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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Olive Branch, 3/21/11

Accent on Worship

Dr. James Echols framed Sunday’s sermon around the question, “How far Love?” He
challenged us to reflect on our commitments to our neighbors. Dr. Echols’ question is
an especially appropriate one in this time of political turmoil in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia and continued recovery from flooding in Pakistan and earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. The tsunami and threat of nuclear disaster in Japan has engendered impassioned discussions among charities about whether to issue widespread calls for aid for Japan. On the one hand, the heartbreaking scenes are moving people to provide immediate assistance specifically designated for the people of Japan. On the other hand, some organizations have cautioned against putting out a call for aid too quickly before the shape of the need is known. These organizations suggest instead a call for undesignated donations to relief organizations for use wherever the needs are greatest, including global needs that do not garner widespread media coverage. This debate shows there are no easy answers to the question “How far Love?”

Love for our neighbor is not simply giving money. It is acting with wisdom and discernment, with recognition of both our limitations and our commitments to give to others as a response to the grace that we have received from God. Love depends on relationships in which we are willing to risk vulnerability and be transformed in the process.

Over the next few months, as Mount Olive’s Director of Global Missions I will be encouraging our committee specifically and our congregation more broadly to contemplate and in some cases to re-evaluate our congregation’s commitments to the wider world. We have strong mutually transformative relationships with Bethania and with ELCA missions. We can build on this strong foundation to ask: What additional relationships

should we develop? Where is the spirit leading us to be agents of peace, hope, fellowship, and reconciliation in the world? What relationships will transform and challenge us as a congregation? In the months ahead, our committee will ask for your suggestions and feedback. In engaging these questions, Mount Olive will continue to wrestle with the question, “How far Love?” I cannot think of a more important question for us in this Lenten season.

Sunday Readings

March 27, 2011 – Third Sunday in Lent
Exodus 17:1-7 + Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11 + John 4:5-42

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

This Sunday, March 27: "The Spirituality of Taize (part 2/2)," led by Dr. Dirk Lange. Dr. Lange is Associate Professor for Worship at Luther Seminary and is a former Taize monk.

Tuesday Noon Bible Study

All are invited to come to Mount Olive at noon on Tuesdays for lunch and Bible study with Sunday’s preacher. This informal study will look at the readings for the next Sunday and listen to where the Spirit guides the conversation. Begun on Mar. 15, this study with Pr. Crippen will continue beyond Lent, and when Mount Olive has a Vicar, the Vicar will lead the study on weeks he or she is preaching. Bring a lunch to the west lounge at noon, and the group will finish by 1:00 p.m.

Palms and Paschal Garden

Donations for Passion Sunday palms and the Easter paschal garden will be received on Sunday, April 3 and Sunday, April 10. Members of the Worship Committee will be available after each liturgy on those dates to receive your contribution. Checks should be made payable to “Mount Olive Women.”

Help Us Solve a Mystery

A set of pottery communion vessels has been stored in the safe in the working sacristy for some years and its history has been lost. If you have any information regarding when it might have been obtained, by whom it was donated and in honor of what occasion or person, or for what occasions it might have been used, please contact the church office. We do know that it predates Pastor Wegener, so it is likely 25-30 years old.

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

For the Wednesday Lenten services this year we are focusing on the Lord’s Prayer, and what our Lord Jesus teaches us about our prayer life with God. The midweek schedule, March 16 through April 13, 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.

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month

The need this year is as great as ever, so we encourage you to be 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 farther.

Art display in the Chapel Lounge
April 1-30, 2011
Illustrations from the St. John’s Bible

In 1998, St. John’s Abbey and University commission- ed renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. The display will invite you to explore this work of art which unites an ancient Benedictine tradition with the technology and vision of today, illuminating the Word of God for a new millennium.
This exhibit is sponsored by Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts, and will be open to the public before and after all church services and events in April.

Book Discussion Group

For its meeting on April 9 the book group will discuss the poem Gilgamesh, and for the May 14 meeting, the essay collection Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver.
The Book Discussion group meets each month on the second Saturday, at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel Lounge. All readers welcome!

Disaster Relief: Japan and Beyond

During a large disaster that requires significant amounts of money like the one in Japan, ELCA Disaster Response and other relief organizations often find it challenging to continue to provide strong support to other emergency situations. Recently, there have been many other natural disasters and political upheavals. Currently ELCA Disaster Response is also responding to recent emergencies in Libya, Egypt, and New Zealand, among other countries.
Congregation members can make checks out to Mount Olive and designate donations to Japan by writing “Japan” on their envelopes or on the memo line of their check. Mount Olive will send that money to ELCA Disaster Response specifically for emergency relief in Japan. Or if you choose, you can also simply write “ELCA International Response” on your envelope or check memo line, and we will designate this portion of donations to ELCA Disaster Relief’s International Fund to be used wherever it is currently needed most.
Any donation made by individual members to the emergency in Japan or to ELCA Disaster Response’s International Fund will be in addition to the regular congregational commitments to global missions.

Wish List Update

Hello all! We've had a couple more anonymous donations from some very generous members recently. If you're in the office area, you may notice a new coat rack. You will soon see two new coffee tables in the West Reception Area that will match the reception desk and the mahogany woods of the new armchairs and legs of the new sofas.
New items on the Wish List will include two new storage units and mirrors for the vestibules of both restrooms. We are trying to source a nursing chair for the ladies' restroom as well. Fair linens are being priced, and those will be added to the Wish List soon.
The most pressing items to be donated are another 17-21 upholstered stack chairs, which will enable us to move the uncomfortable metal folding chairs out of the East Assembly Room. Many of you are noticing and using these new chairs and enjoy the comfort and convenience of upholstery and sturdy arms. We'd also like to get a reading table for the new library space. So if any of you have a bit of extra cash and you'd like to see the continued upgrading of our beautiful new space, please feel free to sign your name to the Wish List. Keep in mind that many more Godly Play items are listed, as well, and Diana Hellerman would certainly welcome any of these terrific educational pieces. If you would like to donate an item from the Wish List, please note that it is posted just inside the church office; sign your name and contact number next to the item you're donating and you will be contacted regarding final price. There may be some delivery charges in addition to the price you see listed. Checks should be made payable to Mount Olive clearly designated on the envelope that this is for the Wish List – please also list the item you're donating. The counters will see that your check is directed to the proper account, and you will be credited on your annual statement for tax purposes.
Thank you for your generosity!
Brian Jacobs, Wish List Coordinator

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