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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Olive Branch, 4/17/13

Accent on Worship

Good Shepherd Sunday

     This coming Sunday (April 21) is the Fourth Sunday of Easter,  also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”  The imagery of a shepherd caring for the flock is a relatively easy one to grasp – even though most of us have no connection with a herd of sheep or the one who cares for them.  Most parish musicians, instead of hunting for a setting of Psalm 23 get to choose which setting to sing because there are so many options, whether for choir as an anthem or for congregation.

     Psalm 23 is probably the one of the few Psalms most people know from memory.  Indeed, it’s a good one to know – it includes words of comfort for times of trouble, it’s reassurance that we are indeed cared for and loved, and that God will provide and protect.  I’ve heard of many instances where it is recited at the hour of death.  

     Psalm 23 also gives me occasion to think of the power of memory.  Memory is a powerful force, not to be tinkered with willy-nilly.   We don’t know when our mental abilities might falter – but when something is internalized through our memory banks, it will still be there when we need it.  That’s one of the reasons, by the way,  that our practice most of the time is for the entire assembly to sing the verses of the Psalm in our liturgies – putting the words of these prayers on our lips, in our souls,  and not only singing at the refrain,  or antiphon,  which is a more common practice.  As one friend said about that:  “If the only thing the congregation sings is the antiphon, when they get to their death beds, that’s all they are going to know.”

     It’s also why we don’t mess around with a variety of translations.  There are many out there – especially for Psalm 23.   Some of them are even quite good, and some challenging in interesting ways.  But if we keep changing the translation we use, our getting it committed it to memory is hampered.  If a different translation is adopted,  we need to commit to it over time to allow memory to do its work – so we have to be careful about which one is adopted.  The switch from King James to the Book of Common Prayer we use today was a dramatic shift – but probably one that is here to stay.  For that reason it’s important to switch and stick with it.  (“Thou preparest a table…” versus “You prepare a table…”)

     Thinking about the importance of memory also points out the value of memorizing more than Psalm 23 – while we can.  Psalm 121, for example.  “I lift my eyes to the hills…” would be a good one.   The same goes for hymns.  The more we memorize,  the better.  Adding melody to the text puts it deeper into the memory with different levels of connections in the brain – and studies have actually proven that hymns connect with Alzheimer patients – where mere words would not.

     How well do you know Psalm 23?  Try it right now – how far can you get?

- Cantor David Cherwien

The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.

This Sunday’s Adult Forum

     April 21: “Trinitarian Spirituality: The Celtic Tradition,” presented by Brad Holt.

Sunday Readings

April 21, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:36-43 + Psalm 23
Revelation 7:9-17 + John 10:22-30

April 28, 2013 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 11:1-18 + Psalm 148
Revelation 21:1-6 + John 13:31-35

New Members to Be Received on Sunday, May 19, Day of Pentecost

If you are interested in becoming a member of Mount Olive this spring, please contact Pastor Crippen (, or Andrew Andersen, Director of Evangelism (

Hebrews Study on Thursday Evenings  

     The third Thursday Bible study series of this year will begin tomorrow evening, April 18, and will run for five more weeks on Thursday evenings.  Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Pr. Crippen will be leading a study of the book of Hebrews, an early Christian sermon preserved in the New Testament.  As usual, there will be a light supper when we begin.  If anyone wishes to provide the first meal, please let Pr. Crippen know.  All are welcome to this study opportunity!

Semi-annual Congregation Meeting to be Held Sunday, April 28

     The Vestry has announced the date of the April semi-annual congregation meeting to be Sunday, Apr. 28, after the second liturgy.  Among the items on the agenda will be election of officers and directors, whose terms will begin on July 1.  Any wishing to suggest names to the nominating committee for the positions of president, vice-president, secretary, and directors of congregational life, evangelism, or neighborhood ministries are encouraged to contact Adam Krueger, congregational president.

     Also on the agenda are several constitutional and bylaw amendments presented to the congregation by the Vestry, attached to this Olive Branch as a separate document.  The first page, the constitutional amendments, is a second hearing of amendments presented and approved at the October semi-annual meeting.  Should these be approved again, with at least a 2/3 majority of those present and voting, they will be formally ratified.  The second pages are bylaw amendments which only need the one hearing and vote at this meeting.  Included in these amendments are bylaws establishing a business and finance committee, directed by the treasurer, and some corrective edits to several directors’ bylaws.

Night on the Street

     This Friday night, April 19, Peter Crippen and Eric Manuel and their mothers, along with members of Trust Youth group and more than 400 other teens from thirty Twin Cities congregations, have committed to spend the night in a church parking lot near downtown Minneapolis to learn about youth homelessness. Together they will learn what life is like for teens on the street.

How do homeless teens make it from day to day?
What resources are available to them?
What can be done to help those who have no place to call home?

     For that evening, they will stand in a soup line for dinner and spend the night sleeping outside in cardboard boxes.

