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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Olive Branch, 9/18/13

Accent on Worship

     Individuals have distinctive character; so do communities. What is that distinguishes Mount Olive? What is the core of that distinctiveness?

     Consider recently joined members. The attraction of Mount Olive appeals not to just the young, the elderly, or other group.

      My admittedly unscientific surveying has received responses such as:

“I felt welcome here from the beginning.”  That was our experience, as visitors seven years ago. Many folks approached Elaine and me, introducing themselves and inquiring about us. Very soon, we felt very welcome.
“The liturgy is reverent, and beautiful. Nothing distracts from God during worship.”
“The singing. It’s amazing!”  Not everyone here is a graduate of a college choir. But when the song of the people begins, even the least talented voices can become caught up in it and find their part.
     The responses echo our familiar three-word motto:  “Musical. Liturgical. Welcoming.” It sums up what is distinctive about Mount Olive. But which is the core of that distinctiveness?
The Welcome? Do we sing as we do because we all feel so close to one another, like harmonizing ”Kum ba yah” with friends around the campfire?
The Liturgy? Do we warmly welcome and sing so heartily together because we all were bred high-church, the smell of incense in our nose calming infant colic or the discomfort of a damp diaper?  Not likely.
Or, is it the singing? I wonder…

   This past summer, National Public Radio broadcast a piece titled “When Choirs Sing, Many Hearts Beat as One.”  Researchers in Sweden attached pulse monitors to individual singers, to measure choir members’ heart rates as they sang together. What struck Bjorn Vickhoff, who led the project, was that it took almost no time at all for the singers’ heart rates to become synchronized. The readout from the pulse monitors starts as a jumble of jagged lines, but quickly becomes a series of uniform peaks. The heart rates fall into a shared rhythm guided by the song’s tempo.

      Quoting now from the broadcast:
  "The members of the choir are synchronizing externally with the melody and the rhythm, and now we see it has an internal counterpart," Vickhoff says.

     This is just one little study, and these findings might not apply to other singers. But all religions and cultures have some ritual of song, and it's tempting to ask what this could mean about shared musical experience and communal spirituality.

     Is this a clue to the core of Mount Olive? Is it something beyond ourselves that inspires us to welcome, to worship with a liturgy of communal responses and movements and rhythms? Is it the singing, the gift of a unique and spirit-filled individual named Paul Manz, who inspired this congregation and so many others of us to the pure joy of singing? Which the Holy Spirit continues to use?

      Once again, from the broadcast:
"When I was young, every day started with a teacher sitting down at an old organ to sing a hymn," Vickhoff says. "Wasn't that a good idea — to get the class to think, 'We are one, and we are going to work together today.' "

      Hmm…In the bad old days of the 1970’s, congregations across the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod were fracturing over supposed “doctrinal differences”, At Grace, River Forest, IL, partisans on each side had worked with vigor to rally members to their position, and to attend the meeting for the vote, Before the ballot, someone called for a prayer. But, who would be an acceptable voice in this divided assembly to lead the prayer?

      While leaders and pastors conferred, Paul Bouman, their beloved musician, went to the organ and introduced, “The Church’s One Foundation.” And, the people began singing. And as the singing continued, and grew, many voices choked with emotions, tears flowed from many eyes.

      I suspect many were thinking, “What are we about to lose in this vote? Is this worth the cost?” The congregation survived that night. Was it the singing?

      The song goes on at Mount Olive, now with our third cantor and fifth pastor since the days of Dr. Manz.  As our future unfolds, above all, let’s keep on singing.

- Art Halbardier

Sunday Readings

Sept. 15, 2013 – Time after Pentecost: Sunday 24
Exodus 32:7-14+ Psalm 51:1-10
I Timothy 1:12-17 + Luke 15:1-10

Sept 22, 2013 – Time after Pentecost: Sunday 25 
Amos 8:4-7 + Psalm 113
I Timothy 2:1-7 + Luke 16:1-13

Freedom of the Christian: Bible Study on Thursday Evenings Begins Tomorrow!

