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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Olive Branch, 10/30/13

Accent on Worship

All Saints Day

     My grandmother was an awe-inspiring lady; she could turn any gathering into a celebration, leftovers into a feast, and a spare piece of paper and a bit of paint or scraps of fabric into a work of art. So many of my happiest childhood memories are wrapped up in her and the special times that she created.  My grandma was one of many who handed down the faith to me. In sharing her life, she shaped my values, my convictions—even how I decorate. When she passed away, I lost not only my grandma, but one of my dearest friends.

     After her funeral, I sat in her sewing room, surrounded by the works of her hands and the pictures of those whom she loved, and I wept. I trusted that she was with God, but I wanted her with me. At the age of 22, I thought of all the years that I would have to live without her, and of all the new memories that would not include her. I couldn’t help but weep for how long I would have to wait to be with her again. And my heart ached at the prospect of this: was I never again to hear her sweet voice singing in the kitchen? Never again to sit at the table with her over a cup of tea?

     But on this All Saints Day, I am reminded that the distance between us is not as far as I had once imagined. Those whom we have loved and who have died are still held in God’s loving care and so never really leave us. We are bound to them and they to us: knit together into the Body of Christ. And so, my grandma is not that far away after all: her voice is among those singing praises around the throne, and when I come to the Eucharist, I meet my grandma and all the saints at our Lord’s Table.

     In worship, especially on All Saints Day, we are made aware that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we commune with all those whose memories are still treasured in our hearts. We remember those who have gone before us and joined the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us daily. We give thanks to God for giving them to us to love, and for the ways that God has worked through them to shape us.

     But on this day, we also remember our own baptisms into Christ’s life and death: we are also counted among the saints. It is a day for celebrating what is yet to come: the end of tears and pain, and the coming of God’s kingdom in all of its fullness. It is a day for hearing again the promise of eternal life that is meant for all the saints in all times and places. And this particular All Saints Day is a day for celebrating the entrance of two new saints into this cloud of witnesses, whom God will claim as God’s own in the waters of baptism this Sunday.

     Death has been swallowed up in the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ, for our beloved dead and for us, so that we may live in confidence and in hope until we are gathered to our heavenly home in the company of all the saints.

     Peace, hope, and the joy of what is yet to come, be with you, dear Saints.

       - Vicar Emily Beckering



Sunday Readings

November 3, 2013 – All Saints Sunday
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18 + Psalm 149
Ephesians 1:11-23 + Luke 6:20-31

Nov. 10, 2013 – Time after Pentecost, Sunday 32
Isaiah 1:10-18 + Psalm 32:1-7
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 + Luke 19:1-10



Adult Forum 

November 3: “Praying with Icons” A discussion led by Dwight Penas about how icons are "structured" to draw us to prayer, how they can influence how and for what we pray.



All Saints

     On All Saints Sunday, November 3, we remember and celebrate those who have preceded us in the faith and now “from their labors rest.” We recite their names; we light votives in their memory. And in the Adult Forum that day, we’ll have a chance to walk among some of them. There will be a display of icons of some of our forebears in the faith.  There will be a discussion about how icons are "structured" to draw us to prayer, how they can influence how and for what we pray. And then we’ll be free to view the icons, walking among the saints of old (any maybe not-so-long-ago), venerating them as we see fit.

     If you have an icon that you would like to set among others, we welcome and encourage you to do so. Please, if you bring an icon for display, help us: Bring only icons of persons, not events. Put your name on the back of the icon lest it go astray. And identify the icon: Who is it? If the person is relatively unknown, why is that person memorable?



A Word From Your Pastor:

Sisters and brothers,

As we approach November at Mount Olive we begin to consider the question of stewardship, as we always do.  We have already approved a budget, as is our custom here, well before we have asked each other to pledge our giving for 2014.  This is a little uncommon in congregations of the ELCA, but it is a good thing.  We commit to the grace we will attempt to do as servants of Christ in this place, and then we commit to each other how we will keep those promises.

I find this time in our life together to be extremely exciting and hopeful.  God has blessed us so much, and I hear from so many a desire to live our lives in that blessing in ways that are significant and which make a difference.  The visioning leadership team has heard this same deep desire from all of you that we might find more ways to be involved in service in this place and in the world, and as you heard at the October semi-annual meeting, that desire is taking shape in the vision that Mount Olive is sensing God is placing before us.  I am confident that we are growing in a direction there that is led by the grace of the Holy Spirit in our midst.  (For a refresher on the current status of the visioning, please see the two reports attached to the Olive Branch on the October 16 issue, or ask the church office for copies, which were handed out at the Oct. 20 meeting.)
But this week and next in the Olive Branch, leading to our worship on Sunday, Nov. 10, I want to raise some questions and thoughts for our consideration as brothers and sisters in Christ as we consider the way we financially are called to serve.  What I would like us to think about is the possibility that in the next few years we might see this congregation, see ourselves, learn a new way of stewardship of our wealth in addition to that of our talents.

This is, and always has been, a generous congregation.  We have a long history of faithfully meeting our obligations and, if there is additional need expressed, a history of rising to the occasion and meeting that.  This is good.  However, given the outpouring of grace we all receive daily from the Triune God, the inexpressible joy and sustenance we have in the privilege of gathering weekly for Eucharist together, the experience of the very presence of our God in Word and Sacrament and in each other, perhaps we might consider that we are drawn to find a deeper, more committed response.
Simply put, we know we can take care of the basic needs of this congregation, building, staff, various resources and so on.  We commit a relatively small percentage, 11 percent, beyond that to give away, to serve in the world, and as many of you have pointed out at our October semi-annual meetings each year, we don’t challenge ourselves much to increase what we do in those areas.

So the first question I have for all of us to ponder is this: if the good news of God’s love so transforms our lives and gives us hope in life and in death, what might it mean if we sought to let our financial practices follow that joy, that transformation?  What if we began to commit to each other that our passion to serve as the Body of Christ led us to deepen, each of us, our financial commitment to each other and to the mission we share?  Not so we can make ends meet: we’re very good at that.  No, so our lives can show forth the Gospel in ways we might have never dared imagine before.

I am convinced that there is so much more God could be working through us, and the means to do those things are in our grasp, in our pocketbooks, in our resources.  Should we dare to ask, the Holy Spirit could enflame us to a way of transformational giving which will astonish and delight us and bring God’s grace to this broken, suffering world.

Let us pray about this and talk about this together.  As you consider your pledge for next year, ask yourself what it would mean to let go of more than you thought possible out of the abundance that you know God has given you and from the joy that you will experience from what God will do with what you have given.  As Paul said to the Corinthians, “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”  (2 Cor. 9:8)  What would it mean for us to trust Paul and leap into such a sense of our abundance and what God will do with us, with the wealth entrusted to our care?

In the love of Christ,
- Joseph



Mark Your Calendars for NovemberFest!

     On Sunday, November 17, the Congregational Life Committee will hold a NovemberFest Fundraising Dinner. This event will be a fun opportunity for Mount Olive members and friends to visit with each other and guests, eat a wonderful meal of German food prepared by members of our church, play some games (led by Hans Tisberger), all to help raise money for new ovens for the Undercroft kitchen.  A freewill offering will be received. If you want to come, stop and sign up afte both services on November 3 & 10, so we know how much food to prepare.



Theology on Tap

Faith journey conversations for folks 21 and up
When: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7:30 pm
Where: Longfellow Grill, 2990 W. River Pkwy, Minneapolis
Topic: That “small, quiet voice”-- how and when do you hear it, what does it tell you, what gets in the way?
Contact: Bob Anderson, 952-937-8656



“How Long, O Lord?”
Thursday Evening Bible Study Begins Next Week!

     In Psalm 13, David cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” No doubt David is not the only one to ask God these questions, for here is not a household untouched by pain or suffering. Thursday evenings starting on Nov. 7, Vicar Beckering will lead a topical study on the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. This Bible study series will meet Thursday evenings in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and run for six weeks, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Each gathering will begin with a light supper. All are welcome!



Galatians Study at Becketwood 

     Pr. Crippen is offering a second run of the current six week Galatians Bible study at Becketwood Cooperative on six Tuesday afternoons. This study examines one of Paul’s most important and influential letters.

     The idea behind offering a second time for this study is to provide a time during the day for this study (currently running on Thursday evenings at Mount Olive), and also to offer it in a place where it might be easier for some to attend than getting to church. Note: This is not only for Mount Olive members, nor is it only for those who live at Becketwood. It was just thought that this is a relatively central location, and having an afternoon meeting is better for some who don’t like driving in the evenings.  All who are interested in this study are welcome! Becketwood is at 4300 W. River Parkway in Minneapolis.



 Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at church. For Nov. 9, they will read Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford, and for December 14, The Optimist's Daughter, by Eudora Welty.



Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend!
Don’t forget to set your clocks 
back one hour on Saturday night.



Volunteer Opportunities Abound

     On Sunday, November 10, during both coffee times representatives from various Mount Olive groups will be available to talk about volunteer opportunities with their committees and groups. Please come see what volunteers accomplish at Mount Olive and what opportunities exist for service at Mount Olive. Volunteering is a great way to serve  our congregation and our neighbors.



An Update from Jessinia Ruff

Jessinia left in August 2013 to live in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic with SCORE (Sharing, Christ, Our, Redeemer, Enterprises) International's GAP year program (Global Adventure Pursuit) until the beginning of May 2014. She is studying Spanish and Biblical study classes as well as doing mission work in the local church and a nearby village of San Jose.

 Hello Mount Olive!

I miss my home church dearly. I am currently writing from my apartment in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic. Down the street from me is the Church of Juan Dolio where I have been attending and serving through leading worship (in Spanish!). Tuesday through Friday I attend classes. There are 12 students in the program here ages 18-24. I have Spanish for 4 hours in the mornings in which I am able to apply what I'm learning immediately into my life. I also am taking Biblical studies classes in the afternoons. The topics differ every week. So far I have studied Bibliology, Spiritual Disciplines, Old Testament Poetry, the book of Joshua, leadership and Anthropology. My faith is deepening greatly in each of the hard questions asked and topics explored. It is challenging me to really think about who God is and who I am in Christ.

On Mondays I travel to the nearby village of San Jose where a missionary has planted a church, clinic, and school. I am starting a ministry with the teenage girls of the village. As of right now I am still building relationships with the girls along with building my Spanish skills so I may better communicate with them. These girls are not Christians and have parents who look down upon Christianity. My goal is to love, encourage and serve these girls in whatever way I can to show them who Jesus is. This is one of the hardest endeavors I have ever been on but has by far been the most rewarding. I enjoy the people here: the students, the missionaries, and the Dominicans. I love living near the beach and am soaking up the warm climate.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to live and serve here for 6 more months. I return for two weeks at Christmas and look forward to seeing you all then. Thank you for all of your support and prayers. I would love hearing from you through email (jessinia.ruff@gmail.com). You can also read more about what I'm doing and how you can help, visit my blog here: http://jessiniaruff.blogspot.com/.
     Blessings,
     - Jessinia Ruff



Church Library News

      As we savor and reflect on the passing days of Fall, the newest display of interesting and worthwhile books in our church library include:

Hill Country Harvest, by Hal Borland
Homeland: A Report from the Country, by Hal Borland
Borland Country, by Hal Borland
Farming the Lord’s Land: Christian Perspectives on American Agriculture, by Charles P. Lutz, ed.
A Fine and Peaceable Kingdom, by Kent Durden
Wild Goose, Brother Goose, by Mel Ellis
Gifts of an Eagle, by Kent Darden
From the Orange Mailbox: Notes from a Few Country Acres, by A. Carman Clark
Confessions of a New Bird Watcher and Conversation With a Barred Owl, both by Margaret Clarkson
Winds in the Woods: The Story of John Muir, by John Stewart
The Flight of the Snow Geese, by Des and Jen Bartlett
Wood Carving, by Freda Skinner
Lads Before the Wind: Adventures in Porpoise Training, by Karen Pryor, w/Introduction by Konrad Lorenz.

     I’ll close with two quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I have shared before but they are always timely and appropriate to consider:  "Libraries Change Lives," and "In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends."

- Leanna Kloempken



Attention, Bakers!

     We will again be baking communion bread for most liturgies in November through May.  There is currently a regular group of five bakers, but additional bakers are always welcome. If you might be interested in baking communion bread, Please contact John and Patsy Holtmeier either by email to jpholt67@gmail.com, or by phone: 952-582-1955.



National Lutheran Choir
All Saints Concerts: “REMEMBER”

Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 7:00pm
St. Andrew's Lutheran Church
900 Stillwater Street
Mahtomedi, MN 55115

Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 4:00pm
St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church
17205 County Road Six
Plymouth, MN 55447
763-475-7100

     Choral classics, poetic offerings and a quiet space for remembrance blend for an unforgettable experience. These concerts are sure to sell-out, so order your tickets today!

     Craig Hella Johnson, renowned conductor and founder of the Grammy-nominated choral ensemble, Conspirare, guest conducts this year's All Saints program, with Organist/pianist Bill Chouinard.

     For additional information and tickets, please contact the National Lutheran Choir office at 612-722-2301, or visit their website: www.nlca.com.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Re-formed

God’s grace is permanently inscribed on our hearts and it re-forms us from within, shapes our hearts and lives into new ones for service in the world, a change which can be threatening to our sense of security in the status quo.

Pr. Joseph G. Crippen, Reformation Sunday; texts: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you, and peace in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Tattoos fascinate me.  In the last decade or more, they have become more prevalent, and much more mainstream.  People of all ages and backgrounds get them, not just people in biker gangs, even a fair number of folks here at Mount Olive.  I find it so interesting that people are capable of making a decision to mark their bodies permanently.  Mostly because I can’t imagine how I would pick exactly what art I wanted displayed on my body for the rest of my life – how could a person make that choice?  Of course, a whole industry has also arisen around tattoo removal, for those who have second thoughts about that girlfriend’s name they chose, or about the design which seemed so daring at age 18 but somehow seems to be hindering job interviews at age 38.  It seems it’s a painful and lengthy process, though.  It’s probably best to think of tattoos as permanent when considering whether you want one.

So I don’t have a tattoo yet.  If ever.  But something like it is described in the words of the prophet Jeremiah today.  Through the prophet the LORD God says “I will put my law within [my people], and I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  This is the new covenant the Triune God is making with Israel, with us, a covenant fully realized in Jesus, God’s Son.  It’s a covenant, a promise, of forgiveness and love from God, and a covenant where God’s ways are inscribed permanently on our hearts, like a spiritual tattoo.

There’s a powerful sense of transformation in that image alongside the sense of permanence.  This heart-writing God does actually changes us from within, makes us new, shapes our very hearts and lives, marking us as God’s forever.

This is what Jeremiah proclaims: God’s promise of grace is imprinted on our hearts and we will never be the same again.

It’s an astonishing image: God literally writes on our hearts this amazing love we know in Jesus, and a way to live in that love.  It’s now part of our spiritual genes, so to speak; we act the way we’ve been marked.  Much as our own genes shape how we are.  It’s as if in writing on our hearts, God is re-writing our DNA and making us new from within.  We will look different, act different, be different because of this marking, this writing.

I was recently looking at a picture of my 13 year old nephew, my sister’s son, alongside pictures of him when he was small, and it was remarkable how much he now looks like his father, but how when he was younger he looked like some of my siblings when they were little.  It’s so interesting in families to see those traits, those shared looks, and how they change.  Sometimes it’s almost uncanny how someone can channel a grandparent’s face, or an uncle’s turn of phrase.  We are what our genes have made us to be, what our biological parents gave to us genetically.

And now, according to Jeremiah, God has done the same thing to us, has marked us to look like our heavenly parent.  That’s the real power of God’s image here: that the imprint of God’s grace changes us.

It would be a great deal just to know God’s love and ways because they’re written in our core, on our hearts in baptism.  Imagine how different the world would be if every person knew in their hearts that God loved them with a love death could not destroy.  That all knew they were forgiven by God forever, that God forgets all their sins.

But it’s a far deeper promise: having God’s Word tattooed on us, we’re changed by it, transformed into new people.  This vision of Jeremiah is that in having such heart-writing all would know the LORD and live by God’s ways, rather than needing written covenant or stone-carved law.

This is the core of Christian ethics, throughout Scripture: you are, I am, we are a new creation, made into new people in tune with God.  Like King David in Psalm 51, we asked for clean hearts and we now find that God is going us one better.  God’s remaking our hearts into new ones.

We should also note that God’s plan of heart-writing is for all God’s people.  it’s a group thing, not just an individual thing.

God speaks of all the people as getting this imprint, all getting a heart tattoo of grace and a way of life.

This is more than just saying all are important.  It’s about the experience of God’s grace and how it’s fully to be known and lived.  Key to God’s inscription is that we all have it, we all share it, and we become God’s love to each other and to the world.

So when God wants to write the Word on our hearts, it’s as a group.  Together we discern those ways, together we help make decisions about our lives, together we live in the covenant promise of God, and witness it to the world.

Together the heart of our community, of the Church itself is tattooed by God so we “know the LORD,” and so live in the world as people shaped by God’s DNA, as signs of this new covenant, ambassadors of this grace and love and justice God intends for the whole world.

