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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Olive Branch, 2/19/14

Accent on Worship

The Assembly

     In my adult forum a couple of weeks ago, I discussed my experiences in worship in other churches during my sabbatical.  I mentioned that I wanted to get a t-shirt that on the front said “I’m already IN” (Baptized, child of God – full benefactor of the Grace of God, just normally at a different company branch office!).  On the back I wanted it to say “Always have been” (as in, a member of God’s family, unconditionally loved).  Assumptions frequently get made about why someone may be in attendance at church, when there is really one thing we can and should assume, and that is that everyone at any given liturgy has gathered for one purpose:  to worship God and have God speak to them.  In God’s eyes,  it doesn’t matter who is a “member” or not,  who is local or not,  who is there for the first time or not,  God loves all the same,  and we are all there for the same purpose and do the liturgy at hand together.

     The ELCA began using a term when it went about preparing Evangelical Lutheran Worship:  “The Assembly”.

     I think this is the perfect way to say who is at worship.  It shows no distinctions between “inside” and “outside” a membership roster.  It gives no heed to frequency of attendance.  It’s simply, “this is who is here today, and all are here for the same things” and in God’s eyes,  we are all equal.
     Outside of the liturgy, all of us are called to be about hospitality, however.  We do need to keep our antennae up – to be aware of the needs each other has.  Someone may indeed be needing a greeting.  Someone may want to be left alone.  Someone may be looking for acceptance – for unconditional love.  Someone may need food.  Someone may need help getting through the liturgy – it is important to remain aware of all of these things.

     What happens outside the liturgy is the proof-in-the-pudding – did we mean what we said and did as an assembly doing the liturgy?  Do we love each other equally?

     Even if it’s someone we struggle to like, we stand beside them and praise God.  God always has loved both of us.  “God makes the sun rise on the evil and the good” (Matt. 5:45).  It’s our calling to turn our attitude around.  Rather than saying, “Glad you’re with us today,” we should be saying, “I’m glad to join YOU in this assembly today.”  That is the honor.  And for the one with whom we might struggle, or as the Gospel this Sunday says, “our enemies” – it is our calling to  a) love them,   b)  be with them in the assembly at worship,  and  c) pray for THEM!!

     It’s because we’re all IN.  Always have been.

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

 February 23, 2014: 7th Sunday after Epiphany

 Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
 Psalm 119:33-40
 I Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 Matthew 5:38-48

March 2, 2014: Transfiguration of Our Lord

 Exodus 24:12-18
 Psalm 2
 2 Peter 1:16-21
 Matthew 17:1-9

This Week’s Adult Forum

February 23: “From Earth, to Eden, to Ground: The Opening Chapters of the Book of Genesis,” presented by Scholar-in-Residence, Prof. Earl Schwartz of Hamline University.  

Book Discussion's Upcoming Reads

For their meeting on March 8, the Book Discussion Group will read Howards End, by E. M. Forster, and for April 12 they will read Elizabeth and Hazel, by David Margolick.

Centering Prayer Group to begin March 4

     Hello, my name is Sue Ellen Zagrabelny and I am a member of Mount Olive and an oblate or lay associate at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, WI. One of the monastic disciplines practiced at the monastery is centering prayer, an emptying of oneself in prayer in order to be accessible to the Spirit. A Centering Prayer Group will be offered at Mount Olive at two different times over a period of 5 weeks.

     A brief introduction of Centering Prayer will be provided and written material about the discipline will be made available.

     On Tuesday, the group will meet after Bible Study, from 1:15 to 1:45 March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1.  On Wednesday, the group will meet before the Lenten Supper at 5:30 to 6:00 on March 12, 9, 19, 26 and April 2. Both sessions will meet in the library.

     If you have questions, please contact Sue Ellen Zagrabelny at 815-997-6020 or via email to Please join me in this meaningful discipline of Lent.

A Farewell Celebration

March 14 will be Donna Neste's last day as our Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator.  Donna has served God and Mount Olive admirably for many decades and it's time to bid her a fond farewell. We invite members of the congregation to donate to a gift in Donna's honor. Please make checks payable to Mount Olive Lutheran Church (be sure to designate them "Donna's Gift"), and bring or mail them to the church office by Friday, March 7. There will be a meal and celebration after the second liturgy on Sunday, March 16.  For questions, contact Carol Austermann or Kathy Thurston.

Stories for the Journey:  Thursday Evening Bible Study

This Thursday is the final session in the current Thursday evening Bible study series. Pr. Crippen will conclude a series on the parables of Jesus and how they provide us a vision of God’s reign. As with all these Thursday series, they meet in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., beginning with a light supper.

 2014 Lenten Devotional Books

     Susan Cherwien has prepared another Lenten devotional booklet for our use during this upcoming season of Lent.

     Copies of Journey Into Lent 2014 are available in the narthex and in the church office. Pick yours up soon! If you need a copy to be mailed to you, just contact the church office.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5.

Scholar In Residence

Beginning on February 23 and continuing through March 16, Professor Earl Schwartz of Hamline University will make presentations to the Adult Forum as the first Mount Olive Scholar in Residence. He will engage the Forum with presentations he has titled “From Earth, to Eden, to Ground: The Opening Chapters of the Book of Genesis.” Professor Schwartz has led Bible studies for the Adult Forum in the past, and he never fails to excite, inspire, and educate. The Scholar-in-Residence program is made possible by a generous grant from the Mount Olive Foundation. We will all be grateful to the Foundation for this grant and to Professor Schwartz for his contribution to the knowledge and spiritual formation of those who hear him.

