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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Olive Branch, 5/6/15

Accent on Worship

About those hymns…

     I’ve noticed in my travels that very few of our colleague congregations practice what we do with hymnody:  alternation.  (Alternation means that various sub-groups sing stanzas, like “men,” “women,” “choir,”  “organ,” etc).  In case you’ve wondered why we do that, the bottom line is that this practice helps bring and maintain vitality to our hymnody. How?    

     First, it provides variety. When we have men and women alter-nate, it’s really two different octaves, musically.  I’ve experienced other attempts to accomplish the same without using gender language, but it always led to confusion.  With the example of “high voices” and “low Voices,” tenors and altos would say, “which am I?”  I’ve found it most clear to simply say “men” and “women.”   I’ve also noticed that when we return to an “all” stanza after taking turns, the singing is always increased – as if having the unity of the entire room adds to the freedom to sing out more!  We also achieve variety through alternating unison and harmony, and often in canon.  These, too, are tools for variety which contributes to vitality in our song.  We had a rule in Germany when I studied there, and we prepared 12-14 stanza hymns:  Never the same thing twice.

     When a choir sings a stanza, it provides the opportunity for a more involved setting, since they have the great advantage of a rehearsal prior.  Or, in the case of our young choir singers, they spend time memorizing that particular stanza.

     The organ occasionally “sings” a stanza as well – which provides the opportunity for the music painting a picture of what the text is saying, thus bringing out the meaning of the words even more profoundly.

     The practice of alternating stanzas also provides rest.  Orchestra players know this: a trumpet cannot play through an entire symphony without rest, nor can wind instruments.  The rests are important rejuvenation time.  This is also true for us. When it’s our turn to “not” sing, it never implies that we cease participating – we can notice the words more, we can participate through listening.  It’s also a time when we can appreciate our singing partners through listening.

     For me it’s very practical.  When alternation is used, the singing is almost always stronger in general.  When we all sing every stanza, it’s more taxing and harder to maintain vitality and, for me, less effective.  Because alternating is our constant practice, we’ve grown accustomed to it and it’s not tricky. Indeed – even when directions are omitted for a hymn, you all decide on your own alternations - which I love!

     Now you know!

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

May 10, 2015: Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98
I John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

May 17, 2015: Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Psalm 1
I John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

Sunday’s Adult Forum: May 10, 9:30 am

There will be no adult Forum this Sunday. Instead, all are invited to attend the annual Mother’s Day recital, presented by the youth of Mount Olive.

Transitions Support Group

     All are welcome to visit the Transitions Support Group meetings if you've been hoping to find new ideas or encouragement to meet 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.
     The next session meets this evening Wednesday, May 6, from 6- 7 pm, at Mount Olive in the lower level Youth Room, and will be facilitated by Amy Cotter and Cathy Bosworth.  If you have questions, please contact Cathy at 612-708-1144 or

Congrats to our Amazing gRace Racers

     Anna Dundek and Eric Bell raced hard on Saturday, riding bikes from north to south Minneapolis and through St. Paul, and completing tasks from planting a garden to matching housing applicants with just the right house, all the while learning about the peace and justice work of Lutheran Volunteer Corps volunteers. . Together with your Global Mission Committee, Anna and Eric raised over $1,400 in support of the work carried out by LVC volunteers throughout the Twin Cities. Many thanks to Anna and Eric, and to all who supported their efforts. It was a fun day; we learned much and met many others who are being God's presence in our world.

Book Discussion Group Update

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion Group meets on the second Saturday of each month, at 10:00 am in the West Assembly Area at church. All readers are welcome!
     For the May 9 meeting, the Book Discussion group will read, The Boat of Longing, by O. E. Rølvaag. For June 13, The Last Chinese Chef, by Nicole Mones, and for July 11, Bleak House, by Charles Dickens.

Calling All Graduates!

     On Sunday, June 14, we will honor our graduates at a reception following the 9:30 a.m. liturgy.

