Some years ago, I was invited to Charla’s wedding. That day. At the hospital. Entering her room, I was overwhelmed by two powerful realities—Charla was within hours of dying. And God was present in ways I could not begin to explain. After that experience, a friend asked, “Why do you think you were there? What is God up to?”
Several years later, I still wonder. It was not the first time, or the last, that I have been nudged by those questions. Most of the time, I confess, my response is, “I have no idea. I’m just walking here.” Events like these call us to take notice. And friends ask the questions that draw our focus to where God is at work. We realize that our life, or our perception of our life, is about to change forever. Our vision is cracked open, expanded a bit, and we see that the picture is much larger than we thought. A little at a time, the picture comes into focus.
Mary had one of those experiences when the angel came. One moment it was life as usual, the next she was trying to absorb the reality of being a mother, to one who would be called “Son of God,” who would inherit the throne of David. Mary’s understand-ing of herself and her life were forever altered. Suddenly, Mary was aware of how deeply connected she was, to God and the history of her people, in a way she hadn’t been before.
Mary adjusted remarkably quickly, (much more quickly than I do!) telling the angel, simply, to let it be. As I would do years later, Mary sought out a friend to help her begin to see her new reality a little more clearly. And, Mary continued to ponder throughout her life. When we experience those moments when life shifts unexpectedly, we are invited to ponder with her . . . “God, what are you up to?”
- Vicar Meagan McLaughlin
December 21, 2014: Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalmody: Luke 1:46b-55
December 28, 2014: The Holy Innocents
This Sunday’s Adult Forum: December 21:
“A Christmas Gift From Our Ancestors: Of the Father’s Love Begotten, A Hymn Study,” presented by Susan Cherwien
Fair Trade Craft Sale – One More Sunday
The Missions Committee will continue to host the fair trade sale for one more week. Purchase beautiful and unique fair trade items made by artisans in developing regions around the world. These items are available from SERRV, a nonprofit fair trade organization whose mission is to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.
The handcrafted fair trade items will be available for purchase after both services on December 21 (cash and check only). See the attachment to view some of the items that will be for sale. Fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate from Equal Exchange will also be available. This is not a fund-raiser, just an opportunity to buy good products for a good cause.
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.
Please note the time and location for our next meeting. The next session meets Saturday, January 10, 9:00 am at the home of Richard & Grace Wiechman, 3120 E. Minnehaha Parkway, Minneapolis. It will be facilitated by Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth. If you have questions, please contact Cathy at 612-708-1144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads
For their meeting on January 17, (postponed one week because of the Conference on Liturgy) they will read, The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. For the meeting on February 14, they will read, Wise Blood, by Flannery O’Connor.
The Book of Esther: Thursday Evening Bible Study Concludes
Vicar McLaughlin is leading a study on the Book of Esther, exploring the historical context and many issues raised in this book, including justice, violence, power and privilege, the role of women, the presence of God, and what it means to be called “for such a time as this.”
This study meets in the Chapel Lounge on Thursday evenings, beginning with a light supper at 6:00 pm.
This Bible study runs through this Thursday, December 18.
Annual Conference on Liturgy: “Common Ground: Hearing the Word Through the Lectionary”
Friday–Saturday, January 9-10, 2015
Each Sunday at Eucharist, Christians of many different traditions gather to be fed by Word and Sacrament and share the same readings from Scripture. In the Revised Common Lectionary there is a visible sign of the unity of the Church for those who know they encounter the same Word of God each week with their sisters and brothers in many places.
This year at Mount Olive’s annual Conference on Liturgy we will explore the richness of this shared, “common” tradition, consider the ways that the use of a common lectionary can bless the life of the parish, and ask questions of its place in the present and future life of the churches who use it.
The keynote speaker this year is Dr. Gail Ramshaw; workshop presenters will be Pastor Joseph Crippen, The Rev. John Setterlund, and Dr. Paul Westermeyer.
Registration fee for Mount Olive members is $35/person.
Christmas Wish Tree
There are needs and wishes on the tree outside the West assembly room (near the coat room) from two families who hope to have a Merry Christmas this year. If you are able, please take an ornament and bring back the wish it names by this Sunday, December 21. These gifts can be put in the box outside the upstairs kitchen.
- Anna Kingman
This is a wonderful neighborhood participation opportunity - to witness the nativity story come alive in our own neighborhood! In the Heart of the Beast Theater, along with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, will present LA NATIVIDAD - a bilingual telling of the Christmas story. Audience members move with the puppet actors and process with Maria and Jose as they seek shelter. The show moves from Lake Street to St. Paul's for the Nativity and celebration with music and food.
This event continues on December 18, 19, 20, 21, at 6:30 pm, starting at In the Heart of the Beast Theater (1500 E. Lake St.). Individual and group tickets are available online at hobt.org.
Flyers with additional information are available at church.
Thanks to the Mount Olive Foundation!
After over 25 years of regular use, the ovens and range in the Undercroft kitchen have been retired.
