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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Olive Branch, 3/19/14

Accent on Worship

Step In

     Singing in public is truly an amazing thing.

     There are times, however, when it reminds me of high school days when I used to play in a rock band at dances.  We waited with great nervous anticipation for someone to “break the ice” and dance, even though the dance floor was empty.  It would take awhile some times.  We’d offer several songs, sometimes an entire set, before someone would brave the floor.  But we knew that once someone did, the floor would quickly fill up and we’d be set for the rest of the night.  And sometimes, when we’d sense some energy coming from the floor, we’d step on the gas a bit (so to speak) and get them going even more!

     As you may have guessed, I draw a parallel from this “break the ice” dancing syndrome to congregational singing.

     People are very nervous about singing alone, or about feeling like they are being heard by someone else.  This is understandable – our voices are very personal, and we can’t change them in for a new one.  I’ve also known few who actually like their own voices when they hear them.  But when we’re singing together, the good news is that we’re NOT singing solo.  The more we all break the ice and step in, the easier it is for all of us to sing out.  
sing out.

     My predecessor with the National Lutheran Choir, Larry Fleming, once heard all of the voices of one section one at a time.  His response was, “Amazing.  Individually, they sound terrible.  But as a group, it’s magic.”  Indeed, when singing together a new sound is created that involves the contributions of all the individual voices with their different sounds to a new collective that can be magic.

     I’ve been in situations where all I sense is fear.  Everyone half mumbles out of fear that they might stick out if they sing more. I find myself doing the same, and funny thing:  can’t sing much, and certainly not very high because to do so involves “stepping on the gas” a bit with my voice.  And frankly, I’m not too crazy about my own voice either. But I don’t mind singing when there’s company.  In the fear-filled situation, the hymns feel like an obligatory chore rather than the opportunity that they are.

     When we all sing together, there’s nothing like it.  We’re all breaking the ice, we’re all on a limb together, and none of us sticks out.  Then as Cantor, I can sense that, and help us all step on the gas a little more through the use of the organ,  or - equally amazing - let it go unaccompanied, which lets the sound float like clouds of paradise!  When the singing is strong, that is a fantastic sensation!  When it’s weak, we hear fear.

     Public song is amazing! Do us all a favor, and decide to let go and sing in.  The more sound, the more inviting and encouraging it is to the next reluctant participant in song.  So, YOU be the one who breaks the ice.

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

March 23, 2014: Third Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17:1-7
 Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
 John 4:5-42

March 30, 2014: Third Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 16:1-13
 Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
 John 9:1-41

Notice of Congregation Meeting

     The April Semi-annual congregational meeting will be held after the second liturgy on Sunday, April 6.   Business before the congregation will include election of officers and Vestry members for 2014-2015, annual report of the Mount Olive Foundation, and an update on the Capital Campaign.

     At the April 2013 congregation meeting, the congregation approved a limited capital campaign that would help to put Mount Olive and its many ministries on firm financial footing in 2014 and beyond.  A target of $182,000 was approved to be used for two purposes. The first is to restore funds that the congregation borrowed over a number of years from its restricted accounts (funds given by individuals who designated them for specific purposes); and the second is to create a cash reserve to help cover routine future expenses at times when donations are insufficient.

Midweek Lenten Worship on Wednesdays
March 12 – April 9

Noon: Holy Eucharist, followed by soup luncheon

7:00 pm: Evening Prayer, preceded by soup supper, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

A Servant Community: Lenten Midweek

  Baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, the community of the faithful are also bound into the servant role of our Messiah, called to give of ourselves for each other and the world.   Just as the kingdom comes into the world fully when the Son of God sets aside all power and domination and goes to the cross, so too we live out our lives as servant people who are willing to lose all for the sake of the other.

     This Lent in our midweek worship, both at the noon Eucharist and evening Vespers, we will be using Paul’s first letter to Corinth as an entrance into reflection on the servant life of the community of Christ, on what our call means in our life together and our life in the world, on what it is to live in the kingdom of God now.

