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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Olive Branch, 7/9/14

Accent on Worship

What’s with these pictures?

     For the next three weeks in our Gospel readings for Eucharist we’ll have the parables in the 13th chapter of Matthew, parables related to the kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God.  What’s obvious even to us 2,000 years later is that these images didn’t necessarily make things clearer for Jesus’ hearers, then or now.  Often the disciples seemed confused by them, and often so are we.  We tend to want to boil them down to a simple moral, a simple answer, which, if that’s what Jesus wanted to give, he could have given.  Instead, he painted these pictures.

     So it would be wise for us to set aside any preconceived ideas about what Jesus is doing with these parables in the next few weeks.  They’re all familiar to us, parables about seeds growing or not growing, weeds cropping up, tiny seeds becoming large, great hidden treasures found or sought, a net being cast into a lake.  But we should take Jesus’ words in the middle of Sunday’s reading as our starting point.  He seems to suggest that there is mystery about the rule and reign of God that cannot be conveyed easily, and not always with direct teaching.  (Which makes sense since God’s ways are so different from our ways and the way of the world.)  So he lifts up pictures, images, and says, “It’s like that.”  The more we are open to the reality that there is great mystery here, the more likely it is that we’ll begin to see what Jesus is getting at.  The more we try to find “the answer” to each parable, the key that explains it all, the less we will understand.
     So this time, let’s just listen to these parables as if they were new to us, and leave ourselves open to where the Spirit of God might lead us, open to where these pictures take us.  When we did this in our Bible study on parables last winter it was amazing to see where people were drawn by these words of Jesus.  Let’s be open to the mysterious way these pictures reveal the truth Jesus needs us to hear about how God is ruling and working in this world.  Because these parables are life-giving and eye-opening, that we know for certain.  “Let anyone with ears listen.”


Sunday Readings
July 13, 2014: 5th Sunday after Pentecost  (Lect. 15A)
 Isaiah 55:1-13
Psalm 65:9-13
Romans 8:1-11
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

July 20, 2014: 6th Sunday after Pentecost  (Lect. 16A)
Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

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, July 23.  Information for that issue is due in to the church office by Tuesday, July 22.

Transitions Support Group Continues

     Participants in the recent 4 -week life transitions support group have decided to continue meeting but on a less regular basis.  They invite others who would like an opportunity to discuss concerns and receive support to join them.

     The next meeting is on Wednesday, July 16, at 6:30 in the Youth Room. Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth will act as facilitators.  If you have questions, please call Cathy at 612-708-1144 or email her at

School Supplies Drive

     Though summer has just begun, for the Neighborhood Ministries Committee it means that it’s time to look forward to the beginning of school!

     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 on Sundays, July 13, 20, and 27 to receive your donations.

     Thanks for offering your support to this vital neighborhood ministry!

The Bargain Box

     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! Stay tuned for more information.

- Neighborhood Ministries Committee

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.

Food and Personal Items Needed!

      Now that school is out for the summer, many children who receive free or reduced-price lunches at school will often go hungry.  Please keep up or increase your monetary and food contributions during the 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.

      In our summer travels, remember that the complimentary toiletries provided by hotels and motels are ideal for homeless people who have little space for such items. Most of the time, we are charged for these items as a part of the payment for accommodations.  Please bring your unused toiletries to the designated basket in the coat room.

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

Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads

     For their meeting on July 12 the group will discuss, All Over But the Shoutin', by Rick Bragg, and for the August 9 meeting they will read, All the King's Men (restored edition), by Robert Penn Warren.

Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator Position Description Now Available

     The position description for the Coordinator of Neighborhood Ministries and Outreach has been completed and is available by contacting the church office or on the Mount Olive website.  
     Congregational members who are interested and meet the qualifications are encouraged to apply for the position.  Thanks to the search committee for working hard on this step.  The next step will be to screen applicants and host interviews.  We hope to have a new Coordinator in place by the end of September.

     Committee members are  Kathy Thurston and Sue Ellen Zagrabelny (Neighborhood Ministries Committee), Cynthia Prosek and Neil Hering (Visioning Lead Committee), George Ferguson and Gretchen Campbell-Johnson (at-large), Pastor Crippen, Vicar Beckering, and Lora Dundek (ex-officio).

Every Church a Peace Church July Meeting

     The ECAPC July potluck supper meeting will be held on   Monday, July 21, 6:30 p.m., at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, 29th St. & 32nd Ave. S., Minneapolis. (612-724-3643,

     The program for the July meeting will be a presentation and discussion led by John Keller, Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM). His presentation will be "Immigration Reform:  A Christian Response.”

     John Keller has been the Executive Director ILCM since 2005; prior to that he had been a staff attorney at ILCM for six years.  In 2007, Keller was named Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyers, and he received the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 2007 Advocacy Award on behalf of ILCM for work he led in response to immigration raids in 2006.

     All interested are cordially invited to attend - and to bring friends!

Our Going Out and Our Coming In: Staff Summer Schedules

Pastor Crippen will be on vacation July 28-August 4.
Cantor Cherwien is leading a workshop and presenting at a national worship conference for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada July 17-23.
Vicar Emily Beckering will be on vacation July 15-18.
Administrative Assistant Cha Posz will be on vacation August 11-15.
Sexton William Pratley will be on vacation July 23-29.

A Note of Thanks

To our Brothers and Sisters at Mount Olive,

     Thank you for your kind words, cards, prayers, and support shown to us and to our families at the death of our father Oren Larson.    

     Oren enjoyed coming to Mount Olive to celebrate weddings and baptisms of his children and grandchildren and Mount Olive always held a dear place in his heart.

Joyce Brown and Linda Pipkorn

Holden On the Road: August 1-3

     Holden Village in Washington State is under construction this summer and they are taking their summer teaching program on the road. This summer, Holden is partnering with a number of venues across the country to provide experiences similar to those at Holden Village. August 1-3 they will be at Koinonia Retreat Center in South Haven, Minnesota.

     Mount Olive members John and Connie Marty will be on teaching staff during the weekend of August 1-3, and they invite everyone to join in the fun and fellowship. It will be a multi-generational event which includes typical Holden fare. The program at Koinonia will include options for outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, teaching sessions, Bible study, and communal daily worship.

     Brochures about Holden on the Road, including information about the weekend at Koinonia, are available on the ledge just outside the church office. Pick one up for more information.

Honoring Graduates

     On Sunday, July 20, we will remember in prayer those who graduated from high school, college, and graduate school this past spring.

     If you are a graduate, or if someone in your family is, please call the church office and let us know, so that we may remember them by name in prayer at the morning Eucharist.

Meals on Wheels Thanks

     The following persons from Mount Olive served as drivers and deliverers of Meals on Wheels for TRUST during the second quarter of 2014: Gary Flatgard, Elaine & Art Halbardier, Bob Lee, and Connie & Rod Olson.

     We thank them for their participation in this vital neighborhood ministry.

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!

     In an attempt to reunite people with their lost things, there will be a lost and found display in coming weeks near the coatroom at church.

     Stop and take a look to see if some of the items which have been left behind belong to you!

Merci Mille Fois

     “Thank you a thousand times” to John and Patsy Holtmeier for hosting the all-church picnic at their home on June 22. It was a beautiful day in beautiful surroundings. There was something for everyone: games, a zip line, a hymn sing (thanks Lora Dundek on keyboard and Andrea Brazelton on violin), and great food (thanks to all for the delicious potluck dishes).

     A great time was had by all!

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