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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Olive Branch, 7/23/14

Accent on Worship

Nothing Can Separate

     Just about when we begin to learn the difference between right and wrong, we also begin to learn that there are consequences to doing each. As a young child, I used to test these consequences by thinking of all the possible things that I could do wrong and then asking my parents what would happen if I followed through with them.  “What if I don’t clean my room? What if I don’t eat my peas?” The questions became a little more serious as I got older: “What if I fail the test? What if I disappoint you?” In their wisdom, my parents saw through my questions to the childhood fear that lay underneath; instead of warning me of the consequences, they always said, “I will love you.” 

     As a result, they gave me an unforgettable glimpse of God’s love. Such questions arise when we believe the lie that love is fragile, conditional. Jesus Christ has revealed the opposite. God’s love is enduring, unwavering, and relentless.  

     We can sometimes play the same, “what if” game with God when we begin to understand the depth of our own waywardness and of the world’s predicament. Even though we have known God’s love and mercy for many years, we may still find ourselves asking, “What about this time? What if we don’t have enough faith? What if we fail to show your love? What if we deny you, Lord? What if we can’t recognize how you are working and so we mess it up?” These fears can rise to the surface especially when we hear charged words like “predestination,” as we will in Sunday’s second lesson, or when we hear in Sunday’s gospel that at the end of the age,
angels will separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. By pairing these two readings, however, the lectionary reminds us that we can never separate our hearing of Jesus’ parable in this Sunday’s gospel from Romans 8. 

     God always brings us back to this promise: “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38). Every “what if” question that we could ever come up with about ourselves, our loved ones,  those who struggle to have faith—even those whom we think have done the most despicable evil—has already been answered. We know the depth of God’s passion for us and for all of creation because of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is for the entire world, God is for you, and nothing and no one can change that. 

     Thanks be to God! 

- Vicar Emily Beckering

Sunday Readings

July 27, 2014: 7th Sunday after Pentecost  (Lect. 17A)
I Kings 3:5-12
Psalm 119:129-136
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
August 3, 2014: 8th Sunday after Pentecost (Lect. 18A)
Isaiah 55:1-5
Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:13-21

The Bargain Box: It’s Almost Time!

     Saturday, August 2 will be a busy day at Mount Olive! We will be helping to get neighborhood children ready for school year with Bargain Box fitting children with new school clothes and distributing school supplies during the Community Meal. We are looking for donations of cash, new and gently used children’s clothes (no adult clothes, please), school supplies, and backpacks.

     If you have time to help with the meal, or assist with clothing or school supplies, please plan to come to the August Community Meals!

     Please note: Neighborhood Ministries is also looking for backpacks, new and gently-used, to distribute at the August Community Meal. We want children to be ready for school! 

- Neighborhood Ministries Committee

 Invitation to Evangelism Workshop

     Are you passionate about helping those new to Mount Olive feel comfortable and invited into
the life of the congregation? Have you ever noticed a visitor and wanted to welcome them, but found yourself tongue-tied, wondering what to say? 

     Andrew Andersen and Vicar Beckering will lead an Evangelism Workshop after liturgy on Sunday, August 3, for anyone who is passionate about hospitality, but would like to
practice some specific conversational skills to aid them in living out that passion. 
     Join us at 11:15 a.m. in the undercroft if you are interested. All are welcome!

Help Us Keep in Contact!

     Please remember to contact the church office with your updated address, phone number, or email address!  

     Help us stay in touch and keep you in touch with each other.

Left Behind
     Lots and lots of things have been left at church in recent months: pans and dishes, sweaters, coats, gloves, children’s items, books, and more!
     Check the table next to the coatroom to see if any items which have been left behind belong to you!

Transitions Support Group Continues

     Any who would like an opportunity to discuss concerns and receive support are welcome to attend the Transitions Support group.     

     The next meeting is on Wednesday, August 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room at church. Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth are the  facilitators for this group. 
     If you have questions or need more information, please call Cathy at 612-708-1144 or email her at

School Supplies Drive

     Neighborhood Ministries is collecting school supplies for about 100 neighborhood children. These supplies will be distributed at the August 2 Community Meal. While this is an item in our budget, generous contributions from the Mount Olive community will help to provide as many supplies as possible.

     A Neighborhood Ministries Committee member will be on hand during coffee hour for one more Sunday – this coming Sunday, July 27, to receive your donations.

