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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Olive Branch, 9/17/14

Accent on Worship

Where Are We Going?

     Sunday is the festival of St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist, so we will hear in the Gospel reading the story of Matthew’s call.  It’s also a story of the kind of people Jesus attracted, “sinful” people in their neighbors’ eyes, but we’ll consider that Sunday.

     What is striking about Jesus’ calls to discipleship is the directness of the call and seeming thoughtlessness of the response.  Jesus says, “Follow me,” and Matthew and the others just, well, follow.  I’m a little surprised no one said, “where are we going?”  Maybe they did, and it was a more gradual process of listening to Jesus and eventually coming along.  We can see how the memories of these apostles a few decades later might lead them to remember it as a whirlwind when they first followed.

     We’re missing a little bit of what they had.  We don’t have Jesus standing in front of us saying, “Follow me.”  We’re also pretty used to the idea that we can be a part of Christ and not get too involved if we don’t want to.  How do we hear our call?

     We started a visioning process about 18 months ago, part of which has led to the joy of our welcoming Anna Kingman next week to serve as our Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach and Ministry.  But we have a larger question which we still need to answer, and it’s a little like what perhaps Matthew might have thought: “Where are we going?”  So the visioning team is starting up again this fall, to finish the task.

     We know we are called to be Christ in the world, that our life is centered around worshipping the Triune God and being fed by God for life and for service in the world, to proclaim God’s love in Christ to all by our lives and words.  Do we need to say more than that?

     Perhaps to put some flesh on those bones, some visible shape to that call, lest they become merely pretty words that have no impact on who we are and how we live.

     We’ll speak more at the October semi-annual meeting about our visioning, and probably elsewhere, but for now let’s all imagine ourselves as Matthew, because this is the non-negotiable truth and joy: Jesus is looking at us and saying, “Follow me.”

- Joseph

Sunday Readings

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

September 28, 2014: 16th Sunday after Pentecost (Lect. 26A)

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Psalm 25:1-9
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

Sunday’s Adult Forum: Sept. 21

"Preaching as Living Word,” part 1 of a 2-part series presented by Pastor Crippen.

     Martin Luther suggested that in preaching, God’s Word is alive and active. What does this mean for the community at worship? For the liturgy? For the preacher?

Farewell and Godspeed

     Please come to honor and thank Connie Toavs for her wonderful service as Interim Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator this Sunday September 21.  The second liturgy will include a Farewell and Godspeed for Connie, which will be followed by a reception during the coffee hour.

     Connie stepped into this role with energy and wisdom.  She competently managed and organized existing programs.  She challenged us with a new summer program that brought Mount Olive members together with kids from the community.  She expanded the Diaper Depot to operate year round.  Connie has skillfully led Mount Olive through this time of transition and will help Anna Kingman settle into her new role later this month.

     All are invited to come on Sunday to say thank you!

Chosen: Bible Study on Thursday Evenings Starting Sept. 18

     The first Thursday Bible study series of this year begins tomorrow evening, 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 you are willing to provide the first meal, please let Pr. Crippen know as soon as possible.  All are welcome to this study opportunity!

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.

 Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads

     For their meeting on October 11, the Book Discussion group will read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid. For the meeting on November 8 they will read Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver.

     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!

Transitions Support Group

     All are welcome to drop in and visit the Transitions Support Group to see if this is a place where you might find some solace and reassurance for the challenges or uncertainties that are before you.

     This is an opportunity to share in fellowship, prayer and discussion with others in the Mount Olive community.  The next session meets on Wednesday, October 1, at 6:30 pm in the Youth Room (lower level), and will be facilitated by Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth.  If you have questions, please contact Cathy at 612-708-1144 or

Tutors Are Still Needed! 

     Neighborhood Ministries is still seeking tutors for the Tuesday night tutoring program that begins Sept. 30.  If you aren't sure but would like to learn more about the program, there will be a meeting of tutors on Tuesday, September 23, at 7 pm in the lower level of the church. Just come and see how it works.    

     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.

Mount Olive Directory Photos Fall 2014 Schedule

     If you did not get your personal, couple or family photos taken last fall there will be a time to get your photos taken in October and included in the updated directory.

     We invite folks who have been worshiping regularly but are not members at Mount Olive to also have their photo(s) taken to include in the directory so that others can put
names and faces together.

     Below are listed the time slots available to have your photos taken. Select the day and approximate time(s) that work best for you and call or email the church office to sign up (612-827-5919/

     You will be contacted the week before the sessions with a specific time for your photo session. Photos will be taken in the lower level of the education building.

Sunday, October 5 12:30 to 1:30 PM following the liturgy
Wednesday, October 8 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Thursday, October 9 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 11 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Sunday, October 12 12:30 to 1:30 PM following the liturgy

     Once you have signed up for a date and approximate times that work for you, we will combine all of the requests and set up a schedule to take all those requesting that specific day.

