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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Olive Branch

Accent on Worship

     My major in college was history.  I took a lot of European history classes and learned that most kings in history, even when they started out with much promise, were corrupted beyond belief by the time of their death.  Most held unlimited power in their kingdoms which, I believe, was their undoing and the cause of great hardship and suffering for their subjects.

     The image of God and God in Jesus as king is made clear in the readings for Christ the King Sunday, and it is quite the opposite of historical kings and their kingdoms.  God in Jesus is depicted in all three readings.  In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah describes him as a king who is wise, just, and righteous, the one who is coming and will put all things right.  “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”  Strong words are reserved for the string of kings who came and went in Judah during Jeremiah’s time. They were referred to as shepherds who allowed their sheep to be scattered and did not attend to them.

     The second reading, an inspired letter to the Colossians, tells of the one so powerful, through whom all was created and who rules over all dominions and powers.  Yet in him, we are rescued from the power of darkness, transformed, forgiven, and redeemed.  In these passages Paul paints a picture of Jesus, who is one with God from the beginning and who holds all power, yet because he willingly became so lowly through the blood of his cross, dispenses eternal mercy.  In God, who holds unlimited power over everything in heaven and earth, there is eternal mercy.

     This mercy is revealed in the suffering and death of Jesus, who offers his forgiveness and an invitation to be with him in paradise to the sinner on the cross beside him, who recognized the kingship and kingdom of Jesus and asked to be a part of it.

           - Donna Pususta Neste

Sunday Readings

November 24, 2013 – Christ the King, Sunday 34
Jeremiah 23:1-6 + Psalm 46
Colossians 1:11-20 + Luke 23:33-43

December 1, 2013 – First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 2:1-5 + Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14 + Matthew 24:36-44

Thanksgiving Eucharist
Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28
10:00 a.m.

     Bring non-perishable food items to help re-stock local food shelves. Monetary donations are especially welcome (for every $1 donated, food shelf personnel are able to buy about $9 worth of food!)

     The entire offering received at the Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day will be given to Sabbathani Community Center and Community Emergency Services.

Neighborhood Ministries Newsletter

     This Sunday, November 24, the ushers will distribute the fall issue of the Neighborhood Ministries newsletter, Greetings from Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries.  If you will not be in church that day and would like a copy, they will be available to be picked up at the church, in the office or in the narthex.

Adult Forum
 • November 24:  “An Introduction to Matthew,” part 3 of a 3-part series, led by Pastor Crippen.

Thursday Evening Bible Study

     On Thursday evenings (except for Thanksgiving Day) through December 19, Vicar Beckering is leading 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 meets in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Each gathering will begin with a light supper. All are welcome!

Book Discussion Group

     For December 14, The Book Discussion group will discuss The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty, and on January 18 (postponed one week due to the Liturgy Conference), we will discuss Moon Tiger, by Penelope Lively.

Please Note

Church offices will be closed on Friday, November 29 (the day after Thanksgiving).

2014 Pledge Cards

     A letter and pledge card for 2014 was sent to Mount Olive members last week. The Stewardship Committee would like to have all pledge cards returned by Sunday, December 1, either to the church office or placed in the designated box next to the coat area.

Creche Needed

     Our Godly Play church school program is in need of a Christmas creche, preferably one made of wood that the children can handle.  If you have one you can donate or loan to us for a while, please bring it to the church office.  Thank you!

                        Patsy Holtmeier and Carol Austermann

Advent Procession
Sunday, December 1 – 4:00 p.m.
All are invited to this contemplative service of lessons and carols for Advent.

A Note of Thanks

     At Mount Olive, one would, of course, need to say that our spirits are fed by the Eucharist that we share every Sunday morning.   But we do food and drink for the body pretty well, too!  Many thanks to Gail Nielsen and her crew for Sunday's wonderful NovemberFest meal and celebration!  It was a great time.

ELCA Disaster Relief: Super Typhoon Haiyan

     One of the most powerful storms ever recorded, Super Typhoon Haiyan, crashed across the central islands of the Philippines. With winds of over 200 miles per hour and torrential rains, it has caused massive destruction, loss of lives and forced millions of people to flee their homes.

    Our help is needed to make a difference in the lives of those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Through partnerships and as a member of ACT Alliance, Lutheran Disaster Response is responding to the most urgent needs of food, water, clothing, shelter, sleeping material and medicine. Possible assistance may also include helping those whose livelihood of fishing or farming has been destroyed.

     Gifts designated to "Pacific Typhoon Response" will be used by Lutheran Disaster Relief in full – 100 percent – to help with immediate and long-term need. Your generous offerings of prayer and financial support will help those affected as they journey to recover.

     If you wish to make a donation toward relief efforts, use your blue missions envelope or any other and mark it clearly for Typhoon Relief. This past Sunday, November 17, Mount Olive members contributed $2420 toward this effort. The need is great, and our continued donations help.

The Art Shoppe

     For those who are new to Mount Olive, I would like to extend a special invitation to visit and shop at the Art Shoppe for the upcoming holidays.

     Three years ago, Mount Olive was invited to join A Minnesota Without Poverty in a micro-enterprise that would support local artists. A retail space in the Midtown Global Market, in the old Sears building one block from Mount Olive, was obtained for this purpose. The Art Shoppe faces Lake Street in the west corridor of the Midtown Global Market.

     There are now sixty artists involved who offer their work in a variety of forms: clothing, jewelry, pottery, photos, cards, glass-blowing, and woodworking.

     Are you looking for some one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts this year? Shop and support the artists at The Art Shoppe.

Carol Austermann, 
  Neighborhood Ministries Director

How are you?

