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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Olive Branch, 1/8/14

Accent on Worship

The Baptism of our Lord

     We begin this time after Epiphany in the same way in which we will end. This Sunday, the Baptism of our Lord, and again on the Transfiguration of our Lord, we will hear God say: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” God the Father only speaks two times directly in the gospel of Matthew, and both times God makes it clear to us who Jesus is: he is the Son of God, and in him, God is fully present.

     These words, however, don’t only reveal who Jesus is; they tell us who we are.

     Tara was one of my most influential friends in high school; her witness is always with me. At the age of 16, Tara’s father asked her to move out of the house because taking care of her meant that he couldn’t do the things that he wanted to do or live the way that he wanted to live. Tara’s mother agreed to take her in as long as Tara paid her rent. It was evident to Tara that she was not wanted, and she was sure that her parents weren’t the only ones who felt this way. If only she were sweet enough, generous enough, thoughtful enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, fun enough, then people might love her. She spent her adolescent life working to win this love.

     One summer at Bible camp, she found what she was looking for.

     At worship Wednesday night that week, the whole camp gathered at the lake. In remembrance of our baptisms we went to the water’s edge, and our counselor made the sign of the cross on our forehead, saying the familiar words, “Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.”

     At these words, Tara wept. That night at worship, Tara connected with her baptism in a way that she never had before. She whispered to me: “Now I know for sure that I am loved. I know who I belong to.”

     Tara, like all of us, needed to be reminded. How often we seek meaning and identity in people and things that will not satisfy! Searching, hoping to find the affirmation for which we long.

     We need look no further. In our baptism, God has claimed us as God’s own. God proclaims to us: “You are mine, beloved. I am pleased with you.”

     As we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, we hear again Jesus’ true identity, and we are reminded of our own. In life and in death, we belong to the Lord.

- Vicar Emily Beckering 

Sunday Readings

January 12, 2014 – The Baptism of Our Lord
Isaiah 42:1-9 + Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43 + Matthew 3:13-17

January 19, 2014 – Second Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 49;1-7 + Psalm 40:1-11
I Corinthians 1:1-9 + John 1:29-42

Conference on Liturgy: This Weekend!

     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.

Hymn Festival, This Friday, January 10

     Mount Olive is offering its annual hymn festival (connected to the Conference on Liturgy) Friday, Jan 10 at 7:30.   This event is open to the public,  and you do not need to be registered for the conference activities on Saturday in order to attend.  The more singers the merrier!  The program will be led by the Cantorei and Cantor Cherwien, with reflections by guest theologian Donald Saliers,  Professor Emeritus at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

     The theme is “Psalm Dimensions” and focuses on various aspects of the Psalter, singing a variety of Psalms (in a variety of ways!) and hymns around the same topic. Themes include praise, lament, comfort, narration, supplication, thanksgiving and hope.  Well known hymns as well as some new ones will be sung – also in a variety of ways.

     The hymn festival format was firmly established by Cantor Paul Manz, and is now a tradition practiced many places.  Our continuing these events is an important contribution to the church and its song. Bring friends!

Stories for the Journey: Thursday Evening Bible Study Returns January 16

     Starting January 16 and running for six weeks, there will be a Thursday evening Bible study meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Pr. Crippen will lead a series on the parables of Jesus and how they provide us a vision of God’s reign. As with all these Thursday series, there will be a light supper when we begin.  If anyone wishes to provide the first week’s meal, please let Pr. Crippen know.

Bible Study at Becketwood

     Vicar Emily is offering 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 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm. This study examines the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. The next session will be in the West Dining Room at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14. The meeting room at Becketwood changes each week, so announcements will be made at the study regarding the location of the following week. All are welcome!

 It’s Cold! Think Warm!

     The May Day Parade needs us! Add the parade on May 4, 2014 (first Sunday in May) to your calendar now and plan to come to the May Day Parade. Bring your wagon and water and join the rest of our neighborhood for a good time.  We will walk Bloomington Avenue to Powderhorn Park. All of our neighbors will be there, so let’s plan to be there, too!

Every Church a Peace Church January Meeting

     Every Church a Peace Church's bimonthly potluck supper meeting will be held on Monday, January 13, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Spirit of St. Stephen's Catholic Community, 2201 First Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404.

    The speaker this month is Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, and his presentation is entitled, "Maintaining Hope in Hard Times." Pallmeyer is Associate Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.  He is an activist academic whose life and work over the past thirty has been have focused on addressing the political, economic, faith, and foreign policy dimensions of hunger and poverty.

     This event is organized by Every Church A Peace Church, and co-sponsored by Twin Cities Peace Campaign and WAMM End War Committee. FFI: Call 612-522-1861 and/or visit them online at http://www://

Neighborhood Ministry Position News

     As previously announced, Mount Olive will hire an interim person to be the Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator from the time of Donna's departure in March until a permanent replacement is hired in the fall.  A position description for this interim position is being finalized and will be ready for distribution next week.  If any member of the congregation is interested in the position, or might know of someone who would be interested, please contact the office ASAP.   Cha will take names and contact information, including email if possible, and then send out the position details next week. This is work that would be eligible for job-sharing.  For any questions, contact Lisa Nordeen.

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.

Help for Victims of the Cedar/Riverside Explosion/Fire

     The Minneapolis Area Synod invites prayers for the Cedar-Riverside victims and the neighborhood as it recovers from the New Year's Day explosion and fire.

     Trinity Lutheran has been organizing ways in which help can be given. Donations of food and clothing can be made at the Brian Coyle Community Center at 420 15th Street, or through Trinity Lutheran Congregation, 2001 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

     Financial donations may be made through the Brian Coyle Community Center online at - note "Cedar-Riverside Fire Disaster Relief". Financial donations may also be made through Trinity Lutheran Congregation; write "Fire Disaster Relief" on the memo line. Donations will go to the survivors of the fire and their families and to the family-owned business that was destroyed.

     For updates, check the Minneapolis Area Synod Facebook page.

Mount Olive T-Shirts

     Gail Nielsen is selling Mount Olive t-shirts for $7 each. These shirts come in small, medium, large (red, black, royal blue, purple), and extra large (red, royal blue).  These shirts will be sold until they are gone, at which time different colors could be ordered if desired.

     If you are interested in purchasing a shirt, please contact Gail Nielsen (

Thank you

     We would like to thank everyone for welcoming the extra visitors who came to witness our marriage at the Advent 3 worship. It was a joy to share Mount Olive through music, liturgy, and welcoming. We thank you for the deeply meaningful experience of being held by you on that day. And our thanks to everyone that helped with the food and organization that comes with a big crowd; it is especially appreciated.

- Randy Werner and Peter Tressel

Disaster and Refugee Support

     Thank you to Mount Olive for supporting the ELCA's call for contributions to support those affected by the typhoon and Syrians uprooted by war.  Individual Mount Olive members responded by contributing approximately $2,700 toward the ELCA's efforts to provide typhoon assistance and $150 toward the ELCA's support for Syrian refugees.

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