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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Olive Branch, 12/18/13

Accent on Worship

Not Alone

     ‘Tis the season for Christmas movies at the Crippen home, and there are several which we always need to watch.  With the girls growing into adults and not being around as much, we’re starting to realize that we can’t wait for everyone to be home for all of these movies to be watched, so some Mary, Peter, and I are just going to go ahead and watch when we can.

     One of the movies on our family’s “must watch” list is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  I know some think it too sappy, and certainly too ubiquitous on television to have much value, but we love it, and it’s a touchstone.  But as I look at Sunday’s readings, the part of that movie that came to my mind was the horrible part, where George Bailey is in the alternate reality of a world where he never lived.

     Everything is changed, everything is wrong.  His hometown is radically different, and not in a good way.  But the hard part of all that for me is watching him go from friend to friend and not be recognized, to have doors slammed in his face by people whom he loves.  And worst of all, when he realizes that his beloved children do not even exist anymore, and his wife is terrified of this crazy stranger.

     What always strikes me is how terrifying it is for him to be utterly alone.  The panic over his uncle’s losing of the deposit money is nothing compared to the terror he felt when he was known to no one, when he was by himself.  None of his anchors in life were there anymore.

     So when Isaiah Sunday speaks of Immanuel coming, the One who is “God-With-Us,” I thought of George’s fear and desperation when he found himself utterly alone.  This is a core human fear, to be by ourselves and have no one.  Studies have shown that babies, even if fed and clothed, cannot thrive if they are not regularly with someone, held, loved.  I remember reading about the high death rates of babies in an Eastern bloc orphanage, who had their physical needs provided for but were never held or touched.

     We might like being left alone sometimes.  But humans cannot survive completely alone.  We need others as we face the joys and difficulties of life.  It makes things manageable to be with others when we face life.  It’s a great gift of our Mount Olive community that we can and are “with” each other as we live in this world.

     And now in Advent we are given an even better word: God is also with us, in our Lord Christ who comes to us in so many ways, and we are never, ever alone.  Even when we don’t know where other people are, our Emmanuel, our Lord, is with us, filling us with a meal of life, leading us through the Spirit with the Word of life, and coming into our hearts and lives with grace and hope.

     This is our prayer, our hope, our confidence this Advent: God is with us, always.  Come, Emmanuel!

- Joseph

Sunday Readings

December 22, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-16 + Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Romans 1:1-7 + Matthew 1:18-25

December 29, 2013 - First Sunday of Christmas
Isaiah 63:7-9 + Psalm 148
Hebrews 2:10-18 = Matthew 2:13-23

Evening Prayer
Wednesdays in Advent
December 4, 11, and 18
7:00 p.m.

A Note of Thanks

     Many thanks to Beth Gaede, Cynthia Prosek and her friend Ek, Bonnie McLellan, Elizabeth Hunt, Mary Dorow Peggy Hoeft, Timm Schnabell, Tim Lindholm and Sandra Pranschke for all the work completed Saturday, December 14, in cleaning the chancel, north and south sacristies and other areas of the church in preparation for the Christmas season. I really appreciate the willingness of these Altar Guild members to take time from their holiday preparations to spruce up our worship space.

 - Steve Pranschke, Altar Guild Chair

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 begins with a light supper. All are welcome!

Conference on Liturgy: Jan. 10-11, 2014

     By now you should have received the brochure for this year’s Conference on Liturgy, to be held January 10-11, 2014. The theme of this year’s conference is, “The Psalms: Humanity at Full Stretch.”

     The conference begins with a hymn festival on Friday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. Leadership for the hymn festival this year will be by the Mount Olive Cantorei, Cantor David Cherwien, and the Rev. Dr. Don Saliers. Don Saliers will be the keynote speaker for the conference this year, and will also be guest preacher at Mount Olive that Sunday for the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, January 12.

     Please note that the cost for Mount Olive members to attend this year’s conference is $35/person.

Book Discussion Group

   On January 18 (one week late due to Liturgical Conference) the Book Group will discuss Moon Tiger, by Penelope Lively, and on February 8. The Bell, by Iris Murdoch.

Christmas Worship Schedule

Christmas Eve, December 24
9:30 pm – Choral Prelude
10:00 pm – Holy Eucharist

Christmas Day, December 25
9:00 a.m. – Christmas Carry-In Breakfast
10:00 am – Festival Holy Eucharist

Name of Jesus, January 1, 2014
10:00 am – Holy Eucharist

Mittens + Gloves = Warm Hands

     At the Community Meals in December (7 and 21), 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.

Alternative Gift Giving

     Take part in a growing tradition by giving gifts that help those in need.  The Missions Committee is promoting the idea of alternative gift giving this Christmas.  For example, in honor of a loved one, for $120 you can “buy” a sheep for a family through the Heifer Project that provides warm clothing and income through the sale of the wool. We have catalogues from different charitable organizations that you can use or you can order from the organizations’ websites.  Some of these organizations are:
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran World Relief
Heifer Project International
Common Hope
Bethania Kids

Brunch Brochure

     In the brochure racks at Mount Olive is a small guide to recommended brunch places within, at most, three miles from the church. Most restaurants are within 1½ miles. If you notice deletions, additions, or corrections that need to be made to the brochure, please contact Susan Cherwien   ( sometime during the month of December, so that we can have the corrected version ready and available for our guests at this January's Liturgical Conference.

