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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Olive Branch, 3/18/15

Accent on Worship

      Toward the end of winter, I always yearn for renewal, and this year is no exception. Learning and changing takes a lot of energy, and winter demands enough as it is, just to stay warm! The infusion of spring we have had this week has been very welcome, indeed. I have been soaking in the longer days and warmer temperatures, reveling in the freedom of leaving my coat at home. Our cats sense it, too, and beg for a chance to be outside anytime we are close to the door.

     And as I walked around our yard this week, I saw them . . . buds coming out on every branch of the tree we planted last summer! Nothing symbolizes the coming of spring like buds, and this proof that our new tree had made it through its first winter somehow seemed to carry extra promise. The grain that fell to the ground and died is now bearing fruit. The world is being renewed, before our very eyes!

The process of rebirth that we witness every spring is a tangible reminder of the faithfulness of God. The weariness and grief and suffering and death of Jesus was followed by resurrection, and new life. Our own experiences of weariness and grief and suffering and death are always followed by resurrection, and new life. And as I have passed the midpoint of my time with you—the hump, if you will—I have been filled with gratitude for the Mount Olive community, and with energy for the remaining months of my internship.

     The miracle of spring is that trees and bushes and flowers don’t simply come back the way they were before winter stripped them of last year’s green. God’s promise is not just life, but abundant life, one that bears fruit! The bushes grow bigger, the trees more full with leaves, and seeds burst into new life wherever they are planted. Spring is coming! What fruit are you preparing to bear?

- Vicar Meagan McLaughlin

Sunday Readings

March 22, 2015: Fifth Sunday in Lent
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33

March 29, 2015: Sunday of the Passion
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Mark 14:1—15:47

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

Can You Help? 

     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 can provide a needed break for caregivers.)
• The loss of job and income. (Meals, a listening ear, and supportive conversation may help lessen feelings of discouragement.)
• A single person experiencing a significant life change. (Help with meals, transportation, etc. can 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.

     Can you help? Please call or email Marilyn Gebauer (phone: 612-306-8872, email:

Book Discussion Group Update

For the April 11 meeting, the group will read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; and for May 9, The Boat of Longing, by O. E. Rølvaag.

Paschal Garden

     Volunteers will be on hand for the next two Sundays (March 22 and 29) before, between, and following the liturgies to receive your donations to purchase Easter flowers for this year’s Paschal Garden.

Midweek Lenten Worship, Wednesdays during Lent
Holy Eucharist, at noon
Evening Prayer at 7 pm

Final Vestry Listening to be Held This Sunday

     Vestry Listening sessions conclude this Sunday, March 22. This is an opportunity for the congregation to discuss the Vision Expression statements introduced earlier this month.

     This week’s focus will be on Education.  Following both the first and second liturgies, Education Committee Director, John Holtmeier, will be available in the East Assembly room to hear your ideas on the work of his committee.

     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.

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.

Chancel Cleaning Day

     The Mount Olive Altar Guild invites interested persons to participate in the chancel cleaning to prepare for the Easter season. The cleaning will take place on Saturday, March 28, from 9 am - noon. If you would like to help, please contact Steve Pranschke at 612-803-0915 or by email to

     Your helping hands are truly appreciated.  I find it is enjoyable to work alongside one another in preparing our worship space at such a special time. Thanks!

- Steve Pranschke

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

Night On the Street

     Night On the Street (NOTS) is coming right up! On Friday, April 17, TRUST Youth will once again participate in helping raise awareness and funds to help alleviate youth homelessness. Sponsored by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, hundreds of youth from around the Twin Cities will participate in an overnight in the parking lot of Plymouth Congregational Church near Downtown Minneapolis. The youth (and chaperones) will get their own cardboard box to sleep in for the night, have a soup line meal, and learn from former homeless youth and those that help them what can be done to help.

     Donations from Night On the Street go to help fund the interim housing facilities run by Beacon Interfaith. If you would like to help make a difference, you can make a tax deductible donation through April 16. Please make checks payable to “Night On the Street.” You can give your tax deductible donation to Julie or Eric Manuel or leave it in the church office. If you have any questions, please contact Julie or Eric Manuel.

Sabbatical Information: Interim Pastor to Serve

     During Pr. Crippen’s sabbatical (April 6 through July 15), The Rev. Robert Hausman will serve as full-time interim.  He will be covering the normal duties of our pastor, and also supervise Vicar McLaughlin’s next months.  Rev. Hausman was ordained in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in 1965, holds a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Chicago, and has taught at both the seminary and undergraduate levels.  He most recently served 25 years as pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (ELCA) in Roseville.  He has two sons and five grandchildren.  

     When asked about what to include in this biographical sketch, he mentioned his ordination, and then added: “God has called me to tasks both in academia and in parish ministry.  I love the church.  I kind of think that is enough.”    

     He will begin among us on Tuesday, Apr. 7, with his first Sunday being Apr. 12.

News From the Neighborhood
Anna Kingman

Better Halves Workshop

     Register for the Better Halves Workshop! This Saturday, March 21, 9:00- 11:30 am at Mount Olive. This is a financial enrichment workshop for ANY couple that wants to practice talking about money well with their partner.  *Childcare and donuts will be in supply!

