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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Olive Branch, 11/21/11

First Sunday of Advent

“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down.” How many times have we felt like the Prophet Isaiah who speaks these words in the First Reading for Advent 1? It seems to be our nature to long to be rescued. Our culture has created the superhero in comic books and on the big screen and the story line is always the same. When things are at their bleakest the hero swoops down and fixes everything. We try to live this fantasy by always seeking the quick fix, the magic bullet to every problem. I remember as a kid how we were told that science would be our salvation. Do you remember reading and hearing about the Green Revolution and how it was going to save humanity from hunger and starvation? I soon learned that science has its place, (though it had its own problems, the Green Revolution succeeded in saving millions), but the problem of hunger and many other seemingly hopeless conditions lie in the human heart. In secular terms it is often referred to as “political will.” God has blessed us with not only the know-how but with enough of everything to overcome every issue that faces us. What holds us back is our fear of failure, our fear of not enough, our fear of the other, and our lack of trust in God. Jesus is our salvation, not science, not any one leader, not any one policy, not any quick fix, not even all the wealth in the world.

Advent is a time of waiting - waiting for the Lord. I believe that Jesus will return someday, but Jesus has not yet returned and while we are waiting, we need to trust that he is with us. We need to carry the love of Jesus in our hearts and draw on it as we face the big problems that confront us. Our waiting should not be passive; it should be a time of action, a time of preparation for the Lord.

This season, when the earth turns away from the sun, is a perfect metaphor for the Advent season. It is dark. The dark season of Advent is a perfect metaphor for the condition of the world. The people of God were commissioned to step out into that great darkness and bring Christ’s light, love, and healing to this world of hurt in which we live. Not a day goes by that I don’t want Jesus to return and rescue us from this mess we have made, but we should not be thinking like “end timers” waiting to be rescued by our super-hero, Jesus. Rather, we should be bringing the return of Jesus to earth every day by doing the work of Jesus.

- Donna Pususta Neste

This Week’s Adult Education: Sunday, November 27

“Why Do We (at Mount Olive) Worship the Way We Do?” part 2 of a 3-part presentation
by Dwight Penas

Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Holy Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us. It is also a time to remember those who are less fortunate than we are. Remember those in need by bringing your offering of food or funds to the 10:00 a.m. liturgy on Thanksgiving Day.

All Thanksgiving offerings will be given to Sabathani and Community Emergency Services food shelves. Consider giving an offering of funds instead of food. A five-dollar donation can purchase more than ten dollars worth of food by the food shelves through the Emergency Food Shelf Network.

Please Note
The church offices will be closed on Friday, November 25.

Advent Luncheon for Seniors
Wednesday, December 7, 11:30 a.m.

Have you received your invitation in the mail? If so, be sure to RSVP to the church office as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so.

Are you age 65 or older and did not receive an invitation in the mail? This only means that the church office does not have your correct date of birth – you are invited, too! Simply call the church office to RSVP (and be sure to take that opportunity to give us your date of birth!).

2012 Conference on Liturgy: Liturgy Shapes

This year’s Conference on Liturgy, “Liturgy Shapes,” will be held here at Mount Olive on January 13-14, 2012 (one week later than usual). This conference will address the ways in which our liturgical practices shape our ideas about God, our ways of reading the Bible, our experiences of community, our understanding of the world, and our response to our neighbor’s needs. We are delighted to welcome The Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop back as our keynote speaker for this conference. Workshop sessions will be led by Senator John Marty, Pastor Joseph Crippen, and Susan Cherwien. The conference brochure is attached to this week’s Olive Branch email, and additional copies of the brochure and registration are available at church or by following the link on the homepage of Mount Olive’s website:

Cost for Mount Olive members is $35 per person.

Vestry Update, 11-14-11

The November 14 Vestry meeting opened with a meditation and prayer lead by President Adam Krueger.

On-going business included discussion about the congregation’s portion of the Juhl estate bequest and the monies that will be distributed to both the matching fund for the Capital Campaign and the general operating fund. Mount Olive is privileged to be receiving such a generous gift. Other items, including the visioning process and the PR Committee were tabled until the December meeting.

Mount Olive has received a note from Rev. Daniel Rift, the director of the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal thanking us for the $615 donation to ELCA Disaster Response. President Krueger also shared excerpts from an email received from a member regarding the proposed state marriage amendment which led to a discussion about the congregation’s role in such matters. The Vestry voted to support the education Vestry Update, continued process on the marriage amendment within the congregation and that we, as a Vestry, support voting no on the amendment.

While reviewing the semi-annual congregational meeting, a suggestion was made to have a pre-meeting during the Adult Forum or another convenient time the week before the meeting. For all future congregational meetings, the Vestry will host this pre-meeting to encourage discussion and questions about any items on the agenda.

Pastor Crippen continues to work on a variety of projects including a new Bible study. He will be leading a 6-8 week long study on Thursdays starting in January. Additionally, he has redesigned and expanded the confirmation class. Confirmands will meet 24 times over the next three years to cover Old Testament curriculum , the teachings of Jesus and Lutheran theology. Pastor Crippen is also planning for a Liturgical Conference workshop and seminars that he will lead on the cruise that is planned for January.