     They are doing this not only to increase awareness of youth homelessness, but also to raise money to help in efforts to end the problem. Participants have been asked to raise enough funds to provide one week’s worth of safe and supportive services for a homeless youth. That’s $140.00 for seven days!

     If you are able to help meet that goal, please see Peter or Eric on Sunday morning, or drop off a check in the church office, payable to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, with "Night on the Street" in the memo line. All donations to A Night on the Street will go to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, a faith-based nonprofit housing organization. The event has corporate sponsors, so every dollar raised will go directly to serving the youth!

Contribution Statements

     Contribution statements for the first quarter of 2013 (January-March) are printed and available for you to pick up at church. They are on a small table next to the coat room.

     Many have not picked up their 2012 year end statements. They are in the office and can be mailed to you upon request.

May Day, May Day!

     Far from being an emergency, this is a call for you to enjoy watching the May Day Parade.  We would like to have a large number of folks from Mount Olive to watch the parade as a group, making our presence in the community known in this way.  The plan is to leave from Mount Olive after the Congregation Visioning Meeting (lunch will be served there) on Sunday, May 5, either walking or by car, to view the parade together from between 31st and 33rd on Bloomington Ave. Rides may be arranged for those who need them. If you have a Mount Olive shirt, or other item with the Mount Olive logo, please be sure to wear it.  You may also want to bring a lawn chair. Let’s have a good turnout for a fun time, taking part in a neighborhood activity.

Uptown Brass and NLC Gala: Why Choose One When You Can Do Both?

     The Uptown Brass Quintet will appear in concert at Mount Olive this Sunday, April 21, 4:00 p.m. (not April 14, as originally planned!).  These brass virtuosos are all members of the Minnesota Orchestra and will present an exciting concert of gorgeous brass sonorities featuring great music ranging from Bach to Piazolla.

     Please also note that later that same afternoon the National Lutheran Choir is having their annual gala at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, just a little north of downtown Minneapolis.  The National Lutheran Choir is directed by Cantor David Cherwien, and Pr. Crippen sings with the group, while Brenda Bartz serves on the board of directors.  The NLC rehearses at Mount Olive each Tuesday, so they’re in a number of ways deeply rooted with Mount Olive.  The gala begins at 4:00 p.m. with a social time and silent auction, but the dinner doesn’t actually begin until 6:00 p.m., so it’s possible for people to come to the concert at Mount Olive and then get to the gala later, and some Mount Olive people are already planning on doing both.  Information on the event can be found at .

Vision for the Future/Understanding Our Past

     On April 7 we gathered for the first of three Congregational Visioning Events, this one focused on sharing and understanding Mount Olive’s history. The results suggest a few themes.  Paramount — we worship, sing, pray and study together. Throughout the decades represented we reported that worship has gotten more liturgical or formal, more God centered. It expanded to involve more people, from weekly communion to more lay participation in worship leading roles—sacristan, lectors, acolytes and assisting ministers.

     We are a congregation of action and involvement. We recognize a need, analyze the components, and seek solutions.  We supported community health clinics, resettled refugees, provided books and tutoring, supported young mothers and families, lobbied, wrote letters or protested if necessary.

     We are committed to seeking the truth, facing tough issues and talking together.  We faced issues in the larger church, within our own faith community, and political issues of justice and equality.  And we did that in respectful ways.

     We are a congregation of celebration and joy.  We love to eat and drink together.  We share that love of with our neighborhood. We looked for and embraced occasions to celebrate, adding Easter Vigil, a second community meal, notable receptions following musical events.

     That’s part of what our history tells us.  What will we become?  What more do we need to learn?  Last Sunday Community Observer and Community Interviewer volunteers gathered for training.  In the next month these folks—and others who many wish to join them—will set out to watch and listen.  What do we need to learn from neighborhood (our 2 mile radius) as we move forward? On May 5 we will gather for our second Visioning Event where we will examine our values as a congregation.  On June 2 our third Event will focus on strengths and action. Save the dates and be a part of the process.

Prayer Shawl Retreat to be Held April 27

     On Saturday, April 27, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Mount Olive’s Prayer Shawl group will join the group from Our Savior's Lutheran Church for a joint Prayer Shawl Retreat at Our Saviour’s (2315 Chicago Ave. S.).

        This retreat is for anyone interested in needle arts, prayer and the neighborhood.  It will be a day of prayerful work, fellowship, and reflecting on the neighborhood community of our churches.  There is no cost for this retreat and participants are welcome to join us for all or part of the day.

     The morning will include an Opening Prayer, sharing stories, and prayerful work. The afternoon will include a walking meditation and neighborhood experience, prayerful work, and Closing Prayer.
     For a full agenda and additional information, please contact Cynthia Prosek, 612-860-7228, or by email to

Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at church. For the May 11 meeting, they will discuss Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell, which is the sequel to her book The Sparrow.  And for the June 8 meeting, they will discuss The Calligrapher's Daughter, by Eugenia Kim.

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