But be very careful: we may not want this re-formation that God’s writing on our collective and individual hearts accomplishes.

Oh, part of these readings today certainly sound good, to think that God’s making a new covenant with us, especially the parts about God’s forgiveness and forgetfulness that mark that covenant, the parts about the Son freeing us from sin.  To think of justification by God’s grace, Paul’s words for what this covenant looks like, as removing our guilt and our sin, this seems like a good thing.

That is, if we don’t read the rest of Paul’s words today, or the main part of Jeremiah today, or anything Jesus says today.  It sounds good, that is, if we don’t consider all those things we’ve just been considering.

You see, if God writes on our hearts, and re-writes our spiritual DNA, we will be different, not just forgiven.  Individually and collectively we’ll become a new creation, different people.

We’ve said that.  But do we want that?  Like those considering a real tattoo, we should be careful we’re ready for this change.

To be justified is not just to be forgiven.  It is to be straightened out, fixed, made right, as much as justifying a paragraph in a text is, whether left or right or center.  You straighten it out.  It is as Jeremiah says, to be re-made into the image of God we were meant to be.

St. Athanasius [1] understood the fall of humanity to be like a gradual de-creation, that humanity more and more was becoming less and less the image of God.  Moving further and further into something completely unlike God.  According to Athanasius, the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Son who was there at the original creation, arrested that falling, that degeneration, that de-creation, and began to restore humanity back up into the image of God we were intended to be from the start.

That’s a beautiful thought.  But it can be plenty threatening.  Whatever we might think about what it would mean to be made a new creation, what is clear is that we cannot be who we were.  We will become more God’s image, not our image.

All those comfortable sins, all those lovely habits – even the ones we think we want to be rid of – these things define who we are.  We know our vices and our virtues, and the truth is, those vices sometimes are part of what we like about ourselves, part of what we are reluctant to release.  And if they’re gone and we’re different, will we even be recognizable as ourselves?  As our congregation?  As the Church?

That is to say, if the Son sets us free, as Jesus promises, and if the same Christ makes us into God’s way of righteous, as Paul promises, and if God re-writes our hearts as Jeremiah promises, who then will we be?  Are we ready to be something new and different?

I actually believe we could be ready, as long as we remain aware of our tendency to resist this change, this re-formation. 

It is a part of our broken human nature to want to cling to even the things that are not of God, because they are ours, because they are familiar, because we fear not knowing what we’d be like without them.  We can’t let ourselves remain na├»ve to our desire to thwart God’s transforming grace in our lives and in our congregation and in the Church.  If we can be aware of this tendency, we can also ask God’s help to overcome such resistance.

Because this promise of a heart-writing that will transform us individually and collectively into a new creation, God’s own people, is the only source of our joy and hope.  Our prayer today and always is that as God uses us to renew the world, and to continue to renew the Church, we more and more live with an awareness of our new identity and inscribed hearts, and let our lives show that love and transform the world.  Let our lives truly be re-formed, renewed, made different.

Then God’s promise in Jeremiah can really come to pass: “They shall all know me, from the least to the greatest,” says the LORD, and they all, all, will be my people and I will be their God.”  And all will be part of this new creation, this new grace that both frightens and thrills us.

Make it so, LORD God, make it so.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen

[1] In his treatise “On the Incarnation of the Word,” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/athanasius/incarnation.html

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Olive Branch, 10/23/13

Sunday’s Adult Forum 

October 27: “The On-Going Reformation: What Is It?” In this presentation, led by Dwight Penas, we will discuss Pr. Almen's presentation from last week on the dialogue between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in the United States and explore how and why the dialogue is important (if it is).

November 3: “Praying with Icons” A discussion about how icons are "structured" to draw us to prayer, how they can influence how and for what we pray.



Sunday Readings

October 27, 2013 – Reformation Sunday
Jeremiah 31:31-34 + Psalm 46
Romans 3:19-28 + John 8:31-36

November 3, 2013 – All Saints Sunday
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18 + Psalm 149
Ephesians 1:11-23 + Luke 6:20-31



Be a Part of Something Special!

     It's difficult to commit an hour and a half of your time every week to something like Way to Goals Tutoring, one of Mount Olive's vital programs to the neighborhood.  However, you can still be a part of it by signing up to bring a snack and beverage for 14 students and nine tutors one night this year.  The snack chart is posted on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board downstairs next to Donna Neste's office. Just sign the chart for the date that you would like to bring your treats and have them at church before 7:00 p.m. on that date.  If you have any questions, call Donna, 612/827-5919.



Update from the Treasurer

     September was a financially challenging month.  Our giving did not cover our costs, and even though we had five Sundays in September, the monthly giving totals were 10% lower than the same month in 2012.

     In order to pay our obligations in September (salaries/benefits, building maintenance, insurance, etc.), it was necessary to borrow $10,000 from our line of credit.  Although it is unknown what the interest on that loan will cost us, in past years we have spent an average of $1,350.00 on interest from this type of borrowing.  This is an expense that we would rather use for our ministry.

     There is positive news in our financial picture as well.  Overall giving for the year is 2.7% ahead of last year.  In past years we have needed to borrow against our credit line earlier in the year.  Typically giving trends upward in the fall and we anticipate that this will happen again.

     Please prayerfully consider this information as you make decisions about your offerings to the church in the coming weeks.  I will continue to provide updates on the current finances in the Olive Branch and leave copies of the monthly Treasurer's report in the office for those who are interested in more detail.

- Kat Campbell Johnson, Treasurer



The Great TRUST Auction

     This Saturday, October 26, TRUST will have both a live and silent auction. There will be live music and dinner and great desserts. Plan to come and join the fun and support TRUST, which sponsors CoAM, Meals on Wheels, TRUST Youth, and many other ministries and services.

     The event starts at 6:00 pm, and tickets are available from Carol Austermann; $20/adults, $15/seniors, and $5/kids under 10.

     This event will take place at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Ave. S. in Minneapolis. All are welcome.



Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at church. For Nov. 9, they will read Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford, and for December 14, The Optimist's Daughter, by Eudora Welty.



“How Long, O Lord?”
Thursday Evening Bible Study Begins Nov. 7

     In Psalm 13, David cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” No doubt David is not the only one to ask God these questions, for here is not a household untouched by pain or suffering. Thursday evenings starting on Nov. 7, Vicar Beckering will lead a topical study on the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. This Bible study series will meet Thursday evenings in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and run for six weeks, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Each gathering will begin with a light supper. All are welcome!



Galatians Study at Becketwood 

     Pr. Crippen is offering a second run of the current six week Galatians Bible study at Becketwood Cooperative on six Tuesday afternoons. This study examines one of Paul’s most important and influential letters.

     The idea behind offering a second time for this study is to provide a time during the day for this study (currently running on Thursday evenings at Mount Olive), and also to offer it in a place where it might be easier for some to attend than getting to church. The session on Oct. 22 will be in the lower level of the chapel at 2:00 p.m. Note: This is not only for Mount Olive members, nor is it only for those who live at Becketwood. It was just thought that this is a relatively central location, and having an afternoon meeting is better for some who don’t like driving in the evenings.  All who are interested in this study are welcome! Becketwood is at 4300 W River Parkway in Minneapolis.



Congregational Care Committee Seeks Your Response

     The art of giving and accepting care was the forum topic during the coffee hour on Sunday, October 13.  Please consider providing your feedback by taking a minute to think about the following questions.

     Are you aware of an unmet need for care and support at Mount Olive?

     What kind of support do you wish was available for the need you identified?

     Do you have particular skills or experience that you would like to offer to future congregational care and support initiatives?

     Please call or email your responses to:  Marilyn Gebauer, 651-704-9539, Peggy Hoeft, 952-835-7132, Warren Peterson, 952-935-9262, or Cathy Bosworth, 952-949-3679.  E-mail address may be found in the Mount Olive Directory.



Attention Worship Assistants!

     It's that time again.  In early November I will begin working on the Servant Schedule for the first quarter of 2014. Please contact me (peggyrf70@gmail.com) by November 1, with scheduling requests for January - March 2014.

 - Peggy Hoeft 




CoAM's Annual Luncheon

     You are cordially invited to join the Cooperative Older Adult Ministry (CoAM), for their annual fundraiser luncheon to be held at 12:00 Noon on Monday, Nov. 18, at Bethel Lutheran Church, 4120 17th Ave. S. in Minneapolis.  With voices and instruments, From the Heart will perform songs that you grew up with.  Tickets are $17. You may make your reservations today by calling 612-721-5786.

  CoAM is one of the many organizations under the wide umbrella of TRUST, a network of South Minneapolis churches of which Mount Olive is a part, by volunteering for their Meals on Wheels, and our youth group connects with other TRUST congregations' youth programs for service and social gatherings.