     If you are graduating from high school, college, seminary, or another post-secondary school, or if you know of some-one else from Mount Olive who is graduating this spring, please take a moment to notify the church office. We want to be sure that all of our graduates are invited!

The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 14
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 pm

Manz Endowment Fund Established

     In recognition of the long-time excellence of the musical and liturgical experience at Mount Olive, anonymous donors recent-ly completed their initial funding of the “Ruth and Paul Manz Endowed Fund for Music and Liturgy at Mount Olive Lutheran Church.”  Meeting the initial $25,000 threshold, the Manz Fund will be managed by the ELCA Foundation as a separate fund within Mount Olive Lutheran Church Foundation's overall endowment.

     Income from the Fund may be used for out-of-the-ordinary course expenses for the Schlicker organ and its successors as well as fees and expenses which benefit and promote Mount Olive's music program.  The donors' overall intent is to help sustain the high standards of the worship experience which they find so meaningful.

     The donors intend to supplement the Manz Fund in the future but welcome anyone who shares their passion to join them by benefiting this endowment through a one-time gift, multi-year pledge, or an estate provision.

New Members to be Received on May 17

     New members will be received on May 17, 2015, at the second liturgy.  A welcome brunch will follow the liturgy in the Undercroft.

     Please contact Andrew Andersen at 763-607-1689, or call the church office at 612-837-5910, if you are interested in becoming a member at Mount Olive. The brunch is open to all Mount Olive folk as well as families and friends. Plan to come to meet our newest members and welcome them!

Help Earthquake Victims

     From your Global Missions Committee: ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response is working with Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief on large scale disaster response in Nepal. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please mark either a blue envelope contribution or a donation check ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response and our collected contributions will be forwarded to this important work.

Spiritual Gifts Workshop

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”   ~ 1 Peter 4: 10-11
Have you been asking yourself these questions?

  • What gifts has God given me?
  • I can’t do the same things I did before.
  • Where is God calling me now?
  • How can I be the presence of God for my family? My co-workers? My neighbors?

Explore these questions and more in the upcoming Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts Workshop to be held Saturday, May 23, 9 a.m.–noon at Mount Olive Lutheran Church.

Workshop Leaders:
Connie Marty and Vicar Meagan McLaughlin

Before the workshop, take an online gifts inventory:
RSVP Required: Vicar McLaughlin at 612.827.5919 or

News From the Neighborhood                          
Anna Kingman                  

Profiles: Meseret which means ‘Foundation of Jesus’ in Amharic

     Meseret was told by a friend “Go to Mount Olive and they will help you.” So she came with her lovely daughter and her father and a heavy heart. Without many personal details and a love of bravery, she simply said, “things are very complicated for us.” Her father, an elderly man who only speaks Amharic, had just moved to a new public housing apartment and has nothing at all. Meseret needs to care for him, as well as her two other children all by herself and this is all very over-whelming for her. And yet she said to me, “I don’t want to complain. Everywhere I look there is hope.” Even the way Cantor Cherwien opened the door to her told her that she was in the right place. But this family needs our help and I assured her that we will do just that! Can you and will you help with any of these items to help make this empty apartment a home? Here’s what she is requesting:

-  PRAYERS!  “Prayer is my road, my sunshine” (Meseret asked mostly for prayers for strength)
-  A bed and bedding (sheets, a blanket)           - A small table and chairs
-  Bathroom rug & shower curtain, supplies     - Small kitchen items (kettle, mugs, towels)
-  Lamp, small fan, bedside table                        - Toiletries, paper products
-  Her father has already received towels, silverware and a microwave – thanks to who brought those!

     If you can help with any of these items, please call Cha at the church office so that we don’t double up on items, and then bring the items (smaller items) to church, so that Meseret can pick them up. We must arrange for delivery of larger items.

