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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Olive Branch, 2/22/11

Accent on Worship

There is a deep wisdom in the teachings of Jesus. Some have called him the greatest wisdom teacher who ever lived. However, there are some sayings of his that don’t seem to be practical. In the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Jesus asks his followers, (therefore us) to make ourselves completely vulnerable to not only those who want to take advantage of us, but also to love those who are out to do us harm. Peace Theology is based upon this teaching of Jesus.

So let us examine the practicality of loving your enemy. Throughout history, you find that most nations react to an enemy attack by attacking back. The nation that eventually triumphs in these acts of violence then extracts some kind of settlement from the other nation, usually an important piece of land that holds rich resources, or land that is strategic in commerce or defense, like a sea port. This causes all kinds of bad feelings for the losing nation which, in turn, leads to bigger wars and more carnage. Examples of this abound throughout history. I cannot tell you how many times I heard in college history classes that “this war led to that war and this armed insurrection led to this crushing violence and generations of greater oppression.” One of the most recent and destructive examples is how World War I fostered the rise of Hitler and caused World War II.

When the U.S was attacked by terrorists on 9/11, we went to war in the Middle East. By doing so we created many times more terrorists and a far more dangerous situation for the west. Greg Mortenson is in Afghanistan, a nation with which we are at war, building schools in the poor mountainous villages there. He is winning the hearts and minds of the people, (something our military claims to want to do), one school at a time and deflating the power of the Taliban. There are presently several former members of the Taliban teaching in the schools that Mr. Mortenson has built. More and more villages are resisting the call of the Taliban because of Mr. Mortenson, and even Taliban terrorists are discovering a different route to empowerment because of him.

History has numerous examples of non-violent movements which have been successful. One of the most famous examples is our own nation’s civil rights movement and one of the most recent examples is the people’s success in ridding their nation of a brutal dictator in Egypt. And there are hundreds more such examples, large and small.
Jesus taught that you do not fight evil with evil, and you do not resist violence with violence. It seems impractical, but history has shown that non-violent resistance is more successful in ending violence, forgiveness and seeking reconciliation leads to peace. I wrote of nations here, but it also works with individuals.

- Donna Pususta Neste

Sunday Readings

February 20, 2011 – Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 + Psalm 119:33-40
I Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 + Matthew 5:38-48

February 27, 2011 – Eighth Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 49:8-16a + Psalm 131
I Corinthians 4:1-5+ Matthew 6:24-34

Sunday’s Adult Education
9:30 a.m. in the Chapel Lounge

Sunday, February 27: “The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers,” led by Luther Seminary professor Dr. Lois Farag.

Socks Appeal

Many thanks to all who responded so generously to the request for donations of socks for the homeless through Our Saviour’s Housing. Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator Donna Neste delivered six big bags of socks to Our Saviour’s this past week, where they will be distributed to those who need them

Bring Your Palm Branches to Church
If you have palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday liturgies, please bring them to church and place them in the basket provided on the cabinet in the narthex.

These branches will be burned at the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on March 8. The ashes from those burned palm branches will become the ashes for our Ash Wednesday liturgies the following day.

Field Trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A special event is planned for Sunday, March 20, and you're invited to participate.

There is a fascinating exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, entitled The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy. These small sculptures have adorned a French royal tomb since the late 14th century. They depict mourners of all walks of life expressing their grief in various ways. This is a fitting exercise for Lent, as we are continually reminded that we are dust, and to dust we will return.

We will depart from Mount Olive after the late worship service, stop for lunch and then proceed to the MIA. There we will see the Mourners exhibit, and then be joined by a docent for a private tour of art that express spirituality in some form. Cost of lunch is on your own, and admission to the MIA is free. If you are interested, please RSVP to the church office (612.827.5919 or or contact Lora Dundek (

For more information on the exhibit, check out the MIA's website at Please join us!

Final Week for “Bridging the Gap”

This is the final week of our appeal for funds to pay off our recent building improvements. Make sure your gifts or pledge is received by this coming Sunday, February 27.

The response so far has been remarkable, once more demonstrating the commitment and generosity of the people of Mount Olive. If you haven’t done so yet, join this effort to close out the building fund loan and leave us debt-free going forward.

This “Bridging the Gap” appeal was set in motion by a $25,000 matching fund created by the Mount Olive Vestry and Foundation from the recent bequest by the estate of our late brother in Christ, Earl Juhl.

The gifts and pledges are being recorded as they come in, and a final report will be in The Olive Branch next week. Brochures with a commitment form are available at church on the shelf outside the office.

Wish List Update

Many of you will soon see new folding tables in our East Assembly Room soon, thanks to an anonymous donor. As the library is being reassembled in its new location, a very affordable library table is being sought via the Wish List, and we'd very much like to see that donated within a month or two, when the library nears completion. I'm sure you'd all love to try out the new upholstered stack chairs in the East Assembly Room. We are in need of 17 more of those, so that coffee hours and Vestry meetings can be held more comfortably.

Please check out the Wish List, located in the office next to the Coffee Hour and Altar Flower sign up charts. If you wish to donate an item, sign your name and contact number on the line provided. You will be contacted regarding final pricing, as delivery fees may apply. Please make your check payable to Mount Olive and place it in an envelope designating it for the "Wish List," and include a note about the item you are donating.

Additional items will be coming from the Worship Committee to donate certain altar items. Keep your eye on the Wish List and help us make our dreams come true!

