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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Olive Branch, 4/9/14

In the midst of life…

     One thing I like about a hymn festival for which I travel: it’s usually three days of intense focus – I practice, rehearse, and lead the festival, away from everything else that normally defines my days when I’m here at home.  That focus really helps provide for an intense journey for the hymn festival!  Each piece becomes joined in a great flow with great clarity – without distractions in my preparations.

     This Sunday once again we enter into a week of intense focus:  we step into the story, right into the middle of it.  What I find so amazing about this week for us, is that most of us must go through it in the midst of our regular, normal (for most, busy and distracted) lives.  Work, sleep, school, relationships, bill paying, car repair, etc., continue to demand our attention,  yet every day we gather to retell and relive the story which defines us.

     While it may seem easier if we were to all leave town and go through the week with total focus, I rather like the “in the midst of life” dimension to Holy Week for most of us.  It exposes that inner part of us to our co-workers, friends, and even families.  We decline invitations for dinners, parties, etc. because we have something important to do.  “I’d love to, but I’m committed to be at church…”  It says who we actually are.  (Or rather,  “whose” we are).  It becomes a week of intense focus reminding us that all of our busy-ness is NOT the center for us.

     The week begins this Passion Sunday with what has become a two-fold drama.  The first is the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  We reenact this, beginning outside (or in the undercroft, depending on the weather) and process in with palm branches.  Yet, this part of the story is a great switcheroo, as the people thought –“Finally a just King,” not yet knowing they would be the ones yelling, “Crucify him!”  Rather, the liturgy quickly moves to the story of the crucifixion from the Gospel of Matthew, dramatically changing the mood of the day’s liturgy.

     Then on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we gather for prayer at noon.  These times of devotion help me maintain a sense of focus for this week.  In the center of the day, we’re brought back to the drama.  For those who can make the trek, even though a short service, these draw us back to the week’s significance.

     Thursday, the Triduum, “The Three Days,” includes the washing of feet, the community meal, and the dramatic stripping of the altar.

     Friday, a prayer service recalling the stations of the cross – at high noon – reminding us of the pain and suffering of Jesus.  This powerful service moves through the room filling it with smoke and the anguish of the story through our songs and powerful organ interpretations.  At the end, the organ goes silent until the Easter Proclamation of the Easter Vigil liturgy.  Once again on Friday in the evening we gather again to recall the crucifixion and adore the cross.  The great Solemn Reproaches are sung: “O my people, what have I done to you?”

     Saturday evening we begin in darkness and silence as we wait.  Five of the great stories of salvation are told, after each we sing in response in darkness.  We remember our baptism and its promises – and we dramatically proclaim Christ is Risen – to blaring bells and organ, and we sing a full throttled:  “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds.”  After this great liturgy, a great party!  Celebrating with champagne and treats – what we love to do for life’s points of celebration!

     A few hours later in Easter Sunday, again we gather – a bit blurry eyed but happily so. The choir warms up their voices, and with trumpet and organ again we celebrate a family meal of celebration:  Christ is Risen!

     Now what is more important than all of this?  See you  -- each day.    

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

April 13, 2014: Sunday of the Passion Palm Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 26:14—27:66

April 20, 2014: Resurrection of Our Lord
Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Colossians 3:1-4
Matthew 28:1-10

This Week’s Adult Forum

April 13:  Cantor Cherwien will lead us through the musical responses for Easter Vigil.  

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

Can You Help?  Do You Know Someone Who Can Help? 

     We have an urgent need for two more tutors for the Neighborhood Ministries Tuesday Evening Way to Goals Tutoring Program.  The tutoring program meets the 8 Tuesday evenings in April and May from 7:00 - 8:30 pm.

     Tutors work with one or two eager grade school learners - sometimes helping with homework, sometimes working on basic reading or math skills, and always being a mentor.  If you can help or would like more information, contact Connie Toavs in the Neighborhood Ministries office or at

Book Discussion Group’s 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, Susan Hill.

Holy Week and Triduum 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

Dusting and Polishing Day

     The Altar Guild will host a chancel-cleaning event on Saturday, April 12, from noon to 3:00 p.m. Bring your favorite duster and polishing rags, and help our worship space glow for Holy Week and the Triduum. Questions? Contact Steve Pranschke: hspranschke [at] gmail [dot] com.

Paschal Garden

     Volunteers will be on hand for one more Sunday (April 13) before and after the liturgies to receive your donations to purchase Easter flowers for this year’s Paschal Garden.

Noon Liturgy on Maundy Thursday

     There will be a simple noon Eucharist on Maundy Thursday this year, in addition to the Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.  In the evening will be the full rite beginning the Triduum, including confession and absolution, footwashing, and the stripping of the altar.

     The noon service is offered to accommodate those who have difficulty getting out in the evening, and will include confession and absolution and the Eucharist.

Easter Carry-In Brunch

     There will be a carry-in Easter Brunch between liturgies on Easter morning, April 20.  Bring your favorite Easter treats to share.

