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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Olive Branch, 6/17/15

Accent on Worship

“Cantor”:  What does this mean?

     I was called to Mount Olive with the title “Cantor.”  I’ve learned that we (Lutherans) have a particular understanding of that role which is not shared among all who use the term.  A Jewish “Cantor” is one who act-ually sings.  In current Roman Catholic practice, a “Cantor” stands in front of the assembly and sings and gestures, with the goal of inviting the assembly to join the singing.  Verses may be sung by this person, with every-one joining for a refrain.

     For us (and for me), “Cantor” is better defined as the steward of the congregation’s song.  The Lutheran Cantor doesn’t sing for you, but facilitates (encourages/enables) and cares for the assembly’s song.

     First, this involves decisions about what is sung.  Those decisions have many contributing factors.  Of course it means making sure we offer the best we can – discerning what is worth the time and effort to offer up to God in song or, over the long haul, what is worth adding to the communal memory bank.  Another factor is ensuring that a sense of “we” remains important, so that we are not tempted to have the goal of satisfying individual’s subjective preferences - including those of Cantors themselves!

     Then it is the Cantor’s task to be sure the assembly has what they need to sing the song, clearly knowing what it is they are to sing,  and when they are to sing it.  This means access to both text and music.  It is inhospitable to provide words only as there are always folks in any given assembly who DO know how to read music and can do their part to help.

     Any directions for unified singing and maintaining vitality are also the Cantor’s responsibilities.  Tempo, when to breathe, and even “how” to sing a particular melody and text meaningfully can be encouraged by the Cantor.  Gregorian chant with its mystical flow is quite different from Renaissance Chorale with its rhythmic dance!  Some texts are full-bodied praise, others are muted prayer.

     Most of these “unifications” occur with the help of the organ, sometimes the piano, choir, or even drums!  This Cantor feels best, however, if these tools feel almost unnecessary –because it means the congregation has understood and is able to clearly and vibrantly sing.  The singing is always the point.  When that is going strong, the organ is free to bring out the text and its meaning.

     As always, I pray for full-bodied singing every time we gather.  It’s like nothing else and it is very hospitable to folks who aren’t used to singing in public.  Do your part: sing out!

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

June 21, 2015: 4th Sunday after Pentecost, 12 B
Job 38:1-11
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

June 28, 2015: 5th Sunday after Pentecost, 13 B
Lamentations 3:22-33
Psalm 30
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5:21-43

Quick Look: Our General Fund Giving

+28% = May giving, compared with May 2014
+9% = Year-to-date giving, compared with the same period in 2014
98% = Year-to-date expenses covered by gifts
122% = May expenses covered by May gifts

Yes, May was a very good month! Thanks for generous and faithful giving. Our challenge remains: to have that second percentage (here 9%) at or above 7% at the close of the year. Remember, we’ve often experienced a summer slump in giving. Regarding that 122% above note that Mount Olive’s general fund expenses can and do vary from month to month.

     Credit for the above way of showing trends in our general fund giving goes to outgoing treasurer Kat Campbell-Johnson. She’s for some time provided this information on the first page of her detailed monthly treasurer’s reports, and it’s my sense that vestry members and other leaders have found it clear and helpful. Miss the dollar figures? Don’t worry. We’ll continue to provide them from time to time.

- Donn McLellan, director of Stewardship

Olive Branch Summer Publication

     During the summer months of June, July, and August, The Olive Branch is published every other week. July issues will be published on July 1 and July 15.

     If you have information to be published in the July 1 issue, please have that information to the church office by Monday, June 29.

Communion Ministers Needed!

     Every week, parishioners bring the Eucharist to Mount Olive members who are unable to join us for liturgy.  

     Additional communion ministers are needed, especially for the summer months. If you are willing and able to bring communion to Mount Olive members in their homes, please contact Tom Graves and Ginny Agresti.

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 July 11 meeting, they will read, Bleak House, by Charles Dickens, and for August 8 the collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris.

Mark your Calendars for Wednesday, August 5: 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 on Wednesday, August 5 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

Meet Our Missionary July 12

     After church on Sunday, July 12, grab some coffee and a seat and spend some time getting to know Karen Anderson, our ELCA missionary to Chile. We support Karen through the ELCA and her community health work through our support of EPES/ Action for Health in the Americas. Karen had wanted to be with us when we celebrated the Taste of Chile a few years ago, but at that time her delay-ed flight kept her away.

     Now is our chance to catch up with Karen, learn about her commitment to developing strong community health organizations that meet the real needs of the communities they serve, from strengthening prenatal health to helping rebuild after a community fire to campaigning to end smoking. And even more: Karen and her team are now reaching out to teach com-munity health techniques to community workers through-out Central and South America, and even to those working in Africa. Through our support of Karen we have real impact in improving health and lives in Chile. Save the date. Save the time. Join the conversation.

News From the Neighborhood         

Come to the Neighborhood Garage Sale This Saturday!

     The sale is this Saturday, June 20, from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm in the parking lot. Come and see what treasures you might find! We have ten vendors signed up so come support our community and neighborhood.

     If you would like to sell a few items at the sale, please mark the price along with some way to identify your goods (i.e. initials/name). Your “earnings” will be returned to you along with unsold items.  If you choose to donate this money to Mount Olive, you can do so on your own, after the sale.  We will follow the general plan that has been put in place for neighbors selling their goods for personal profit.  Since this sale is an effort to get to know our neighbors, it seems we who are joining them by selling personal items should follow the same protocol so that it doesn’t have the appearance of being a fund-raiser.

