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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Olive Branch, 12/19/11

Accent on Worship

What annoys me the most about the Christmas season is the way some Christians tend to romanticize the birth of Jesus. They want to make it as soft and twinkly as a department store window. In reality, it was as dirty and gritty as any birth would be in a stable full of farm animals. The night was probably cold and the barn was most likely drafty. We would like to make it magical, but there was nothing magical about it. The angels came to the shepherds, not to the birth, and there is nothing in the Bible about angels singing and playing harps. They were probably quite scary, which is why an angel’s greeting before making an announcement is almost always, “Fear not.”

With that said, I love John’s Christmas Gospel. The deep mystery is in the Cosmic Christ, the Word of God made flesh. “All things came into being through him, and without him, not one thing came into being…He was in the world, and the world came into being through him.” Within these passages we read that Christ’s hand was in the creation of a universe so full of deep mysteries that man will never be able to solve them all, because they cannot even be measured. Quantum Physicists are today’s mystics for good reasons.

“Yet the world did not know him,” states John. This is just another mystery of the Cosmic Christ. The coming of the One who created all that is was not as profound as his being. His coming was a birth to a poor and temporarily homeless couple in a desperate situation. It is no wonder that the world did not know him. His birth was both a common everyday occurrence and the deeply profound mystery of which John writes.

This is not the whole story, though. Through this incredible vision given to John the reason for Christ’s coming was made clear. For those who believe are also born into the mystery of God, to become God’s children. John called Jesus “The true light that enlightens everyone.” He wrote, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the mystery of the Incarnation, but we must also celebrate our own births into the mystery of God. For, because of the coming of Christ, we too, are made to be lights into the darkness.

- Donna Pususta Neste

Wednesdays During Advent
Evening Prayer - 7:00 pm
(One more week, December 21)

Our Saviour’s Needs

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church on Chicago Avenue (up the street toward downtown from Mount Olive) serves the homeless by providing emergency shelter, transitional housing, and a permanent supportive housing program, serving over 650 people annually. They are asking us to partner with them in this ministry.

Although the pre-holiday time is short, we are confident that Mount Olive members will, with their usual generosity, provide some of the needs of the people Our Saviour's serves. Some of these needs are:

 General needs: laundry and dish soap, underwear, linens and pillows, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, microwaves, vacuums, fans, and kitchen items. Some gently used items are also welcome, contact Our Saviour's for details.

 Financial donations are needed to help provide staffing, warm and comfortable facilities, and year-round service to those experiencing homelessness.

 Gift cards: These give residents the dignity of choosing their own purchases. Most needed are Target, grocery stores and Metro Transit.

 Day Planners are crucial to the residents' ability to keep their commitments and gain independence.

For details, contact Colleen O'Connor Toberman at 612-872-4193 X25 or

Please bring your donations to Mount Olive and place them in the designated receptacle. Gift cards should be taken to the office for security. Your participation in and support for this ministry is sure to be greatly appreciated.

Vestry Update, Dec. 12, 2011

The December 12 Vestry meeting opened with a meditation and prayer lead by President Adam Krueger. After the prayer the group started with on-going business. It is with great thankfulness that Mount Olive expects to receive a check from the Juhl estate in the upcoming week.

Adam Krueger brought up that there has been interest in having an Aesthetics (and Building Use) Committee. This will be explored as a sub-committee under Properties.

Pastor Crippen announced that updated and edited copies of the recently amended constitution and by-laws will be available in printed and electronic formats, hopefully by the end of the year.Jan. 29, 2012 is Reconciling in Christ Sunday. Mount Olive does not devote Sunday worship to special initiatives, but in an Olive Branch around that Sunday special recognition will be made of this emphasis.

A concern was raised that the two back parking spaces on the east side have often been full with neighborhood vehicles when there have been Mount Olive events. We are hoping to find a way to be good neighbors but also to convey our needs for those spaces, especially on days when food preparation is happening and supplies need to be carried in from vehicles. Our sexton, William Pratley, has already been in contact with the neighbors about these spaces, and we hope he can help in furthering this conversation.

Neighborhood Ministries has had a busy month with Donna attending several activities with Bread for the World and Way to Goals. Jobs After School and Diaper Depot are both doing well.

Vicar Doughty has also had a busy November with preaching twice and leading Vespers. He is happy to report that after this week he will be able to return to driving which will help with his flexibility of home visits, not to mention shortening his daily commute.

Pastor Crippen reported that the past month was filled with the usual November festivals and events, but that going through that stretch for the second time was far smoother. He was also able to take a week’s vacation in early December.

Cantor Cherwien reports that the choir is going extremely well and is holding at around 40 members. The Advent Procession and the NLC were both successes as well, and attended by many. Currently he plans to take his sabbatical in the Fall of 2013.

For Congregational Life, Carla Manuel reported that the Advent Lunch for our seniors went very well. There were 70+ guests in attendance and the committee will plan for a similar event next year.

There has been much updating of the website going on as reported by Andrew Anderson of the Evangelism Committee. Look for this to continue throughout the upcoming weeks.

Paul Schadewald of the Missions Committee reported that the fair trade sale is going well and things are cooking up for the ‘Taste Of Chile’ event which is scheduled for March 4, 2012.

Neighborhood Ministries is collecting donations for Our Saviour’s Shelter. Please contribute. The Art Shoppe at Midtown is planning to become a LLC. In the near future, a series of bylaws will be presented to the Vestry for our approval. This is a joint partnership between Mount Olive, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and A Minnesota Without Poverty.

David Molvik has reported that Room 12 is almost ready for the Diaper Depot. He also has been working with the elevator company to bring ours up to code with new door sensors and emergency telephone.

Dennis Bidwell shared the list of individuals interested in volunteering for different responsibilities at Mount Olive. He encouraged the Committee Directors to peruse the list and contact the people that are on the list this week. He also announced that as of Dec. 2, 2011, 114 members have pledged $411,803.00 for the upcoming year.

Al Bipes reports that the hanging of the greens will take place on Dec. 18 and the trees will in place on the 19th. We also rejoice to host the ordination of Matthew Tingler to the ministry of Word and Sacrament on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 4:00 p.m. The next Vestry meeting will take place on Jan. 9, 2012, at 7:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,Lisa Nordeen

Knitters and Crocheters Wanted!

Do you love to knit or crochet? Then your talents are needed!

The Minnesota Council of Churches has a program that provides hats, mittens, scarves, socks and other winter wear to new immigrants who come to be resettled in Minnesota. Many immigrants arrive with nothing but the clothes they were wearing when they left the refugee camps, and those are often in warmer climates. Case workers often meet them at the airport with coats, hats, mittens and other warm gear!

We are collecting donations of hand-knit or crocheted hats, scarves, mittens, and socks for this effort - all sizes are needed! If you like to do yarn work and are able to make a winter thing or two to donate to this effort, simply bring your items to the church office before the end of the year. We have already filled two boxes and have a third box started!

If your December is too busy to give extra time to this particular effort, we will start another push for knits after the first of the year.

If you have any questions about this project or if you are in need of supplies or patterns, please contact either Kate Sterner ( or Cha Posz (, or at the church office, M-F, 612-827-5919).

Book Discussion Group

For it's meeting on January 21 (postponed one week this month due to the annual Conference on Liturgy), the Book Discussion Group we will read William Faulkner's A Light in August. And for the February 11 meeting the selection will be Native Son, by Richard Wright.

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