100th Birthday Celebration

 This Sunday, February 23, all are invited to join Paul and Ted Odlaug and their families for coffee and cake as we celebrate the 100th birthday of Dorothy Odlaug.  Dorothy’s birthday is February 22, President’s Day.
     The reception will take place in the Chapel Lounge after the second liturgy.  We know that Dorothy is eagerly looking forward to seeing all of you at this time as she has been unable to be among you now for almost a year.  Please, no gifts.  Cards or just greetings would more than welcome.

Thank you,
Paul & Ted Odlaug

Friendly Calling Program

     Mount Olive began a Friendly Calling Program last May.  There are currently about 15 people called on a regular basis by trained Friendly Callers to offer companionship and support. We need another caller to complement the current group.  If you are interested in making one or two calls on a regular basis and are willing to attend a brief training session, please contact Sue Ellen Zagrabelny at 815-997-6020 or by email to

Gift Giving

     The Board of Directors of Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation soon will meet to recommend the designation of its annual gift to the congregation.  It appears that this gift again will break another record, allowing more to be done in and for our church.

     The Foundation Board actively solicits gift designation suggestions from the Pastor, Cantor, Director of Neighborhood Ministries, and every member of the Vestry.  Individual congregation members also can be part of this process.  If you know of a worthy project or need at Mount Olive, please speak with the Vestry member whose program area applies to your suggestion.  He or she will share your recommendation with the Foundation board for consideration.

     Since its 1972 inception, the Mount Olive Foundation has distributed over $300,000 to benefit our church.  It is our privilege and joy to further Mount Olive's meaningful mission, now and far into the future.

- Keith Bartz, President

To the Wearers of Albs

     Please sign your name and list your alb number on the chart provided on the inside of the alb closet door! We need to know which albs receive the most use to assure that we have enough of them in the appropriate sizes. Thanks for your help!

- Carol Austermann

Sign Up For Coffee!

The coffee time following each Sunday liturgy is a great time to meet new friends and to enjoy conversation with friends already made. Coffee hosts make this happen and we need folks to sign up on the new sign up board. If you would like to host but want to serve with another person, contact Carla Manuel at 612-521-3952 or see her at coffee most any Sunday morning. Thanks from Carla and the Congregational Care Hospitality Team.

Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Banner

     In the parables, the shepherd finds the sheep and the woman finds the coin, however, the Neighborhood Ministries Committee has been unable to find Mount Olive’s banner for the May Day Parade. Have you seen it? It was last seen at church in its labeled bag, which is about 40 inches long. The banner is 36x120 inches, and has our name and church logo on it.

     This May, Mount Olive’s neighborhood celebrates the 40th anniversary of the May Day Parade. With our banner or without it, we plan to walk, wave flags, cheer, picnic, and have fun at this year’s May Day Parade. Plan now to join us!

From the Church Library

Stop in to our main library soon to see the book and bulletin board displays regarding Black American History Month, observed annually in February.  The bulletin board near the check-out desk provides a chronology of black history and people from the early days of slave trade through the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which abolished slavery) and was adopted by the 38th Congress in 1865.  The books on display include:

George Washington Carver (The man who overcame), by Lawrence Elliott
My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., by Coretta Scott King
Handyman of the Lord (The life and ministry of The Rev. Holmes Borders), by James W. English
Cecil E. Newman, Newspaper Publisher, by L.E.Leipold
The Emancipation of Robert Sadler, by Robert Sadler and Marie Chapian
Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Straight From the Heart, by Roger D. Hatch and Frank E. Watkins, editors
Just Mahalia, Baby (The Mahalia Jackson Story), by Laurraine Goreau
I Touched a Sparrow -- Ethel Waters, by Twila Knaack
Black, White and Gray (21 points of view on the Race Question), edited by Bradford Daniel
The American Presidents (Biographies of the Chief Executives, from George Washington through Barack Obama), by David Whitney (Rev. and Updated 11th edition)

 A new bookmark available in our library, to take for free, has these suggestions for "What Good Readers Do" such as:
        Good Readers have a purpose for reading,
        Good Readers think about what they already know,
        Good Readers make sure they understand what they read,
        Good Readers look at pictures also when possible,
        Good Readers predict what will happen next
        Good Readers form pictures in their mind, and
        Good Readers practice that trait often!

- Leanna Kloempken

Bread for the World Workshop Coming to Mount Olive in March

One of three annual Bread for the World workshops will be held at Mount Olive this year on Sunday March 2, beginning 1:00 p.m.  A light lunch will be served in the Undercroft after the late liturgy for those who plan to stay for the workshop.  If you plan to attend please call Donna Neste at church so that the servers can plan accordingly.  More information about the workshop is written below.  There are also brochures available on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board directly below the stairs by Donna's office.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

     The Shrove Tuesday pancake supper will be held on Tuesday, March 4, from 6 to 6:45 pm.  Everyone is invited for an evening of pancakes, costumes, games and fun. At 6:45 pm we will observe the burning of the palms for the Ash Wednesday ashes.  Bring your dried palms from last year and leave them in the basket in the narthex.  Kids can wear costumes, and adults can dress festively in any way they choose!

     Help is needed from people 6th grade to 12th grade to assist with the pancake races.  If you are able to come and help with this event, please call or email Beth Sawyer at 651-434-0666 or  If you would like to help decorate the church basement on March 4 during the day, please also call Beth Sawyer to let her know.

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