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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Olive Branch: 2-28-11

Accent on Worship

An Angel From God

As many of you know, I was in Houston last week leading a hymn festival. I was put up in a downtown hotel – a lovely place two short blocks from a small concentration of places to eat. It was a great location to stay.

Coming back from dinner on Saturday evening, a man approached me and asked if I had a quarter. I stopped, and pulled out my wallet and gave him all the smaller bills I had – around four one-dollar bills. No questions. I told him to take care, and left. He thanked me. The next morning, I was returning to the hotel from a coffee shop and the same man again approached me and asked for a quarter. I looked at him and said, “You hit me up last night! I did my part.” and walked on.

Did my part??!! Immediately I realized what a ridiculous thing that was to say. And what did that mean? To him? To me? To God? To hunger and poverty in general? I give four bucks away and think I’ve fixed it all? That this is all that is required to do “my part”? Wow.

The truth: I had many 20s in my wallet from a nearby cash machine. And when they would run out, I have a little piece of plastic that I stick into a machine just about anywhere in the world, and it spits more 20s out at me anytime I need them. I could have given him all of my 20s without feeling anything: with plenty to even get through the day. This man only asked for a quarter.

Then came the Gospel lesson this past Sunday: “Consider the lilies … do not worry about tomorrow.” It helped me remember that probably the main reason we don’t let go and give more is our fear of not having enough. Fear about tomorrow. What we’re going to eat, what we’re going to wear. And we fear this in spite of the fact that we are surrounded by access to an embarrassing quantity of options for both. When I hear of churches asking the question “Should we (fill in the blank – like buy a pipe organ) or feed the poor”? As if the rhetorical and obvious self-righteous answer is the latter. The truth is both could be afforded. Both. In abundance. God would be served by doing both, but also by our letting go of the riches in the first place.

I think God sent this angel to me to help me remember to let go of this worry. To know that 20s could be gone from my wallet and I still have what I need. Why not let go of them when asked? Why does it take someone asking?

About a half hour after my second encounter with the man, I was standing outside the hotel waiting for my ride to the church. A couple approached me and told a relatively long story about needing bus fare to get somewhere. I asked how much the bus fare was that they needed. Then realized it didn’t matter. I pulled out my wallet and gave them a 20. They walked away grateful. The hotel concierge asked if he should call the police. “Naw – I just needed to let go of a 20.”

Here’s the question bugging me: now why not all the 20s I had? May we find ways to let go of this terrible fear we have.

These experiences reminded me that I’m ready for Lent. To again learn of my true needs. To recommit. To repent.

- Cantor David Cherwien

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

Sunday, March 6: “Interpreting the Psalms,” led by Hamline University Professor Earl Schwartz (see information elsewhere in this issue of The Olive Branch.

Ash Wednesday: March 9, 2011
Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes
Noon and 7:00 p.m.

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).

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.

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!

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!

Professor Earl Schwartz to Lead Adult Forum This Sunday

Earl Schwartz has been teaching at Hamline University's Religion Department since 1993, has been the Director of Hamline's Social Justice Program since 1999, and was also an adjunct member of Hamline University's Law faculty from 1994-97.

In 1983, he published Moral Education: A Practical Guide for Jewish Teachers, he co-authored (with Rabbi Barry Cryton) When Life is in the Balance: Life and Death Decisions in Light of Jewish Tradition, in 1986, and also published Who Renews Creation in 1993, as well as numerous articles on Jewish thought and history.

In 1999, Earl Schwartz was named an Exemplary Professor of the Year and in 2003 was named Faculty Member of the Year. He serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Law and Religion.

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month, an annual month-long effort sponsored by the Greater Minnesota Council of churches to help re-stock area food shelves. This work is and supported by congregations, and other religious and civic associations throughout Minnesota, and Mount Olive has participated every year since it began in 1982.

The need this year is as great as ever, so we encourage you to be extra generous with your donations of money or non-perishable food items for our local food shelf during the month of March. This drive fills the shelves of 300 food shelves across the state of Minnesota.

Fifty percent of all food shelf recipients are children, twenty percent of all adult recipients are elderly, and sixty percent of all adults who use the food shelves are the working poor.

We especially encourage you to consider giving a financial contribution via your blue envelopes instead of groceries, noting that it is for the food shelf. For every ten dollars donated, food shelf workers can buy $40 worth of food through various purchasing resources not available to the general public. So monetary donations go much fartherHowever, if you enjoy shopping for food to give in this way, please do so and place your food donations in the cart in the cloak room.

