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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Olive Branch, 10/7/15

Accent on Worship

“Indeed, the word of God is living and active…” -Hebrews 4:12

     I love the Bible. Perhaps that goes without saying, as a seminary student and the current vicar of Mount Olive, but I will say it again: I love the Bible. I love its stories and poetry, its complexity and simplicity, and its wisdom for life. This book gives witness to God’s new reality shaped by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it is by the power of the Spirit—through hearing and reading these stories of the Bible—that God speaks to us.

     I love that these stories tell of people much like us. They are flawed and beautiful. Courageous and quirky. We see ourselves in them because they, like us, seek to figure out what God intends for them. They wonder about the best way to live in relationship with one another and with God. They wrestle with issues of politics and economics and teach us how to care for the orphan and refugee. We can learn a lot from them.

     Perhaps what I love most about the Bible, however, is how each time I encounter its stories, God speaks. And, more often than not, when God speaks, I hear something new. Because, as our Hebrews writer reminds us, the Word of God is living and active! It isn’t a book that sits on our bookshelf collecting dust; it is a book that breathes newness into our lives as we listen for how God speaks to us in this time and place.

     Our scripture readings for Sunday challenge us to think about how we value our wealth - our money, our possessions, and our time. The words we will hear are certainly convicting, but they are also an invitation to live out of our abundance so that all might share in God’s love. I find great comfort knowing that when we encounter these stories, God will speak!  

- Vicar Anna Helgen

Sunday Readings

October 11, 2015: 19th Sunday after Pentecost, 27B
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Psalm 90:12-17
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

October 18, 2015: St. Luke, Evangelist
Isaiah 53:4-12
Psalm 91:9-16
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

Tending the Family of God

     Have you ever noticed that someone who has regularly been at worship is now no longer there, and have you ever wondered what has happened to him or her? Have you considered that wondering what has happened may be the voice of God calling you to action? Make a phone call. Write a note. Send an email. Attend to those around you.

- Warren Peterson

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.

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.

Semi-Annual Meeting

     The semi-annual meeting of Mount Olive congregation will be held on Sunday, October 25, following the second liturgy. The purpose of this meeting is to approve a budget for 2016.

     A budget preview meet-ing will be held on Sunday, October 18, following the second liturgy. This will be an opportunity for all members to learn more about the budget they will approve the following week. All voting members of Mount Olive are encouraged to attend these meetings!

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 session, titled “The Last Enemy,” is led by Pr. Crippen.  The focus is on mortality, death and dying, and how the Scriptures guide us.
Note: There is no study on Thursday, October 15.

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,

What are your Top Three Favorite Hymns? Let us know by Oct. 15

     I am conducting a survey in the coming weeks, to find out what our top three hymns are.  My hunch is that for many of you this may be difficult - to narrow it down to so few, that is!   I did this in past parishes, and learned a lot about who they were in doing so.  I suspect that will again be the case, although I also suspect the lists will look quite different from than those I've seen before.

     When you get a chance, begin thinking and thumbing through the hymnal; try to narrow it down.  We will NOT ask you to include Christmas carols and hymns, as that is too easy to guess.  (or..?!?...)

     Those with internet access, please visit to enter your favorites. If you don’t have internet access, simply jot them down and bring/mail them to the church office – or call them in by calling the office at 612.827.5919.

     The results will be helpful in a number of ways, but mostly will be informational for me as your Cantor.

- Cantor David Cherwien

Conversation Circle

     There is an ongoing conversation being held at Mount Olive about the struggles and relationship of race in our country, our neighborhood, and our church.

     This group has met in a Circle - a traditional format that allows for equal voice and a safe space to discuss difficult, complex issues with freedom. Healing, processing, and growth happen within the Circle and hopefully continues as each individual steps away in to their personal lives as well. It is an opportunity that is always open to anyone to drive at the "what does this mean in my own life? What do I do about this?" questions.

