Growing up Catholic, Lent for me was always a time to “give something up.” Chocolate. Soda. TV. And on Fridays, meat, unless we forgot it was Friday, or forgot it was Lent. Still today, it doesn't feel like Lent until I have put away the basket of candy that typically sits out in my office!
Giving up little things can seem trivial, but the ritual of abstaining from something that I usually do or consume without thinking about it served, and still serves, an important pur-pose for me. It sets Lent apart from ordinary time, inviting the question that echoes through the Jewish tradition of Passover, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Why is Lent different from all other seasons?
Lent is a time to be aware of things that get in the way of my relationship with God. When I honestly pay attention, I can see how sometimes the silliest little
things, like a TV show or chocolate, can go from being a treat to enjoy to something that prevents me from being fully present to God and those around me. Lent invites us to set these things aside and trust in God, knowing we are God’s people.
Our Old Testament scripture readings during Lent call us to awareness of who we are as people of the covenant, as baptized children of God. After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah, promising that God would never again flood the earth. God has promised to be faithful to us, even when we are not faithful. Our baptism is an outward sign of that unbreakable covenant.
Whether or not you, or I, choose to “give something up” this year, Lent is a season set apart for reflection. There are many ways for us to take that time at Mount Olive as a community. I look forward to seeing you here!
-Vicar Meagan McLaughlin
February 22, 2015: First Sunday in Lent
I Peter 3:18-22
March 1, 2015:Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Sunday’s Adult Forum: February 22, 2015:
"Crossing the Threshold: Liturgy as Transformational Journey," presented by Susan Palo Cherwien.
Lenten Devotional Book Available
The Grain of Wheat, Susan Cherwien's new devotional booklet for Lent, is free and available at church. Pick one up for use during Lent!
Vestry Listening Sessions
This Sunday, Feb. 22, the Vestry Listening sessions continue. This is an opportunity for the congregation to discuss the Vision Expression statements introduced earlier this month. This week’s focus will be on Missions and Property. Following both the first and second liturgies, Judy Hinck (Missions) and Brenda Bartz (Property) will be available in the East and West Assembly rooms to hear your ideas on the work of their committees.
Grab your coffee and join the small group to talk. Each session will last 30-45 minutes, and you may move in and out as you wish.
Midweek Lenten Worship
Wednesdays, Feb. 25 – Mar. 25
• Noon: Holy Eucharist, followed by soup luncheon
• 7:00 pm: Evening Prayer, preceded by soup supper, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Meals for the Manuels
The Manuel family would like to thank everyone who signed up and brought us wonderful meals during Julie's treatments. We know it wasn't easy with construction, road closures, and parking restrictions on top of a very torn up street. It meant so much to us to have the help of a meal each week. We'd also like to thank all those who showed support with kind words, listening, and talking to us.
We are so thankful to be a part of the wonderful congregation that is called Mount Olive.
- Julie, Steve & Eric Manuel
Book Discussion Group Update
For the March 14 meeting we will discuss The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho; for April 11, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; and for May 9, The Boat of Longing, by O. E. Rølvaag.
Thursday Evening Study Returns Feb. 26
Starting Feb. 26, the Thursday evening study will begin meeting again in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Not strictly a Bible study this time, Pr. Crippen will lead a four-week series studying “The Use of the Means of Grace,” our church’s 1991 statement on our sacramental practices. Presiding Bishop Eaton has asked all congregations to study and discuss this.
As always, there will be a light supper. If anyone wishes to provide the first week’s meal, please let Pr. Crippen know.
Granlund Exhibit at Mount Olive
Mount Olive is currently hosting 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.
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 come and see it, and to invite guests to visit.
Soup makers are needed to provide soup and bread for our midweek Lenten meals. Soup and bread for the lunch following Wednesday midday Eucharist should feed 40-50 people, and for the supper before Wednesday Evening Prayer, we need soup and bread for about 15-20 people.
If you can help by signing up to bring a meal (or two!), the sign up chart is available at the serving window at coffee hour on Sundays.
Common Hope Vision Team 2016
Would you like to learn more about a Mount Olive Vision Team to visit Common Hope in Guatemala in 2016? We will be an intergenerational team of 10-12 people, high school age or older. Common Hope will ask what skills/talents our team brings and design our visit to use our gifts. We will learn and prepare. We will be gone for eight days. The cost is $800 plus airfare. Fund raising is an option. Mount Olive Missions Committee is committed to supporting the $4,000 program donation.
These dates are being considered: winter, possibly Jan.24-31, 2016; early summer, possibly June 19-26, 2016; and late summer, possibly July 31-Aug 7, 2016. We would like to decide by Easter.
Get your input registered! Fill out a yellow interest form and leave it in the church office or with an usher, talk to a member of the committee (Lisa Ruff, Mark Pipkorn, Paul Schadewald, Mike Edwins) or contact Judy Hinck at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-824-4918. Do it today!
TRUST Youth: Empty Bowls
On Sunday February 8, TRUST Youth participated in painting bowls to be donated to the Empty Bowls Event to be held at a soup dinner in March. The youth went to Simply Jane's Studio in S. Minneapolis where they had a lot of fun painting and having pizza. The Empty Bowls Event the youth donated their bowls to will be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at 1111 Main Street, Hopkins. Hours are 11am to 7pm. The meal is a simple meal of soup and bread donated by local restaurants. Donations benefit ICA Food Shelf and ResourceWest.
Night On The Street
April 17-18 is the annual Night On The Street (NOTS) event that TRUST Youth have participated in in recent years.
Youth in grades 6-12 spend a night in a cardboard box at Plymouth Congregational Church. Participants have gained a unique understanding in the difficulties that homeless youth have in Minnesota.
Since Mount Olive Youth have participated, we have had very cold weather and also warmer weather with rain.
