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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Olive Branch, 10/21/15

Accent on Worship

Be Stilled

     Our psalm for Reformation Sunday is always 46, and it’s full of noise. Mountains fall into the sea, waters foam, nations rage, kingdoms are shaken. The psalmist breaks up this chaos with the constant refrain, “The LORD of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” No matter the storms that thunder around us, the confusion and clamor of the world, God is our refuge and strength, our help in trouble.

     Yet near the end of the psalm we sing this very different note, in God’s voice: “Be still, then, and know that I am God.” In the midst of chaos and noise, God speaks to us and says, “Be still a moment. Know I am God.”

     I used to listen to podcasts on my morning walks, and I still listen to music if it’s a morning run. Recently my spiritual director wondered what would happen if I went silent on the walks, so I’ve been trying that.

     This week I realized some of why it’s a good idea. I wasn’t listening to any outside source, but for the first two miles the noise and chaos was in my mind. Thoughts and words from two sermons and a Bible study needing to be written this week, pastoral care concerns, music from choir rehearsal the night before, my mind was full and racing. It took two miles to realize how unquiet I was. Then I remembered “Be still.” And for the next two miles I tried to tell myself, “Be still, know God.” But I still was racing around from place to place. It wasn’t until the fifth mile I realized that I needed God to still me. The command wasn’t  enough. I needed God to quiet me down, center me, lead me into peace.

     The Church cannot continue be reformed, our congregation reformed, each of us reformed, if we cannot find the stillness to hear God. When we slow down, turn off the outside influences for a moment, and ask God to calm our hearts and minds we begin to hear God’s voice over all the other voices that compete in our minds and hearts.

     I didn’t fully find quiet and stillness on that walk. But in the last mile there were moments. Moments where I saw the quiet trees and the peaceful sky. Moments I was aware of my breathing and stepping. Moments that I was able to sense God saying, “I’m God, you’re not. Let me still you, quiet you.” Such is our life of faith. We likely never find a permanent place of stillness in the chaos of life. But when we open ourselves to God’s presence we receive moments that clarify, calm, give us refuge. We are reformed, made new again, and sent back into the chaos different, better able to live and not be overwhelmed.

     This is how God will reform us, and the Church. Still us, Lord God, that we may hear and know you and be transformed.

- Joseph

Sunday Readings

October 25, 2015: Reformation Sunday
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 46
Romans 3:19-28
John 8:31-36

November 1, 2015: All Saints Day
Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 24
Revelation 21:1-6a
John 11:32-44

Semi-Annual Meeting

     The semi-annual meeting of Mount Olive congregation will be held this Sunday, October 25, following the second liturgy. The purpose of this meeting is to approve a budget for 2016. All voting members of Mount Olive are encouraged to attend!

Thursday Bible Study Continues

     Thursday evening Bible Study continues through October 29. The evening starts with a light supper at 6:00 pm, followed by Bible Study. This series is titled “The Last Enemy,” and deals with mortality and faith.

Attention Worship Assistants!

     The Servant Schedule for the 1st quarter of 2016 (January- March) will be published at the beginning of December 2015. The deadline for submitting requests to me is October 30, 2015.  Please email your requests to Thanks.

- Peggy Hoeft

Funeral Liturgies

     The funeral Eucharist for Lydia Iverson will be this Friday, October 23, at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be held one hour before the Eucharist, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

     The funeral Eucharist for Elaine Stender will be held on Saturday, October 31, at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will be held one hour before the Eucharist, beginning at Noon.

     Rest eternal grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them. May Lydia and Elaine and all the blessed dead, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Transitions Support Group

     All are welcome at Transitions Support Group. If you’re looking for new ideas or encouragement to meet the challenges or uncertainties that are before you, join us on Wednesday, November 11 at 6:00 pm.

      This is an opportunity to share in fellowship, prayer, and discussion with others in the Mount Olive community.
     Transitions Support Group meets on Wednesday, November 11 from 6- 7 pm at Mount Olive in the lower level Youth Room, and will be facilitated by Cathy Bosworth and Amy Cotter.

     For more information, please contact Cathy at 612-708-1144,, or Amy at 612-710-1811,

Names of the Departed Saints Invited

     As a part of our All Saints liturgy on Sunday, Nov. 1, worshipers are invited to submit the names of loved ones close to them who have died in the past year, since last All Saints Sunday, who weren’t members of Mount Olive.  (Members of the parish who have died are always named.)  These other names submitted will be included in the prayers of intercession.  There will be one more opportunity to write these names this Sunday, or you may simply contact the church office with the names. Please keep this to just those who have died this past year, so we can have a more manageable list.