     Register at: Promo code: mountolive15.

Opportunities to BE Involved

     Check out the information located in front of the main office for more details.

     Needed: Food donation deliverer! Is anyone available and willing to take a load of food to CES at 1900 11th Ave. S.? A drop-off time can be arranged and helping hands to load. Please let Anna K. know.

Spanish phrase:

     Part of sharing in community is understanding one another through language, culture, or experience. As we explore our community and get to know our neighbors, let's continue with some helpful language lessons:

English: “How can I help you?”
Spanish: “Como le puedo ayudar?” (Coh-mow lay pooh-ay-doh eye-u-dar)

Review: “Do you live in this neighborhood?”
Spanish: “‘Usted vive en este barrio?” (Oo-sted vee-vay ehn es-tay bah-ree-oh)

Mark Your Calendars for the May Day Parade:  Sunday, May 3, 2015!

     The May Day Parade and Festival is produced by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. Since 1975, Heart of the Beast has invited the entire community to participate by brainstorming, organizing, sculpting, sewing, building, painting, and joining in the parade and festival as actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and attendees.

     The May Day Parade and Festival has become a joyous annual rite of spring. More than 2,000 participants, along with amazing puppets and floats, parade down Bloomington Avenue telling a story and creating a moving theatrical performance. Thousands more line the streets to watch the parade and participate in day-long activities. Following the parade, a pageant and tree of life ceremony in Powderhorn Park ushers in the renewal of a new spring season.

     For more information or to get involved check the HOBT website:

Who We Are, Where We Are Map
     Have you “pinned” yourself yet? If not, please do so by letting us know where you live, using the map hanging in the East Assembly room. Instructions are posted by the map – please contribute your pin!

Meeting Our Somali Neighbors Over Rice and Bananas
     This winter, a small group of Mount Olive members met to talk about culture—who we are as individuals, and how we welcome those different from us. We shared experiences that took us out of our comfort zone. Four of us visited Karmel Square Mall with new Somali friends, Abdi and Osman. We looked in shops, saw the Mosque entrance, and went to Abdi and Osman’s preferred coffee shop for sambosa and Somali tea and conversation. We discovered that Osman practices Islam, Abdi does not. They explained the importance of having a male in our group, since we were meeting Somali men. We learned about each other.

     To continue our friendship, we joined Abdi and Osman at Hamdi Somali Restaurant for lunch. We washed hands in nearby sinks, and got our tea from the dispenser on the wall. Osman and Abdi ordered one of everything on the menu, including chicken, and the best fish I've had in a restaurant. We had two goat dishes, one roasted and one steamed. Our guides taught us to eat green bananas with rice--wonderful! And then, spaghetti. Yes, spaghetti. Who knew Somalia had spaghetti?

     The conversation was as wonderful as the food. Abdi came to the US in the 1980's to go to college, before the wars, and lived in Washington DC. Osman and his wife came to Texas as refugees in the 1990's through the Lutheran Church, and moved to Minnesota, where all eight of their children were born. His children love American food, especially burgers, but Osman eats Somali fare at Hamdi, nearly daily. Two of Osman’s children attend St. Olaf College in Northfield! By sharing food with Osman and Abdi, we were able to share things like how we define success and what cultures we relate to. We discovered that Osman and Abdi disagree about wearing a hijab, and that both of them identify as Minnesotan.

     This experience showed me that we really are more similar than different.

- Julie Manuel

Action Alert

     Sign up now to visit Guatemala and our Common Hope partners. One or two groups will be going. Pick your dates and get in on the action. Leave your name at the office, sign a yellow info sheet or contact Judy Hinck either by email to or by calling 612-824-4918. Teams will be set by Easter.

How’s our giving going?

     Our committee’s letter last November outlined some of the reasons our president, Lora Dundek, described our 2015 budget as “challenging,” requiring increased giving totaling some 7%. Among those reasons: increased health-care premiums, paying an interim pastor during Pastor
Crippen’s sabbatical (which starts after Easter), and increasing our support for the work of the ELCA (churchwide and synod) from 3% to 4%—the level at which we continue to fund Missions and Neighborhood Ministries.

     With the first two months of the year behind us, how are we doing? We got off to a strong start, with January giving up 25% from the same month a year earlier. Giving in February showed a more modest 4% over the previous February. Giving for the two months was 14% over the same period a year earlier.

     But it’s still early in the year. Let’s be cautiously optimistic that our giving will remain strong throughout the year. Our treasurer, Kat Campbell-Johnson, reminded the Vestry that January giving was 108% of that month’s expenditures, while February giving was only 81% of that month’s expenses. For now we’re not needing to use our line of credit at the bank, thanks in part to members’ gifts to last year’s campaign (some members are continuing to give), which fully funded our restrictive accounts and left us with a modest but important reserve fund.

     Let’s also keep that word “challenging” in mind as we consider and make our gifts in the months

- Donn McLellan, Director of Stewardship

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