Accent on Worship
I am not one to interpret end-times prophecies whether they come out of the Book of Revelations, Daniel, or from the mouth of Jesus in the Gospel for the First Sunday in Advent. After the tsunamis of Malaysia and Haiti, and the super-storms and droughts that have plagued this planet over the past number of years, if we are to interpret these as end-times occurrences we should be looking for Jesus any day now. The unrest in so many parts of the world and the recent super-storm that hit New Jersey could have been prophesied by Jesus, “on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” But truth be told, we do not know when Jesus will return and though we were told by Jesus in the Gospel that the kingdom is near when we see these signs, we have also been told by our Lord that no one knows when he is to return, and not to waste too much of our energy speculating about that. If I have learned anything from the Bible, it is that God’s time-table is not ours.
The passage from this Sunday’s Gospel reading that I believe we should take to heart is this: “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down by dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.” The Gospel is the story of God’s love for us, and the followers of God’s Son, Jesus, are called to love. Love is more than just tolerating that annoying relative. It is engaging the powers to do the right thing, to rule with justice and challenge each other to bring peace to our world. It is looking to ourselves and seeking just and loving ways to live, so that all of God’s creation is welcome to the banquet. When Christians are faithful to that call they love and serve God, they love and serve their neighbor, and they respect God’s creation. Loving is hard work and it may even be dangerous. Those who give up their lives for love will be the martyrs who will wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb at the end of time. When we become followers of Jesus by seeking this way of life, trusting in God for all that we need, we may not change a thing, but our hearts will be ready for the Second Coming of our Lord.
- Donna Pususta Neste
Sunday’s Adult Education: December 2, 9:30 a.m.
The Rev. Don Luther will share a presentation on iconography.
Sunday, December 2, 4:30 p.m.
Join us for this annual contemplative service of lessons and carols for Advent. Take time to set apart this season as one of preparation. Experience prayer, Word, incense, choral music, candles, and hymnody. Join the procession of those who wait in darkness.
Advent Luncheon for Seniors
Wednesday, December 5
It’s not too late to RSVP for the Advent Luncheon! If you are age 65 or over, you are invited! Simply call the church office as soon as possible to RSVP. Rides will be provided for those who need one. If you need a ride, be sure to mention that when you call.
Special Congregation Meeting to be Held December 16, Noon
A milestone meeting of the congregation will be held in the Undercroft following the second liturgy on December 16 to receive and approve the work of the Capital Campaign Tithe Task Force. A total of 30 invitations were sent to not-for-profit organizations based on the recommendations of members/friends of the congregation, Neighborhood Ministries, and Missions committees. Twenty of these invitations resulted in requests for funding (26 projects totaling $217,560) from the remaining $91,000 of the tithe ($20,000 was already awarded to Lutheran Social Services for their Center for Changing Lives). After a thorough review of the requests received using the process and criteria endorsed by the congregation, the Task Force recommended the distribution of remaining funds to the vestry who in turns recommends approval by the congregation. Copies of these recommendations are available at church. If you would like to have a copy of the recommendations sent to you, please contact the church office.
This congregational meeting is the culmination of a tremendous demonstration of generosity and faith and all voters are invited to attend this very important meeting.
Fair Trade Craft Sale
The Missions committee will be hosting a Fair Trade Craft Sale this Advent. Purchase beautiful and unique Fair Trade items handmade by disadvantaged artisans in developing regions around the world. With each purchase, you help artisans maintain steady work and a sustainable income so they can provide for their families. Lutheran World Relief partners with SERRV, a nonprofit Fair Trade organization, to bring you the LWR Handcraft Project.
The crafts will be available for purchase after both services on December 2, 9, and 16 (cash and check only). See the separate attachment/insert to view some of the items that will be for sale. Fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate from Equal Exchange will also be available. This is not a fund-raiser, just an opportunity to buy good products for a good cause.
New this year, we will also have items available for sale from The Art Shoppe. The Art Shoppe, located in Midtown Global Market, is a local artist collective and micro business venture that Mount Olive helps to support.
Book Discussion Group
Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. For the December 8 meeting they will read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, and for the January session Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks.
Our Sexton, William Pratley, is out for the next couple of weeks recovering from surgery. During his absence, snow removal help may be needed!
If you are willing to help clear sidewalks and steps at church when needed, please call the church office and let us know. We own a snow blower and several shovels, so we have the tools needed – all we need is a few folks who are willing to use them.
Dusting and Polishing Day: December 1
The Altar Guild will host a chancel-cleaning event tomorrow, Saturday, December 1, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Bring your favorite duster and polishing rags, and help spiff-up our worship space for the Advent season. Questions? Contact Tim Lindholm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternative Gift Giving
Are you looking for something different to do this year for Christmas gifts? Take part in a growing tradition by giving gifts that help those in need. The Missions Committee is promoting the idea of alternative gift giving this Christmas. For example, in honor of a loved one, for $120 you can “buy” a stove for a family in Guatemala that provides a safer and more efficient way of cooking. We have catalogues from different charitable organizations that you can use or you can order from the organizations’ websites. Some of these organizations are:
• Evangelical Lutheran Church in America www.elca.org/goodgifts
• Lutheran World Relief
• Heifer Project International http://www.heifer.org
• Common Hope http://commonhopecatalog.myshopify.com/
• Bethania Kids http://bethaniakids.org/gift-catalog/
2013 Estimates of Giving
If you haven’t yet returned your Estimate of Giving card for 2013, please do so at your earliest convenience. The box will be near the coatroom for one more week – you can also mail it to the church. Thanks for your help with this!
Church Library News
This reminder paragraph is more difficult to write because it will seem rather contradictory to you. Obviously, we have heartily invited our congregation and staff to come in often and use our library resources, however, we have recently noticed a few of our reference books and several of the CD's missing without cards showing they were checked out properly. The efficiency of our library ministry depends on each person using and then returning our materials doing so in a reliable and responsible manner. We ask you to check your homes, cars, tote bags and briefcases for items with a Mount Olive Library (or Crossroads Library) stamp on it and return to us as promptly as possible. Thanks for your help!
Welcome to Mary Rose Watson who is our newest volunteer helper, and thanks to Donna Wolsted, who is leaving after serving on our rotating library volunteer staff for two years. Others who currently help us in this way (you might want to thank them yourselves sometime) are: Brooke Roegge, Mabel Jackson, Melissa Stone, and Dan Olson.
I close this time with an interesting quotation from none other than Walter Cronkite: "Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation."
- Leanna Kloempken
You Can Help!
Our Saviour’s Residents
Sixty five people now have their own apartments after years of homelessness and health problems. Their limited budgets make it tough for them to afford the necessities to care for their homes. Brighten their holidays by providing some holiday Cheer (pun intended).
• Dish soap
• Laundry soap
• Trash bags
• All-purpose cleaner
• Sponges or towels
• Glass cleaner
• Toilet paper
• Paper towels
Feel free to add additional cleaning supplies or other items:
• Personal hygiene items
• Candy, cookies, snack mixes, cocoa,
or other treats
• Socks, gloves, hats, scarves or slippers
Gifts can be packaged in any way: a laundry basket, reusable shopping bag, plastic tub, etc. Feel free to decorate the gift or include a card. Dollar Stores are great shopping sources.
Please bring your gifts to Mt. Olive’s coat room no later than December 16. Your usual generous response is anticipated and will be much appreciated.