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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Olive Branch, 8/22/11

Accent on Worship

My dear departed mother, a very wise woman, often told me, “You need to spend more time on your hands and knees in church.” Responding to her lifelong wishes, I came to work as sexton in the house of the Lord.

A sexton is an officer of the church, charged with the maintenance of its buildings and/or the surrounding grounds. In smaller places of worship, this office is often combined with that of verger.

Historically in North America and the United Kingdom the "sexton" was sometimes a minor municipal official responsible for overseeing the town graveyard. In the United Kingdom the position still exists today, related to management of the community's graveyard, and the sexton is usually employed by the town/parish or community council.

The word "sexton” derives from the Old English Sexestein, sextein, through the French sacristain from Latin sacrista. The Medieval Latin word sacristanus means "custodian of sacred objects". "Sexton" represents the popular development of the word, via the Old French, Segrestein, from Latin Sacristanus - "Sacristan". In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the gravedigger refers to himself as sexton. I refer to myself as Mount Olive’s faithful servant.

From our Second Reading for this Sunday, the words from Romans 12:11-13 explain my job responsibilities perfectly. “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, and serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer." Many times while fixing a toilet, troubleshooting the boilers, or shoveling snow; I have experienced all of this.

The text also says in verse 13, “Contribute to the needs of the saints.”

I believe many of you here at Mount Olive are saints, and the rest of you are very close. I know each one of you are very special to me, and I look forward to serving you with the gifts the Lord has bestowed upon me.

“Extend hospitality to strangers.”

I also believe I have a public responsibility as Sexton of Mount Olive. I am the community eyepiece, and represent you the Mount Olive community, to the neighbors, community, and people walking by on the sidewalk. As the text reveals, it is one of my duties to “extend hospitality to strangers.”

Many times while I have been working outside, pulling weeds or mowing lawns, neighbors and passers by have stopped to talk to me, perhaps curious to get a glimpse of what Mount Olive is really all about and who you, the parishioners, might be. Hopefully I have represented you honestly, and have done very well at this most important responsibility.

Hebrews 13:2-3 says it very nicely. “Remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it.”

As a final thought on the duties and responsibilities of Sexton at Mount Olive, let me quote Galatians 6:10. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

You - the parishioners here at Mount Olive - are the family of believers. I am your faithful sexton.

-William Pratley

Lost and Found

There are several items which have accumulated in the lost and found box. These items will be on display on the table in the coat room, near the small kitchen, waiting for their owners to claim them next Sunday. Items left unclaimed will be donated to charity. Thanks for giving this your attention.

Book Discussion Group

For its meeting on September 10 the Book Discussion Group will read Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison. And for the October 8 meeting they will read Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton.

Did You Know …

… that MONAC is now serving Community Meals twice a month at Mount Olive? The second meal is served on the 3rd Saturday of the month. Although mid-month meals have just begun, attendance has increased, which is an indication of the need for this kind of service.

If the Spirit moves you to be involved in this ministry, this is a perfect opportunity! Food preparation begins several hours before serving time (Noon to 1 pm). During that hour, volunteers dish up food, serve beverages, etc. Mount Olive workers, when having their lunch, are encouraged to sit and converse with the people from the community. Naturally, clean-up follows the meal and volunteers are needed for this, too. You may choose to work during the whole or any part of this operation, on either the first or third Saturday of the month. Those who have been involved in this ministry find it a rewarding experience, and enjoy the camaraderie with fellow workers. No need to sign up or give notice, just come!

Seminar at Sea

Please join Pastor Joseph and Mary Crippen for a Seminar at Sea, sailing in the beautiful Caribbean Sea for 7 days. Pr. Crippen will provide three lectures on “Jesus, the Rapture, and the End Times,” and participants will have a short reading list in preparation.

Departure date is January 28, 2012. Inside cabin prices from $699, balcony cabin prices from $1099 - taxes and airfare additional.

For full information and details, call Tom Olsen at 952-929-9781, or speak with him at church.

Beyond Peacocks and Paisleys Textile Exhibition

Please join us after worship this Sunday, August 28, for a visit to the Goldstein Museum. Mount Olive member Don Johnson has collected textiles from the Indian subcontinent (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan) for 50 years and a selection of pieces from his collection forms the exhibit "Beyond Peacocks & Paisleys: Handmade Textiles of India and its Neighbors."

