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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Olive Branch, 9/9/15

Accent on Worship

“Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.” -Ezekiel 17:22
     The summer after I graduated college I worked as a canoe guide at Wilderness Canoe Base, a camp at the end of the Gunflint Trail. I’d take groups of campers into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for 5 nights. Whenever we’d leave a campsite in the morning, the camp had a tradition of leaving a cedar sprig on the fire grate. It was a way for us to show that a Wilderness group had previously camped at the campsite. But it was also a way for us to show welcome to the next group who arrived. A simple act of hospitality, and a reminder of God’s presence with us and with all who travel through the wilderness. I’ll never forget the joy I felt when I arrived at a new campsite and found a cedar sprig on the fire grate. I knew who had come before and I immediately felt connected to something bigger.

     I have already encountered many “cedar sprigs” here at Mount Olive. Friendly greetings and conversation on Sunday mornings. An office with my name on the door. Rich liturgical traditions that invite me to take part. And countless signs of God’s abundance and love. These simple gestures of welcome do not go unnoticed. They remind me that this is a place that prepares and provides. A place where God’s protection and care are carried out and displayed by the people. These “cedar sprigs” tell a story of vicars before and vicars to come.

     I’m grateful you have shared these “cedar sprigs” with me and I’m looking forward to their taking root and growing into something new. Thank you for preparing this place for me. I am thrilled to serve as your 47th vicar!

- Vicar Anna Helgen

Regular Worship Schedule Resumes This Sunday!
Two Sunday Eucharists at 8:00 & 10:45 am
Sunday Church School and Adult Forum at 9:30 am

Dust Off Your Nametags!

     With the arrival of our new Vicar, Anna Helgen, at Mount Olive, please consider wearing your name tag for the coming six weeks.

      This act of hospitality will help Anna to better serve in our midst.  If your name tag is missing or worn out, please contact the church office for a new one.  There are holders with clips in the narthex under the name tag board for those who prefer an alterna-tive to the original pin style.

Thursday Bible Study Begins September 17

     The Thursday evening Bible Study returns this fall on Thurs-day, Sept. 17, 6:00 pm, for a six-week study titled “The Last Enemy.”  The focus is on mortality, death and dying, and how the Scriptures guide us.

     As always, we will begin each session with a light supper beginning at 6 pm. If you can provide the first meal, please contact Pastor Crippen.      

Upcoming Adult Forums

Adult Forum is held between the liturgies on Sunday mornings, beginning at approximately 9:30 am.
September 13: "Conversation With the Vicar," led by Vicar Anna Helgen - A chance to hear about the background and call to ministry of the vicar serving at Mount Olive this year, Vicar Anna Helgen.

September 20: "Sabbatical Reflections," led by Pastor Joseph Crippen - From the day after Easter 2015 until July 20, Mount Olive Pastor Joseph Crippen was on a sabbatical leave granted by the Vestry. Pastor Crippen will share some of his adventures during, and impressions from, his time of study and rest.
September 27: "Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life," led by Nancy Koester - Nancy Koester, former Associate Pastor at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, was awarded the Minnesota Book Award for general nonfiction in April 2015 for her spiritual biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Nancy is currently preparing for a book on Sojourner Truth, and her Introduction to the History of Christianity in the United States was released by Fortress Press in August.

Restoration 2015 Has Begun! 

     If you have been to the church since August 31, you know the work to restore our beautiful church is well underway!

     On August 30 the congregation in a special meeting authorized the Vestry to borrow up to $275,000 toward a major renovation of the church roof, masonry and stained glass windows of our beautiful church building.

     For some time, we’ve seen growing signs of numerous water leaks in the walls and roof. This summer these issues reached a critical stage. Water began visibly intruding into the structure with every significant rain.

     Repairs started immediately, with the expectation that they will be completed by the end of October. Since the work must be paid for as it is completed, we are also arranging to borrow money immediately.

     We aren’t intending a full-fledged capital appeal in connection with this work. There are numerous projects for improving our facilities just now in the early stages of planning. As these plans come together, there will certainly be such an appeal. While that planning continues, we will carry a small debt.

     However, many have asked whether they can give now so less money has to be borrowed. Several members have already made a contribution toward the restoration, and others have stated that they plan to. This is the kind of spirit that is typical of Mount Olive. And those gifts definitely will help. Every dollar given toward this repair work is a dollar we won’t need to borrow.