     The first Thursday Bible study series of this year begins tomorrow evening, Thursday, Sept. 19, and runs for six weeks.  Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Pr. Crippen will lead a study of the book of Galatians, one of Paul’s most vital and important letters.  As usual, there will be a light supper when we begin.  All are welcome to this study opportunity!

Adult Forum Offerings for September

September 22: "Celtic Vision: The Trinity in Daily Life," presented by Brad Holt

September 29: "Julian of Norwich’s Vision: Transforming Love," presented by Brad Holt

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 October 12 meeting they will discuss The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, and for November 9, Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford.

New Members To Be Received October 6

     At Mount Olive we welcome people who are at many different points in their Christian faith journey.  That welcome is expressed in any number of ways.  Some folks need a place to worship coming and going quietly. We provide that.  Some seek friendship within a community of Christian believers with whom they share common faith convictions. We work at doing that. Some need to observe for a while to see if what is said about and within this community of faith is reality. That is just fine with us. Some desire a place where they can more fully share their faith and live lives of service.  That is Mount Olive, too.  To have a place to officially call my church" is important for many people of faith. Mount Olive is that.  What works for you is fine with us.

      If you are seeking a place to call your church home, we welcome you at Mount Olive.  New members will be received on October 6, 2013, during the second liturgy.  A welcome brunch will follow the liturgy for new members, their guests, and Mount Olive members.
     If you are interested in becoming a member at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, please contact the church office at or 612.827.5919. You may also speak with Andrew Andersen, Director of Evangelism, or contact him  at or 763-607-1689.   Pastor Crippen is also available to discuss membership. He can be reached at 612.827.5919 or via e-mail at

Mount Olive Greeting Cards

     A set of three greeting cards with photographs taken around Mount Olive Lutheran Church have been designed by Paul Nixdorf. Cards will be available for purchase beginning this Sunday, September 22.

     Single cards are priced at $2.50 each.  For quantity of 5 or more the purchase price is $1.75 each.  Pricing covers production costs. The cards are being made available through sponsorship by the Evangelism Committee.

Way to Goals Tutoring to Begin Soon

     Tuesday, October 1st is the first day of our school year program, Way to Goals Tutoring, and we will be meeting most Tuesday evenings after that until the last Tuesday in May.  We begin at 7:00 p.m. with an hour of tutoring followed by a half hour activity and snack time, and ending at 8:30 p.m.

     If you would like to help as a volunteer tutor of one or two elementary school students call Donna Neste at Mount Olive for all the details.

God’s Work. Our Hands.

     On September 8, Mount Olive families worked at Community Emergency Services in Minneapolis.  The children and adults cleaned, shelved and organized food, worked in the garden, and helped make a mosaic from tile.  We did this in celebration of God's Work Or Hands Sunday, and also to establish a working relationship with Community Emergency Services.  We hope to continue work with this organization by making Thanksgiving cards for Meals on Wheels recipients and holding a hygiene item drive this fall.

     Families, please mark your calendars for our next event on October 13.  We will prepare food for the evening meal at Our Savior's shelter after the late service.  Plan to stay for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  The meal will be served by Mount Olive members later that evening.

     Community Emergency Services would also like to invite Mount Olive members to a fundraising concert on Sunday afternoon September 22 at 3pm.  There will be a brief reception prior to the concert at 2:30.  The concert will feature the Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church choral and bell choir.  It will be held at CES, 1900 11th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404.

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
Blessing of Animals
Friday, October 4 + 7:00 pm
Bring your pets and your friends (and your friends’ pets!) to this annual service of blessing!

Prayer Chain Ministry

     Mount Olive Prayer Chain members pray for confidential prayer requests made by congregation members. This ministry is separate from the prayer requests listed in the Sunday worship folder and The Olive Branch. There are currently twelve   members - and no formal meetings. Members simply make a commitment to pray for the received requests and to keep all requests confidential.  If you would like to become a member of the prayer chain, or if you have a prayer request call Naomi Peterson at 612-824-2228.

