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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Olive Branch, 11/12/15

Accent on Worship

Alice Parker is coming to town!

     I hope I’m not violating something by beginning on a very personal note.  (Alas, I’ve already typed the word “I” three times, and the next word marks another!!!). I have two people at the very top of my mentor list.  There are many mentors on the list, but these two have had the most profound effect on me.  These mentors are Paul Manz and Alice Parker.

     What they both did (and Alice still does) is the same thing.  They spark an interest in congregational song.  In fact, they both also had/have amazing abilities in drawing any gathering into singing,  and singing in creative and meaningful ways most would think not possible for any gathering without a big rehearsal.

     In Paul Manz’s case, he invited meaningful and full-voiced singing through the organ.  I’ve spent a career working on understanding how he did that,  and specifically what it was he did which produced such eager response.  Some of it is very practical:  clear communication about when to breathe,  and a reliable pulse.  But it was his creativity that became the icing on the cake.  We all noticed the words intensely as he inter-preted them though his use of the instrument (the organ and the congregation’s voice), and he would take us on a journey every time a hymn was launched.  In the end, however, what we remembered was the hymn’s meaning – more than the particular notes he played and/or how he played them.

     In Alice Parker’s case, she leads her “SINGs” with her own lone voice (as she calls it, feeble elderly lady’s voice). Again,  it begins somewhat practically:  one doesn’t need anything to sing – just our voices. We don’t need accompaniment, and there are no quality police grading us in comparison to Luciano Pavarotti, or Leontyne Price.  Like children, we wind up singing freely, free of judgment.  For me, what she added to that, and to an already rich set of experiences with Paul Manz, is an awareness of where and when the song comes to us from. Through that we uncover the vast variety of musical style the church has always had in its songs. The absence of instruments actually points that out intensely – as that’s usually where our assumptions go to find variety. Chant is very different from a Victor-ian British hymn!  Latino music has its dance, as does a chorale from the Renaissance era . All of that comes to life.  But also, like Paul Manz, she regards the congrega-tion as the instrument, inviting all kinds of unusual, surprisingly delightful sounds that bring out the hymn and its meaning.

     This Sunday afternoon, Alice Parker, still full of energy,  will lead one of her signature sings right here at Mount Olive.  She became best known with her collaborative work with Robert Shaw – especially in connection with the Shaw Chorale recordings of Christmas carols.  She researched each candidate carol, and, if selected, would help arrange them for choir for the recordings and publications. Since then she firmly has established herself in her own right as composer, musician, recording artist, and lover of melody and hymnody.

     Her energy, enthusiasm, and ability to entice is very infectious.
     Sunday at 4:00, here at Mount Olive.  Don’t miss it!!!

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

November 15, 2015: 25th Sunday after Pentecost 32 B
Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16
Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

November 22, 2015: Christ the King
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 93
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37

Church Clean Up

     The Altar Guild will sponsor a Thanksgiving/Advent /Christmas clean-up of the worship areas of Mount Olive from 9 am to noon on Saturday, November 14.

     We anticipate that the renovation process will be substantially completed by then. Any help from congregational volunteers would be greatly appreciated.    

     Please contact Steve Pranschke if you are willing and able to volunteer for this effort.

Thank you,

- The Altar Guild

New Member Welcome – Note Date Change!

     Mount Olive will welcome new members and associate members on Sunday, December 6, during the second liturgy (please note change of date!).   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.

Thanksgiving Day Eucharist
Thursday, Nov. 26, 10:00 a.m.
     Bring non-perishable food items to help re-stock local food shelves. Monetary donations are especially welcome (for every $1 donated, food shelf personnel are able to buy about $9 worth of food!)

     As has been our custom for a number of years, the entire offering received at the Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day will be divided between Sabbathani Community Center and Community Emergency Services food shelves.

Advent Luncheon for Seniors to be Held Wed., December 2

     Attention Seniors (65 and over)! Be on the lookout for your invitation to the annual Advent Luncheon for Seniors. The invitations are in the mail!

     If you are age 65 or over and have not received your invitation, it’s likely because we do not have your birthdate on file. If that’s the case, please let us know (and update your membership information)! All members of the Mount Olive Community age 65 and over are cordially invited!