The youth eat a soup kitchen meal and get a snack from the Fishes and Loaves truck from St. Joan of Arc Church. Programming for the evening includes testimonials from previously homeless youth and workers who help the youth, and information about where to find help.
Donations for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative will be received through April 16. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to this important work, please contact Eric or Julie Manuel.
From the Church Library
Approximately a month ago the Congregational Care Committee requested a list of books available in our library that might be useful for the "End of Life Concerns" seminar which was held at church on Saturday, February 7. A correlating display of the books listed has had a prominent place in our library since that time, but will remain available only one more Sunday. Because the full list is long, we are including here only the headings used for this list, which might help you know if something mentioned applies to you and your family at this time.
• Reflections on the Evening of Life
• Coping with Disabilities as We Age
• Living with a Life-Threatening Illness
• On Death and Dying
• Sorrow and Grief
• The Bereaved Parent
• The Healing Power of Grief
This quote from Charles W. Eliot is appropriate for us to remember at all times: "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
- Leanna Kloempken
JRLC Day On the Hill
Calling ALL people of faith! Consider participating in the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) Day on the Hill on March 10, from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. at the RiverCentre in St. Paul and the State Capital. This year's theme is Dignity in Democracy.
Use your gift of citizenship to speak out for the needs of the most vulnerable in Minnesota and make a difference. The keynote speaker is Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President for Catholic Relief Services. There will also be Issue Briefings and District Table strategy sessions before we shuttle via buses to the Capitol to meet with our elected officials. The Social Justice issues and background papers that people of faith will be invited to advocate for on March 10 can be found by visiting JRLC online at: http://www.jrlc.org/advocacy/legislative-goals.
Register by Feb. 20 at www.jrlc.org/register-day-on-the-hill and the cost is $30, which includes breakfast, lunch and resources (after Feb. 20 the cost is $40). There is a flyer posted at the church for you to look at also.
As an extra bonus to the day, arrangements have been made for the group from Mount Olive to meet with Mount Olive member, Senator John Marty in his office at the State Capitol. Contact Connie Marty if you want to be included in this opportunity: email@example.com; 651-633-8934.
Brochures with more information about the event and important ways to contact your representatives are placed on the cabinet in the West Assembly area.
National Lutheran Choir Winter Concert:
“I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”
Saturday, February 28, 2015 – 7pm
Zion Lutheran Church, 1601 Fourth Ave., Anoka
Sunday, March 1, 2015 – 4pm
Woodlake Lutheran Church, 7525 Oliver Ave. S., Minneapolis
Tickets: $25 for Adults; $23 for Seniors; $10 for Students (age 17 and under FREE!). For tickets or more information, visit www.NLCA.com. or call (888) 747-4589.
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.
Quite a few of the men that come in to seek help are recently out of prison and trying to gain back a normal, healthy life. Kenneth has known the church for a while even before serving his time. Now out, he lives at Volunteers of America on E. Lake St. and just got a job working at Goodwill collecting the donations and separating them. He came in the office with relief and excitement to be so close to becoming independent. He just needed work boots and a bus pass. He relies on VOA to keep him on track and has taken seriously his responsibility to be able to move on. I appreciated his confidence and positivity and sense of achievement he was exuding. Note: Minnesota recently passed a new expungement law that allows certain crimes on a record to be sealed, improving opportunities for employment. The Star Tribune article is posted downstairs or can be read at: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/289846451.html
Opportunities to BE involved:
• Register for early-bird rates for the JRLC Day on the Hill on March 10.
• Attend the Saturday March 14 presentation of “Bottom,” a student-written play on sex trafficking followed by a community discussion on our response at Minnehaha Academy (more info to come).
Getting to Know Our Neighbors
Part of sharing in community is understanding one another through language, culture, or experience.
You may have noticed that in the Muslim community there are many men named Abdi. “Abdi” means “slave.”
In the religious sense, “Islam” means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. Allah is known to have 99 different names (i.e. kind, merciful, almighty). Abdi is usually accompanied by one of these names so: Abdi Kareem means “slave – kind.”
Now you know a little more!
The Cold Weather Continues …
…and so does the need for hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, and coats.
Please bring new and gently used cold weather gear to church for distribution to those who need them most. These items may be brought to the designated area in the coat room at Mount Olive.
We will continue to collect these items as long as the weather remains cold.
Thanks for whatever help you can offer.
End of Life Decisions: The conversation continues - - -
Forty people attended the February 7 workshop on End of Life Decisions, which followed the forum presentation the previous Sunday by Pastor Crippen. (View at http://youtu.be/npRfQf8TTJg). Thanks to Pastor Crippen, Rob Ruff, and Kathy Thurston for presentations helpful in looking at how we as people of faith approach our deaths and the deaths of our loved ones.
Health Care Directives served as a focal point for discussion and stimulated thinking about how such tools are not only helpful but also essential in making our wishes known to others about critical end of life decisions. A tentative workshop is being planned for Saturday, April 18, from 10:00 AM – noon to specifically address the Honoring Choices Health Care directive. How do we know what we want and what are the options? How and with whom do we have the conversation with? These and other questions will be discussed. Help with completing the form will be available, as well as a notary to finalize any documents that are completed on that date.
Scheduling this workshop is dependent upon the demand for it. If you would like to participate, please let Marilyn Gebauer or the church office know in advance. You can contact Marilyn at 612-306 -8872 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the church office at (612) 827-5919.
Some of the suggestions made for follow-up workshops include:
- Estate planning – with or without an agent
- Funeral planning – burial rites, “green funerals,” the Columbarium
- Writing a will
- Assisted suicide – ethical and faith considerations
- Establishing a volunteer group at MO to serve as healthcare proxies for fellow members who are without close family, friends, etc.
- Near death experience