     In the churning cultural world of today, it is important to be mindful and aware of the realities, not just the mirages or stereotypes or smoke and mirrors of peoples’ lives and your own. Racial discrimination and white privilege are not comfortable or clear topics to understand, but talking about them is crucial to the health of our neighborhoods and our own hearts.

     Conversations are happening at Mount Olive on the 4th Monday of the month, from 6-8 pm. The circle has been a place to discover those realities and share in the journey towards the 'good' that God created.

- Anna Kingman

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   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.

Adult Forum

     Adult Forum is held between the liturgies on Sunday mornings, beginning at approximately 9:30 am.

October 11: "Letter to the Hebrews," presented by Pastor Joseph Crippen

The letter to the Hebrews, once attributed to Paul, is the source of the second readings in the Sun-day liturgies during October. Written to people with some of the same concerns as the audience of Colossians and Ephesians, this letter more close-ly resembles a sermon on our pilgrimage of faith.

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

Contribution Statements  

     Third quarter contribution statements are being prepared and mailed to all Mount Olive contributors this week. Please take a moment to review your statement when it comes, and contact the church office if you have any questions about it.

Now is the Moment to Respond

     Your Missions Committee had decided at its last meeting to wait until we heard from our Synod how our church would respond to the refugee crisis before we asked for your special gifts. We heard this week--and now it is our turn to respond and meet the challenge.

     In response to the refugee crisis in Europe, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Park, has committed to match all gifts from Minneapolis Area Synod congregations, up to $50,000 for Lutheran Disaster Response.  Senior pastor Chad Brekke said, "our members watched vulnerable families risk lives and livelihoods to leave war zones and they asked ‘what can we do?’ And then they asked, ‘Who can be in this with us?’"

     The answer: You can!  Lutheran Disaster Response states that LDR "is committed to meeting basic humanitarian needs and upholding the rights of those fleeing war and crisis. We are working with our companion churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia, and The Lutheran World Federation to provide food, diapers, blankets, water, health kits, hygiene kits, and psycho-social services to assist those who have fled their homes."

     So Mount Olive members and friends--let's have our gifts doubled! The Missions Committee will contribute from its general fund, not taking away money from another other ministry. Your contributions, clearly marked Refugee Relief, will be added to the Committee's contribution and sent along to the Synod as soon as possible to join with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.  Please make your checks payable to Mount Olive, and be sure they are clearly designated for “Refugee Relief."

     Together we can help many.

Updated Photos

     If you need an updated photo for the church’s online pictorial directory, please contact the church office or Paul Nixdorf ( or 612-296-0055). We will update the online directory in November after new members are received, but updated photos need to be taken before then. This is a great opportunity to update your directory photo if needed.

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 complacency; 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.

Work on the Floors Begins

     As work continues outdoors on the walls, roof, and windows of the church, why not start some more projects?

     This past Monday, work began in the Undercroft to replace the floor, and also in the sanctuary to clean, strip and refinish the floors under all the pews. The Undercroft project will require two weeks, because there is asbestos in the tiles and the mastic that glues them down.

     Week One will be "abatement," which involves sealing the space with plastic so workers can safely remove the nasty stuff without contaminating the atmosphere in the rest of the building. Mavo Systems, specialists in this work, have been engaged to do this important phase of the project.

     Week Two, beginning October 12, will be laying a new floor in the Undercroft. The color scheme will be similar to the upper floor of the Parish House. The new floor will be in place by October 15 or 16. This winter, the walls will be given a fresh coat of paint.

This project has been in the planning for some months (months before the outside repairs demanded attention), and is funded by a generous grant for this year from The Mount Olive Church Foundation. Eventually the lower level hallway will also be redone to match the upper level, and the Parish House will all look "of a piece," but not right now.

     Meanwhile, volunteers and Sexton William Pratley will be busy upstairs in the church - a project also planned many months ago. All the pews will be taken loose in sections and moved aside so that the floor underneath can be cleaned and resealed. Everything will be back in place for worship on October 11.

     A busy time of taking care of our beautiful church home!

     View more photos at

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