This past week the new South Bend natural gas range and oven as well as the new South Bend double convection gas ovens were delivered to Mount Olive.
The Mount Olive Foundation provided funds to purchase the appliances.
Thanks also to Gail Nielsen, Carla Manuel, Mark Pipkorn, Bern Youngblood, Aric Sorenson, Tim Pipkorn, Ted Thompson, Sexton William Pratley, and Andrew Andersen for their work on the installation project.
Stop and take a look at them next time you are in the Undercroft!
Alternative Gift Giving
Are you looking for something different to do this year for Christmas gifts? Take part in a growing tradition by giving gifts that help those in need.
The Missions Committee is promoting the idea of alternative gift giving this Christmas. For example, in honor of a loved one you can buy a month of food for a child orphaned by AIDS through ELCA Good Gifts. We have catalogues from different charitable organizations that you can use or you can order from the organizations’ websites. Some of these organizations are:
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran World Relief
Heifer Project International
Common Hope http://commonhopecatalog.myshopify.com/
Christmas Worship Schedule
Christmas Eve, December 24
9:30 pm – Choral Prelude
10:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Christmas Day, December 25
9:00 am – Christmas Carry-In Breakfast
10:00 am – Festival Holy Eucharist
The Holy Innocents, Sunday, December 28
8:00 & 10:45 am – Holy Eucharist
No adult or children’s education
The Name of Jesus, Thursday, January 1, 2015
10:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Second Sunday of Christmas, January 4
8:00 & 10:45 am – Holy Eucharist
9:30 am - Education hour resumes
The Epiphany of Our Lord, Tuesday, January 6
7:00 pm – Festival Eucharist
Many have been looking for the current edition of the Christ In Our Home devotion booklet. A quick call to Augsburg revealed that there were some problems with this issue at the printer, and delivery was delayed.
They have now arrived and are in the narthex for those who wish to pick one up.
Planning a Reception?
Thanks to Gail Nielsen and Carla Manuel for recruiting crews to cook and serve for one funeral, one wedding, a new member brunch, and the Advent luncheon for seniors within recent months.
If you would like assistance in planning a reception at Mount Olive, contact Gail at 612-825-9326 or via email to her at email@example.com.
Mount Olive History Books
Copies of Mount Olive’s 100th anniversary history book, The Faith of Our Forebears, are out and available at church for those who would like one.
If you don’t have a copy (or even if you do!), please help yourself!
Movin’ On Up!
With the creation of an additional office on Mount Olive’s main level, the Neighborhood Ministries office has moved upstairs!
Anna Kingman’s office is now next to Pastor Crippen’s office, and Vicar Meagan’s office is in the newly created office across the hall from Cantor Cherwien’s office.
Staff Christmas Gifts
The six people who work at Mount Olive serve us and God in many and exciting ways. At a recent congregational meeting I stated that it feels as though Mount Olive is "humming on all cylinders" right now, and that is due in large part to our capable and faithful Pastor Joseph, Vicar Meagan, Cantor David, Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator Anna, Administra-tive Assistant Cha and Sexton William. Each year we provide a Christmas gift for them, and we want to remind you of that opportunity again. Please submit your monetary gifts to the church office or in the offering plate. Checks should have "Staff Christmas Gift" noted on the memo line. We have been able to be very generous in the past, and I thank you in advance for your gifts this year.
- Lora Dundek, Vestry President
End of Life Planning
The Congregational Care group will sponsor a conversation at Mount Olive about end-of-life planning on Sunday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 7.
Additional information about this event will be shared in The Olive Branch after Christmas.
Mount Olive Christmas Cards
There are still some of the Mount Olive Christmas cards available for sale this year. The cards cost $2.50 each if you buy 5 or less. If you buy 6 or more they are $1.75 each. The cards are available in the church office and will be available Sunday mornings. Please contact Paul Nixdorf or Andrew Andersen with any questions.
Christmas Carry-In Breakfast
All are invited to come to Christmas Day Eucharist an hour early for a Christmas breakfast together, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Bring a favorite breakfast or brunch dish to pass.
Help with the Greens – Up and Down!
Many hands make light work, and there are several opportunities for people to help decorate the nave and chancel for our Christmas celebrations at Mount Olive. This Sunday, Dec. 21, after second liturgy, is the hanging of the greens, where all wreaths and roping are placed. Any who wish to help, just come to the nave after coffee time.
Also, and probably most important given it’s more easily forgotten, the taking down of the greens and trees will happen on Wednesday, Jan. 7, beginning at 8:30 a.m. In particular, this last task requires a lot of hands, so having a good group come will make the work much easier.
House Sitter / Pet Sitter
Do you need a house sitter or pet sitter while you are on vacation or away on extended business? Are you aware of someone who needs a caretaker for their home while on sabbatical?
If so, contact Andrew Andersen at 763-607-1689 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. The person who is available for this is active in the Mount Olive community. He does not drive so possible engagements must be on or near to a bus or light rail line in Minneapolis or St. Paul.