Highlights from the Vestry Meeting

The Vestry met on February 14 for a productive meeting. The final wording of “Lutheran Youth, the Call to Kill, the Call of Jesus” resolution was discussed with Al Bostelmann. The Vestry voted to endorse the resolution. The resolution will be a topic of discussion on the 13th of March, either during the Adult Forum or during the coffee hour following the second liturgy that day.

Much of the Vestry meeting involved a presentation of Pastor Crippen regarding the internship position, including proposed amendments to the Mount Olive Constitution and Bylaws to promote transparency and support for the Internship Committee. The Vestry voted to present the proposed amendments to the congregation at its April meeting for review, and at its October meeting for ratification. The proposed amendments are a result of a tireless review of the internship program and the issues that occurred during our transition year. It is with enthusiasm that the Vestry supports moving ahead with the internship program, knowing that God’s grace will see us through and will help us continue this valuable teaching opportunity for seminary students.

The list of current Vestry positions and terms was reviewed, and a Nominating Committee for various open positions will soon be formed.

A report from Art Halbardier states that the $25,000 match from Earl Juhl’s bequest has garnered a great deal of support and pledging to the new Bridging the Gap campaign, and Mount Olive will meet its goal of paying off our building debt at the conclusion of that campaign.
The Vestry and Mount Olive were thanked by Bill Bernisins from “Every Church a Peace Church” and Rev. Daniel Rift from “ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal” for our gifts of support.

Several staff reports were given. Pastor Crippen reported on a number of items, including anticipating a welcome of new members in early May and plans for midweek Lenten worship and preaching. Cantor Cherwien thanked us for the blessing of the annual staff Christmas gifts from the congregation. He added that his was a blessing on recent travel to Rome. He wanted us to know that he tracks his contract requirements and there have been certain Sundays bunched together where he used personal time to lead hymn festivals and other commitments requiring his travel. He also reminded us of his upcoming sabbatical in 2013, so the Vestry can prepare to budget regarding that leave.

Andrew Andersen says that his committee is about 2/3 finished with the review of the active church roster and they are continuing to work on the new website.

Diana Hellerman reported that Godly Play continues to move along nicely and the children look forward to the program. Attendance is steady to increasing slightly.

Paul Schadewald reported that the “Taste Of Chile” will be moved out to late spring/early summer. A Lutheran Volunteer Corps reception may be scheduled soon.

Carol Austermann and Eunice Hafemeister reported that, although we’ve severed our ties with the South Minneapolis Meals on Wheels program with which we were previously involved, their committee would like to move ahead with joining the Trust organization, , a cooperative of like minded churches in south Minneapolis which offers a similar program as well as other community projects. The Vestry voted to move ahead with aligning with Trust and Neighborhood Ministries can look into becoming involved with Trust’s Meals on Wheels program, as well as other neighborhood ministries. Neighborhood Ministries also indicated that a 2nd monthly community meal may be warranted and looks like it is feasible.

David Molvik reported that the new picture hanging system is installed for artwork in the Chapel/Lounge and a similar system will be hung in the East and West Assembly Rooms. He reminded us that 20% of our Capital Campaign Tithe has been paid out. We will need to review what causes the remaining 80% will benefit.

Adam reported on behalf of Paul Odlaug that our interim financial secretary has opted to resign. We are in need of someone who is willing to take on the position in order to relieve John Mayer from his years in that position. Offering envelopes will be changed to reflect Bridging the Gap donations come July.

Irene Campbell reminded the Vestry of the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper sponsored by the youth.
Warren Peterson asked and the Vestry approved that Kandi Jo Benson Nelson be added to the Worship Committee.

Good news from Paul Sundquist’s report...January put us in the positive column of giving over budget. As well, last year’s line of credit was paid off!

Brian Jacobs reported that Diana Hellerman donated yet another Godly Play item, with the hopes that it would stimulate Wish List donations for Godly Play items. Also, an anonymous donor has donated new folding tables for the East Assembly Room.

The next Vestry meeting is set for March 14.

- Submitted by Brian Jacobs, Vice President

Looking Ahead to March

Tuesday, March 8: Shrove Tuesday
Youth-sponsored Shrove Tuesday Supper beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by Burning of Palms.

Wednesday, March 9: Ash Wednesday
Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes, Noon and 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 13: First Sunday in Lent
Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts’ Lent Procession (lessons and carols for Lent), 4:00 p.m.

Thrivent Financial: Thrivent Choice Dollars

If you are a member of Thrivent Financial, you may be eligible for Thrivent Choice dollars and can designate them to Mount Olive. We are now listed as one of their preferred organizations. It’s simple to do. You can direct Choice Dollars online or call 800-THRIVENT (800-847-4836) and state “Thrivent Choice.” Several Mount Olive members have already participated, and this is a wonderful way to give extra funds to the church budget and is one of the benefits Thrivent offers to members.

Book Discussion Group
For its meeting on March 12, the Book Discussion Group will read The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard. And for the April 9 meeting, they will read and discuss the poem Gilgamesh.

This group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. All readers are welcome!

Shrove Tuesday Supper

Come and celebrate Shrove Tuesday with the youth of Mount Olive, preparing for the fast with a feast on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, at 6:00 pm.

Tickets prices are $5/adults and $3/kids in advance ($7 and $5, respectively, at the door).

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