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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Olive Branch, 12/4/13

Accent on Worship

Eyes Wide Open

     Many Christmases ago when my brother and sister and I were young, we went on a special shopping trip downtown with my mother. By the end of the day, the car was filled with presents for our cousins and grandparents and one another.

     On the way home, we stopped at a stoplight under the freeway. There, under the bridge, stood an older man with a sign. As he approached the car, my mother rolled down the window and reached for her purse.

     My sister, who sat in the front seat, began to cry out, “No, mama! Please! You don’t know that man! He’s scary!”

     The man paused. The light turned green.

     My mother looked at the man apologetically.

     He looked back at her with his kind, weathered eyes, and smiled softly. And we drove away.

     To this day, my mother remembers the man’s eyes.

     I remember what she told my sister as we drove away: “I do know him, Abbey. That was Jesus.”

     The difference between my mother and us children that afternoon was that she knew who to look for. She expected to meet Jesus often, and her eyes were wide open, always on the lookout to see him.

     In this season of Advent, we hear again of what God has done, but we are not preparing ourselves for the baby Jesus to come or imagining ourselves at the manger. Advent means “arrival, approach, coming.” During Advent, the Holy Spirit is preparing us to see Christ coming to us here and now, and opening our eyes to how God’s future is already breaking into our midst so that we may live this season of Advent—and all of our lives—with eyes wide open.

- Vicar Emily Beckering

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

Sunday Readings

December 8, 2013 – Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 11:1-10 + Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13 + Matthew 3:1-12

December 15, 2013 – Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 35:1-10 + Psalm 146:5-10
James 5:7-10 + Matthew 11:2-11

Fair Trade Craft Sale

     The Missions committee is hosting a Fair Trade Craft Sale during Advent. Purchase beautiful and unique Fair Trade items from SERVV International, handmade by disadvantaged artisans in developing regions around the world. With each purchase, you help artisans maintain steady work and a sustainable income so they can provide for their families.

     The crafts will be available for purchase after both services on December 1, 8 and 15 (cash and check only).  Fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate from Equal Exchange will also be available. This is not a fund-raiser, just an opportunity to buy good products for a good cause.

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.

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!

Alternative Gift Giving

     Are you looking for something different to do this year for Christmas gifts?  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

Chancel-Cleaning Gathering

     The Altar Guild is hosting a chancel-cleaning event on Saturday, December 14, from noon to 3:00 p.m. All are welcome to help out for an hour or two. Bring your favorite duster and polishing rags, and help spiff up our worship space for Christmas. Questions? Contact Beth Gaede via email at bethgaede [at] comcast [dot] net.

Caring Bridge

     Several have asked for a Caring Bridge web address for Gene Hennig. His daughter, Kate, has asked us to share the following, for those who want the latest updates on his surgery and recuperation:

An Opportunity to Thank Our Terrific Staff

     Each year at this time the Vestry asks that you consider a monetary gift to recognize our Mount Olive staff for the faithful service that they provide throughout the year.   If you would like to contribute, please leave (or mail) a donation marked "staff gift" in the church office.   Checks can be made payable to Mount Olive Lutheran Church.  Gifts should be received by December 15.


- Lora Dundek, Vestry President

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.

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.

Home Care Holiday Kits for Our Savior’s Housing

     Many residents of Our Savior’s Shelter have moved into the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. These individuals have struggled with homelessness for years and are now finally settled into their very own apartment, which they are able to maintain with the support of Our Saviour's Housing Case Management. Holiday Home Care Baskets are a wonderful gift to help ease their budgets and maintain a beautiful and clean home of their own.

Suggested items include:
-glass cleaner -toilet cleaner
-all-purpose cleaner -disinfectant wipes
-micro-fiber cloths -laundry soap
-sponges -fabric softener
-dish soap -bleach

     Our Savior’s currently has 75 Residents in this program and would happily accept any number of baskets the people of Mount Olive are able to put together!  In order to deliver the baskets to each resident in time for the holiday's, we are asking that all baskets be delivered to Mount Olive by Sunday,  December 15.

National Lutheran Choir Christmas Festival: LIGHT 

     This year's treasured Christmas Festival, “Light No Dark Can Overcome,” features both well-known and new music, including Midwest premieres by Kevin Siegfried and Tom Trenney. Carols, anthems and poetry combine to create a journey in time and space. Directed by NLC Artistic Director, David Cherwien, Gregory Peterson, organist/pianist.

Friday, December 13, 2013 - 4:30pm
Friday, December 13, 2013 - 8:00pm
Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 8:00pm

     All performances held at the Basilica of St. Mary, 88 North 17th St. in Minneapolis (612.333.1381).

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.

Dec. 8 Forum: 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 8 (rescheduled from December 1 as previously announced).

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

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