Just so you know…

A few MO folks and I walked over to All God’s Children Metro Community Church, just west of Mount Olive on 31st  St. This was prompted by the Open Space project to connect with our neighbor churches, and just good old fashioned neighborliness. We met with Donna Olsen, who wears many hats at AGC, and learned about what programs they run there and things they care about, as we shared ours as well. It’s a good reminder of the opportunities for collaboration and care that we easily overlook. So - Opportunities to BE involved: Go somewhere new this week! Pick a new coffee shop, art store, local food corner you haven’t been in yet, or head to a different park than usual and see what lies beyond the beaten path that has something of the marvelous waiting for you to discover!

Open Space First Event

     Outdoor Community Garage Sale & Local Art Sale: June 20, 9am - 2pm in our “Open Space” (the parking lot!) Neighbors, friends, and local artists can have a parking space plot, bring their own table, and set up their goods to sell to the public. We will go door to door to invite neighborhood residents to reserve a spot or come to the sale, and ask churches, coffee shops and businesses to help publicize the event. Mount Olive will publicize and host, opening our doors to offer a glimpse of who we are inside and out.

     We need members willing to post flyers around the neighborhood, assist with hospitality that day, and put up direction signs that morning.  Because we are hosting the community meal that noon hour, around 100 friends and neighbors will be dining with us already, and perhaps they will be customers at the sale. (In case of rain the event is canceled).
Can you help distribute flyers? Please contact Anna at

The Ninth Annual BACH TAGE: Time to Register!

     The conference this year will focus on two cantatas from Bach’s youth, plus a piece by Dietrich Buxtehude, whose music was an important influence on young Johann. Bach Tage is Saturday and Sunday, June 6 – 7.

Two public concerts are a featured part of Bach Tage – invite your friends!:

Saturday, June 6, 4:00 pm: Music of Johann Sebastian Bach performed by the Bach Tage soloists and orchestra

Cantata BWV 196, Der Herr denket an uns
Concerto for Oboe and Violin, BWV 1060R, with soloists Marc Levine and Stanley King
       Prelude and Fugue in c minor for organ, by Cantor David Cherwien.

Sunday, June 7, 4:00 pm: Service of Evening Prayer            

Cantata BWV 150, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, and Buxtehude’s Befiehl dem Engel dass er komm will be performed by the participants in the weekend conference, with soloists and orchestra. Kathy Romey of the University of Minnesota is our guest conductor for the weekend, with Cantor David Cherwien, organist.

     Musical scores will be mailed next weekend, so the time to register is now. Brochures were sent in the mail, and are still available at Mount Olive. Or, you can find a brochure at

     This is a great opportunity, not to be missed!

Mother’s Day Recital – This Sunday!

     All are invited to attend the annual Mother’s Day Recital by our church youth. The recital takes place this Sunday, May 10, during the Education Hour, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Encounters with Jesus: Bible Study on Thursday Evenings  

     The spring Bible study series on encounters with Jesus continues this Thursday, May 7, in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00-7:30pm. The fifth and final session next week on May 14, will conclude with Eucharist for the Feast of the Ascension. The study begins with a light supper at 6 pm. RSVPs to ( not required, but appreciated for meal planning purposes.    

New Giving Update

     At our April 26 semi-annual meeting we reported that we ended the first quarter with general-fund giving about where it was in the first quarter of last year—not good news in a year we face increased expenses of some 7%.  

     However, our April giving total, which we got a couple days after the meeting, was about 21% over the same month in 2014 and brought our cumulative giving for the four months to 5% over the same period a year ago. The danger, of course, is that this 5% lead could evaporate over the eight Sundays remaining in our second quarter. Together, let’s make certain it doesn’t and keep working toward our 7% target—which is really about mission and ministry.

- Lora Dundek, Vestry President
- Donn McLellan, Director of Stewardship

Attention Mount Olive Worship Assistants!

    The Servant Schedule for the 3rd quarter of 2015  (July-September) will be published at the beginning of June, 2015.   The deadline for submitting requests to me is May 10, 2015.  Please email your requests to

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