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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Olive Branch, 2/25/15

Accent on Worship

February is not a high-point of the year. In fact, more than any other month, it seems to be the one that people just skip, pass over, and try desperately to make it through.  This is quite understandable though, as March is coming, with its potential promise of longer days, more sunlight, and maybe, just maybe, above freezing temperatures. If you’re like me, or especially if you, too, have a dog that has to go outside constantly, you may realize that your shoulders are hunched tight and your teeth clench automatically when you open the door to head out anywhere.  I don’t like this feeling all that much. I don’t like this annual battle with nature where our stubbornness collides and we both are determined to outlast one another. Inevitably, kindly, winter will give in like a wise friend, let up its grip on us all, and usher us to a more relaxed, excitable time when we don’t require a low consistent grumble of disagreement  with the temperature or the wind-chill or the ice coating our cars.

     As much as I don’t care for February, I sure stay there unnecessarily often in my faith and my perspective. I can hold on to things with a death grip, thinking that I am in the right, obviously, if only other people would see it too. Or I can be unaware, apathetic and elusive to my role in the Christian community thinking someone else will take care of things. I can hunch my shoulders to God and turn my back, not recognizing the moments that are available to warm up, melt the ice around my stubborn-ness, and let God work in me. Do you ever feel that tap on your shoulder - the one that tells you that you have so much more available to you if you would only relax your tense muscle between your ears or beating in your chest? Especially as we walk through this Lenten season, I am feeling that tap-tap-tap on my shoulder to loosen my grip on my feelings of busyness, stress, other obligations, or apathetic disregard for what my life truly needs. I don’t need it to be 75 degrees and sunny to feel relief. I don’t need 2 hours of free time in the morning after perfect sleep to feel a sense of peace and rest. I do, however, need to find solace in this Lenten season, to read through the daily devotions to feel centered in this time of reflection, and to take seriously the narrative of this journey to the cross.

     It will still be cold outside for a while. That’s fine. But while I wait for the promise of Spring I do not have to wait for God’s promise of peace and life. Stay warm out there friends.

- Anna Kingman

Sunday Readings

March 1, 2015: Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

March 8, 2015: Third Sunday in Lent
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
I Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

Sunday’s Adult Forum
March 1-22, 2015: Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Craig Koester, on the book of Revelation.

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 Continue

     This Sunday, March 1, 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 Congregational Life and Neighborhood Ministries.  Following both the first and second liturgies, Sandra Pranschke (Congregational Life) and Carol Austermann (Neighborhood Ministries) 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 During Lent
Noon: Holy Eucharist, followed by soup luncheon
7:00 pm: Evening Prayer, preceded by soup supper, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

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.

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, the study begins with a light supper.  

Volunteer at Feed My Starving Children

     Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and we ship these meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.

     Mount Olive Youth are going and invite everyone to volunteer with them!  We have 26 spots reserved for Feed my Starving Children in Chanhassen on Saturday, March 7, from 7-9 pm. We plan to meet at church between 5-6 to share dinner beforehand and rides if needed.  You can also meet us at the site.

     If you are interested or need additional information, please contact Aimee Engebretson at or 612-387-1820, or Amy Thompson at
Please include in your email:
-Full names of the people who will be attending (age 5 and over).  And their ages if <18 .="" p="">-Your email address (this will be sent to them so they can send you a reminder about the event). You don't have to provide this if you don't want to.

     Space is limited, so we can take the first 26 committed volunteers who email or call.

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month!

     Donate cash or groceries to the local food shelf during Minnesota FoodShare month in March! A donation of money more than doubles the amount of food available to food shelves, because food shelves can purchase food at discounted prices.  If you choose to give in this way, make your check payable to Mount Olive and write Food Shelf on the memo line. If you prefer to donate non-perishable groceries, they may be brought to the grocery cart in the coat room.

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 Collabora-tive 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.

Holy Week at Mount Olive

Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday
Sunday, March 29
Holy Eucharist, 8 & 10:45 am

Monday-Wednesday of Holy Week,
March 30-April 1
Daily Prayer at Noon, in the side chapel of the nave

Maundy Thursday, April 2
Holy Eucharist at Noon
Holy Eucharist, with the Washing of Feet, 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday, April 3
Stations of the Cross at Noon
Adoration of the Cross at 7 pm

Holy Saturday, April 4
Great Vigil of Easter, 8:30 pm, followed by a festive reception

The Resurrection of Our Lord
Sunday, April 5
Festival Eucharist at
8 & 10:45 am
Easter Brunch at 9:30 am

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:

     Register by Feb. 20 at 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:;  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  or call (888) 747-4589.