Te Deum laudamus: Let us praise God:
A Hymn Festival Celebration in Honor of Paul Westermeyer

     Join Master of Sacred Music graduates as they come together to thank Paul, wish him well in his retirement, and celebrate the gift of music. This hymn festival will be held Saturday, September 28, at 4:00 p.m. at the Chapel of the Incarnation in the Olson Campus Center at Luther Seminary, St. Paul.
Featured participants will be musicians James Bobb, Catherine Rodland, John Ferguson, and Mark Sedio, with reflections by Susan Palo Cherwien. Plan to come and sing, and bring your friends!

A Note of Thanks

     Thanks to Steve and Sandra Pranschke, Cynthia Prosek, Bonnie McLellen, Tom Olsen, and Peggy Hoeft for spending their Saturday afternoon this past weekend cleaning and polishing to make the altar and chancel furnishings shine.

 Meals on Wheels Keeps on Rolling

     Many thanks to those from Mount Olive who are delivering Meals on Wheels for TRUST during the third quarter of 2013: Gary Flatgard, Art & Elaine Halbardier, Bob & Mary Lee, and Connie & Rod Olson.

An Afternoon of Music

     Recently, our Flentrop chamber organ has been installed in its new home, The Baroque Room in Lowertown, St. Paul. The organ has recently been voiced to baroque chamber pitch by The Dobson Organ Company.

     All are invited to a gala opening afternoon of music on Sunday, October 6, beginning at 3:00 pm. Featured artists include Jacque Ogg, Henry Lebedinsky, Asako Hirabayashi, Paul Boehnke, Bruce Jacobs, Don Livingston, and Tami Morse. A reception will follow the music.

     The Baroque Room is located on the second floor of the Northwestern Building in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood at 275 E. 4th St., Suite 280, St. Paul, MN  55101.

- Elaine and Art Halbardier

Church Library News

     After a more relaxing summer, we are glad to  bring you some welcome news in that a new display of children's DVDs is now available for your check-out.  They will be in one of our usual display spots first, and then they will gradually be moved to the revolving DVD rack, so look for them in either of these two locations.  Included are the following DVDs:

Veggie Tales -- The Little House that Stood (The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders) -- a Lesson in Making Good Choices
Veggie Tales -- Gideon -- Tuba Warrior --a Lesson in Trusting God
Veggie Tales -- Where's God When I'm S-Scared? --- a Lesson in Handling Fear
Veggie Tales -- Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella --  a Lesson in Confidence
Veggie Tales -- Princess and the Pop Star -- a Story of Trading Places -- a Lesson in Being Yourself
Veggie Tales -- Abe and the Amazing Promise --- a Lesson in Patience
Veggie Tales -- Robin Good and His Not So Merry Men -- a Lesson in Handling Hurt
Veggie Tales -- Moe and the Big Exit  -- a Lesson in Following Directions
Veggie Tales -- Bob Lends a Helping Hand -- the Importance of Helping!
Veggie Tales -- Lyle, the Kindly Viking -- a Lesson in Sharing
Sheila Walsh's Gigi -- God's Little Princess Series (God Made Princesses in All Shapes and Sizes)
Sheila  Walsh's Gigi -- God's Princesses Can Always Trust the King
Hachi -- a Dog's Tale (based on a true story)
Mandie and the Secret Tunnel

     This summer I stopped at two of the Little Free Library boxes stationed in neighborhoods all across our city. I left a few books that I thought might be useful in those locations.  You may remember that I wrote about this project in a prior column. There are perhaps 10,000 Little Free Libraries scattered across the nation, even though the effort was only started some 3-4 years ago.  Look for one of these special places in or near your own neighborhood and stop by to visit before the "snow flies."

     Plan to visit your church library soon, especially to view the new children's DVD section.  Start off the Fall right -- make a splash -- read!

-  Leanna Kloempken

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