All Saints

     On All Saints Sunday, November 3, we remember and celebrate those who have preceded us in the faith and now “from their labors rest.” We recite their names; we light votives in their memory. And in the Adult Forum that day, we’ll have a chance to walk among some of them. There will be a display of icons of some of our forebears in the faith.  There will be a discussion about how icons are "structured" to draw us to prayer, how they can influence how and for what we pray. And then we’ll be free to view the icons, walking among the saints of old (any maybe not-so-long-ago), venerating them as we see fit.

     If you have an icon that you would like to set among others, we welcome and encourage you to do so. Please, if you bring an icon for display, help us: Bring only icons of persons, not events. Put your name on the back of the icon lest it go astray. And identify the icon: Who is it? If the person is relatively unknown, why is that person memorable?  



Names of the Departed Saints Invited

     As a part of our All Saints liturgy on Nov. 3, members are invited to submit the names of loved ones close to them who have died in the past year, since last All Saints Sunday, who weren’t members of Mount Olive.  (Members of the parish who have died are always named.)  These other names submitted will be included in the prayers of intercession.  There will be an opportunity to write these names this Sunday, or simply contact the church office.  Please keep this to just those who have died this past year, so we can have a more manageable list.



Mark Your Calendars!

     On Sunday, November 17, the Congregational Life Committee will hold a NovemberFest Fundraising Dinner. This German meal will be a fun opportunity for Mount Olive members and friends to visit with each other and guests, eat a wonderful meal prepared by members of our church, and help raise money for new ovens for the Undercroft kitchen.

     More details to follow in next week’s Olive Branch!



Meals on Wheels Thanks

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



Theology on Tap

Faith journey conversations for folks 21 and up
When: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7:30pm
Where: Longfellow Grill, 2990 W. River Pkwy, Mpls
Topic: That “small, quiet voice”-- how and when do you hear it, what does it tell you, what gets in the way?
Contact: Bob Anderson, 952-937-8656



Our Thanks!

     I cannot begin to thank everyone personally (and if I tried, I would no doubt overlook someone), so let me here thank all of you for your expressions of support and sympathy to our family on the untimely death of my mother. It was a complete surprise, and we were left in shock. But you, our family here at Mount Olive, surrounded us with affection and concern and loaned us your strength. This experience simply confirms what we have long known -- that this congregation exists on purpose, to mirror and offer the grace of God to all in every need. Thank you.

– Dwight Penas, for Kathy Thurston, Erika Thurston, and himself

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Olive Branch, 9/16/13

Accent on Worship

Wrestling

     I was a wrestler in high school, which ended up being about the only athletic endeavor I showed much promise for.  It suited both my build and my mind.  You see, it turns out that wrestling really is as much a mental exercise as a physical one.  The strategy of which moves to make, of understanding what your opponent is doing, of anticipating moves with your own moves, all this makes wrestling an intellectual challenge.

     But it’s also a spiritual one of sorts.  For me, since I started wrestling much later than most on the team, early on I would be wrestling against people with far more experience, and a real challenge was not to give up emotionally when it seemed as if my opponent was so much better than I.  My cousin Jason, who was a very good state-level wrestler, was always reminding me that I needed to remember that not wanting to give up was critical to not actually giving up.

     Sunday we hear the odd and mysterious story of Jacob wrestling a stranger (an angel? God? a man?) on the banks of a river.  The text isn’t ever clear about the exact identity of his opponent, but Jacob ends up believing he was wrestling with God.  Jacob persists all night long, never giving up, and clinging in the end so that he might demand a blessing.  It was that inner spiritual strength that kept him from giving up until he felt he was heard, was recognized, was blessed.  The lectionary combines this story with Jesus’ parable of persistent prayer from Luke 18, and the parallels are obvious.

     Sometimes I think, though, that we’re reticent to wrestle with God in prayer.  Though we believe that the Triune God is the creator of all that is, seen and unseen, though we are confident that the Son of God has given us permission to pray, to ask, to seek, we sometimes act as if God’s not able to handle the depths of our struggle.  We hold back when we are angry with God, when we don’t understand things, when we are afraid, as if God can’t handle our truth, our need, our pain.

     We give up too soon, I think.  Jesus suggests, as Jacob experienced, that we can bring everything we have and truly wrestle with God if we need to.  He suggests that God is big enough to handle the depths of all our pain and suffering and confusion and anger, as well as our joy and praise.  This is a precious thing, this invitation to engage Almighty God in prayer and not give up, seeking blessing and hope from God in all things, without hesitation, without fear that we won’t be heard.

     This is the Good News our Lord Jesus gives us: that the Triune God’s love and care for us is so broad, so deep, so high, that we can fully engage in this relationship, wrestling along with praising, never fearing that we will be sent away, confident that we can fully be heard and known.  It would be a tremendous gift if we were able to trust Jesus on this, and wrestle until we feel we’ve been heard, until we hear what God’s blessing for us truly is.  Then this relationship Jesus has given us with the Trinity will truly be real, and life-giving, and, as it turns out, a blessing.

- Joseph


Sunday’s Adult Forum 

October 20: “The State of the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Dialogue,” presented by The Rev. Lowell Almen.



Notice of Congregation Meeting

     The Fall semi-annual congregation meeting of Mount Olive Lutheran Church will be held after second liturgy this Sunday, October 20, 2013, in the Undercroft.  Included on the agenda will be a vote to approve the congregational budget for 2014, and updates on the Neighborhood Ministries Visioning Process and the Capital Campaign approved at the Spring congregation meeting.  If you are a member of Mount Olive, please plan to attend.



Be a Part of Something Special!

     It's difficult to commit an hour and a half of your time every week to something like Way to Goals Tutoring, one of Mount Olive's vital programs to the neighborhood.  However, you can still be a part of it by signing up to bring a snack and beverage for 14 students and nine tutors one night this year.  The snack chart is posted on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board downstairs next to Donna Neste's office. Just sign the chart for the date that you would like to bring your treats and have them at church before 7:00 p.m. on that date.  If you have any questions, call Donna, 612/827-5919.



Photo Selection for Pictorial Directory

     Elisabeth Hunt will be available between liturgies  this Sunday to assist with the selection of your photo for the new Mount Olive Pictorial Directory.

     If you do not have computer access or have had difficulty logging on to the website to choose the photo you want included in the Pictorial Directory, this is your opportunity to complete the task.  Please bring the information instruction sheet that you received when you had your photos taken.



John Weaver Recital This Sunday

     Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts presents one of America’s foremost concert organists in  a brilliant program of “Toccatas: Scary and Joyous” on the Schlicker organ at Mount Olive, Sunday, October 20 at 4 pm. He will be joined in this recital by his wife, flautist Marianne Weaver, in two pieces dedicated to this performing duo.

     Here is an excerpt of a recent New York Times review of a John Weaver concert:  ‘John Weaver plays everything as though to its manner born, as though he had the inside track to each composer's individuality and had no need to work his way over the barriers or through the channels of stylistic attitudes that serve lesser performers as stepping stones ... Exaggerated?  Well, go and hear a Weaver recital before you decide."

     John Weaver was head of the organ department at The Julliard School until his recent retirement, and previously held the same position at Curtis Institute, Philadelphia. For many years, he was Music Director at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York. Early in his career, he founded the Bach Cantata Series at Holy Trinity Lutheran, New York, which still continues successfully.

     John and Marianne Weaver frequently perform together, to high critical acclaim. This is a program not to be missed. Mark your calendar to attend, and tell friends about this as well.



Update from the Treasurer

     September was a financially challenging month.  Our giving did not cover our costs, and even though we had five Sundays in September, the monthly giving totals were 10% lower than the same month in 2012.

     In order to pay our obligations in September (salaries/benefits, building maintenance, insurance, etc.), it was necessary to borrow $10,000 from our line of credit.  Although it is unknown what the interest on that loan will cost us, in past years we have spent an average of $1,350.00 on interest from this type of borrowing.  This is an expense that we would rather use for our ministry.

     There is positive news in our financial picture as well.  Overall giving for the year is 2.7% ahead of last year.  In past years we have needed to borrow against our credit line earlier in the year.  Typically giving trends upward in the fall and we anticipate that this will happen again.

     Please prayerfully consider this information as you make decisions about your offerings to the church in the coming weeks.  I will continue to provide updates on the current finances in the Olive Branch and leave copies of the monthly Treasurer's report in the office for those who are interested in more detail.
- Kat Campbell Johnson, Treasurer



The Great TRUST Auction

     On October 26, TRUST will have both a live and silent auction. There will be live music and dinner and great desserts. Plan to come and join the fun and support TRUST, which sponsors CoAM, Meals on Wheels, TRUST Youth, and many other ministries and services.

