Accent on Worship
On days when I need a new perspective (which is most days) I reach for Oswald Chambers’ popular devotional, My Utmost for His Highest. After searching for inspiration not found in a gray Minnesota sky, and after waiting for my caffeine to kick in so I could think of something coherent to write to you, I was pleased when today’s message from Oswald started with, “A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle for us because we will not be simple.” Oh Oswald, that happens to you too?
We’re in the midst of a very rich time in the life of Mount Olive. The sharing of the expression of Vision with the congregation is a beautiful, challenging season of reflection, anticipation, and work. As I consider my role within this vision, both from my position on staff and my role as a member, I’m finding myself twisting around corners and chasing the rabbit deeper and deeper with self-inflicted complication. As encouraging and supportive as this community can be, that doesn’t always save one from one’s self. In steps Oswald today to bring simplicity and calm.
Micah was doing the same in chapter 6:1-8 when he told the people to remember their journey, remember God’s blessings on them, and then simplified the pending question of “with what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted?” No burnt offerings, no rams, olive oil or first born sons. Instead, the generous answer of “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Easy, right? So why do I complicate it?
I’m very excited about what is to come. There is so much potential circulating within the people of this church and good work already being done. I am wary to share my struggle so openly – that I can get a little over-zealous on the ‘do’ nature and let that pressure complicate my ability to see the truth of the Lord’s Word and allow it to free me rather than bind me. But I trust that God is working, putting words and people around me to uplift and inspire (thanks Oswald!), and hopefully, I am helping do the same for you as well as we live together - in the presence of God. Being the presence of God.
- Anna Kingman
February 1, 2015: 4th Sunday after Epiphany
I Corinthians 8:1-13
February 8, 2015: 5th Sunday after Epiphany
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
I Corinthians 9:16-23
Sunday’s Adult Forum: February 1, 2015
“End of Life Decisions,” a presentation by the Congregational Care Committee
Can You Help?
If you love food, good conversation, and have a compassion for caring, this opportunity may be for you!
This past year Mount Olive members have been amazingly responsive to several calls to help families within our congregation by supplying meals and also offering support and encouragement as needed. In doing so, it has become increasingly clear that others among us have similar needs that may be going unrecognized.
Mount Olive’s Congregational Care Committee wants to help what has been a “naturally occurring experience” become more inclusive and available to all of its members. The goal is to increase awareness and responsiveness to needs such as:
• A new baby in the family. A few starter meals can ease the adjustment.
• A spouse suddenly alone. A meal, coffee or lunch out, and/or companionship can ease the loneliness.
• An unexpected illness in the family. Meals to drop off or share, and perhaps provide a needed break for caregivers.
• The loss of job and income. Meals, a listening ear, and supportive conversation to lessen feelings of discouragement.
• A single person experiencing a significant life change. Help with meals, transportation, etc. to support continued independence.
How will this work? The hope is to develop a list of people who would be willing to bring a meal, take someone out for lunch, and to participate in the sharing of food and conversation. Think about it! The opportunities are wide open.
Are you ready to give it a trial run? A recently widowed member has had friends and relatives present after the death of a spouse. These people have now returned to their homes. Before leaving, however, and in recognition of how difficult the loneliness will be, family members have asked if the Mount Olive family can step in a few times a week to bring a meal and share in conversation.
Can you help? Please call or email Marilyn Gebauer (phone: 612-306-8872, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Book Discussion Group’s Upcoming Reads
For their meeting February 14, the Book Discussion Group will read Wise Blood, by Flannery O’Connor. For their meeting on March 14, they will read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.
Recently personal items of value belonging to Mount Olive folk were taken from public areas of the church building during Sunday liturgy. It has been several years since we have had a similar occurrence.
Because of the open nature of the building it is not always possible to know who is coming and going from the building.
All of us can help prevent future problems by: 1) greeting and welcoming persons who are unfamiliar to you and ask if they need assistance or directions. Our hospitality helps us get to know folks who come among us, and will help with things like this as well; 2) keeping personal valuables, e.g. purses, com-puters, phones, car keys, and brief cases with you or locked away; and 3) notifying staff, ushers, or vestry members if you observe suspicious activities.
