Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Home About Worship Music and Arts Parish Life Learning Outreach News Contact
Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Olive Branch, 9/10/14

Accent on Stewardship

Thinking about Stewardship

     I’ve been thinking a lot about stewardship since the congregation elected me director of stewardship. The first thing I need to do, I told myself, is reflect more deeply and regularly about my own stewardship and that of our household. But I’m also eager to have members of Mount Olive tell me or other members of our Stewardship Committee how they think about steward-ship, because we can learn a lot from one another (other committee members—and we’re still growing—are Dan Burow, Mike Edwins, Beth Gaede, Gene Janssen, and Leif Johnson).

     Ask a hundred self-identified U.S. Christians to say the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word stewardship and you can be certain that “money” and “church” will come up often. Both are part of stewardship but, especially together, they can imply a much-too-narrow definition of stewardship.

     Writing in the September issue of The Lutheran (“Stewardship: Biblical Perspectives,” pp. 14-15), Prof. Marty E. Stevens of the ELCA’s Gettysburg Seminary offers a brief but excellent overview of Christian stewardship. If we start with oikonomia (“household management”), the Greek word for stewardship, we can, she says, identify “three categories” of stewardship. We are called to be (1) stewards as faithful managers of an owner’s property; (2) stewards of God’s grace and the gospel; and (3) stewards of “the fullness of time” (Eph. 1:9-10) and “the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:9). Stevens discusses tithing and key biblical teachings about stewardship. She tells us that “in the Gospels, Jesus talks about money more than any other topic except the kingdom of God—more than sin, more than love, more than heaven and hell.”

     As disciples of Christ we’re called to be wise, faithful stewards 24/7. We’re all stewards in Mount Olive’s ministry, in various ways, and most of us could name them. But stewardship opportunities and challenges daily present themselves to us in our lives at home, in the neighborhood, at work, at school. They include care of the earth, welcoming the stranger, and little acts of charity and kindness. I suspect that many among us are far more effect-ive daily stewards than they themselves imagine. I’m trying to be more mindful about my daily stewardship. On the other hand, when I observe Mount Olive people welcoming us, feed-ing us, teaching us, leading us, and comforting us—all aspects of stewardship—it occurs to me that they’re probably not so much thinking explicitly of stewardship as they’re just doing it.

     In a few weeks our congregation will adopt its budget for 2015. It’s a decision we make together. The budget represents the resources we need to do our work together—at 3045 Chicago Avenue South, in our neighborhood, and nationally and globally. Some of us will make a “pledge” or “estimate of giving,” while others of us, from a different tradition, will give with equal generosity without pledging. We should all be thinking prayerfully about these resources and our mission, now and throughout the coming year.

- Donn McLellan, Director of Stewardship

Sunday Readings

September 14, 2014: Holy Cross Day
Numbers 21:4b-9
Psalm 98
I Corinthians 1:18-24
John 3:13-17

September 21, 2014: St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Ezekiel 2:8—3:11
Psalm 119:33-40
Ephesians 2:4-10
Matthew 9:9-13

Sunday’s Adult Forum: Sept. 14

"Empowering Learners: A Philanthropic Education Project in Namibia," presented by Ann Sponberg Peterson.

     Ann Sponberg Peterson serves Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, as the director of development for principal gifts. She is the founder of Empowering Learners and enjoys sharing the promise of this project, as well as the hopes of the young nation of Namibia, with churches and individuals.

Chosen: Bible Study on Thursday Evenings Starting Sept. 18

     The first Thursday Bible study series of this year begins on Thursday, Sept. 18, and runs for six weeks.

     Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Pr. Crippen will lead a study titled “Chosen.”  This is an exploration of the biblical witness to Abraham and Sarah and their family, with a focus on what the Bible means by “chosen people,” and how that continues in the present both as our calling and also a challenge in a pluralistic, often violent world.

     As usual, there will be a light supper when we begin.  If anyone wishes to provide the first meal, please let Pr. Crippen know.  All are welcome to this study opportunity!