     Thanks for offering your support to this vital neighborhood ministry!

Food and Personal Items Needed!

     Please remember your contributions to the food shelf during these summer months.  You may use your blue envelopes and designate "food shelf" as the recipient.  Non-perishable food items may be placed in the shopping cart in the coat room.

      Also, please remember that we collect small toiletries (like the complimentary items provided by hotels and motels) for distribution to homeless people, who have little space for such items. Please bring your unused/unopened toiletries to the designated basket in the coat room. 

     Know that your donations help provide basic needs for others, as Christ would have us do. 

Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads

     For their meeting on August 9, the Book Discussion group will read, All the King's Men (restored edition), by Robert Penn Warren. For the September 13 meeting, they will discuss, The Woman Behind the New Deal, by Kirstin Downey.

Diaper Depot in Need of Year-Round Funding

     Several years ago, as the Neighborhood Ministries Committee considered ideas for a program which would directly help families in our neighborhood, they decided that a service to provide low-cost diapers to area families would be a practical and much-needed service.  They held a fundraiser with a “name that program” contest, and so the Diaper Depot was born. This has been a very popular program with neighborhood families for a number of years. Two elderly grandparents who are raising their three young grandchildren recently said, with tears in their eyes, “You don’t know how much this helps!”

     The funds to provide this much-needed service are part of our church budget, but until now, the Diaper Depot has never been open in the summer. Additional funds are needed to provide this service to our neighborhood families year-round.

     The blue Missions envelope from the offering envelope mailing has a blank line under “local missions.” Please consider making a gift to the Diaper Depot (by writing “Diaper Depot” on that line), or by using an envelope designated for this. You may also want to consider becoming a sustaining member by providing regular weekly, monthly, or yearly gifts to this important ministry (thanks to those who are already doing this!). We would also welcome volunteers to work in the Diaper Depot. It is open on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:30, and on Thursdays from 1:30-3:30.  Please contact Connie Toavs at church if you would like to volunteer!

     This neighborhood need does not take a break for the summer – and neither should we!  Please be generous, as the need continues throughout the year. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

TRUST Annual Fund Appeal 

     By now, you should have received TRUST’s annual fund appeal in the mail. We sent this mailing from the church office because it is our policy that we don’t share our mailing list with others.

     Mount Olive has been a member of TRUST for several years and we are involved in some of their many activities. These activities would not be possible without the support of members of TRUST congregations. Please support their efforts generously!

Our Going Out and Our Coming In: Staff Summer Schedules

Pastor Crippen will be on vacation July 21-August 4.
Cantor Cherwien will be on vacation August 1-6, and August 21-27.
Administrative Assistant Cha Posz will be on vacation August 11-15.
Sexton William Pratley will be on vacation July 23-29.
Interim Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator Connie Toavs will be on vacation July 21-25.

Summer Ensembles Forming Now!

     Cantor Cherwien is assembling two ensembles to sing for summer worship.

     A men’s ensemble will meet, rehearse, and sing for the liturgy on August 10; and a women’s ensemble will meet, rehearse, and sing for the liturgy on August 17.

     In each case, the plan is to meet at 8:00 that morning and rehearse until 9:15, singing for the morning liturgies at 9:30.

     Come and lend your voice to the choir(s)!

Red Cross CPR-AED Training Events

     Thanks to a Mount Olive Foundation grant, there is now a defibrillator (AED) available to the congregation for use in case of an emergency.  The AED is wall-mounted outside the elevator on the main level of the parish hall.

     In order to prepare for such an emergency, Red Cross CPR-AED training will be made available to members and friends at no cost (a $90 value!)  Each session will be limited to 12 people.  At the end of the session, participants will have a 2-year certification.

     The same 3-hour training session will be offered three different times:
Saturday morning, August 9, starting 8:30 am
Wednesday morning, August 13, starting 8:30 am
Tuesday evening, August 19, starting 6:00 pm

     If you want to take advantage of this offer, please sign up on or before Monday, July 28.  Sign-up sheets are in the church office or call the office at (612) 827-5919, Monday through Friday, to have your name added to one of the signups.

Olive Branch Summer Publication Schedule

     During the summer months, The Olive Branch is published every other week.

     The next Olive Branch will be published on Wednesday, August 6.  Information for that issue is due in to the church office by Tuesday, August 5.

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