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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Olive Branch, 6/13/11

Accent on Worship

Back to Normal?

I was reflecting on how it will be nice, once we have celebrated the Holy Trinity on June 19, to be back to normal, back to Ordinary Time for awhile. There is a beauty to the rhythm of the Church Year, but by the time the first six months are finished, I’m usually ready for some months with no festivals.

But then I thought about those words, “back to normal.” And it seems to me that is never what we are as people of God, and that’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, still in the afterglow of Sunday when we heard that marvelous story of the coming of the Spirit to those first believers, I wonder what normal is for disciples of Jesus. With the sound of wind, the sight of flames on or around their heads, and the gift of language to tell the Good News of Jesus to all in Jerusalem – that was a remarkable day, that birth day of the Church. And those disciples never got “back to normal.” Read the account in Acts 2 – 3,000 new believers on the first day, the disciples bravely out in the streets and in the Temple telling that the crucified Jesus is raised from death and is Lord and God. Very soon some of these believers were persecuted for their witnessing, some jailed, and some killed. I wonder if they sometimes wished it could be “back to normal.”

I doubt it. Not that there was always something wrong with “normal.” For some, it was a working merchant life as independent fishermen. For others, especially the women, there were families to raise, and daily housework to do. For many, “normal” used to be a state of pain and fear due to illness, or possession, or poverty. So some of “normal” was good for these disciples, some bad, but for all this was their reality: once they met Jesus they were changed forever. And once he was raised from the dead, they would never know normal again.

I don’t think we’re in danger of having 3,000 new believers be baptized in one day, or should be expecting tongues of fire at our times together, but in the same way those early disciples were changed forever so are we. The Spirit is calling us to new things here at Mount Olive, and I look forward to our discerning together how we can begin to reach out to our neighborhood in better ways and can even more effectively share the Good News of God’s love in Jesus in this congregation and in this city. Normal life cannot be lived keeping to our own back yards, or our own church building walls. Once the Spirit has enflamed us with God’s love, filled us with faith in the risen Jesus, and showered us with gifts, we will never be the same.

It could be frightening, what the Spirit calls us to be and do. Sometimes those early believers must have been scared. But like them, we know that the Triune God is with us always, blessing us with love and sending us out to share that love. We know that we have life in our Lord Jesus as we gather around Word and Sacrament each week and as we are sent out by the Spirit into the world. We know that we are loved by the God of the universe, forever and always, and changed into children of God. And who’d ever want to go back to normal after that?

- Pr. Crippen

Praying for our Graduates

This Sunday, June 19, we would like to remember all of Mount Olive’s graduates in the Prayers of Intercession at the morning liturgy.

If you, a member of your family, or someone else from Mount Olive is graduating from a post-secondary school (college, seminary, graduate school), please drop a note to or call the church office before Thursday, so that they may be included in the prayers on Sunday.

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 this Sunday, 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!

Music & Fine Arts Bonus Event:Arias, Duets, and More!
Sunday, June 26, 2011 – 4:00 p.m.

An afternoon of delightful singing is planned for June 26! Angela Neiderloh (mezzo soprano) and Matthew Hayward (lyric baritone) team up for a summer afternoon concert.

Angela Niederloh has been acclaimed by The New York Times as “a charismatic mezzo soprano,” and Matthew Hayward is rapidly establishing himself as one of the most versatile young artists of his generation. Both travel singing in prestigious opera productions across the country including Baltimore, San Francisco, and the Met in New York.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity!

July 10 Adult Forum

A Minnesota Without Poverty is a statewide movement to end poverty in Minnesota by 2020. This movement incorporates a vision where all people thrive with those things that protect human dignity and make for a healthy life: adequate food and shelter, meaningful work, safe communities, health care and quality education.

A Minnesota Without Poverty works to build the public will to end poverty, effect public policy, engage public leadership form all sectors of society, promote public accountability and broaden the public access for the development and economic well being of all Minnesota communities.

Ending poverty is possible and there is indeed enough—for ALL. Come to the Adult Forum on Sunday, July 10 to learn more about this important movement.

Thanks, Gene!

I was one of many people who walked out of church a couple of weeks ago with an armful of gorgeous iris, generously shared by Gene Phelps. The Epistle lesson this past Sunday reminded us that God gives unique gifts to each of us to share with one another, and I am so grateful that Gene shares his green thumb gift with all of us.
- Lora Dundek

Church Library News

Do you remember reading about the “old town crier” who walked about his village, ringing a bell and crying out daily announcements of interest as well as upcoming events? Despite an obvious difference in time and locale, I feel a little bit like that "town crier" since I am entrusted with the pleasure of announcing the grand opening and rededication of the newly restored Louise Schroedel Memorial Library, which will be held on Sunday, June 26, 2011. Get out your blackberries and your planners and mark the date immediately, as you won't want to miss this memorable occasion!

Much has been accomplished to restore the library to its former usefulness and also help it embrace a somewhat more contemporary look. We continue to work to strengthen our Reference section and update our card catalog and we are also pleased to again present a CD collection for your perusal and check-out. Something new to be added to our library (if not available by our opening, at least in the near future) will be a DVD collection. This will necessarily have to be a very modest beginning because of our limited budget. Someone has asked me about donating DVDs from their personal collection, and this may work, but we urge caution. Please remember our specialized purpose and be very selective indeed. Some possible examples that might be acceptable for our new collection would include The Bible, The Life of Christ -- where he walked and ministered, Great People of the Bible, Martin Luther, great theatrical or musical performances and other specialty topics that may portray high moral, ethical, inspirational or educational influences. These are just examples and not "set in stone" so if you have a DVD donation that falls somewhere within these parameters and is in good condition, please speak to me or to Dwight Penas, who is willing to help as an advisor with this new project, before your donation is ready to be made.

As you will likely remember, our library contains numerous books given in memory of a loved one or honoring a special occasion or event. We encourage that, of course, as the situations in your lives occur. We will also maintain a special “wish list” which you may consider when you plan to make a book donation.

Now it is time to thank some special people who deserve accolades. This includes Carol Austermann, who reupholstered 4 chair cushions for older chairs and to an unknown donor for a new library table; to Bonnie McLellan, who provided help updating our card catalog; and to the continuing help of David Molvik, Mabel Jackson, and our sexton, William Pratley, who have been of assistance over numerous weeks. In addition, Nancy Flatgard has recently been enlisted to help with retrieving books and CD's that were missing from our collection at the time the library was dismantled. Please help us by checking your homes for books or other media that has our library's ownership stamp in or on it, and return as soon as possible, to the church office next week (clearly identified from whom) and after the library's opening, a book and media return container will be outside the library door each Sunday when the library is staffed.

Come and visit our library often (it's for our entire congregation, remember!) and bring your children. They are almost never too young to get into “the church library habit” each week. Remember that we are located at the very end of the north corridor but we are also reachable by two passageways from the east assembly room and this may prove easier for some of you. There will be some special “give aways” that Sunday of our grand opening, Pastor Crippen will lead us in a library rededication and we promise some special refreshments as well. And now, there is just time to say “Thanks be to God!”

- Leanna Kloempken

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