More Helping Hands Are Needed to Feed the Homeless
Members of Mount Olive provide the evening meal at Our Saviour's Shelter the second Sunday of every month. This important ministry meets a real need right in our own neighborhood. You can serve in these ways:
Food preparation - We'll cook the meal in our kitchen Sunday afternoon.
Food transportation - We will bring the food eight blocks north to the shelter.
Serving - We'll meet the residents as we serve the meal to them.
You can find the sign-up sheet for 2015 in the East Assembly Room, near the Sunday coffee. Come and be part of this chance to help. Questions? See Elaine Halbardier or Connie Olson.
The Presentation of Our Lord
Monday, February 2
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.
All are welcome.
An Evening with Donald Jackson
Concordia University St. Paul invites all to a rare U.S. speaking engagement by Donald Jackson, renowned British calligrapher, illuminator, and artistic director of The Saint John's Bible. This event will be held on Thursday, February 12, 2015, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. at Buetow Music Auditorium, Concordia University St. Paul, 1282 Concordia Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104.
This event is free and seating will be on a first come first served basis.
Common Hope and Taste of Guatemala at Mount Olive - February 8
Here’s why I’m excited about Common Hope:
• CH has a deep respect for the Guatemalan people;
• CH offers us a way to learn and serve;
• CH starts with hope and joy;
• CH offers different levels of involvement, from the congregational level to personal sponsorship to the experiential;
• I’m excited about the possibility of being on a Mount Olive Vision Team to Guatemala to learn and offer more;
• CH is honest, effective, innovative and reflective.
You are invited to join in celebrating and supporting our partnership with Common Hope at the education hour and luncheon on February 8.
-Judy Hinck, Missions Committee
Granlund Exhibit at Mount Olive
Mount Olive will host an exhibit of sculptures by the famed artist, Paul Granlund, beginning in mid-February and going through mid-April. The exhibit is sponsored by Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts program.
Paul Granlund wanted his sculptures to be viewed and enjoyed from all angles and even touched. The exhibit will be on display in the Chapel Lounge and assembly areas. We encourage members to invite guests to visit.
A Word About Parking
All who come to Mount Olive (for Sunday worship particularly) are asked to reserve the handicapped parking places in the north lot for those who need them (and there are several who do need them!) Also, please remember that the spaces with diagonal stripes near the sidewalk are to be left open so that those who park in the adjacent spot can actually get out of their cars to come in to church.
Thanks for doing what you can to make things as easy as possible for everyone who comes to Mount Olive.
End of Life Planning: Join the Conversation
• This Sunday, February 1: 9:30 am - Adult Forum on End-of-Life planning with Pr. Crippen
• Saturday, February 7: 9-Noon at Mount Olive - Kathy Thurston and Rob Ruff will present perspectives and direction on end- of -life planning including the POLST and Honoring Choices Advance Directive.
Start the conversation and gather resources so that you can prepare or review your own Advance Directive.
What should I know about health care directives?
• All individuals ages 18 and older should have a health care directive to appoint an agent and address basic quality of life and medical questions.
• The directive is a “living document”. It should be updated as life circumstances change and when any of the "Five Ds" occur: Decade; Death of a loved one; Divorce; Diagnosis; Decline.
• A health care directive is a legal document which serves as the basis for medical decision making.
• A copy of your health care directive should be shared with your agent (surrogate), family, loved ones, and health care and long term care providers.
• A health care directive can be changed as you grow older or as your life circumstances change. Always share any changes with your health care agent, family and health care providers. Destroy old copies that are no longer valid.
WHO – me? This event is open to all, including spouses, parents, adult children, caregivers and friends. Even if immediate life changes are not evident now, they can happen surprisingly quickly. If you wish an invitation be sent to someone who will not see the Olive Branch notifications, let the church office (612-827-5919) know.
Registration – Not necessary, BUT if you plan to attend, a call to the church office or Marilyn Gebauer (612-306-8872) will help in planning for enough handouts and refreshments.
Bach Vespers at Mount Olive
Sunday, February 15, 4:00 pm
Bach Vespers, with Cantata 23, Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn
Mount Olive Cantorei and Bach Ensemble; David Cherwien, Conductor
This event is sponsored by Mount Olive Music & Fine Arts.