This Week’s Forum 

March 23:  “Bringing Faith to Our Civic Life,” presented by Sen. John Marty.  

Lenten Devotional Available Online

     Again this year, Susan Cherwien’s Lenten devotional is also available online. Visit the blog and save it as a favorite, so that it’s easily accessible to you throughout the remainder of the season of Lent.

An Invitation to Confession

     During the season of Lent I am making myself available at some regular times to hear individual confession and to offer absolution to any who desire it.  I will be in the chancel from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each Monday in Lent, and continuing through the Monday of Holy Week.  If you wish to come for confession, simply come to the altar rail.  There will be a worship book so we can follow the rite together.  If someone is already there, please wait near the back of the nave and when I’m free, come forward.  While waiting, even if I’m free and you want to prepare yourself, praying the psalms in the pew or reading Scripture is worth considering.

- Pr. Joseph Crippen

The Complete Rameau Concerti – This Sunday, March 23, 4 pm

     Sponsored by Mount Olive Music & Fine Arts, Tami Morse, harpsichord, Marc Levine, violin, and Tulio Rondon, viol da gambe, will present a complete performance of the five Harpsichord Concertos of Jean-Philippe Rameau.      

     Virtuoso harpsichordist, Tami Morse, is featured in an exceptional tour de force: a complete performance of the five Harpsichord Concertos of Jean-Philippe Rameau. Unlike the modern concerto requiring a full orchestra, these masterful works, filled with beautiful melodies and exceptional harmonies, are accompanied with perfectly orchestrated baroque violin and viola da gamba parts.
     Join us – and bring a friend!

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month!

     This is an annual event supported by congregations and other religious and civic associations throughout Minnesota.

     Mount Olive has participated every year since it began in 1982.  We encourage you to be extra generous with your food or financial donations for our local food shelf during the month of March.  This drive fills the shelves of 300 food shelves across the state of Minnesota.

     Fifty percent of all food shelf recipients are children.  Twenty percent of all adult recipients are elderly.  More than sixty percent of those adults who use food shelves are the working poor.

     If possible, we encourage you to give funds (using your blue missions envelope, clearly labeled for the food shelf) instead of food donations. Ten dollars given to the food shelf can buy $40 worth of food when purchased by the food shelves.  How-ever, all donations are welcome! If you enjoy shopping for food to donate, please place your food donations in the cart in the cloak room.

Sign Up to Bring Tutoring Snacks

     Check out the snack sign-up sheet for Way to Goals Tutoring in the lower level.  Snacks for approximately 25 youth and tutors are needed on Tuesday evenings through May 27.  Your help is very much appreciated!

Friendly Callers Meeting

     Mount Olive Friendly Callers will meet on Sunday, March 30, immediately following the first liturgy. This meeting will take place in the Undercroft.

     Please bring the names and numbers of the people you are calling on a regular basis.

Luther College Cathedral Choir to Perform at Mount Olive

     The Luther College Cathedral Choir will perform in concert April 5, 2014, 7:00 p.m. at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 3045 Chicago Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN. No tickets are needed, but a freewill offering will be received at the concert.

     The Cathedral Choir, directed by Dr. Jennaya Robison, performs a varied program of sacred music. The concert program will include choral masterpieces by J.S. Bach, Hassler, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. At the heart of the program is Estonian composer’s Ēriks Ešenvalds’ “Stars” for choir, water-tuned glasses and Tibetan singing bowls. Favorite works by Olaf Christiansen, F. Melius Christiansen, Moses Hogan, Z. Randall Stroope, and others are included in an eclectic program suitable for listeners of all ages.

     The choir is in need of housing for some of their members. If you are able to provide hospitality for choir members, please contact Cantor Cherwien as soon as possible.

Housing Needed!