Mount Olive Welcomes a New Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach and Ministry

     The Vestry would like to introduce our new Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach and Ministry:  Anna Kingman has been offered the position and she has accepted!   She will start her work with us during the week of September 21.   She’ll have an opportunity to spend a week with Connie Toavs to orient to the ministries we already have, and then will be getting down to work meeting the congregation and our neighbors!

     Anna comes to us as a life-long ELCA Lutheran, having been raised in Blaine.  She speaks of how her extended family’s value of service to and the intrinsic worth of every human has influenced her love of service to God’s family.   She stated that there were no “ins and outs” as far as her family was concerned – no one was less important, less valued, less worthy of dignity.  In college, she was active in student government, where she learned project management skills, the value of relationship building to accomplish work, and a deepening faith.  Two years in the Peace Corp in Peru enhanced her Spanish language skills (she is a certified Spanish interpreter), as well as challenged her to negotiate her way through difficult situations, draw boundaries around challenging relationships and appreciate and navigate cultural differences.

     The search committee was impressed with Anna’s insight, ability to articulate nuances of human relationships and work, and her obviously strong Christian faith.  She has a deep sense of the collaborative nature of service and ministry, that we are called to walk with each other and our neighbors as Christ to each other, a sense that connects strongly to where our visioning process has been leading.  Her articulation of the justice God seeks in this world and our participation in that is inspiring, as is her sense of how the people of God work together for such justice.  She possesses maturity and instincts for ministry seemingly beyond her years, and we are looking forward to getting to know her and partnering with her on our mission to the neighborhood.

Welcome, Anna!

Interested in the Business and Finance Committee?

     Are you interested in serving Mount Olive with your business, legal, technical or accounting skills?  The Business and Finance Committee is entering its second year and has some interesting projects underway:

We are in need of an insurance coordinator to review policies and providers, make sure our coverages and premiums are appropriate, and act as the liaison with the insurance agency representatives.
The Mount Olive Foundation granted the committee funds to implement a new accounting system - that project has yet to begin and help is needed to plan and implement this updated system.
Overall help with budget process and providing input into policies and procedures that govern our financial routines.

     If you are interested speak to any current member:  Paul Sundquist, Ty Inglis, Tim Lindholm, or Kat Campbell, Treasurer.  The committee meetings are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, starting September 17, from 5:30 to 7 pm, in the Library.

New Member Welcome

     Mount Olive will welcome new members and associate members on Sunday, October 5, during the second liturgy.   If you are interested in becoming a member or associate member, please contact the office as soon as possible via e-mail to,  or by phone, 612-827-5919. You may also contact Pastor Crippen at church, or Andrew Andersen (763-607-1689).
     A welcome brunch will follow the liturgy for new members and for all who would like to be part of the welcome festivities.

  Wear Your Nametags!

     In order to help Vicar Meagan get to know our church community a bit faster, we are asking everyone to wear their nametags at church for the next several Sundays.

     If you don’t have a nametag and need one, or if you have a nametag which has been lost or damaged and you need a new one, please contact the church office. We will be happy to provide a new one for you!

Every Church a Peace Church September Potluck
Eyewitness to War, Witness for Peace

Monday, September 15 - potluck begins at 6:30 pm
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 4537 3rd Ave, Minneapolis

     Speaker: Kathy Kelly, peacemaker and founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence

     About the Speaker: During each of 15 trips to Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly, as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. She and her companions in Voices for Creative Nonviolence believe that "where you stand determines what you see." They are resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between them and Afghan people whom they've grown to know through successive delegations. Kathy Kelly will also be speaking at St. Frances Cabrini on Sunday, September 14, after the 9:00 am Mass (about 10:30 am), 1500 Franklin Ave SE, Minneapolis.

Tutors Are Still Needed! 

     Tutoring is a great opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with one or two community youth and their parents.  You do not need to have education training – just a desire to help a child succeed in school.  Tutoring sessions are weekly on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 PM beginning September 30th.   Materials and support will be provided.

     To be a part of this important outreach, please call Connie Toavs at the church or e mail Interim Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator at  Our new Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach and Ministry will be on board for the first session of tutoring. Let’s get her off to a good start with a full slate of tutors.

     If you would like to provide a snack for the youth on tutoring night, there is a sign-up sheet on the Neighborhood Ministries bulletin board in the lower level.