     The event starts at 6:00 pm, and tickets are available from Carol Austermann; $20/adults, $15/seniors, and $5/kids under 10.

     This event will take place at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Ave. S. in Minneapolis. All are welcome.



Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at church. For Nov. 9, they will read Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford, and for December 14, The Optimist's Daughter, by Eudora Welty.



How Long, O Lord?
Thursday Evening Bible Study Begins Nov. 7

     In Psalm 13, David cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” No doubt David is not the only one to ask God these questions, for here is not a household untouched by pain or suffering. Thursday evenings starting on Nov. 7, Vicar Beckering will lead a topical study on the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. This Bible study series will meet Thursday evenings in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and run for six weeks, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Each gathering will begin with a light supper. All are welcome!



Galatians Study Becketwood  

     Pr. Crippen is offering a second run of the current six week Galatians Bible study at Becketwood Cooperative on six Tuesday afternoons. This study examines one of Paul’s most important and influential letters.

     The idea behind offering a second time for this study is to provide a time during the day for this study (currently running on Thursday evenings at Mount Olive), and also to offer it in a place where it might be easier for some to attend than getting to church. The session on Oct. 22 will be in the lower level of the chapel at 2:00 p.m. Note: This is not only for Mount Olive members, nor is it only for those who live at Becketwood. It was just thought that this is a relatively central location, and having an afternoon meeting is better for some who don’t like driving in the evenings.  All who are interested in this study are welcome! Becketwood is at 4300 W River Parkway in Minneapolis.



Congregational Care Committee Seeks Your Response

     The art of giving and accepting care was the forum topic during the coffee hour on Sunday, October 13.  Please consider providing your feedback by taking a minute to think about the following questions.

     Are you aware of an unmet need for care and support at Mount Olive?
     What kind of support do you wish was available for the need you identified?
     Do you have particular skills or experience that you would like to offer to future congregational care and support initiatives?

     Please call or email your responses to:  Marilyn Gebauer, Peggy Hoeft, Warren Peterson,  or Cathy Bosworth.  E-mail address may be found in the Mount Olive Directory.



Attention Worship Assistants!

     It's that time again.  In early November I will begin working on the Servant Schedule for the first quarter of 2014.   Please contact me (peggyrf70@gmail.com) by November 1 with scheduling requests for January - March 2014.
- Peggy Hoeft 



People to Know: The October Our Saviour’s Meal Team!

     A big “THANK YOU” to each of the folks who helped make the October meal at Our Savior’s Homeless Center happen. They include:
Beth Sawyer, who gathered the young people of Mount Olive (and their parents) to slice and chop and prep and pack many elements of the meal;
Tim Pipkorn and Samantha Lucas, who cooked and served the meal;
Naomi Peterson, for her monthly home-made cookies (Yum!) and Halloween treats;
Donn and Bonnie McClellan, who each month prepare lunches for the residents.

     Month after month the men and women who live at Our Savior’s say how grateful they are for the special attention that goes into the meals from Mount Olive. Thanks to the October team, and all those who help in this ministry throughout the year.



A Word of Thanks

     Thank you to the families who helped prep the meal for Our Savior's Housing on October 13 (here are some fun photos of the event!).  The next service event for families will be on November 16 at 11:30 am.  Please bring your family to help make Thanksgiving cards for Community Emergency Services, share the noon community meal with our neighbors and help clear tables afterwards.  Wear your yellow Mount Olive shirts if you have one.  Contact Beth Sawyer with questions and to RSVP for this event.  651-434-0666  mikebethsawyer78@gmail.com







Sunday, October 13, 2013

Have Mercy

Faith, living in trust with the Triune God whose Son showed us a depth of grace, life, forgiveness and love for all God’s children, no matter how lost: that’s where we want to be, in such faith, in such trust.  Because that’s where true life really is found.

Pr. Joseph G. Crippen, Time after Pentecost, Lectionary 28, year C; text: Luke 17:11-19

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you, and peace in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

I wonder if we could once and for all quit thinking the point of Luke telling this story is to inspire thanks, to call forth gratitude?  For over 65 years in this parish this gospel reading was appointed for Thanksgiving Day of all days; since ELW in 2006 we’ve at least only had it one in three Thanksgivings.  I suppose the lectionary preparers imagine that one can hear this story as an exemplar of gratitude, and I suppose it can be seen that way.  But it’s hard to avoid the fact that most often the way the story is heard and discussed, the point seems to be: “Look at this one, he gave thanks.”  “Shouldn’t you, too?”  This is hardly the most creative assignment of a text to a situation we’ve seen.

Seriously, though, at some point we hope to mature in faith as disciples of our Lord Christ, don’t we?  And this isn’t even a very effective parental strategy, to say nothing of mature discipleship: to guilt someone into thanking, or to compare thankful people to unthankful people in hopes of eliciting thanks.  It’s not a terribly high standard for which to aim.  And for goodness’ sake, not even Jesus does that here.  He just ponders the meaning that a foreigner took the time to return to give thanks to God.  He wonders where the other nine are.  But there’s no reason for us to assume they didn’t find a way to thank God.

What is interesting to Jesus and to us, though, is that one of them returned.  It’s not interesting to me as a question of thankfulness.  It’s easy to imagine any number of scenarios where the other nine who were healed didn’t find their way back to Jesus, many of which would include them being thankful to God.  But this one did return, did come back to Jesus.  And something new and different happens to him, too, something he didn’t receive, or at least wasn’t promised, the first time.

If we want to understand why he returned, we have to say that it isn’t very obvious that there are great differences between the one and the nine.

All ten were lepers, victims of a terrible skin disease.  All ten asked Jesus for help.  And all ten were made clean by Jesus.  Sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle: all ten are cured of their leprosy.  Cleansed.  Nothing in the story hints that because nine didn’t return their healing was taken back.  And the only reason given for the one leper’s return is that he noticed he was, in fact, healed.  But we can only assume the others figured this out, too.

And we also know this: all ten had faith enough to ask for help from the one who brought healing from God.  The act of faith was when each of them said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

“Have mercy,” they pray.  In Luke’s Gospel, only three times does anyone ask for mercy like this, and they’re all in these three chapters after the Luke 15 parables of grace.  In Jesus’ parable in chapter 16, the rich man, suffering in hell, asks Abraham, in heaven, to have mercy and send Lazarus, the poor man, with a drink of water.

In this story in 17, ten unknown lepers ask for mercy from Jesus.  And in chapter 18, a blind man, sitting by the side of the road, asks Jesus for mercy twice, calling him “Son of David” both times.

In the middle of these events is Luke’s telling of Jesus parable about persistent prayer.  Given the location, after the parables of grace, and that centering encouragement to pray always, even if results aren’t what we expect, we might wonder if this is significant.  Is Luke saying that if God is in fact gracious and merciful and welcoming, as the father, the woman with the coin, and the shepherd, the wise among us will seek mercy from such a God ourselves?  The rich man’s too late, but the others receive healing from Jesus.  It might be worth keeping this in mind for a moment.

And oddly, these ten call Jesus “master,” a word that can be translated “overseer,” “supervisor.”  Most times if the Gospels say “master” it’s the word for Lord, kyrios, that is translated.  Here it’s a different word, one that’s found only in Luke and even then only six times.  And in the other five times Luke uses it it’s always disciples of Jesus who speak it.  Not here.  These are strangers, but they call Jesus master as if they are disciples.  They recognize his authority.

So what is different with the one who came back?  Well, clearly, he’s a foreigner.  Jesus points that out, he’s a Samaritan.  But he might not have been the only one of the group.  We can’t know how many of the others were Jewish or Samaritan or anything else.

We’re left with the only obvious thing: what’s different is simply that he came back.  So the real question is still “why”?  What was he looking for, hoping for?

Is it too much to think that this man just wanted to be with Jesus?

Think about it – he’s healed, he can return to his family after being certified clean by the priests and going through a waiting period.  His life is his again.  But he wants more.  He wants to go back and thank and praise the one who gave the gift.  And to praise God publicly.

And that is an act of relationship – he wants to look into the eyes of the one who gave him life.  Maybe it’s not something he thought about, he just did it.  It’s probably putting too much into his action to claim much of anything about it.  But what we do know is what Jesus says to him.  And that’s the real eye-opener.

What Jesus says to him is this: “your faith has made you well.”  Now remember, we don’t think the other nine had their healing rescinded.  But what happened to them was different.  On the way to the priests, Luke says, “they were made clean.”  Cleansed, purified, the word means, and it has to do with disease and also with ritual purity, both of which were affected by leprosy.  They were cleansed of their illness.  That is sure.