Valparaiso University Chorale Sings

     On Sunday, March 1, at 4:00 p.m., the Valparaiso University Chorale will present a concert at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 5005 Northwest Blvd, Plymouth.    

     The Chorale, directed by Dr. Christopher Cock, is among the top Lutheran collegiate choirs in the United States, and is dedicated to performing works that celebrate the University's Lutheran heritage as well as significant contemporary works in their original languages.

Concordia Choirs to Perform in Twin Cities

     The Concordia Choir will present a concert on Saturday, March 7, 7:30 pm at Roseville  Lutheran Church, 1215 Roselawn Ave. W. in Roseville. Tickets available at

     The Concordia College Chapel Choir will present a concert on Saturday, March 7, 7:30 pm, at First Lutheran Church, 1555 40th Ave. NE, Columbia Heights. A freewill offering will be received.

Neighborhood Ministries News
Anna Kingman

Opportunities to BE involved:

     Mark your calendars for March! There’s quite a bit going on so stay informed and be involved. More information is available outside of the main office or by contacting Anna Kingman  at

Feed My Starving Children
     Take part in packing meals that feed and sustain children around the world. The Youth committee needs 26 pairs of hands on Sat. March 7th from 7:00-9:00 in Chanhassen. More info on page 3.

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition Day on the Hill
     Show up and speak up on issues facing our State on Tuesday March 10th. The all-day conference will address issues such as: childcare assistance, payday lending reform, and human trafficking with time to meet with legislators.  Register at Let me know so we can all go together! More information on page 5.

Go see Bottom
     A play written and performed by students at Slate theater, this story addresses a young girl's complex experience with sex-trafficking. A discussion will follow the performance about this issue and what ways the community can respond. Sat. March 14, at 7:00pm at Minnehaha Upper Academy.

Better Halves Workshop
     Talking about money isn’t always fun, but it can be done well. Brightpeak financial is offering a FREE couples workshop about the relationship that each half brings to money and tools to use to manage that partnership well. Childcare will be provided. If this isn’t for you, think of a couple in your life that would benefit - which is anyone! Sat. March 21 9:00-11:30am. Register at: Promo code: mountolive15.

Who We Are, Where We Are Map

     Have you wondered about where your fellow members come from on Sunday mornings and how the community is spread out in the area? Let’s all find out!

     Please “pin yourself” on the map hanging in the East Assembly room so we can see who we are, where we are, as a congregation.

     Instructions will be posted by the map – please contribute your pin.

Neighborhood Ministries Wish List 

     The first item for this Wish List is: snacks for tutoring kids.

     There are 13 students and 12 tutors. Snacks are needed by 7:00pm on Tuesday evenings.
Some snack suggestions are: apples, clementines, cookies, packs of pretzels, ice cream cups, baby carrots, you get the idea!

     Please sign up on the sheet in the East Assembly or contact Anna.

Church Library News

        Have you ever stopped in our church library to check out our periodicals rack?  Consistently you will find there The Lutheran, Lutheran Journal, Lutheran Forum, Lutheran Vistas and Sojourner's magazines, plus large print sermons by the speaker of The Lutheran Hour, which are produced and shared freely by the Lutheran Braille Workers.   Some of these periodicals are also in the revolving rack in the Courtyard Library, located in the Commons area across from the Chapel Lounge. New to our periodicals rack is The Christian Century magazine, which we will receive twice a month for a year.  I have asked our good friend, Rod Olson, to give us some comments about the excellence of this fine periodical and this is what he has written:

     "The Christian Century, is the most influential and widely-read magazine on religion in the United States and you are encouraged to page through a copy soon and see first-hand what an interesting, thoughtful, presentation of religion is offered therein -- from news items, features, reviews of books, media and art, and a section called "Living the Word," which presents reflections of the lectionary texts for the coming Sundays, and much more."

        "Interestingly, Martin E. Marty, whose ties to Mount Olive extend back several decades, and whose current claim to fame is that he is the father of our own John Marty, was for decades also on The Christian Century staff and wrote an editorial comment on the inside back cover of each issue.  Many people have collected these writings since they continue to educate and inspire.  Dr. Marty remains a continuing editor of The Christian Century."

     Please stop in the library soon and share your reaction to this new magazine with members of the volunteer library staff.

     I am a member of Friends of the Hennepin County Library and their spring 2015 newsletter includes two noteworthy quotes which I would like to share with you as well: from Norman Cousins,  "A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life;"  and from Bill Gates, "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."  

    I can't emphasize enough that especially parents of young children should plan to  acquaint their youngsters often with the attributes of their local public libraries, as well as the importance of periodic visits to our own church library here at Mount Olive!

- Leanna Kloempken

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