful generosity. The mailing will describe our progress to date, and present an exciting opportunity to wrap up the three-year period free of debt.

Please read the message carefully, and prayerfully consider how you may be able to respond.

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