Night On the Street

     On Friday night, April 11, Mount Olive and TRUST Youth will again participate in Night On the Street at Plymouth Congregational Church.  Night On the Street is an opportunity for teens to learn about youth homelessness through activities, speakers, and by experiencing what it is like to sleep in a card board box in the parking lot.
     We've been asked to raise enough funds to provide one week’s worth of safe housing and supportive services for a homeless youth, $140 (seven days of housing and supportive services).  All donations to A Night On the Street will go to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, which provides housing and services for homeless youth.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact the church office or Julie Manuel.

Capital Campaign Corner

     Sometime this week you will receive a letter from Vestry President Lora Dundek and Pastor Crippen asking you make a pledge or donation to our ongoing capital campaign.  As the letter explains, the Vestry is asking for everyone's help to fully fund our designated funds and to provide a two-month cash reserve to help us cope with the ups and downs of congregational giving.  
     This is a financially healthy church.  We meet our budget every year and give generously to causes missions outside our walls.   But we need a stronger financial foundation as we move forward into the future, and this is what we hope to gain with this campaign.  
     Please prayerfully consider your response and return your pledge card as soon as possible.  Thanks so much!

Goal:  $182,000
Currently pledged:  $39,200 Percent reached:  21.5%.

New Video Ministry

     The Mount Olive Foundation approved a proposal to start a video ministry project for Mount Olive.  The proposal included getting our own fine video camera, tripod, memory cards, and a computer with the capable of producing high quality videos.

     As word of this video project has spread, I have heard from several who are interested in helping with the project.  We have members with much experience in producing video and I am excited to get people involved.  A word of thanks to Elisabeth Hunt for setting up the special Mount Olive YouTube channel.

  The first thing I learned is that there is a reason longer movies take time to prepare, edit, add titles, and then have the computer and the internet render them for YouTube and then go through the whole upload and processing process.  The learning curve is getting better but the entire process is time consuming, so please be patient. I am excited that we now have our first examples to share with everyone.

  Our first video project was to record the four-part Earl Schwartz Adult Forum Series on the Book of Genesis.  The entire series is now on YouTube and the links to the videos are below.  When you go online to view your first video you will note that under the YouTube screen there is a note that tells you there are four videos.  If you click on that note (link) all four videos will appear and you can then click on the next video you want to view.  If you save the YouTube link in your “favorite” online file you will be able to access the videos quickly.

  Dwight Penas and Susan Cherwien do a masterful job in organizing thought-provoking adult forum sessions throughout the year.  As Dwight explains in the opening video, the Mount Olive Foundation approved a grant which allowed Mount Olive to bring Earl Schwartz in for four consecutive weeks.  Before Earl’s sessions even began some Mount Olive members were concerned because they knew they would have to miss one or more of his lectures and choir members always had to step out before each session was over.  With our new videos anyone can now go back and view all four sessions in their entirety
  This Forum project is the first video project and you will see as you view the four videos that I have experimented with titles etc.  Looking back, I see I made a title error in one of the bottom titles of video 3 and called it session 2.  I hope to correct the error but it literally will take over 3 hours to make the change.  I look forward to your comments so we can always improve our videos and that the videos will reflect the quality of worship and devotion we share at Mount Olive.

- Paul Nixdorf

Earl Schwartz Adult Forum Videos
Video #1 - February 23, 2014:
Video #2 - March 2, 2014:
Video #3 - March 9, 2014:
               (note) an error in the bottom title says this is the second session,
                         it should say, the third session.  
Video #4 - March 16, 2014:

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!

Life Transitions Support Group to Begin May 14

     Caregiver? Chronic Illness?  Loss of home?  Loss of loved one?
     We each encounter a variety of losses throughout our lives.  Have you wished 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 May 14, join us for a four-week structured support group at Mount Olive.  Cathy Bosworth will serve as facilitator for this group on Wednesday evenings.  Each week a brief educational component will be offered with time for you to share personally in a confidential, supportive setting.  Vicar Emily Beckering will offer guidance on the Lament Psalms, which we will use as a vehicle for prayer and healing.  Tentatively, the group will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room. We will establish a firm meeting time  when we know what works best for those who wish to participate.

     If you are interested in attending, or have questions, please contact Cathy Bosworth (952-949-3679, email or call the church office.  If three or more people express interest in participating, each will be contacted to confirm the group will meet as planned.

National Lutheran Choir to Present “Exalt.” 

     This Spring’s “Exalt” program showcases the artistic excellence of the National Lutheran Choir with works for choir and organ alongside unaccompanied choral pieces.    

     Nationally renowned organist, Aaron David Miller, joins the NLC for a program that is both affable and energizing. Some of the works on the program include: Benjamin Britten’s Te Deum; a world premiere of a commission by Zachary Wadsworth, Great or Small; and Frank Martin’s Mass for Unaccompanied Double Chorus.

     Organ pipes and choral pipes join together for a unique experience that will leave the listener inspired and revitalized. NLC Artistic Director, David Cherwien, conducts.

When: Sunday, May 4 – 4pm
Where: St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Rd, Mahtomedi, MN 55115
Tickets: $25 Adult, $23 Senior, $20 Student
Contact: visit or call 612-722-2301.

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