Thank you to the 90-plus people who attended the congregational event on Sunday, Jan. 25. It was a great opportunity to “dive” into the Vision Expression document.
As a reminder of the next steps in this process, this is what is coming up in the next few weeks.
Vestry members will host “Listening Posts” on five consecutive Sundays, beginning on Feb. 15. Watch for schedule and attend as many as you wish.
On March 22, we will have a larger congregational update for everyone.
News from the Neighborhood
In effort to share in the relationships being built through our interaction in the neighborhood, we will hear from the people who find support, relief, and help through Mount Olive.
Profiles: Let’s call him … David.
When David came to the office he had just spent this night sleeping in an open closet on a porch after getting kicked out of his rehab housing for starting a fight. He’s burnt all of his contacts and friends and has nowhere to turn, not even family. In the chaos he lost his wallet that held his birth certificate and social security card which he used for ID rather than a state license. Recently out of jail, David has no established home and no address.
Recovering such important documents is very difficult without having other important documents (also lost), and complicated when you have no address to mail them to anyways. David came in stressed, panicked, and option-less. Here, he was able to just sit, vent, and we came up with a plan. His most important priority was getting his phone reactivated so that he could start to work things out.
So that’s what we did. Over and over he said thank you and that no one had ever helped him out like this. He came back the next day with registrations for the documents he needed and a plan for what to do next. I gave him a meal from our church food shelf stash and off he went to keep pulling the strings of his life back together. I made sure that he knows that here he has a place if he needs it.
Thank you for your support!
There was a generous out-pouring of diaper support – thank you to those who could put that Target deal to use! I didn’t have to go buy diapers at all last week!
The Diaper Depot is open Tuesdays from 4:30-6:30pm, and Thursdays from 1:30-3:30pm. If you are able or interested in helping for an evening or learning more, please contact Anna: email@example.com
Keep Us in the Loop!
Have you moved? Are you moving? Dump your land line or get a new phone number or email address?
Please be sure to let us know so that we can update your information and keep YOU in the loop!
Church Library News
Stop in the Mount Olive library soon to see the displays there for your inspiration, enjoyment, and/or helpful assistance. The smaller display, across from the checkout desk, includes:
• The Touch of the Earth, by Jean Hersey
• Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul (101 stories to open the heart and rekindle your spirit), by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and others
• Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul (101 stories to open the hearts and rekindle the spirits of women), by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and others
• Put on a Happy Faith, by Cecil B. Murphy
• Give Happiness a Chance, by Phil Bosmans
• Parables for the Present, by Christine Fleming Heffner
• In Clover, by Myra Scovel
• Small Blessings, by Celestine Sibley
• A Touch of Greatness, by Harold E. Kohn
• All Rivers Run to the Sea (a book of reflection and renewal by the author of Think on These Things), by Joyce Hifler
The second and larger display is one requested by the Congregational Care committee of our church and has to do with end-of-life concerns, which will be a topic for the forum on Sunday, with another part of that seminar to be held on Saturday, February 7. A booklist has been prepared of some of the resources in our library surrounding this topic. Please stop in the library soon to ascertain what might be helpful to your family now or in the future. If you don't happen to receive this booklist in the next two events mentioned, stop in and ask the librarian-on-duty for a copy.
An interesting article from the Star Tribune in the fall of 2013 told the story of Katherine Powers, daughter of distinguished Minnesota writer J. F. Powers, a teacher at St. John's University, and the first Minnesota author to win a National Book Award in fiction, who decided to publish some of his letters herself. However, after trying to donate a copy of that book to her own public library system in Cambridge, Mass. she found they appreciated her offer but rejected it, nevertheless. It’s interesting to note that our own Hennepin County Library system has six copies of that book in the collection, and at the time of the article, nineteen people waiting to read it. The Ramsey County Library system also has this book and continues to get recommendations and requests to read it nearly every month.
A quote worth repeating: “Without the love of books the richest man is poor; but endowed with this treasure, the poorest man is rich” (Leon Gullerman).
- Leanna Kloempken