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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Friday, February 1, 2013

Accent on Worship

     The word of God is always pleasing in the abstract.  “God is love,” God loves the whole world,” or even the words that Jesus read in his hometown synagogue from the book of Isaiah about all that God is going to do for them; make the blind to see, heal the lame, free the oppressed and all those other good things. When Jesus put down the scroll and challenged them to go beyond the edifying words of God, to truly love and be a comfort themselves to all who suffer, they were enraged.  They did not accept that the words read were fulfilled in him, a human being.  

     To pray to God for all that is good and believe that God will do this without us is not biblical. To pray to God and to believe that all our efforts to comfort, heal, do justice and bring peace to this world are driven by God, is truth. God will not do it without us.  The first reading for Epiphany 4 is a good example of this and a familiar story.  God is calling the prophet Jeremiah and Jeremiah is resisting.  Like many prophets before him, he listed his faults and weaknesses and I’m sure that he was questioning whether God had made some kind of mistake.  God did not leave Jeremiah on his own, though.  He put his very words in the mouth of the prophet.

     God sent out a formal invitation to Jeremiah to do a hard and special thing, and God calls us too. “Who me?” we may ask.  “I don’t know how to write a letter to my representatives in Washington about changing policy to help those who are poor and hungry in this nation and the world,” we may say to a God of justice who is calling us.  However, like Jeremiah and all the prophets before him, God will not leave us on our own.  God has called others to help you do just that through Bread for the World, a faith based national organization. A representative from Bread for the World will be at Mount Olive this Sunday during the Adult Education hour with everything you need to be a voice for justice.

     When Paul wrote to the Corinthians (in Sunday’s second reading) that if we believers do not have love, we have nothing.  Love is not an abstract concept.  It is divinely driven action that brings all that is good, and all that promotes peace and well-being to all of God’s creation.  We are called to love.

- Donna Pususta Neste

Sunday Readings

February 3, 2013 – 4th Sunday after Epiphany
Jeremiah 1:4-10 + Psalm 71:1-6
I Corinthians 13:1-13 + Luke 4:21-30

February 10, 2013 – Transfiguration of Our Lord
Exodus 34:29-35 + Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12—4:2 + Luke 9:28-36[37-43]

The Presentation of Our Lord
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 pm

Upcoming Adult Forums

     Sunday, February 3 – Bread for the World Offering of Letters, facilitated by Donna Neste.

     Sunday, February 10 – As part of our Taste of Ethiopia observance, The Reverend Dinku Bato, a Ph.D. student at Luther Seminary in Congregational Mission and Leadership, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will talk about the history and current context of Christianity in Ethiopia and Lutherans in particular.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
Tuesday, February 12, 6–7 p.m.

All are invited! Please take a moment to sign up on the chart in the west assembly area so that we can get an approximate count for food preparation– or call your RSVP in to the church office.

We are in need of two volunteers to help with games at this event. If you are willing to help, call Beth Sawyer at 651-434-0666, or drop her an email at

From the Mount Olive Foundation

The Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation is excited to be able to fund an annual gift to the Church from the earnings of its endowment in the amount of approximately $26,000.   The value of the endowment is now approximately $800,000, thanks to generous donors and those who have included the Foundation in their estate plans.   The use of the endowment gift is restricted to activities that directly benefit Mount Olive, therefore no outside programs are eligible for the annual gift.  The Foundation in the past has preferred gifts that are capital items or special programs not able to be funded out of the budget or through other Church funds.  Please submit any ideas that you have to a Vestry member under whom the program or gift would fall.  The Foundation has asked that the following questions be addressed:  1. Amount of funds requested. 2. How will the funds be used? 3. How will this request benefit the mission of Mount Olive? 4. If there is not enough money to fully finance this request, would less money be useful?

Please submit your ideas and answers to the four questions above to the appropriate Vestry member by February 8.  Vestry Members are: Adam Krueger (President); Lisa Nordeen (Vice President); Elizabeth Beissel (Secretary); Kat Campbell-Johnson (Treasurer); Carl Manuel (Congregational Life); Brooke Roegge (Education); Andrew Andersen (Evangelism); Eunice Hafemeister and Carol Austermann (Neighborhood Ministries); Paul Schadewald (Missions); Brenda Bartz(Property); Dennis Bidwell (Stewardship); Al Bipes (Worship); and Beth Sawyer (Youth).

Taste of Ethiopia February 10

     Mark your calendars for “Taste of Ethiopia,” on Sunday, February 10. The preacher and education hour leader will be The Reverend Dinku Bato, a Ph.D. student at Luther Seminary in Congregational Mission and Leadership, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  At the education hour, he will talk about the history and current context of Christianity in Ethiopia and Lutherans in particular.

After the second liturgy, please join us for a lunch of Ethiopian food, prepared by members of Mount Olive. The annual “Taste of” event, which highlights the culture, foods, and history of various areas of our global community, is a long tradition at Mount Olive.