Summer ACTS

     Summer ACTS program begins on Monday, June 22, and runs Monday to Thursday for four weeks. Eighteen kids ages 9-14 are ready to come do jobs around the community and learn valuable life skills. Mentors (you!?) help build relationships and provide positive role models. Do you have a day or two between 10 am and 2 pm to come be a mentor or a kitchen crew member and help this program make an impact in the community? Call or email Anna Kingman, 612-827-5910 or

     We will partner with organizations such as: Community Emergency Services, Stone's Throw Urban Garden, HandyWorks, Courageous heARTS, and the Minneapolis Police Department.

Extra Hands Needed at the Diaper Depot This Summer! 

     The Diaper Depot program runs Tuesdays (4:30-6:30) and Thursdays (1:30-3:30) each week. Dozens of families make their way to Mount Olive each week for this extra support. Please consider if you can help any day this summer - just 2 hours of greeting families and neighbors who need diapers! Orientation for volunteers will be offered on Tuesday, June 30, at 4:00 pm. Call Anna Kingman 612-827-5910 for more info and thank you.

The Bargain Box

     Saturday, August 1 will be a busy day at Mount Olive as we help to get neighborhood children ready for the school year with the Bargain Box!  We need donations of cash, new and gently used children’s clothes (no adult clothes, please), school supplies, and backpacks.

     If you have time to help with the meal, or assist with clothing or school supplies distribution, please plan to come to the August Community Meals!

Church Library News

     A special display in our church library includes specific books that are meant to help revise and upgrade our current Reference section.  Before Pastor Crippen left for his sabbatical, he came to the library with two arm-loads of books (donated to our library by Robert Gotwalt) and he challenged us to find room for them in our already crowded Reference section, plus 3 or 4 in other related categories as well.  The display will be available for about three Sundays, and then each item will be incorporated into our present shelving.

Nave’s Topical Bible, by Orville J. Nave, editor
Lutheran Questions, Lutheran Answers (Exploring Christian Faith), by Martin Marty
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians, by Robert Eisenman
Principles of Lutheran Theology, 2nd Edition, by Carl E. Braaten
A Compend of Lutheran Theology, by Hugh T. Kerr, editor
The Promise of Lutheran Ethics, by Karen Bloomquist and John R. Stumme, editors
The New International Dictionary of the Bible, (Pictorial Edition) by Merrill Tenney and J.D.                       Douglas, editors
Selected Writings of Martin Luther (1517-1522), by Theodore Tappert, editor
     Also same (1520-1523)
     Also same (1523-1526)
     Also same (1529-1546)
Martin Luther, Selections from his Writings, by John Dillenberger, editor
Luther’s Spirituality, by Philip and Peter Krey, editors
Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 2nd edition, w/CD by Timothy Lull, editor
The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, Volume 1, by Nicholas Lenker, editor
     Also same, Volumes 2, 3, and 4
The Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, Volume 5, by Eugene and F.A. Klug, editors
     Also same, Volumes 6 and 7
The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton

     Last September I wrote about a "Floating Library," built on an 8' square raft and holding approximately 80 unusual book titles, that would appear on Cedar Lake during the weekends during the month of August.  This unusual library is the brain-child of Sarah Peters, a teacher at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.  Watch for this special library again this August (weather permitting), and be one of those privileged to check out a book or two from a different kind of library!

- Leanna Kloempken

Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival

     Again this year, Mount Olive will be one of the area churches who will staff an information booth at the Twin Cites Gay Pride Festival, June 27-28, 2015.

     Would you be interested in staffing a one or two hour shift at the booth?  If you can help, call Andrew Andersen at 763-607-1689 or the church office at 612-827-5919.  Times are open:  Saturday 10–6, and Sunday 12-6.  If you would be willing to share information about Mount Olive with folks who stop by the booth, please call.

Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Conference
July 31-Aug 2, 2015 - Augsburg College, Minneapolis

     Mount Olive has been a long standing RIC congregation and we have been exemplary in our welcome of the LGBT community.  At the end of July we have an opportunity to show our support and commitment to the RIC program and to be a voice to the many other congregations in the ELCA who have not become RIC congregations.

     The National Reconciling Works Assembly and RIC conference is being held at Augsburg College July 31-August 2.  I want to encourage any member of Mount Olive who would like to attend the entire conference to go to the website and get information and register for the conference. If you cannot attend the entire conference I would like Mount Olive to have a delegation at the July 31 gala (Friday night) for the Assembly.  Tickets are $40 and it would be great if we are represented at the gala.  There will be a dinner and silent auction.  If you or you and your spouse would like to attend the gala please call or email me so I can get you on the list.  (Paul Nixdorf - 612-296-0055; )

     Second!  I am chair of the Twin Cities ReconcilingWorks board for the two ELCA synods and we have been asked to gather items for the silent auction.  We are asking each RIC congregation to assemble a set of items to be placed in the silent auction at the gala.  If you have ideas or know of items from Mount Olive that we can put together for the silent auction please call me.

     I hope you will consider coming to the gala on July 31, and also please help me with Mount Olive’s Auction Items.

- Paul Nixdorf – Chair, Twin Cities Reconciling Works Board

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