"Welcoming” is Also Parking

     The smaller north lot received new stripes and signs last week. By next Sunday, this new sign will be placed at the entrance. The intent is that for worship and other events and activities, those who
need to park nearer the door will have a better chance of finding a spot in this lot.

     Five spaces are reserved for those with a state permit for disabled parking access; the remaining five are unmarked. These are available for additional disabled parking, as well as for individuals who may be experiencing mobility difficulty, but do not have the state permit.

     Providing easy accessible parking is one more aspect of being “welcoming” to all who come to Mount Olive. On weekdays, this lot is used for staff parking and other visitors. But the above aspect of “welcoming” is still some-thing to consider. From time to time, the five reserved spaces have been used by many of us for convenient short or longer-term parking. Rationale: “Nobody uses these spaces during the week.” How can we be sure of that? What does it say to someone with walking difficulty who arrives to visit the pastor, come to a meeting, visit Diaper Depot – whatever - to find the reserved spaces occupied?

     We can let these individuals know they are welcome by parking in the other lot or on the street. Some of our staff members have taken the lead in this. The rest of us can also show those with a special need that they are welcome at all times!

Sing! On Sunday
This Sunday, November 15, 4 pm:  SING! With Alice Parker     

     The SINGs led by Alice Parker have delighted groups all over the United States and Canada since she started leading this kind of program forty years ago. The unique feature of these SINGs is
their high musical accomplish-ment – the sheer beauty and communicative power of the singing. The atmosphere is one of delight in joining in music-making, and of ease in creating varied sounds. A reception will follow the event in the Chapel Lounge. This event is free and open to the public – bring a friend!

Sunday’s Adult Forum

November 15: "Looking at Luther Through Finnish Eyes: Toward A New Understanding," presented by Dwight Penas.

Images of God: Thursday Bible Study     

     The second session of Thursday Bible Study is underway and runs through December 17 (the study will not meet Thanks-giving Day). The study, “Images of God,” is led by Vicar Anna Helgen and will explore how we talk about God through the language of image and metaphor. The sessions will reflect on common images of God and participants will have the opportunity to share a creative presentation of an image of God that speaks to them.

     As always, the sessions begin with a light supper at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome.

Tending the Family of God

     If a member of our family were to go missing, we would be making phone calls, we would be talking to people who might know where our missing family member was, we would be sending people out to search for the one who was missing – and nothing would be quite right again until the one who was missing had been found.

     In this congregation, we are a family of faith. So why is it that so often when one of the members of this family does missing, we carry on a through nothing has happened? Shouldn’t there be phone calls made, people talked to, search parties sent out?

     Because, really, nothing can be quite right again until the one who is missing has been found.

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 (that’s tonight!).

      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,

All Saints Sunday

     Many thanks to the Cantorei for the hard work preparing for Faure's Requiem in our All Saints Eucharist on November 1.  Also, we extend sincere appreciation to two people inadvertently left out of the bulletin list of participants:  Steve Nelson, Harp,  and Joyce Brown organ.   Our apologies for the omission, and our gratitude for the gifts!

A Very Big THANK YOU from the Scotts!

     We are very blessed to be among such lovely people who have supported us in our journey to marriage, and we hope and trust you will con-tinue to do so in all our adventures ahead.

     Thank you to Andrew Andersen, Lora Dundek, Mary Crippen and the many others who helped us celebrate again on November 1st. Thanks also to so many for your kind words and cards. It is a joy and a treasure to us. Thank you also to Pastor Crippen for his encouragement to us along the way, to Paul Nixdorf for taking photos, and to Randy Fritz who made us a beautiful, delicious cake for our wedding day. It has all been very appreciated. Thank you!

- Anna & Josh

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.

Advent Centering Prayer

     All are welcome to participate in an opportunity for contempla-tion during the season of Advent.

     Centering prayer will be offered on Wednesday during Advent, from 6-6:30 pm, in the north transept (near the columbarium) prior to Advent Vespers services, beginning December 2.

