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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Olive Branch: February 7, 2011

Accent on Worship

In the zone

We’ve been hearing a lot about discipleship lately. Close to the word discipline. An ongoing, passive thing – and a good thing – following Christ; a way of being. As I thought about what I might write about for this week’s Accent on Worship, I thought about the ways discipline, or discipleship applies to worship. I’m calling it “getting in the zone.”

Naturally, my first thought went to singing. In a perfect world, we would all naturally want to erupt into song together. Same key. Same song. Same tempo. Same subjective responses to everything we sing, maybe even with the same reasons for those subjective responses (“I love that one because…”). We have to sacrifice a lot of that in order to sing together. The reality is that we have to DECIDE to sing along with everyone else – proactively! Along with that decision, it means letting go – letting go of inhibition, letting go of the centrality of self in favor of community. We collectively offer a gift from the center of our being, body mind and soul. My hope is that we decide to do this fully, and not half-way. That is “the zone” of song, even if individually we’re not in a mood to do so. We’re doing it for God, and for our neighbor who likely is in the zone and needs our help. Maybe they can’t sing and need us to do it for them. In any case, it’s truly letting go of self in these instances.

Deciding to come to worship is perhaps one of the most astounding things. There are many other options for our time, but deciding to be here for all liturgies is a discipline. We do it perhaps for ourselves, but mostly for God, and for each other to be sure. Discipleship means we’re in “the zone” of regularly being here – reliably. When we’re not “in the zone” this is still where we need to be. We stay in the practice of letting go of what we want in favor of what we need.

The liturgy and its shape provide the opportunity to enter into a focus. There’s a flow: one thing flows into the next providing for an uninterrupted train of thought. That is why we do not have announcements, verbal instructions, etc. The liturgy protects us from focusing in on things or people interjected by even well-intentioned leaders and participants.

“In the zone” also means deciding to not get lured into distractions beyond our control. Being in the city certainly provides an abundance of potential distractions. Traffic,

boom-boxes in cars throbbing as they wait for the light next to our nave, helicopters and jets flying over us at low and loud levels, the list can go on. I remember a sung response being immediately followed by the blaring horn of a fire-truck (with siren as well). At least the horn was in the same key as our gentle response (was it “Lamb of God?” Can’t remember).
We also have various potential distractions from within our building – people arriving late or leaving early, coughing/sneezing, children, even the occasional accidental cell phone ring– all are there. But, where does our focus stay? We can choose to stay in the zone, focused on what we are doing in worship in spite of these temptations to pull us out of the zone to admonish a distraction. It’s another choice we often actively have to make. Should we call the fire department and say no sirens during worship?

Some of these things may indeed distract us in an acceptable way. When I hear a helicopter, I pray for the person being air-lifted to one of the close-by hospitals. With a fire truck, I think of the originators of the emergency call, anxiously waiting for the arrival of the fire fighters. With children, I thank God for their presence!!

Let’s choose to stay in the zone. God is above all these distractions. As one person put it, every liturgy should be cherished as if it were our last. What kind of zone would that put us in if we knew that to be the case? It might be.

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

February 13, 2011 – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 + Psalm 119:1-8
I Corinthians 3:1-9+ Matthew 5:21-37

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

Sunday’s Adult Education
9:30 a.m. in the Chapel Lounge
A schedule of upcoming Adult Forum offerings is available in the Chapel Lounge.

Sunday, February 13: A forum on ministry to the Latino community

Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads

For its meeting on February 12 the book group will discuss Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and for the March 12 meeting, The River of Doubt by Candice Millard.

Neighborhood Ministries Newsletter

Our Neighborhood Ministries Newsletter, Greetings From Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries, is hot off the press. They will be distributed by the Greeters after both liturgies on Sunday, February 13.

Upcoming Music & Fine Arts Events
February 1-28, 2011: Art display: Serigraphs of John August Swanson

John August Swanson paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent printmaker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. John August Swanson’s work will be on display for an entire month, open before and after the February 13 MFA event, as well as on Sundays and other days of a church function. (This display was postponed in 2010 due to construction.)

This Sunday, February 13, 2011, 4:00 pm: Minnesota Boychoir, Mark Johnson, Conductor

The Minnesota Boy Choir makes a return to Mount Olive for this mid-winter concert. Internationally renowned, the Minnesota Boychoir is the oldest continuously operating boy choir in the Twin Cities area, tracing its roots back over forty years. Join us for a concert of diverse repertoire. A reception will follow the concert.