Attention, Mount Olive Youth!

     Along with the new school year and a new year of Godly Play, it’s time to kick off another fun year of Mount Olive Youth activities - and we’re kicking it off with a bang!

     There is a great opportunity for serving our community coming up this Sunday, September 14. We will prepare and serve a meal for Our Saviour’s Shelter and prepare 45 sandwich lunches for a meal the following day.

     If any adults or kids are interested in helping the Youth, please contact Amy Thompson by Friday, September 12th for details. ( or 612-729-7932) Watch for more details coming soon on an upcoming Youth Committee meeting and additional activities. Thanks!

Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads

     For their meeting this Saturday, September 13, the Book Discussion group will read The Woman Behind the New Deal, by Kirstin Downey. For the October 11 meeting they will read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid.

     The Book Discussion Group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the West Assembly area at church. All readers are welcome!

Help Needed for Family in Crisis

     There is an opportunity for members of Mount Olive to make a very real difference in the life of a servant of God and his family, known to us, who are facing dire straits.

Pastor Dinku Bato, formerly of the Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church of Ethiopia, is writing his Ph.D. dissertation at Luther Seminary.  His wife, Mergitu, and his three sons live with him near the seminary.  He intends to finalize and defend his thesis by the end of December 2014.  Some might remember that Pr. Bato preached at Mount Olive in January 2013 as part of the Mission Committee’s Taste of Ethiopia celebration.

     Pr. Bato’s current situation is exceedingly difficult.  His financial funding ran out as of September 2014, due in part to cuts at Luther Seminary.  His church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, severed their long-standing relationship with the ELCA in January 2013 over our church’s decisions regarding the marriage and ordination of our LGBT sisters and brothers.  The Mekane Yesus Church has not communicated with Pr. Bato since they cut ties with the ELCA.  Because he remained in fellowship with the ELCA, his home church also severed relationship with him, and he no longer has a position with them. Pr. Bato is also from the Oromo tribe, a minority which is exceedingly discriminated against and marginalized in Ethiopia.  Remaining in fellowship with the ELCA has exacerbated an already difficult situation were he to return to Ethiopia.

     He and his family are praying for God to find him work beginning in 2015.  Ed Schroeder, a former professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and later at Seminex, has given his name to several ELCA bishops in hopes that he might be offered a position in the U.S. or anywhere he is needed.

Pr. Bato and his family worship with both an Oromo and an Amharic congregation in St. Paul.  Jehovah Lutheran Church on Snelling Ave. is the location for one of these congregations.  They are a very devout family and have great faith that God has a plan for them.

     The family’s expenses for which they need help are rent of $910/month, plus living expenses, from September through December 2014.  Some members of Mount Olive have already been helping them, and now are inviting others to give enough to take care of the family’s physical needs through December.  The goal is to raise $6,000, and there are also members of Mount Olive who have agreed to match any gifts donated, up to a total of $3,000, in order to meet that goal.  If you are able to help, checks may be written to Mount Olive, with “Pr. Dinku Bato” in the memo line, and we will take care of it.

     Thank you for your graciousness and kindness!

A Note of Thanks

     The Iverson Family would like to thank their friends at Mount Olive for the kind words and beautiful cards that were shared with Wally & Lydia Iverson at their anniversary party. It meant so much to them and to our family.

     Wally and Lydia have now moved (again!) to a facility which will provide even better care for their specific needs. Their new address is: 8454 Kell Avenue South, Bloomington, MN  55437.

Diaper Depot 

     Did you know?  The Diaper Depot served 319 individual households in the first 8 months of 2014, making Diaper Depot Mount Olive’s largest consistent outreach in the community!

     The Diaper Depot is now open year round, two afternoons a week.  Nearly every day, families, advocates, and agencies call to ask about the Diaper Depot. New households register at each open session.

     You can help to keep this important mission operating in two ways – by contributing dollars, and by volunteering in the Diaper Depot.  Stop in during any session and observe or assist. Call Connie Toavs at church with any questions you might have!  

No comments:

Post a Comment


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Reconciling in ChristRIC

Copyright 2014 Mount Olive Lutheran Church