But Jesus says to this one: “Go on your way; your faith has made you well.”  And that word is very different.  The word Jesus uses here shows up over 100 times in the New Testament, half in the Gospels.  And for 40 of those 52 or so in the Gospels, our translation reads “saved,” not “healed” or “well.”  80% of the time.  Including at the cross, where they say “he saved others, let him save himself,” and in John 3, where Jesus says the Son came to save the world.  The twelve times it’s translated “healed” or “well” are in situations of physical healing of course.  But it’s the same word.

For Jesus life, real life, is always more than physical health.  When he tells people whom he’s healed of disease that they are now “saved,” “well,” he means more than just being cured.

He’s saying that their faith reveals that they are now in a new life, having been rescued from destruction, saved from danger, not just healed from illness.  He claims for them a life, a relationship, of love and grace with God that is the only life worth living.

And that’s the truth for the one returner, isn’t it?  He is cleansed, sure.  But now he can be with the one who did it, and find the welcome and grace that the Incarnate Son of God is offering to all.  His faith didn’t earn his healing; we often misunderstand this phrase of Jesus.  His faith is his wellness, his saving, it is his life of trust in the Son of God who gives him life.

That’s why the point of this story for Luke is not to tell us to be thankful, though we can certainly keep that in mind if we want.

The point of this story is to lift up the depth of healing that this Jesus brings to the world as the Incarnate One.  He brings welcome and healing to Jews and non-Jews throughout Luke.  And it’s always more than physical healing.  It’s release to captives, sight to blind, justice to oppressed, and life to the world.

It is a new relationship of trust in the True God who’s always looking, always searching, and always welcoming back.  And in this story, one of the ten actually has a chance to learn that for himself.  Because he came back.

To turn to Christ and say, “Jesus, Lord, have mercy on me” is to seek a healing that is deeper and more real than any physical one.  It is to recognize that there is healing available that can only be called salvation, that only words that carry that weight, that importance, can describe.

It is to recognize that the important thing is not specific healing but being with the Son of God who welcomes us in love and mercy no matter how far or how long we’ve been or are lost.

It is to recognize who it is who is that life and say, “Master, have mercy.”  And expect to be heard and forgiven and welcomed home.

The other nine, they were returned to their homes, doubtless certified clean by the priests, and given back their lives.  This is good.  This is grace.  But this one recognized that it was Jesus, the Lord, who was the important thing, and went back, praising God.  Went back in faith.

And that’s the possibility this story raises for us.  The possibility that we recognize that the grace of the Triune God we receive in this place, and in our lives in the world, in and of itself is only part of the gift.  The true gift is that we can trust our Lord Jesus and live in that relationship of life-giving faith always.  That we can be in that mercy and grace in all things and at all times.

“Have mercy, Lord,” the ten said.  And so we say.  Because we believe.

And we also constantly pray for that same faith, that we might throw ourselves on the mercy of God and find the life that really is life.  That we might see beyond any specific needs for healing we might have into the eyes of the True Healer himself and know that is where we need to be, always.  That we might trust in our Lord Christ for our all.

We can come to God for graces, and ask for help, and we can receive it.  And it will be a blessing.  But the tenth leper shows us that a better path is to seek to be with God always, and so live in that faith always.

And while we’re on our way with Jesus, sure, let’s give thanks.  But let’s do it the way the healed leper did.  Let’s “praise God with a loud voice” as we turn to God.  Because if we’re loud enough, then, maybe, we can let others know about the One from God who gives life, who wants a relationship of love and grace with all God’s children and always welcomes them home.  Maybe then we can find the full joy of the whole creation turning to Christ with delight in their eyes and praise on their lips, knowing that this is the only place we’d ever want to be.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Olive Branch, 10/9/13

Accent on Worship

Participation in the Body of Christ

     I’ve always said that within the body of Christ there are no spectators.  Paul spoke about that eloquently (1 Cor. 12) when he reminded us that the hand cannot say to the foot “I have no need of you.”  When there are members of the body that do not participate, the body is said to be sick.

     So it is in worship, as we re-member the body of Christ, our liturgies are a participation in that body. Christ is fully present as the body comes together in his name.  There can be no spectators.

     Mount Olive “gets” that in a way that many places today do not. Faith here is truly embodied in the Sunday liturgy.
     So that begs the question; what does it mean to participate? How do we define participation?

     One of my pet peeves is the all-too-common reference to worship as an experience (the “Worship Experience” is talked about ad nauseam in the church-growth movement).  Worship is not an experience like going to a movie is an experience.  Worship is an encounter… with a risen Lord who shows up and is fully present.  There is no body to speak of in a movie theater.  Which seems to suggest it is the body itself which defines our participation in worship.

     Here’s the thing: in a culture where it is politically correct to be politically correct… we all, liberal and conservative alike, are rather fundamentalist in our thinking.  The ability to be discerning, a sign of maturity, is the first casualty of a fundamentalist culture. And so there was a time (the corrective swing of history) when we thought that the worshipping assembly must participate in everything … everybody-sing-everything-all-the-time…  But do we not also participate with our ears and our devotion?

     Fortunately, the Church’s practice has more recently reclaimed the historic Lutheran pattern of alternatim—sometimes the men sing, sometimes it is the women, or the choir or a cantor. Sometimes we even let the organ proclaim the word to us—all the while fully participating, whether by lips or by heart.  And our music and liturgy is full enough, and expansive enough to hold up the entire body—the joyful as well as the depressed, the healthy as well as the sick, in music that is both joyful and pensive, loud and soft, fast and slow, new and old.  Each of us has need of all the other members to make this work, and in our willing participation we come to meet the one whose body we share—in whose death and resurrection we, too, will be fully participants.

- William Beckstrand, Interim Cantor



Sunday’s Adult Forum 

October 13: A presentation by the Congregational Care Committee
October 20: “The State of the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Dialogue,” presented by The Rev. Lowell Almen



Notice of Congregation Meeting

     The Fall semi-annual congregation meeting of Mount Olive Lutheran Church will be held after second liturgy on October 20, 2013, in the Undercroft.  Included on the agenda will be a vote to approve the congregational budget for 2014, and updates on the Neighborhood Ministries Visioning Process and the Capital Campaign approved at the Spring congregation meeting.  If you are a member of Mount Olive, please plan to attend.



Budget Preview Session

     There will be a 2014 budget preview session after the second liturgy this Sunday, October 13.  Copies of the proposed budget are included with this issue of the Olive Branch (either as an attachment to the same email or as an insert). They will also be available for this session, so bring your coffee and come with any questions that you have about the budget.  Members of the Vestry will be available to answer questions.



Final Days for Photos!

     Sunday, October 13 is the final day to have your photos taken for the new Mount Olive Online Pictorial Directory.

     To make your appointment you can do one of the following:
1. Sign up on Sunday during the education hour and coffee hours.
2. Call Bonnie McLellan at 952/452-2049.
3. E-mail Elisabeth Hunt at elisabeth@hunt.org or Marty Hamlin at marcat8447@yahoo.com.

     If you have special circumstances or needs that require attention, please call the church office at 612/827-5919, and leave a message for Andrew Andersen or Sandra Pranschke.



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!



Galatians Study Begins at Becketwood October 15

     Pr. Crippen will offer a second run of the current six week Galatians Bible study at Becketwood Cooperative on six Tuesday afternoons. This study examines one of Paul’s most important and influential letters.

     The idea behind offering a second time for this study is to provide a time during the day for this study (currently running on Thursday evenings at Mount Olive), and also to offer it in a place where it might be easier for some to attend than getting to church. The first session will be in the East Dining Room at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.  There will be a couple of the six sessions that will be in the chapel at Becketwood, so announcement will be made of those locations. Note: This is not only for Mount Olive members, nor is it only for those who live at Becketwood. It was just thought that this is a relatively central location, and having an afternoon meeting is better for some who don’t like driving in the evenings.  All who are interested in this study are welcome! Becketwood is at 4300 W River Parkway in Minneapolis.



John Weaver Recital October 20

     Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts presents one of America’s foremost concert organists in  a brilliant program of “Toccatas: Scary and Joyous” on the Schlicker organ at Mount Olive, Sunday, October 20 at 4 pm. He will be joined in this recital by his wife, flautist Marianne Weaver, in two pieces dedicated to this performing duo.

     Here is an excerpt of a recent New York Times review of a John Weaver concert:  ‘John Weaver plays everything as though to its manner born, as though he had the inside track to each composer's individuality and had no need to work his way over the barriers or through the channels of stylistic attitudes that serve lesser performers as stepping stones ... Exaggerated?  Well, go and hear a Weaver recital before you decide."

     John Weaver was head of the organ department at The Julliard School until his recent retirement, and previously held the same position at Curtis Institute, Philadelphia. For many years, he was Music Director at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York. Early in his career, he founded the Bach Cantata Series at Holy Trinity Lutheran, New York, which still continues successfully.