Sox Box

Our Savior's Shelter is collecting socks for those who are homeless. Any and all sizes are needed.

Please bring your donations of socks to Mount Olive and find the “Sox Box” in the East Assembly Room to receive them. Your generous response is anticipated and appreciated.

Upcoming Adult Forums

Feb. 13 A forum on ministry to the Latino community
Feb 20 Pr. Crippen (Part 3 of a 3-part series): Spiritual Formation: Solvitur ambulando
Feb. 27 Prof. Dr. Lois Farag (Luther Seminary Professor who is a Coptic Nun): Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
Mar. 6 Rabbi Earl Schwartz on Interpreting the Psalms
Mar. 13 To Be Announced
Mar. 20 Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange (Professor of Liturgy at Luther Seminary who was once a monk at Taize): The Spirituality of Taize (Part I)
Mar. 27 Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange (Part II)
Apr. 3 The Saint John’s Bible: What It Is and How It Came to Be
Apr. 10 To Be announced
Apr. 17 Palm/Passion Sunday: Offering of Letters for Bread for the World
Apr. 24 Easter Day: No Adult Forum

Guidelines for Management of the Newly-Renovated Spaces

Below is the final section of the new space usage and furnishing guidelines recently adopted by the Vestry. For questions, please contact a Vestry member, or David Molvik from the Properties Committee. In an effort to preserve the integrity of the new spaces to keep them looking as uncluttered as possible, the Vestry has adopted the following guidelines for bulletin boards and other hanging objects in the building:

Items such as artwork, bulletin boards, signage and other wall-hung items must be approved before posting.

• No bulletin boards will be hung on the walls in the hallway between the chapel lounge and the west hospitality space. Other suitable locations for bulletin boards exist and will be identified by the Facilities committee.

• A system for hanging artwork will be purchased and all artwork hung in permanent installation or for art shows will utilize this system, unless other arrangements are needed, and only after the approval of the Facilities Committee.

• Displays of literature, brochures, posters, etc. should be confined to the appropriate bulletin boards, literature racks or on the welcome/reception desk.

Wish List Update

We have had yet another anonymous donor generously give new folding tables for meeting use to be used in the East Assembly Room. These will be new, clean, made of molded plastic, and lightweight! We currently have received three of the twenty upholstered stacking chairs to be used around those tables for meetings. You might see them in the East Assembly Room. Try them out and compare them to the old folding chairs, and you'll see what a difference they will make to the look of the room, as well as to the comfort of those attending meetings. If you are interested in donating a furniture item, these would be at the top of the wish list right now. We have also placed a wish for an additional six that could be used in the nearly finished library, should the current library chairs not be suitable.

We have received five of the eight upholstered guest chairs to be used interchangeably among the office and the chapel. These are highly mobile and can be used anywhere for any function, and fit right in to the current decor.

You may have noticed that the mix of old and new furniture in the West Reception Area looks a bit mish-mashed, and if anyone were interested in donating coffee tables that would match the new sofas, those are listed as well. Otherwise, we'll make do with what we have. We've also changed the size and style of the library table. This will be mahogany, to match all the other items, and will easily seat six. If you'd be interested in investing in this item, that will help get our library off to a running start! We're also listing a much-needed coat rack to be used in the office. Thank you for all of your recent gifts and feel free to keep them coming. Each item adds a bit of extra polish and comfort to an already most enjoyable renovated space.

Of course, furniture is not the only thing on our wish list. Diana Hellerman has graciously donated many items for her dynamic new education endeavor of Godly Play. However, your willingness to donate to the cause will help offset Diana's expenses and allow for more purchases for an already ambitious program. Many Godly Play items are listed for your consideration.

If you choose to make a donation for any of the items on the Wish List, please place your name and contact number next to the item you wish to donate. You will be contacted regarding total amount as shipping charges may apply. You may then write your check to Mount Olive, place it in an envelope and indicate it is a donation to the Wish List for the item you are donating. The counters will direct your donation to the proper account and you will see your donation reflected on your annual tax statement. The Wish List is located on the office bulletin board next to altar flower donations.

Hold the Date!

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 expresses 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!

Powderhorn Night of Peace

All are cordially invited to attend a community social gathering to promote a peaceful atmosphere for all families and neighbors in Powderhorn. This gathering will be held this Sunday, February 13, from 6-8 p.m. at 3400 15th Ave. S. (beside the park building).

Music, entertainment, food, and a bonfire will be provided. Bring a bowl, spoon, and a candle – and be sure to dress warmly!

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