Two Bread for the World Events

Those interested in eliminating the causes of global poverty will want to mark their calendars for two up-coming BFW events.

On Saturday, April 2, the President of Bread for the World, David Beckmann, will be the keynote speaker for a Global Poverty Summit to be held at Christ Church International, 3015 13th Ave. S., Minneapolis from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You may pick up a brochure with more information about this at the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board. To RSVP for the event, email or call 612-871-9084.

The Bread for the World Offering of Letters will be the Adult Forum feature on April 17, Palm Sunday. The bill to be proposed in Congress will address foreign assistance. The objectives are to streamline it and make it more efficient, to focus on reducing poverty, to have clearer accountability on how funds are spent and the results, and to meet the needs of local people. A presentation will be given and everyone will be invited to write to their congress persons in Washington after the presentation. Everything you need to do this will be made available including a sample letter with all the bullet points. This is a powerful way to help the poor and it won't cost you a cent.

“Lord, Teach Us to Pray” - Midweek Lent at Mount Olive

The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday, Mar. 9, with Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes at noon and 7:00 p.m. (Celebrate Shrove Tuesday at Mount Olive on Mar. 8 – see separate article).

For the other Wednesday Lenten services this year we will focus on the Lord’s Prayer, and what our Lord Jesus teaches us about our prayer life with God. The midweek schedule, beginning on Wednesday, Mar. 16, is Eucharist at 12:00 noon, followed by a soup lunch at 1:00 p.m. In the evening, there will be a soup supper at 6:00 p.m., and Evening Prayer at 7:00 p.m. The preaching at the noon Eucharist will be reflections on the Lord’s Prayer, and the same meditation will be shared during the evening soup supper, with opportunity for further conversation at the meal.

Church Library News

I am pleased to be able to share some positive news regarding the restoration of the Louise Schroedel Memorial Library, which was dismantled and packed away in storage in September 2009 in order to make way for the two new restrooms which now occupy that same space. During the construction activities of 2010 and particularly the moving of the church office and the staff offices from the west wall to the north wall, a space at the very end of that north corridor was allocated for the use of the Louise Schroedel Memorial Library, when it could again be restored.

Several work sessions have now gone forward unloading the many, many boxes of books and other items that came from the old library. It is likely that we will need several more weeks before we are ready to open the door restoring this library ministry to its former usefulness. Special thanks goes to David Molvik and Mark Pipkorn who have helped immensely to get the old library shelving units in place and re-attached to the walls, where that was needed; to Mark Henning for the installation of the new countertop laminate; to William Pratley, our new Sexton, who helped to place the shelves in the proper shelving units and clear away used boxes as they are emptied; and to Mabel Jackson, who has worked with me to refill shelves with books and other media as the restoration plan has unfolded. Another specific word of thanks to David Molvik who has made countless trips up and down stairs to keep the boxes of books available to us in a proper sequence for unloading. As you would assume, all are volunteers!

I would like to share something that we noticed as boxes of classic children's books (or even a book series) were unloaded and we came across some that were more dog-eared or well worn, however, after looking at those same check-out cards (some from the 1970's well into the 1990's and beyond) along with many familiar family names, it usually revealed that at least 30-40 or more children had delighted in reading those same books. It was then my feelings changed to gratitude that our church library had helped to extend God's love and witness touching each child, as well as many other books and special media affecting entire families in one way or another. "To God be the glory!"

It is well to remember that even though this library ministry opened in November 1965, little remains in our collection from that time and the library has evolved over the years, having been weeded and updated several times as it grew. Down the line and as time, funds and a re-evaluation permit, more weeding will be done to provide a useful and more current look to our collection, not only to books but also to videos, which are the VHS type we had at the time the library was dismantled. While we were aware that Christian digital videos were becoming more and more available, we didn't have the funds to make the change happen at that time.

Kudos also to Dan Burow, who loaned us the larger part of our CD collection, also now available to the congregation on a check-out basis. This collection ranges from great choral works, as well as recordings of our own great choirs, hymn sings, and other pieces that are traditionally classical or semi-classical.

In the meantime, we hope you are taking advantage of the wide variety of books available in the more casual setting of the Courtyard Mini-Library. Watch for more updates regarding the restoration of the Louise Schroedel Memorial Library.

- Leanna Kloempken

A Menu of Brunches

As many of you know, there is a flyer in the narthex at church which includes suggested local venues for brunch after church. We will be updating this listing in the near future! If you know of a restaurant to suggest for this listing, please send the information to Susan Cherwien at, or speak to her at church.

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