A Word of Appreciation from the Hennigs

     Many, many thanks for all the prayers, cards, e-mail messages, expressions of concern and prayer shawl we received following my recently diagnosed brain tumor and surgery.  For more than 35 years Kristie and I have been blessed to be part of the Mount Olive faith community we share with you, and the kindnesses we have just experienced are all truly appreciated.  We shall continue to keep you posted on, and in the meantime expect to see me happily back in church as best I am able. God bless you!                                                                                                    
- Gene Hennig

Friday Afternoon Support Group

      Caregiver? Chronic Illness?  Loss of home?  Loss of loved one?
     We each encounter a variety of losses throughout our lives.  Do you wish for a familiar place where you could find some reassurance, share your story, discover a simple skill or two that could help in those moments when you feel overwhelmed?

      Beginning Friday, December 27 at 1:00 p.m., join us for a four-week structured support group at Mount Olive.  Cathy Bosworth, Vicar Emily Beckering, and Marilyn Gebauer will serve as facilitators for this group on consecutive Fridays through January 17.  Each week a brief educational component will be offered with equal time for you to share personally in a confidential, supportive setting.

     If you are interested in attending, or have questions, please contact Cathy Bosworth (952-949-3679 or by email to or Marilyn Gebauer (651-704-9539 or by email to   If four or more people have interest in participating, each will be contacted to confirm the group will meet as planned.

Information About the New Pictorial Directory 

     1. Photo selection: If you have not selected the photograph for you and or your household for the new pictorial directory, please go online and choose a photograph to be included before Tuesday, December 17, 2013.  Elisabeth Hunt will be on hand Sunday, December 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the fellowship area to give assistance with your photo selection if needed.  A photo will be selected for households that have not selected one by 9 a.m. December 17, 2013.  

     2. Make-up photo sessions: Paul Nixdorf has set aside a number of slots in the next two weeks of December, for make-up photo sessions for individuals and families who have not yet had their photos taken.  We have families who have children returning from college or travel for the holidays who have already indicated an interest in having photos taken.  Please contact the church office at 612-827-5919 or and leave your name and number.  You will be contacted to schedule a time for your photos.

     3. Reserving a traditional paper/print copy of the pictorial directory:  Please contact the church office by calling 612-827-5919, or send a message via email to, to have your name put on the list for paper/print copies of the new photo directory.  There is no charge for the initial paper/print copy to households that do not have an internet connected computer. For households with computer access, a $4 donation is suggested if you request a print copy.  This will help defray the cost of printing.

     4. Online Pictorial Directory Launch: Watch for your password to the "Members Only" section of the Mount Olive website,, where the new Mount Olive Electronic Pictorial Directory will be posted.  Your password, along with instructions, will come to you via e-mail from the church office.  Our launch date is set for early January.   As previously communicated, to provide for security and privacy, the directory will be in the "Members Only" section of the website and requires a password to view material posted.

     5. Directory Updates: The Mount Olive Electronic Pictorial Directory will be updated regularly throughout the year, at least quarterly.  We have designed the directory maintenance in such a way that we can make changes and updates in the church office.  New member information and photos will be added shortly after they are welcomed.  If your home or mailing address, e-mail address, phone number or other information changes, please contact the church office at 612-827-5919, or with the updates.  Updated print copies of the directory will be made available annually.

Olive Branch Publication Schedule

There will be no Olive Branch published during the week between Christmas and New Year. The next issue will be published on Thursday, January 2.

Bible Study at Becketwood

     For the past several weeks, Vicar Beckering has been leading a topical study on the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering.

     Vicar Emily will offer a second run of the six week Bible study on human suffering at Becketwood Cooperative on five Tuesday afternoons (January 7 through February 4) from 2:00pm-3:30 pm. This topical study examines the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that
suffering. The first session will be in the East Dining Room at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7. The meeting room at Becketwood changes each week, so announcements will be made at the study regarding the location of the following week. 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 are welcome!

     Becketwood is at 4300 W River Parkway in Minneapolis.

Help with the Greens – Up and Down!

     Many hands make light work, and there are several opportunities for people to help decorate the nave and chancel for our Christmas celebrations at Mount Olive.  On Sunday, Dec. 22, after second liturgy, is the hanging of the greens, where all wreaths and roping are placed.  Any who wish to help, just come to the nave after coffee time.  On Monday, Dec. 23, at 8:30 a.m., the Altar Guild will be placing Chrismons and lights on the trees.  Last, and probably most important given it’s more easily forgotten, the taking down of the greens and trees will happen on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 8:30 a.m.  In particular, this last task requires a lot of hands, so having a good group come will make the work much easier.

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