     John and Marianne Weaver frequently perform together, to high critical acclaim. This is a program not to be missed. Mark your calendar to attend, and tell friends about this as well.



Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at church. For October 12 they will discuss The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, and for Nov. 9, Parade's End, by Ford Madox Ford.



Mount Olive Greeting Cards

     A set of three greeting cards with photographs taken around Mount Olive Lutheran Church have been designed by Paul Nixdorf and are available for purchase at church on Sunday mornings.

     Single cards are priced at $2.50 each.  For quantity of five 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.

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 www.facebook.com/MountOliveMpls or on Twitter at twitter.com/MountOliveMpls.



The Great TRUST Auction

     On October 26, TRUST will have both a live and silent auctions. There will be live music and dinner and great desserts. Plan to come and join the fun and support TRUST, which sponsors CoAM, Meals on Wheels, TRUST Youth, and many other ministries and services.

     The event starts at 6:00 pm, so you will have time to look over the auction items. Tickets are available from Carol Austermann; $20/adults, $15/seniors, and $5/kids under 10.

     This event will take place at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Ave. S. in Minneapolis.
     See you there!



Peace Not Walls Trip to the Holy Land for Young Adults

     The coordinator for the Peace Not Walls Campaign and the program director for young adult ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) would like to invite young adults ages 18-30 to apply for the Peace Not Walls Young Adult trip to the Holy Land, January 3-17, 2014. This is an opportunity to travel to Palestine and Israel on an experiential learning trip with other young adults for the purpose of learning how to lead trips to the Holy Land for young adults in the future. They are especially looking for young adults in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

     Peace Not Walls is a campaign of the ELCA that was adopted in 2005 to urge members, congregations, synods and the churchwide organization to stand for justice in the Holy Land. The campaign focuses on accompaniment, awareness-building, and advocacy. This partnership with the program director for young adult ministry has been developed to create a network of young adults who lead trips for their peers to the Holy land with the express purposes of:

Accompanying local Lutherans and Christians in Israel and Palestine;
Educating participants about the conflict in Israel and Palestine;
Sharing the religious, political and social history of the region;
Deepening faith and identity of travelers as they build relationships with global neighbors;
Connecting with the ELCA's efforts through the Peace Not Walls Campaign by practicing accompaniment, raising awareness and engaging in advocacy;
Building a base of individuals who not only travel but return home to engage their local contexts in issues of peace and justice.

The Basics
When: January 3 - 17, 2014 (Jan 3-6 in Jordan and Jan 7-17 in Palestine and Israel)

What will we do in Palestine and Israel? We will visit key sites in and around Jerusalem and seek to build relationships with local Lutherans and other Christians engaged in the pursuit of peace in the Holy Land. We will connect with Palestinians and
Israelis working for peace and justice. Preparation for the trip will begin with an orientation to learn about the historical, religious, socio-political, and cultural context of the region. The trip will also provide space for leadership development, advocacy connections, and community organizing in participants' local context.

Where will we stay? Lutheran World Federation guest house on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Cost: The cost of lodging, food, and travel in country will be covered by the ELCA. The young adult will be responsible for their airfare.

What are my responsibilities? Everyone who joins the trip will be expected to lead one or two trips of young adults from their region to the Holy Land in the next two years and facilitate local engagement with the Peace Not Walls campaign.

     And, a bonus! We will visit Jordan and participate in the dedication of the new ELCJHL (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land) Baptismal site along the Jordan River.
     We are looking forward to working with you on this exciting opportunity! The deadline for applications is October 15, 2013.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Enough

Jesus comes to us as the worthless slave in order to put to death our dependence on the strength of our faith, our knowledge, and external affirmation for our worth; our worth comes from Christ alone. Secure in Christ’s love, we can serve as he has commanded and shown us to do. 

Vicar Emily Beckering, Time after Pentecost, Lectionary 27, year C; text: Luke 17:5-10

In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

These words from Jesus are hard to hear. They may leave many of us wondering where the good news is. How can this parable be Jesus’ response to the disciples’ plea? Where in this parable is the Jesus who was anointed to bring good news to the poor, was sent to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free? Who is being set free in this parable? Where is the Son of God who brings down the powerful and lifts up the lowly? Are we really supposed to call ourselves worthless?

This is particularly troubling because worthlessness already seems to be at the core of the disciples’ demand: “Increase our faith!” That sounds like doubt: doubt in Christ?

Perhaps. We are no strangers to doubt. Faith is never certain; doubt in God’s promises, in God’s love is a part of being human. But perhaps the disciples are also struggling with self-doubt, and we know well what it feels like to doubt ourselves. We hear this story and perhaps think of mulberry trees in our own lives whether they are personal or societal and how try as we may, we feel as though we will never be able to budge that tree even an inch. We doubt that maybe, maybe we do not have what it takes to follow Jesus after all. Maybe we do not have the strength to do what Christ demands of us. If only we trusted more, could throw ourselves completely on the Lord, then maybe, maybe we would have enough faith to be faithful, enough to be true disciples, enough to live in eternity.

The disciples’ doubts echo in our own hearts: “I hope I have enough faith.” “Do I have enough, Lord?” “How much faith is enough?” With arms outstretched we cry with the disciples: “Increase our faith, Lord!”

To which Jesus responds, “No. No. Don’t you see? It’s not about size. Even a mustard seed is enough. It’s not the size that matters, but the One in whom you have the faith, the One in whom you trust, the One in whom you are in this relationship with; that is what moves the mulberry tree.  Don’t worry about the size of your faith, just do your job; be a servant.”

The nagging in our hearts does not stop there, though. No. There is more to the disciples’ prayer for faith: even after following him and hearing his teaching and seeing him heal, they still feel lost; they still do not understand who Jesus really is or what he will do or what is expected of them. “Increase our faith,” is also a plea to understand, to have clarity, to know what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it and to know who Jesus is for them.

So doubt takes another form: do we know enough? How can we truly be faithful if we have more questions than answers? What if we do not know what to say or what to do? What if we do not understand?

To which Jesus responds, “No. Don’t you see? It’s not about how much you know, understand, or about gaining perfect clarity. You do not need to have all the answers to know what you should do. Just do your job; be a servant.”

But we still are not content. Another piece of the parable makes us uneasy: Jesus tells us that we are to do our job, that God calls us to serve and not to expect thanks or praise. And now that self-doubt rises up again; now we feel scared. “But Lord, that praise, that thanks is how I know that I am doing well, that I am faithfully serving you and your people, that you really have called me.” “How will I know that I am being faithful if the people whom I’m serving don’t tell me?” “How will I know that I am doing what I am supposed to do if I won’t get thanked for it?”

To which Jesus responds, “No. Don’t you see? You are not going to base your faithfulness or your service or your call on whether or not people praise you or recognize you; you aren’t always going to receive thanks. In fact, you should not even expect it. You will never get enough affirmation, thanks, or praise to satiate you or to convince you that you are enough. Just do your job; be a servant.”

And now with this, Jesus pushes us even deeper to the real heart of the matter, the source of our pain and our fear and our doubt: our worth. If we do not trust enough, know enough, receive enough affirmation, then are we really enough? “Am I enough, Lord? Am I enough? No, I am not, and that is the whole problem with this parable, Lord. I already feel worthless. I am worthless.”

But Jesus asks, “How do you get your value? If you have faith strong enough? If you know enough? If people like you? Think of all that you sacrifice when you live this way; think of the people that you may ignore, that you may use, or trample on, or run ragged—including yourself—to get the affirmation on which you depend. Your worth is not dependent on the strength of your faith, or how much you know, or external affirmation. I would rather you just serve because I have called you. Do your job, and don’t expect to get praised.”

To which we may wish to retort, “Yes, yes, I get it! I will do my job, but I still feel worthless. I still am not enough.”

Maybe, maybe what we really need to ask Jesus is, “Well what then? How will I know? How will I know that I’m doing all right in your eyes? If I can’t measure my worth by the strength of my faith, or the amount that I know, or by the praise that I receive, then what shall I measure it in? Where do we get our worth?”

And most surprisingly, Jesus has given us the answer in this parable of the slave and the master. In this parable, we do hear the good news from Jesus’ own lips. Jesus is saying to us:

“Don’t you see? I am the worthless slave in the parable!
I am the Son of God among you as one who serves!
I am the One at your feet, taking care of you!
And I am preparing a place for you at the table!
I am the one washing your feet and headed to the cross for you because I love you!
Does that tell you how precious you are? Does that tell you where your worth comes from? It is from me, from my love.
That is why it is not about the size of your faith; because I am the One who moves the mulberry tree. So depend no longer on that external affirmation of your service, or your knowledge, or your contributions, or your cleverness for reassurance of your worth.