     A dedicated fund entitled “Restoration 2015” has been established. If you would like to contribute, please make your donation payable to Mount Olive Lutheran Church and clearly note its purpose as “Restoration 2015.” Send or bring it to the church office or place it in the offering plate any Sunday morning.

     You may also follow the Renovations 2015 blog for weekly updates and new information.

Music and Fine Arts Series 2015-2016

     Attached to this newsletter email you will find the brochure listing this year’s lineup of concerts for the 2015-2016 season.  In addition to the Advent and Lent Procession Services, the season kicks off on September 20 with the Charles Lazarus Jazz Quartet, then on Nov. 15, Alice Parker returns to lead another signature “Sing!” On January 31, 2016, the choral ensemble From Age to Age will offer a concert, on April 10, The Songs of Africa will perform.  Then topping the season off will be a festival Bach Tage (the tenth one!), featuring cantata 76, “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God.”

     Members of the Music and Fine Arts committee will be in the narthex collecting support for the series on Sundays, September 13 and 20.

     These events are offered as a gift to the community free of charge, as a result of your support.

Tending the Family of God

     Among the duties assigned to the Director of Congrega-tional Life is caring for those members who were once active in the life of the congregation but are not any longer. You know who they are. They are the people about whom you have said, “I wonder what ever happened to …”

     A task force was created to begin exploring ways in which we might be more faithful in caring for those members. The people on the task force are Carol Austermann, Margaret Bostelmann, Susan Cherwien, Eunice Hafemeister, and Warren Peterson.

     A couple of foundational principles quickly became apparent. First, whatever is done should not be heavy-handed, but should be kind, compassionate, and caring. Second, this is really the responsibility of the whole congregation.

     There will in the coming months be brief snippets in The Olive Branch to help all of us think and act more faithfully in caring for those whom we used to see among us but don’t see any longer. They will appear under the same heading as this piece. Look for them – but don’t wait for them to begin caring for those about whom you are saying, “I wonder what ever happened to …”

- Warren Peterson

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   September 12 meeting, they will read I Heard the Owl Call My Name, by Margaret Craven. For the October 10 meeting they will read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers, and for November 14, they will read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who donated men's clothing items and toiletries to Youthlink.  The donations were much needed and greatly appreciated!  If you would like to donate in the future, please contact me.  

- Julie Manuel

We Sent a Lot of Letters, But Don't Worry, You Can Still Write

     If you weren't able to be at Mount Olive on Sunday or didn't get the opportunity to join our letter campaign for Bread for the World, never fear, you still have time.

    Attached to/included in this Olive Branch are two attachments that will be helpful to you. First is the explanation position paper of the work that we are doing. Second is a sample letter that you can use or you can compose your own. Don't forget: personal letters are powerful; questions get you a response; be sure to get the correct bill number included in the enclosed information; you should include your own address; writing NOW adds your voice to the Pope's when he visits Congress later this month.

- Judy Hinck, Director of Missions

Godly Play Expands to New Room

     The “Godly Play” education program for children has outgrown its former space. This Fall they will move into a new, larger room on the lower level of the Parish House. The original “Godly Play 2” room will continue across the hallway from the Choir Room. The new space for “Godly Play 1” is at the end of the hallway, at the northeast corner of the lower level. It is more than twice the space of their former room, with lots of built in storage.

     The room is clean, fresh, and ready for the children this Sunday. Many thanks to Randy Fritz, Art & Elaine Halbardier, George Oelfke, and Patsy & John Holtmeier, who have been busy painting the walls and ceilings, installing carpet, and cleaning, making it bright and cheerful for the first week of Godly Play this Sunday.

     Stop by and take a look at both the rooms very soon!

31st Street Southeast Entrance Now “Exit Only” 

     The door to the church near the alley will no longer serve as an entrance on Sunday mornings or other times when there are church activities.

     A “panic bar” has been fitted to the door so that exit is always possible. This is important in that the door is marked with a lighted “Exit” sign both upstairs and down-stairs. The door should be operable at all times in case of fire or other emergencies. In the past, this door was kept locked during the week.