Cantor Cherwien’s activities in the past month have included celebrating a wedding, hosting Manz Tage, preparing for Reformation Sunday, All Saints Sunday and the NLC All Saints series as well as a workshop presentation. With such an influx of singers in the Cantorei he is looking forward to being able to supply copies of music to all of the members. After the first of the year look for the launch of music learning for the children as a way to engage the youth of Mount Olive in our worship.

An Advent luncheon will be hosted by Congregational Life on Wednesday December 7 at noon. All seniors in the congregation are invited to the event and will be offered rides to and from Mount Olive.

Diana Hellerman was happy to report that there are 10-11 children regularly participating in Godly Play. This is a nice increase from the past few years where there weren’t as many young children attending.

Andrew Andersen reported that the software used to edit the website is now located in-house. This will result in more timely updates to information that is posted on the site.

The Missions Committee will be hosting the fair trade craft sale the first three weekends in December. Paul Schadewald also reported that the “Taste Of” event is being tentatively scheduled for March 4th. The theme of the occasion is still being determined.

The Neighborhood Ministries committee felt the grand opening of The Art Shoppe was a great success. Eunice Hafemeister and Carol Austermann reported that initial sales have topped $800. Bread for the World was also a winner, with 38 people helping out to write letters. The board of TRUST, Inc. has given Mount Olive two seats and a few names were thrown out as possible nominees.

David Molvik reported the winter preparations to the property are completed ahead of any potential bad weather. Progress on the new sound system is going well, but it may not be finished this month.

Dennis Bidwell reported from the Stewardship Committee that $368,000 in pledges for the upcoming year have been received as of Monday, Nov. 14. Many new members have also indicated on the “Opportunities for Service” forms that they are eager to get involved at Mount Olive. All names from those forms will be passed along to Committee Directors so that volunteers can be contacted in a timely manner. Another opportunity to get involved and learn more about volunteering at Mount Olive will take place on Sunday after late services. Vestry members will be available to answer questions in regards to specific committees and all of the ways to get involved in the Mount Olive community.

Irene Campbell reports that the Youth flower sale is currently going on and that there has been a good response to that. She also reports that this year’s confirmands will each receive a Mount Olive t-shirt that the students can wear to any volunteer events that they work at Mount Olive.
The next Vestry meeting will be on December 12 at 7:00pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Lisa Nordeen
Vice President

Gloria: And on Earth, Peace
National Lutheran Choir Christmas Festival

In a world troubled with strife, the angels sing the song "Gloria" announcing the birth of the one who brings what we still need today: peace. In the beautiful ambience of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, the Christmas Festival creates a journey - musically and for the listener and literally for the choir itself as it moves all around these spaces. Works by Clausen, Carey, Grundal, Gjeilo, Georg Schuman, carols and music from Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine as well as African American Spirituals - an eclectic offering to touch the heart with peace.

All three local performances held at the Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 N 17th Street, Minneapolis, MN.

4:30 pm Friday, December 9
8:00 pm Friday, December 9
8:00 pm Saturday, December 10

For tickets, please call the National Lutheran Choir office at 612.722.2301, or visit them on the web at Tickets will also be available at the door.

Semi-Annual Meeting Highlights

The Semi-Annual Congregation Meeting of Mount Olive Lutheran Church was held on Sunday, October 23, 2011. There were three main topics covered at the meeting. They included proposed amendments to the Mount Olive Constitution and Bylaws, the capital campaign, and the 2012 budget.

Three amendments were proposed and included two to formalize the responsibilities of an Internship Committee to support the Vicar position in years when Mount Olive has an intern, similar to wording used for other committees of the congregation. The first amendment was to the constitution, and this was the second vote held on it, thereby amending the constitution. The second was a new bylaw. The third amendment removed the designation “MONAC” from the Neighborhood Ministries Committee bylaw to eliminate confusion that has existed about the difference between MONAC and the Neighborhood Ministries Committee. All three of these amendments carried.

Art Halbardier announced that as of September, Mount Olive Lutheran Church has paid off its mortgage on the recent renovations with a considerable savings on interest. A mortgage burning will be scheduled at some time after all funds have been collected and distributed. He also mentioned that, as of end of September, there is still a $23,000 balance remaining on the capital appeal, and the remaining portion of the congregation’s tithe needs to be designated and given. The hope is that the faithful people of Mount Olive will fulfill their pledges so that the campaign will be completed.

The final business of the day was the review of the 2011 budget and the presentation of the 2012 budget. Highlights included a year to date income of $382,821, which is behind the budgeted amount of $426,450. (Note: YTD income is $48,969 ahead of 2010 numbers for the same period). Following the presentation of the 2012 budget, the move to approve carried. The meeting closed with an update from the Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation and then a prayer from Pastor Crippen.

Respectfully Submitted,
Lisa Nordeen, Vice President

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