New Member Welcome

     Mount Olive will welcome new members and associate members on Sunday, November 15, during the second liturgy.   If you are interested in becoming a member or associate member, please contact the office via e-mail to or by phone, 612-827-5919. You may also contact Pastor Crippen at church, or Andrew Andersen (763-607-1689).

     A welcome brunch will follow the liturgy for new members and for all who would like to be part of the welcome festivities.

Save the Date!

On Sunday, November 1, following the second liturgy, we will host a wedding reception for Josh and Anna (Kingman) Scott!  Watch for details in next week’s issue of The Olive Branch!

Restoration 2015 Updates

     Follow the Renovations 2015 blog for weekly updates and new information on the project:

     There is also a link to the blog on the front page of the church website

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 November 14 meeting they will read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, and for December 12 they will read The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James.

Sunday’s Adult Forum

Oct. 25:  "Martin Luther - The Wittenberg Nightingale," presented by Victor Gebauer. Martin Luther's view of music as God's good gift ("donum Dei") initiated a stream of joyful praise rooted in human experience and deep faith. Melody, worship, poetry, instruments, voices, and theology all flow together in the great reformer's enduring legacy of hymns for the church.

     On November 1, All Saints Day, there will be no regular no teaching session. All are encouraged to view the display of the baptismal and death registry books of Mount Olive Lutheran Church.

National Lutheran Choir to Present All Saints Concert, “Blessed Are They”  

     Join the National Lutheran Choir for their annual All Saints Concert: “Blessed Are They,” a concert of music and texts reflecting on the lives of those who have been loved and lost. Concerts are 4 pm, Sunday, November 1, at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi and 7:30 pm, Friday, November 6, at St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community in Wayzata.

     For more information or to purchase tickets, call Brown Paper Tickets (800) 838-3006, or order online at  Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the concert.

Stewardship Notes

Our general-fund giving.
     At the September 30 end of our third quarter, year-to-date general-fund giving from members was $418,671, about 5.5% above where we were at the same point last year. Sure, a 7% increase would feel more comfortable at this point in the year, but we’re doing OK—and we like to feel challenged, don’t we?

2016 budget. 
     This coming Sunday, October 25, following the second liturgy, we’ll discuss and vote on the budget at our semi-annual meeting of the congregation. On November 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving Day, and again the following Sunday, November 29, we’ll have op-portunities to signify our individual or household commit-ments in support of the budget, whether or not we choose to turn in what we’ve often called pledge cards. Watch for more about this in the next few weeks.

Blue envelopes. 
     As director of stewardship I get, along with some other people, our Weekly Income Summary, compiled by John Meyer or Jeff Brown after members of our rotating two-person teams of counters finish their work. Yes, my eye goes first to the top line, which shows general-fund giving. A so-so Sunday shows $4572.46 (Sept. 27), a better one shows $10,789 (Sept. 13). The forms don’t include contribu-tions via Simply Giving. But what really surprised me when I first began getting copies of these forms—and has delighted me since—are all the designated gifts, which usually come in the blue envelopes. Some recent examples: September 27: LWF Jerusalem, $20; World Hunger, $25; Food Shelf, $50; Capital Campaign 2014, $60; Refugee Relief, $225; Restoration 2015, $5,000. October 4: Minneapolis Area Synod, $25; Common Hope Guatemala, $25; Lutheran Volunteer Corps, $40; Community Meal, $100; Diaper Depot, $10; Capital Campaign 2014, $60; Restoration 2015, $600; Refugee Relief, $750. Since I (happily) never see names of contributors, I can’t say whether these gifts tend to come from relatively few households or a larger number. But these gifts, small or large, really make a difference. Thank you!

—Donn McLellan, Director of Stewardship

2016 Common Hope Teams to Guatemala

     Mount Olive will send two teams to Guatemala in 2016 to visit Common Hope students and projects. One team is going in April and one at the end of July. Each team still has room for more members if you'd like to go along. Just leave your name at the church office or contact Judy Hinck (, 612-824-4918) or Lisa Ruff ( for more information.

     All of Mount Olive is part of this adventure. Our team goals: we will foster encounters that provoke compassion and challenge com-placency; we will connect needs and resources; we will build relation-ships. Practically speaking, what does that mean? We will visit students and their schools. We will meet supported families. We will help build a home. We will learn more about the health care Common Hope provides. We will provide support for schools, students and families.

     Even if you can't come along, as part of Mount Olive, you are part of the action. You'll get updates, meet students who attend school because of Common Hope. You'll see what a difference a floor can make. You'll wonder at the beauty of central Guatemala.  Look for updates as we plan, but get involved now. Support our teams as we contribute our time, talents and money to extend our Taste of Guatemala--Common Hope to a people-to-people connection.

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