     “Just fine!” or some similar response is often our automatic reply.  If things aren’t really all that fine, we aren’t sure the inquirer really wants to know so we hesitate to elaborate further.  The fact is life brings changes to each of us and we are often surprised by how difficult and even painful these changes can be.  As Christians we know we can share the complications of life with each other, but often we aren’t sure how to go about it.

     Mount Olive Congregational Care group would like to open a conversation so that those of us who care for others can share experiences and insights, and in so doing, strengthen one another through shared faith.  A four-week structured group will be offered at Mount Olive on Fridays at 1:00 PM beginning December 27. Cathy Bosworth, Vicar Emily Beckering and Marilyn Gebauer will act as facilitators. Each week a brief educational component will be offered with equal time for each person to share personally in a confidential, supportive setting.

     If you have interest in attending, or have questions about this, please call Cathy Bosworth or Marilyn Gebauer. Cathy can be reached at 952-949-3679 or Marilyn can be reached at 651-704-9539 or If four or more people have interest in participating, each will be contacted to confirm the group will meet as planned.

Narthex Updating

     A big thank you goes out to Mount Olive members who helped with new upgrades and maintenance of the narthex.

     The changes have been subtle but over the last couple months you may have noticed a few changes in the narthex. It started with some tough scrubbing of the brick walls in the north stairwell to the balcony.  Many years of buildup on the walls had had turned the stairwell bricks a very dark color, accentuated by much lighter colored chips in the  brick.  Steve Pranschke, Bob Lee, John Meyer and Sue Ellen Zagrabelny applied a fair amount of elbow grease and heavy duty cleaner to brighten those brick walls. Thank you, Steve, Bob, John and Sue Ellen.
     A few days later, new carpet was delivered and as the carpet layers were removing the old carpet from the stairwells, they found that the floor boards on the first landing of the south staircase were dangerously decaying from an old water damage problem and needed to be replaced before the new carpet could be installed.  Who do you call in an emergency situation where some major floor repair is needed immediately??  Well, the dream team of Art Halbardier and George Oelfke appeared on a moment’s notice, and they cut out the decayed floor boards and replaced them with new flooring all in time for the new carpet to be installed without any delays.  Thank you, Art and George.

     Also over the last few weeks, new brighter lighting has been installed in the stairwells leading to the balcony and in the two stairwells leading to the undercroft.  Future plans call for painting the stairwells to the undercroft and more new lighting at the bottom of the stairwells.

     Lastly, Mark Pipkorn hand crafted new brighter globes for the four main lights in the narthex.  The original globes were installed in the early 1960s and were made of fiberglass that had darkened considerably, especially when larger, hotter light bulbs had been used and caused the fiber glass to discolor.  Thank you, Mark!

     Also a special thank you to Brian Jacobs for providing his decorative expertise and help in choosing and ordering and installing the carpet and lighting.

Mittens + Gloves = Warm Hands

     At the Community Meals in December (7th and 21st), mittens and glove will be given to our guests who need/want them. If you would like to donate mittens and/or gloves to this cause, please call Irene Campbell at 651/230-3927.

To the Wearers of Albs

     As the season of Advent approaches and the worship assistants’ albs get more frequent use, please take a moment or two to check your alb to see if it needs to be repaired or replaced. Take a good, long look! Also, look for additional information on the alb closet door. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Carol Austermann at 612/722-5123.

Communion Ministry at Mount Olive

     We are looking to add some new Communion Ministers to our team.

      As an extension of Pastor Crippen’s ministry, each week Communion Ministers visit members of our congregation who aren’t able to attend a Sunday service because of a short-term recuperation or long-term illness. During our visits, we share the Eucharist, creating a connection to our weekly worship.

     Each year Communion Ministers make more than 200 visits, and we want make sure we meet the needs of congregation members as they arise.

     We typically ask Communion Ministers to visit 1-2 members one time per month, and while the visits are usually on Sundays, they can be scheduled for other days, too.

     If you are interested in becoming a part of this rewarding experience or would like more information about it, please contact Tom Graves and Ginny Agresti at 651-292-1685, or by email at

Field Trip!

     Interested in attending the largest choral music event in the world?  Ever seen the film “The Singing Revolution” or maybe have heard the recent concert of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir?  Ever thought of visiting Saint Saviour’s Church in Riga, Latvia that Mount Olive was instrumental in resurrecting (with Arden and Jana Haug) in the 1990’s?

     Join former Mount Olive Cantor Mark Sedio and his partner, Jeff Sartain as they lead a trip to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this summer from June 27 through July 7.  The group will visit three interestingly diverse capital cities: Vilnius (Lithuania - a gem of a city with stunning Baroque architecture and a center of Jewish learning), Riga (Latvia’s lovely capital - not only lots of red brick like Copenhagen but also a treasure chest of a peculiar brand of Art Nouveau), and finally Tallinn (Estonia - boasting one of the best preserved Medieval city centers in all of Europe).  The culmination of the trip is the All-Estonia LAULUPIDU (the Song Festival which happens only once every five years) in which 120,000 people join together in song. It is one of the largest choral events in the world!  All this, plus side trips to places like Cesis (Latvia) - a pristinely preserved Latvian town and the Estonian island of Saaremaa with its many windmills, mysterious crater lakes, and one of Europe’s largest stone Teutonic fortresses.

     Tour brochures will soon be available in the church office. For more information, contact Mark at 612/ 767-9230 or  Hope you’ll consider joining us!

                                     Mark Sedio

Incarnation Icon

     Adam Krueger and Thomas Fenner have commissioned an Incarnation icon, which they are giving to Mount Olive in memory of Adam’s mother. The icon writer (or painter), Nicholas Markell (who also wrote the icon of the Ascension in Mount Olive's columbarium), will present the icon to Adam and Thomas and will discuss the icon -- its genesis, its symbolism, its meanings -- at the Adult Forum on December 1.

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