Don will be available to give tours of the exhibit elaborating on the pieces displayed. His collection is fascinating. We will depart after the service on Sunday and have lunch at India Palace in Roseville before proceeding to the Goldstein Museum to view the exhibit.

If you would like to attend, please let Carol Peterson or the church office know by Sunday, August 21 so we can get an accurate count of who would be attending and get details to you of event logistics.

MFA’s 2011-2012 Series

Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts has an exciting series planned for this year. Brochures for the upcoming season should arrive in the mail near the beginning of September.

The season kicks off with a concert by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet on Sunday, September 25 at 4 p.m.

Music and Fine Arts Committee members will be on hand between liturgies on Sundays, September 11 and 18, seeking your support of this year’s series. Please be generous!

Vote for Donna!

Our own Donna Neste is on the slate of nominees for the election of Board Members for Bread for the World. This organization is widely known for its work to alleviate hunger, particularly by advocating for the poor. Donna has been actively involved in the work of BFW as well as other organizations that work to eliminate hunger for several years. She would be a great asset to BFW as a Board member, and we can help bring that about by voting for her! In your July/August Bread for the World Newsletter, there is a printed ballot, or you can go online at to cast your vote.

First Sunday Food Ingathering

Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries (MONAC) continues its monthly ingathering of non-perishable food items for area food shelves. On the first Sunday of each month, worshippers are encouraged to bring food items to church and place them in the grocery cart in the coat room. They will be delivered to our local food shelves. MONAC also receives donations of travel-sized toiletries to be distributed to area homeless persons. These can also be placed in the coat area in the box provided. Thanks for your support!

Attention Greeters (and those who might be interested in serving as such):

There will be two informational meetings held between services on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 for all those who currently are greeters, and also those who might be interested in serving in this capacity. As worship leadership and worship servant rosters have changed over the years, so have some past practices. All worship servants are going through similar training and information sessions so that we're all performing our duties with consistency. Please consider attending one of these two sessions. Each session will be brief and will cover the same topics. Plan on meeting after the first liturgy at 9:30 at the rear of the nave. We request that every greeter attempt to attend one or both sessions.

Brian Jacobs, Greeter coordinator

Grief Support Group

The South Minneapolis Coalition for Grief Support Fall series runs from September 29 – December 8 at Walker Methodist Health Center, 3737 Bryant Ave. So. Minneapolis, MN 55409 (612-827-5931). Look for the schedule of speakers and further information at,

Holy Land Tour

Members of Mount Olive have an opportunity to visit the Holy Land this winter, Dec. 27, 2011 – Jan. 7, 2012, along with Vicar Erik Doughty, members of Edina Community Lutheran, and Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer. Pastors Mary Albing and Erik Strand will guide and teach; there will be opportunity to visit Christmas Lutheran and talk with their pastor, Rev. Mitri Raheb. The tour will also include a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance site; as well as Jericho, Galilee, the Dead Sea, and more. Cost is approximately $3395 per person. For more information, contact Rev. Mary Albing at 612-926-5414, or

Study Participants Needed!

I am a doctoral student in psychology at the University of St. Thomas and I am conducting a research study focusing on the presence of growth following a traumatic experience. The purpose of the study is to hear the stories of individuals who have not only overcome trauma, but discovered personal growth. This “posttraumatic growth” may occur in relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and new possibilities. Experiences of trauma undoubtedly result in difficulties. The exploration of positive reactions to trauma does not negate that reality; instead my intent is to gain an understanding of the full experience. As a result, your compelling story may bring hope to others in pain and enable therapists to provide better care to those who have experienced trauma.

Participation in this study involves completing two short inventories and an interview. Overall, the time commitment is approximately 1.5 hours. Information you provide will be kept completely anonymous and confidential. If you have experienced growth following a difficult time in life and would be willing to share your story, please contact me.

Sarah Cherwien, MA

Regular Worship Scheduleto Resume September 11

Beginning Sunday, September 11, and continuing through May 20, 2012, Mount Olive will resume its regular Sunday worship schedule: two liturgies each Sunday morning at 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday church school resumes that day as well.

Next Olive Branch Deadline

The deadline for information to be published in the next issue of The Olive Branch is Tuesday, September 5. If you have information to be published in that newsletter, please be sure it is in to the church office by then. Beginning with the September 5 issue, The Olive Branch returns to weekly publication until next summer.

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