     If you have further questions please contact Paul Nixdorf (photographer) by phone at 612-296-0055, or by email to

Empowering Learners Invites Our Support

     Last Sunday, Ann Sponberg Peterson spoke inspiringly to the Adult Forum about “Empowering Learners,” a philanthropic project she established to provide books and computers for schools in northern Namibia. Ann invited contributions of any kind – an invitation we echo. Ann mentioned, but we want to emphasize, that any contributions we at Mount Olive make will be matched by a donor – meaning that our contributions will effectively be double what we give. We encourage you to use the envelope from the brochures Ann provided (or there are copies in the brochure rack beside the display case in the hallway) or contact one of us for a mailing address.

     This is an opportunity to provide genuinely needed and appreciated help to a significant number of children in this developing country.

 – Dwight Penas and Susan Cherwien, Adult Forum planners (with approval of the Missions Committee)

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
Saturday, October  5 4:00 pm
Blessing of Animals

Bring your pets and your friends (and your friends’ pets!) to this annual service of blessing!

From the Church Library

     A new display in the main library includes several books that have been donated to our collection, as well as some that come from unidentified donors, as follows:

Putting Away Childish Things, a novel of modern faith by Marcus J. Borg
There Is A Season, by Joan Chittister, with John August Swanson, artist (donated by Rod Olson)
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape,  by Jenna Miscavige Hill (donated by Leanna Kloempken)
Miracles of the Bible, by Julie K. Hogan, editor
Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God, by Amir Hussain
Ideals - Treasure of Hope
An Illustrated Life of Jesus - The National Gallery of Art Collection (donated by Rod Olson)
Winter's Song, by Heidi Kriesel-White (donated by the author)
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
The Complete Book of Bible Trivia, by J. Stephen Lang
New Testament: Common English Bible
Each Day With Jesus: Daily Devotions Through the Year (Large Print), by Rudolph F. Norden
If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg
Jesus Christ, The Jesus of History, The Christ of Faith, by J. R. Porter (donated by Robert Gottwalt)
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen (donated by Leanna Kloempken)
Hand of God: Thoughts and Images Reflecting the Spirit of the Universe, by Michael Reagan, ed.
Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be, by Mark R. Schwehn, ed.
Decembered Grief, Living With Loos While Others Are Celebrating, by Harold Ivan Smith
The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, by Lee Strobel

     I was recently given a clipping from the August 17, 2014 Minneapolis Star Tribune which gave information about a very unusual library indeed.  A floating library, built on an 8 foot square raft and holding approximately 80 book titles for check-out, was the brain-child of Sarah Peters, who makes books, teaches at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and indulges her love of ephemeral art every winter with the art shanty installations on frozen White Bear Lake.  For the past two summers, during weekends in August, Sarah Peters brings the floating library to Cedar Lake in Minneapolis.  The books available in this way are primarily handmade art books, donated by the artists so each book is totally unique and inventive.  Her customers are boaters, paddlers, and others who are delighted to have discovered this special kind of library service each August.  Watch for the floating library on Cedar Lake next summer!

     A quote from Leon Gullerman closes this article: "Without the love of books the richest man is poor; but endowed with this treasure, the poorest man is rich!"

- Leanna Kloepmken

MOGAL-NOW sponsors a Mid-Century Modern Parade of Homes tour and Potluck Dinner

     On Sunday, October 5, at 4:00 pm, MOGAL-NOW invites members of Mount Olive to visit two mid-century modern homes that are listed on the 2014 national tour of MCM homes.

     Lynn Dobson and Tony Thoe have invited us to their home at 278 Stonebridge Blvd., St Paul. Their home, along with the home of Geri and John Bjork, 316 Stonebridge Blvd, is listed as part of the Docomomo national tour the following weekend. We get a preview tour a week early, plus dinner and great conversation.  (Visit  to view the website about the Docomomo tour. Their home is pictured on this site).

We will gather there at 4:00 pm on October 5 to check out the interesting architecture and landscaping at their home, and also walk three homes away to Geri and John Bjork’s home. Around 5:15 pm Lynn and Tony will begin grilling hamburgers and hot dogs and we will set out our potluck items and enjoy a meal together. We will also have a short discussion about upcoming MOGAL-NOW events. The evening will end with ice cream sundaes.

     If you can join us for our Parade of Homes event please RSVP by calling the church office at 612-827-5919 or by email to When you email please indicate how many will be coming and also what you plan to bring for the potluck dinner that will go with hamburgers and hotdogs. Also plan to bring beverages (adult and otherwise).

     MOGAL-NOW is the new and up to date version of the MOGAL (Mount Olive Gay and Lesbian) group. MOGAL-NOW is inclusive and of course, “straight friendly”. MOGAL-NOW plans to sponsor a series of social, informative and of course fun events throughout the year bringing together the entire Mount Olive community.

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