     Proceeds from this year's "Taste of Ethiopia" will benefit two initiatives of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus--the Lutheran church partner in Ethiopia.  (1) The Oromo Functional Literacy project teaches Oromo communities to read and write with the goal of empowerment and development.  We were invited to support this program by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation.  (2) The other initiative is a program that supports communities to care for children who have been orphaned due to AIDS.  We have been invited to contribute to this program by the Bishop of the La Cross Synod of the ELCA, which supports this project through its sister synod relationship with Ethiopia.

Book Discussion Group

     The Book Discussion Group will NOT meet in February because several members will be traveling at the usual meeting time.  For the March 9 meeting we will discuss Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. For the April 13 meeting we will discuss In the Company of the Courtesan, by Sarah Dunant.  Looking ahead, in May we will discuss Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.  This is the sequel to her novel The Sparrow which we read earlier.

Mark Your Calendars!

     The next church clean-up day will be held on Saturday, February 23, from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. Plan to come and pitch in – many hands make light work!

A New Opportunity to Serve
     Noticing that many of the guests linger after the Community Meal, the Neighborhood Ministries Committee took a survey to determine whether there was interest in staying for a social hour after the meal.  There was enough favorable response so that we are considering providing a social time.

 However, the volunteers serving the Community Meal are obviously otherwise occupied. This is where you come in.  It is our hope that a Mount Olive group or individual would like to take on this service. There is interest among the guests particularly in playing board games, and doing craft activities. The social hour could be kicked off, for instance, with a game of Bingo. A social time such as this could help fill a need for people who are often isolated and seeking to form relationships.

     This service would require only a couple of hours on the Saturday that the community meal is served. If you or your committee or other group might be interested in carrying out this activity, please contact Carol Austermann (612-722-5123) or Eunice Hafemeister (612-721-6790) or speak to any member of the Neighborhood Ministries Committee.

Nave Seating

     You will notice some 'rearranged' seating in the nave this Sunday.  One of the pews near the front (pulpit side) has been exchanged for a shorter one from one of the upper galleries to provide additional wheelchair accessibility.  This mirrors the open space already available on the lectern side.  Please leave these spaces available for those who need them, including the section of pew directly next to them for companions.  Thanks to the Vestry, the Property Committee and the Thursday C.P.R. team (Art and George) for making this possible, that Mount Olive might continue to be a place of welcome for all.

Servant Schedule Deadline

     February 15, 2013 is the deadline for requests for the 2nd quarter Servant Schedule.  The schedule for April, May and June of 2013  will be posted at the beginning of March. Please email requests to Peggy Hoeft @   by 2/15/13.

Theology on Tap

     Have you ever wanted to get to know the people sitting next to you in the pews a little better?  Do you enjoy a good beer while sharing stories with friends?  Then come to Theology on Tap! Theology on Tap is a new group at Mount Olive that meets once a month at local bars/restaurants to enjoy a good beverage (beer/wine/soda? It’s up to you!), good food, and good conversation.  Each week we’ll also dive into a dialogue about faith and life (no preparation or book reading required, only your personal knowledge and insight) as we explore Christianity in the 21st century.  Contact Vicar Neal Cannon (, 612-827-5919 x12) if you would like to join us for our first Theology on Tap!

February Event Details

Who: Anyone 21+ is welcome to join
Where: Herkimer Pub and Brewery – 2922 Lyndale Ave S., Mpls.
When: Thursday February 7, 7:30-9:00pm
Discussion Topic:  Young Adults and the Church
Facebook Page: Mount Olive Theology on Tap
(“Like” the Page to get updates on Theology on Tap
Contact: Vicar Neal Cannon

A Note of Thanks

To all of our friends at Mount Olive:
     Where do I begin to express my gratitude for all of the extraordinary talent, love, compassion, and caring shared during one of the saddest times of my life with my Mama Z passing away?
     There are many angels on this earth and our church is filled with them.
     I will say to all of you what I said to so many at Westwood Health Care Center: if I thanked each one of you several times each day  until my last day on earth, it still wouldn’t be enough thanks for all of the magnificent things you have done for me and for us.
God bless you all,
Eric Zander & Dennis Bidwell

Lenten Bible Study: Practice Faith

     Christian faith practices are widely accepted, but not broadly understood outside of a moral/ethical understanding.  Of course we should be hospitable, of course we should give to the poor, and of course we should be in service to our neighbor.  Other faith practices take on the sense of duty and obligation.  We’re called to pray, observe Sabbath, share the gospel, etc.

     But what is the Biblical root of these practices?  Why are these things so important that they are mentioned over, and over, and over again in the Bible? What have Christians done in the past and what can we do now to keep these practices alive in our lives?
     Come to a six-week Lenten Bible study starting February 14, from 6-7:30 pm in the Chapel Lounge to explore these topics in scripture and community.

February 14 – Hospitality and Welcome
February 21 – Tithing and Generosity
February 28 – Prayer
March 7 – Celebration and Sabbath
March 14 – Sharing the Gospel
March 21 – Serving our Neighbor

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