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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Olive Branch, 9/25/13

Accent on Worship

     I often disagree with the way my fundamentalist Christian friends think, but there is one concept they embrace that I do also.  That concept is the idea of a spiritual war going on, unseen by the living.  The Readings for St. Michael and All Angels makes this abundantly clear.  Jesus himself states in the Gospel how he saw "Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning."  The angel who appeared to Daniel in the First Reading speaks of his struggle to reach him because of a twenty-one day spiritual battle in which he was assisted by Michael in order to get through with his message from God. And the Second Reading is about the spiritual war to end all spiritual wars in the Book of Revelation, in which Michael and his angels finally take down the dragon for good.

     Evil is manifested in our physical world - war, hunger, poverty, crime, dishonesty, corruption, oppression, self-centeredness, greed, hurtful and violent behavior toward one another- but it begins in the spiritual world.  I have witnessed so many good intentions go bad because of the spiritual evil to which human beings fall prey.  Marxism, for instance, is at its basis a vision of fairness and sustainability for all people, those who labor and those who rule.  But, because of the weakness of human desire to control the behavior of others, it turned into an oppressive and violent form of government in Communism.  How could such an idealistic vision of fairness and justice go so bad?  How can such an idealistic vision of  freedom and self-determination in Capitalism go so wrong, with one percent of the population of the United States ending up owning sixty percent of the wealth leaving forty-five million citizens living in poverty?  The only answer I could ever come up with is that evil is a spiritual force, ready to twist up good reasoning, attack good intentions, and cater to our weaknesses to have our way.

     Though we know through Scripture that evil will eventually lose, we can also be assured that evil will not have its way with us today, because of our salvation in Jesus.  Our relationship with God through prayer and reliance on Jesus is the most powerful way to win our battles with evil.  I believe that our nation is finding another way to resolve the civil war in Syria, because of the power of prayer.  Pope Francis' call for a public gathering to pray and meditate for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis turned the corner, but we must continually pray for peace in Syria and other hot spots. We must continually pray for human needs, the sustainability of our planet, and each other.  Faith and prayer are the most powerful weapons we possess in the spiritual battle against evil.

- Donna Neste

Sunday’s Adult Forum

September 29: "Julian of Norwich’s Vision: Transforming Love," presented by Brad Holt
October 6: “What Can I Say?” presented by Allen Dundek

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.

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

Follow Mount Olive on Facebook and Twitter

     Have you liked Mount Olive on Facebook yet? Are you following us on Twitter? If not, we encourage you to! We are now using these sites to spread the word about events, sermons, Bible studies, and other things happening at Mount Olive. Find us on Facebook at or on Twitter at

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 meet 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.

 Freedom of the Christian: Bible Study on Thursday Evenings

     The first Thursday Bible study series of this year began last Thursday, Sept. 19, and it runs for six weeks.  Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Pr. Crippen is leading 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!

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 this 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!

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 at church on Sunday mornings.

     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.

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.

Theology on Tap

     Theology on Tap is a group at Mount Olive that meets once a month at local bars/restaurants to enjoy a good beverage and dialogue about faith and life (no preparation or book reading is required, only your personal insight).  Everyone is welcome to join in the conversation!  Contact Lisa Nordeen ( if you would like to join us or have questions about Theology on Tap!

Upcoming Event Details:
Where: Mosaic Cafe, 3019 Minnehaha Avenue just south of East Lake Street
When: Thursday, October 3, 7:30-9:30pm
Discussion Topic:  Prayer - scripted, contemplative, spontaneous...
Facebook: Mount Olive Theology on Tap - "Like" the page to get more updates!

Coat Confusion?

     A light, longish khaki-colored trench coat has been languishing in my closet for lo, these many months (since spring?).  With the advent of cooler weather I got it out to wear to church and discovered the coat in my closet is not mine!  Is someone missing a woman's coat of this description? I have since returned this coat of mistaken identity to the church coat room.

     And has anyone made the same mistake I did?  Mine is a short coat of the above description with a hood.  If it were to miraculously appear in the church coat closet, I would be most thankful and happy.
- Eunice Hafemeister

The Snack Chart is Up

     Fall is here and on October 1 the Way to Goals Tutoring Program will begin for this year.  The snack chart is up for those who would like to support our tutoring program by signing up to bring a snack and beverage for 25 students and tutors.  You will find it on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board by Donna Neste's office in the Undercroft.  If you have any questions feel free to call Donna at church 612-827-5919.

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

Please Schedule Your Photo Session Appointment

     We have now complete photo sessions for about 30% of the households at Mount Olive. Thank you for your response so far!

     We want to encourage you if you have not yet signed up, to call in the next week to make your appointment to have your photo taken before October 15, 2013. You may also sign up this coming Sunday after both liturgies.

     If you cannot locate your letter or the e-mail regarding the procedure, please call the church office or send an e-mail to, and we will direct you to the appropriate person to help with scheduling your photo session.

Behind the Scenes at Mount Olive

     A major THANK YOU from the Property Committee and the Aesthetics Committee for some major work that has been done recently to restore, repair and beautify Mount Olive.  If you ever wander through the back hallways, entries, and stairs of Mount Olive you will see the beginning of some much needed work to repair and upgrade those not so visible parts of our building.  Members of Mount Olive and our guests are moving throughout our building and often we forget that the passageways need to be kept looking as inviting as our main meeting areas.

     1.  Mark Pipkorn led a team including John Gidmark and Tim Pipkorn in a major project of resurfacing and refacing the large back entry ramp and steps.  This was no simple project and while enduring high heat and humidity they have brought that important entry to our building totally up to date and made an inviting portal to Mount Olive.

     2.  Over the next few weeks you will see work proceeding on transforming the Narthex into a brighter more inviting space.  New carpeting to the balcony and lighting will soon be installed. Thanks to Brian Jacobs for his help in ordering materials and coordinating installations for this project.  In anticipation of the new carpet, Steve Pranschke, Bob Lee, John Meyer, and Sue Ellen Zagrabelny took on scrubbing down the years of accumulated dirt and grime on the walls leading upstairs to the balcony.  Thank you!

     3.  The back passageway leading from the East Assembly room to the main church had been painted a dark orange color, possibly from when the Education building was added in the mid 1950’s.  That was until Victor “Michelangelo” Gebauer transformed this dark and ominous space into a bright, vibrant passageway.  Thank you, Victor!
     4.  In a not-so-behind-the-scenes project, you may have noticed that Mount Olive now owns, thanks to the Foundation, a large 55” flat screen TV on a convenient stand with an upgraded sound system and it’s own laptop so anyone can use the large monitor for presentations.  Thank you to Andrew Andersen for getting the entire unit assembled and to David Molvik for programming and setting up the computer.

     We also owe thanks to the Mount Olive Foundation and the Mount Olive members who helped to put in place other recent additions: hanging the Christina Habibi art exhibit mounted in the Chapel Lounge and west reception area, and new artwork in the Office, and also the bicycle racks installed near the Chicago Avenue entrance.  Special thanks to Paul Nixdorf for acquiring and mounting the beautiful artwork.

     We hope you will take an opportunity to check out these projects! Thanks again to everyone who gives so much time to help keep Mount Olive a beautiful and prayerful worship space.

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