You have me and my love, and all that I have is yours. I have called you. You have enough; you are enough.”

What if we believed Jesus’ words to us? That he makes us enough. What would that mean for us as disciples and as servants? How might that shape our relationships with our families, our colleagues, our friends, even people whom we find it difficult to love? If we bring Jesus’ parable and Jesus’ words to us into each part of our lives, what will happen?

In our families, might trusting that Christ makes us enough mean that we can turn from being dependent on the approval and forgiveness of our partner, spouse, children, siblings, or parents, and give approval and forgiveness freely instead?

If the table that Jesus speaks of in the parable is our school, or place of work, or where we volunteer, then might trusting that Christ makes us enough mean that we can stop maneuvering and elbowing our colleagues for the places at the table that we think that we deserve and invite them to the table instead? To cease insisting, “wait your turn” but serve those around us first instead? To stop pushing ourselves to the top of the ladder or the class in order to gain the recognition that we think we need but open up space to recognize others’ contributions instead? To make decisions that are the best for people—inside and outside of the company—rather than on what will reap the most profit or earn us the greatest praise? To befriend those who will not gain us any popularity?

In conversations, might trusting that Christ makes us enough break the cycle of one-upping one another to prove our intelligence, competence, or credibility?

Since Christ makes us enough, then we are the ones set free by the parable. So In committees and organizations that we serve in, we are set free from going along with the crowd and saying what will win us friends, praise, and love and instead say what must be said; what the Holy Spirit nudges us to say.

Since Christ makes us enough, might we be able to cease cutting others down when they insult or criticize us—returning violence with violence when we are threatened—and see instead their aggression as an expression of their insecurity which is not all that different from our own? Might we see that Christ is at work in both of us to heal the brokenness that we share? Might we be able to see their worth as Christ looks back at us through their eyes?

We know that these are the things that we ought to do because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. The One who asks all of this of us—the One who has called us to serve—is the One who shares the table with sinners, the One on the way to the cross, and the One who will reach for the towel to wash the disciples’ feet. This is the One at our feet and the One whom we meet at this Table, preparing a place for us, and He invites us here today: “Come and taste and see again just how much I love you. Come here at once and take your place at the table. Then go out and do your job.”

Amen.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Olive Branch, 10/2/13

Accent on Worship

     During the celebration of the Eucharist in worship I sometimes do not sing but simply watch those going to the feast.  It becomes clear to me that we are many but numbered as one when we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ.  Our worship together reminds me that we are God’s beloved called to love God’s creation and each other with a passion and trust that is as deep as the center of the earth.  Perhaps this is what St. Paul meant in Colossians when he addressed the letter to the faithful brothers and sisters who are ‘in Christ.’

     Our life together in Christ also brings me to the depth of despair due to the beauty and love I see and experience in worship, especially when we pass the peace to one another, but which is NOT lived out right here in Minneapolis and over the creation.

What I see and experience driving our culture is a community defined as ME - WRITTEN LARGE.  I hear it in conversations as I walk the skyways and hear people in discussions which clearly reveal the lack of listening to each other but each swaying and persuading the other to their viewpoint or conviction.  I see it on ads on TV selling us stuff, working to convince us that only with this stuff will we be happy.

     I believe one of the “sins” we have fallen victim to, is greed, turning us from depth and purpose and power for good to looking out for number one, filling our “barns’ with as much as possible and overfilling them, thus deforming human desire into an insatiable drive for more.  Increasingly when a small part of the people of God has the greatest wealth and the majority have the leftovers, the community created by God for life and joy erodes.

     The ramifications of this are all around us which includes enormous spiritual hunger, for many today have no spiritual center or community which holds them in love and care but rather urges them on to self-satisfaction, self-preservation, and above all financial security.  Trust in God’s care is foreign and meaningless to many today.

     As I watch worshippers going to receive the food of God, I see trust in God’s care, seeking the common good, making of community, freedom of vulnerability, reveling in God’s ceaseless generosity, and trusting this even in the face of adversity.

     Mount Olive is in a Visioning Process and Pastor Crippen has repeatedly used this phrase – “We must pray about this.”  As God’s people we are a praying lot from whom come ideas, and direction and hope.  I hope we can discuss this as part of asking “How does Mount Olive live in the world today and what is our mission/vision/hope/joy?

- Elizabeth Beissel




Sunday’s Adult Forum

October 6: “What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say,” All of us have encountered conversations in which the news we hear is so tragic or shocking that we just don't know how to respond. Allen Dundek, Chaplain and Clinical Pastoral Educator, will talk about the skill and art of compassionate listening from psychological and theological perspectives.



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.



Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
Blessing of Animals
This 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 This Sunday

     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 of Mount Olive, please contact the church office by phone (612/827-5919) or by email to welcome@mountolivechurch.org. You may also speak with Andrew Andersen, Director of Evangelism, or contact him at andrewstpaul@gmail.com 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 pastor@mountolivechurch.org.



Notice of Congregation Meeting

     The Fall semi-annual congregation meeting of Mount Olive Lutheran Church will be held after second liturgy on October 20, 2013, in the Undercroft.  Included on the agenda will be a vote to approve the congregational budget for 2014, and updates on the Neighborhood Ministries Visioning Process and the Capital Campaign approved at the Spring congregation meeting.  If you are a member of Mount Olive, please plan to attend.



Budget Preview Session
     There will be a 2014 budget preview session after the second liturgy on Sunday, October 13.  Copies of the proposed budget will be available a week before this session, so bring your coffee and come with any questions that you have about the budget.  Members of the Vestry will be available to answer questions.



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!



Mount Olive Greeting Cards

     A set of three greeting cards with photographs taken around Mount Olive Lutheran Church have been designed by Paul Nixdorf and are available for purchase at church on Sunday mornings.

     Single cards are priced at $2.50 each.  For quantity of five 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.



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 (brwgrl@gmail.com) 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!



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 www.facebook.com/MountOliveMpls or on Twitter at twitter.com/MountOliveMpls.



The Snack Chart is Up

     Way to Goals Tutoring Program has begun for this year, and 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 the chart on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board by Donna Neste's office downstairs.  If you have any questions, feel free to call Donna at church 612-827-5919.



Final Ten Days for Photos!

     Sunday, October 13 is the final day to have your photos taken for the new Mount Olive Online Pictorial Directory.

     To make your appointment you can do one of the following:
1. Sign up on Sunday during the education hour and coffee hours.
2. Call Bonnie McLellan at 952/452-2049.
3. E-mail Elisabeth Hunt at elisabeth@hunt.org or Marty Hamlin at marcat8447@yahoo.com.

     If you have special circumstances or needs that require attention, please call the church office at 612/827-5919, and leave a message for Andrew Andersen or Sandra Pranschke.

     SMILE!



Twin Cities Choirs Stand with the Minnesota Chorale

     The Minnesota Chorale, Kantorei, National Lutheran Choir, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, The Singers, and VocalEssence will offer preview repertoire from their upcoming 2013-14 Seasons in this free concert to be held this Sunday, October 6 at 4:00 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

     This concert is an expression of support for the Minnesota Chorale, whose 2012-13 and 2013-14 Season(s) have been impacted by the lockout at the Minnesota Orchestra. All of the participating choirs are donating their services. The Kantorei, the National Lutheran Choir, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, The Singers, and VocalEssence will join the Minnesota Chorale in a program that features snapshot performances of selections from each choir’s 2013-14 season. A goodwill offering will be taken to offset costs Minnesota Chorale has incurred in producing the event.



TRUST Auction to be Held October 26

     TRUST’s annual Auction will take place on Saturday, October 26, at 6 pm at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Ave., Minneapolis. Plan to come to this annual event for the fun, the food, the goodies and the great entertainment!. Tickets are $20 in advance or with reservations; $15 for seniors 65+ /youth; $5 for those under age 10; and $25 at the door. All proceeds support the programs and ministries of TRUST: Meals on Wheels, Chore Program, Parish Nursing, CoAM Life Enrichment, TRUST Youth and much more. For reservations, call 612-827-6159 or email trustinc@visi.com.



Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner

     All are cordially invited to attend the Metro Lutheran Annual Dinner, to be held on Sunday, October 13, at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church (50th & Knox Ave., Minneapolis). Social Time begins at 4:30 pm and Dinner and Program follow beginning at 5:30 pm. Keynote Speaker for the evening will be Tom Hegg, and the program includes the presentation of the 2013 Gold Pen Award to the Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson.

     Tickets for this event are $25 each ($15/student), and deadline for reservations is October 5. For additional information, please call the Metro Lutheran office at 612/230-3281.

 

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