     During worship and other events, the door had to be unlocked so it could provide a fire exit. For a few, it occasionally served as an entrance also. Unfortunately, since this door is out of sight of ushers and worshipers, it left the entire building vulnerable to intruders who can access the sacristy, the upper and lower level without ever being noticed. There have been several instances of theft traceable to a thief entering through this door.

     In the past, the single space next to that door was marked for “Handicapped” use – a bit misleading since inside were stairs leading up as well as down. The north lot is available primarily for those with physical limitations on Sundays, and is close to the elevator.
     We hope this change will not be a significant inconvenience, and will make our building safer “24/7.”

MFA First Event of the New Season 
Sunday, September 20 – 4 pm

     The Charles Lazarus Quartet will kick off the new season of Music & Fine Arts events with “lovejoy,” feel-good love songs with a groovy twist. Come and invite your friends to hear this sneak peek of Lazarus’ soon-to-be-released CD, lovejoy, a captivating mix of originals and re-imagined classics.  This event is free and open to the public. A reception follows the concert in the Chapel Lounge.

News From the Neighborhood     
Profiles: My first 'thank you' call

     I picked up a call last week and a recognizable voice immediately said, "I ain't calling for no money." I laughed a bit and said hello to Hilda, a lovely older woman who has been going through a rough patch. Last month we were able to help pay the remaining balance on her rent, which freed her up to tackle some outstanding bills. She has been diligent in trying to find resources and searching for a job, but sometimes things just stack too high, and that's where the church can come in. "I'm just calling to tell you I'm doing better," she said. "When you helped out it was what I needed to get through this." What joy! My heart about burst open at those words. Every time I meet with someone I let them know to tell me when they're also doing well, not just struggling. Here it was! She continued on, "Thank you for being there. Keep doing what you're doing because you really are a support to us out here." Hilda's words filled my spirit to the brim, and they are meant for all of us here at Mount Olive - each one who reaches in to their stores of kindness, generosity, compassion, and service and pours it out in to the world in any way. Whether or not someone calls back, we know that a blessing goes with them. So from Hilda and from me, thank you for being there and for supporting and loving your neighbors.

Another Neighborhood Garage Sale!

     Our first garage sale last June was a great success and our friends and neighbors asked when we will host another.  The answer? SOON!

Saturday, September 19, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
1. Be a vendor.  Rent a parking space for $5.00 and “set up shop”
2. Be a shopper
3. Be a volunteer—we need help setting up and taking down plus monitors and guides throughout
    the day
4. Be a supporter and help spread the word.

     Questions?  Contact any Open Space team member to join in or for further information:  Tim Pipkorn, Larry Duncan, George Ferguson, Connie Marty, Julie Manuel, Carol Austermann, Paul Nixdorf, Patsy Holtmeier, and Anna Kingman.

     “Open Space”is a part of Neighborhood Ministries.

The School Year is coming! We Need Tutors! 

     That means it’s time to prepare for a season of tutoring the fun kids of our neighborhood and church. Tutoring takes place on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:00 pm, with an activity and game until 8:30 pm. It's a fun, easy way to connect with kids who desire and deserve some extra help and attention as they journey through school and growing up.
     Materials and support will be provided.
     We will begin again on Tuesday, September 29. If it's something you're interested in being involved in, ask Anna Kingman or call 612-827-5910 or email It's a great use of time and talents!

Peace with Justice Forum

     All are invited to the next Peace with Justice Forum on Sunday, September 20, 2015, from 12:30-2:00 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. The topic of this forum will be “Global Views on America’s Global Military.”

     In the spirit of the Minneapolis Area Synod resolution to engage in a soul-searching on the consequences of expanded US war efforts, we have asked our visiting international friend and trauma expert to share with us how America’s global military activities have impacted others.

     The speaker for the forum will be Fr. Michael Lapsley, who is internationally renowned for his remarkable experiences assisting in South Africa’s post-apartheid reconciliation, developing a modality for post-trauma transformation, and extending his healing hands of steel across the world.

     Central Lutheran Church is at 3rd Ave and 12th St., Minneapolis, next to the Minneapolis Convention Center. Lunch is available for $7.00, but the speech is gratis. Validated parking is available in the Central parking lot/ramp on the south side of the church.

     This forum is sponsored by the ELCA Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods’ Peace with Justice Committee. For more information on this series visit our Peace with Justice website  at, or contact Amy Blumenshine (612) 871-2967 or via e-mail to

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