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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Olive Branch, 5/23/11

Accent on Worship

Deeply Woven Roots

We are in the Easter Season when we can declare with certainty and joy “He is Risen, Heis Risen Indeed!” This past Sunday was the 5th Sunday of Easter and we heard in both the Psalm and the Gospel what keeps this congregation coherent, concise, concrete, constant and sometimes conflicted.

Psalm 31 names God as our rock and our fortress to whom and in whom we commit our livesand our spirits. The Gospel of John tells our hearts not to be troubled but also contains the seeds of trouble for neither Thomas nor Philip can understand what Jesus is telling them. The questions both of them ask betray our own fear and uncertainty, always filled with potential conflict.

So how does Mount Olive keep itself coherent, concise, concrete, constant and agile when conflicted? It is the worship service at Mount Olive! Some of you may have heard me comment on the worship at Mount Olive and how I am often brought to tears in the midst of worship. I know that I am not alone in this. So you may well ask, “Why? What happens in worship that brings worshipers to tears?”

I am brought to tears when the presence of God is so palpable. The reverence built within this congregation over many years manifests itself throughout the worship: in the procession the cross is processed followed closely by the candles and the Book advancing with grace and dignity; the gracing of the altar; the preparation of the altar for the Eucharist which includes our bowing to one another as holy things are passed between us. All this is possible because God is at the center and not us. All this is possible for we believe and trust that The Wholly Other, the Ground of Being, God, the Ultimate Presence to whom we seek to relate is present for us.”

Another reason for the tears in worship is made clear by Gary Gunderson, author of Deeply Woven Roots, who writes “Congregations are where people come together, gathered by God to serve God’s intentions of renewing and redeeming the whole world, not in domination but in love.” The way folks at Mount Olive greet others is testimony to this whether friends are greeted or first time worshipers. We greet one another heartily for we trust that God is in the midst of us and our life together to bring life out of death.

Over the past 100 years Mount Olive has been in the process of creating DEEPLY WOVEN ROOTS. Gunderson also writes about a forty foot circle of Redwood trees within Muir National Forest in the Bay area of California, each of which was 250 feet tall and ten to thirteen feet in diameter. The author, lying on the ground, could see the very tops of the trees, almost out of sight, touching one another, as if they were one tree.

One of the most important things about a Redwood tree is about how it passes life on. Redwood trees don’t spring from individual seeds but from the roots of older trees. Therefore Gunderson understood that he was lying in the middle of what had been a giant of a Redwood tree and that the trees surrounding him were in fact the young ones. They reached 250 feet tall but they were the children. Not only were they touching one another at the top, they were inseparable at the bottom where their roots were deeply woven together.

This is what is happens at Mount Olive every day and certainly in the midst of worship. The worship at Mount Olive roots us deeply with each other and all those who have gone before us and all those who will yet come. It is worship that keeps this congregation coherent, concise, concrete, constant and sometimes conflicted and it is blessed for it provides the vision of God’s reign of justice, generosity, and joy for all people. For this I give thanks!

- Elizabeth Beissel

Summer Worship ScheduleBegins This Sunday

Please note that from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, we celebrate one Sunday Eucharist at 9:30 a.m. This year, summer schedule begins this Sunday, May 29, and runs through Sunday, September 4.

Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday Readings
May 29, 2011 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 17:22-31 + Psalm 66:8-20
I Peter 3:13-22 + John 14:15-21

June 5, 2011 – Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:6-14 + Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
I Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 + John 17:1-11

Olive Branch Summer Publication

During the months of June, July, and August, The Olive Branch is published every other week. Weekly publication continues through May 30. The June issues will be published on June 13 and June 27. If you have information to be included in these issues, please have it in to the church office before (or by) these dates.

Summer Jobs After School Volunteers Needed

Summer is almost upon us and I am preparing for the Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries youth program, Jobs After School. It will run from June 27 through August 12.

This program is in need of volunteers to help supervise the many projects in which the JAS kids will be involved. If you can volunteer one day a week (that's 7 total days for the summer) for two to three hours each day to mentor four youth this summer, please call me at Mount Olive,

- Donna Neste

Foods of Many Nations

This MONAC fundraiser will be a great opportunity to sample foods of a variety of countries and cultures right at your church! This event will be held following the second liturgy on June 19, in the Undercroft. It will feature samples of some signature foods of many different countries.

Participants will be invited to visit various stations to sample a small serving at each station. (We promise you will get enough to eat!) Cost for this event will be $12 for adults and $5 for children. The proceeds will be used to purchase needed kitchen equipment. Come prepared for an eating adventure!

Book Discussion

For its meeting on June 11 the Book Discussion Group will read Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger, and for the July 9 meeting, they will read Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese.

The Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. All readers welcome!

A Building Committee Update

There’s an old adage that the last 10% of the work on a project takes as long to complete as the prior 90%. That’s the phase of the remodeling project that we’re in.

The Building Committee has a few things left on the list, and these will be completed as time and money allow. Thanks to the generosity of the congregation in the most recent fund appeal, we are confident that this work will be finished soon. The major pieces remaining are:

1. Directional signage around the building. We have met with a sign designer and should have some potential designs shortly.
2. Completing a wall to divide the downstairs room nearest the elevator into two sections. This will provide space for both the Diaper Depot and storage for Donna’s many ministries. Off-season worship items will also be placed here.
3. Putting a door between the upstairs kitchen and the galley kitchen area, to help manage sound as people work in the kitchen.
4. Extend the track lighting in the east and central hospitality areas.

Projects that are now complete include the library shelves installation, purchase and installation of a new coffee maker in the kitchen (including installing a 40 amp electrical service), installation of the picture rail and hanging the art, and numerous other smaller tasks.

Thanks to everyone who has helped get these tasks finished.

Wish List Update

We have received some very generous anonymous donations recently. A library table, a chair for the women’s restroom for nursing mothers, and ten additional upholstered stack chairs for the East Assembly Room have all been donated by interested members. Also, Lora and Allen Dundek have donated a fifth folding table for the East Assembly Room, as well as half of the new palm planters in the West Reception Area. The remaining planters were donated anonymously. That means that we have only 7 more stack chairs on the Wish List, as well as some Godly Play items. Thanks be to God that our Wish List is dwindling. However, one item remains to be researched and was brought to my attention by Gary Pagel and our sexton. They both have the idea that our welcome/event sign on the front lawn could be changed to an electronic version that can be programmed from inside the church office. I have no idea where to source this product, but if anyone does, please let us know.

I want to thank all of those donors who have been so generous in donating nearly all of our new furnishings, the banner stands, other worship items, as well as many of the Godly Play items. It is with such kind generosity that we are all able to enjoy the continuous renewal of our spaces and of the way we worship at Mount Olive. In July, I will pass the Wish List baton on to the new Vestry Vice President, Lisa Nordeen. Please continue to support the Mount Olive Wish List in the future. It has been a terrific tool and I look forward to many more years of increased support!

Respectfully submitted,
Brian Jacobs

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