     Housing is needed for Luther College's Cathedral Choir, Saturday, April 5.  If you can house two or more students,  PLEASE call the office,  or let Cantor Cherwien know this Sunday or the following Sunday.  He'll be roaming the church with the clipboard.

     Students will need to be picked up and brought to your home after their concert here at 7:00 pm,   maybe a snack that evening.   Two in a double bed is OK.  After providing breakfast for them, they need to be back at Mount Olive at 7:00 am Sunday the 6th.

     There are 23 hosts needed (four each), so if you can help, please do!

Holy Week at Mount Olive

Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday
Sunday, April 13
Holy Eucharist, 8 & 10:45 am

Monday-Wednesday of Holy Week,
April 14-16
Daily Prayer at Noon, in the side chapel of the nave

Maundy Thursday, April 17
Holy Eucharist at Noon
Holy Eucharist, with the Washing of Feet, 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday, April 18
Stations of the Cross at Noon
Adoration of the Cross at 7 pm

Holy Saturday, April 19
Great Vigil of Easter, 8:30 pm, followed by a festive reception

The Resurrection of Our Lord
Sunday, April 20
Festival Eucharist at
8 & 10:45 am

Lenten Centering Prayer Group

     Sue Ellen Zagrabelny, Mount Olive member and an oblate or lay associate at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, WI is hosting a Centering Prayer group this Lent. Centering prayer, a monastic discipline at the monastery, is an emptying of oneself in prayer in order to be accessible to the Spirit. This Centering Prayer Group will be offered at Mount Olive at two different times over a period of 5 weeks:  on Tuesdays, the group will meet after Bible Study, from 1:15 to 1:45 March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1.  On Wednesdays, 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

Way to Goals Thanks!

It has been a wonderful ride as your Coordinator of Neighborhood Ministries all these years and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who have supported Neighborhood Ministries with their finances, their volunteer efforts, and their prayers.

I usually thank all those who have supported the Way to Goals Tutoring in May. However, I will not be here at the end of the season, so I would like to thank them at this time.  Thank you to all the tutors, for their dedication and time given to the students:    Vicar Emily Beckering, Yevette Berard, Diane Brown, Peter Bunge, Patsy Holtmier, Joe Kane, Greicia Pedroso, Catherine Pususta, and Amy Thompson.

Thanks also to all those who have supplied us with snacks: Gail Nielsen, Judy Graves, Naomi Peterson, and Dennis Bidwell.

- Donna Neste

Another Word of Thanks

     Thanks to Sedona and Austin Crosby for adding some festive spirit at the community meal on March 15, by making green decorated rice crispy treats to serve!

     If you are interested in volunteering for the 3rd Saturday community meal please talk with Kat or Gretchen Campbell-Johnson or Kathy Thurston for opportunities.

Wanted: Confirmation Class Photos of Mount Olive’s Members     

     Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014, is also confirmation Sunday. For the days surrounding Pentecost we would like to display photos of the confirmation classes of current members. They will be in the hallway display case. A small sign next to each photo will identify who’s class is shown, and we will have the opportunity to go on a “where’s Waldo” search of each class photo trying to spot the current member.   After several weeks a sign will then be added identifying the location of the member in the photo.

     If you want to take part and have your confirmation photo in the display case please place your photo in  an envelope and write “To Paul Nixdorf”  and also your name, church and town (and year, if you are willing) in which you were confirmed on the envelope and leave it in the church office.  With the photo please include a note with your name plus a description of where you are located in the photo.  Please submit photos to the office by May 31.

     The display will remain up from the first week in June through early to mid-July. Your photo will then be returned to the envelope you provided and can be picked up at the church office.

Thank you.

- Paul Nixdorf

Upcoming Reads

For their meeting on April 12, the Book Discussion Group will read Elizabeth and Hazel, by David Margolick.    For the May 10 meeting, they will read, The Small Hand and Dolly, by Susan Hill.

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