     New to Centering Prayer? Each session begins with a short instruction. A brief reading from the Psalms and the sound of a bell will signal the beginning of a 20-minute period of silent contemplation. The bell will then signal the end of the session which will end with the Lord's Prayer.
     Questions? Call Sue Ellen Zagrabelny at 612-875-7865.

News From the Neighborhood
Anna Scott, Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach & Ministry

Profiles: the unexpected guest
     Last Thursday the day started normally. Plunking along in the morning, the doorbell rang and in walked a young man straight for my office. He was friendly and polite and asked to come in. Then everything went haywire. I soon realized that I was dealing with a very unstable, mentally ill man who was desperately searching for some semblance of reality or guidance. Anything, really. He was lost and scrambling around for answers and somehow thought that Mount Olive may be a place he could find some. It was uncomfortable in a way, because I felt so incapable of giving him what he needed. He asked "what do you do here?" "Church," I replied. That's not what he wanted to hear, but it was actually what I needed. I needed to remember that this suffering struggling man was not someone to quickly pass along to the next place or hurriedly get out the door because he was not easy. This was not someone to disregard because I couldn't possibly cure his illness or fulfill his requests, so 'off you go sir, I've got other things to do.' No, this man may have come in looking for treatment or a remedy that I couldn't give him, but I could give him my time and some grace. He stayed for close to an hour and a half. We called two mental health hotlines and a treatment center. We made a plan. Eventually he left and my heart returned to a normal rate. But I was shaken. Not necessarily because he scared me, but because I was afraid for him - walking around in the world with such pain and fear. Please, friends, remember and pray for those whose reality is crumbling and for whom fear reigns in their lives. Let’s have the church be the refuge and the sanctuary. I don't know if I made a difference for my friend on Thursday, but he made a change in me.

In Our Neighborhood
     Powderhorn Park Neighbor-hood Association will hold its Community Meal and Annual Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12. Dinner will be at 5:30 pm and elections and meeting at 6 pm. Celebrate the gift of community with the neighbors of Mount Olive!

A Wish List
     Parents in Community Action, Inc. Head Start serves the community of children and families experiencing hunger, homelessness, poor access to resources, and the devastating effects of poverty. They will host the annual Head Start Health Fair for neighborhood children and families and are requesting any donations of new or gently used prenatal or early childhood supplies: things like diapers, wipes, clothes, blankets, bottles, toys, formula, etc. Any donation will help and goes directly into the hands of the most needy children and families in the neighborhood. Donations can be dropped off in the coat room near the upstairs kitchen and are needed before Friday November 13. Thank you! Please call Anna Scott at church with any questions.

Time to think about commitment.

     In a few days you’ll receive a letter from Mount Olive’s Stewardship Committee, inviting you to give serious thought to your financial commitment to support our mission and ministry in 2016. In October, the congregation voted to accept the budget recommended by the Vestry. Now it’s time for us as individuals and households to make our respective commitments to the work we will help make happen—within the walls of our building, in the neighborhood, in our nation, and in places around the world.

     Two thousand sixteen will be another challenging budget year. The improvements that were necessary to preserve our building resulted in the need for a $270,000 mortgage. Combined with the usual salary and benefit increases, this resulted in a significant budget increase. Included is our usual 12% tithe to support our mission in the neighborhood and around the world.

     On Sunday, November 22, again on Thanksgiving Day, and yet again (in a more low-key way) on Sunday, November 29, we’re giving members three opportunities to present a pledge card or some other token of their commitment to our work in 2016. We’ll process with our offerings on the first two of those days, and on November 29 you’ll see a box or basket, perhaps near the font.

     In recent years we’ve been on-again, off-again about whether we do or don’t process to present our pledge cards. Now we think we have a better idea. Processing is a gesture that can become a meaningful part of our liturgy. But it shouldn’t, we think, be an exclusive “parade of the pledgers,” if by pledge we mean a card the bears our name(s) and a dollar figure. Commitment is a better and more inclusive term.

Here’s why. Of all members who made general-fund gifts of $1 or more in 2014 (our last completed year), only 49% turned in a pledge card. Yes, those pledgers contributed 69% of our general-fund dollars. But without the one-third of our revenue given by non-pledgers we would have been, well, in big trouble. Indeed, some of our largest gifts to the general fund come from non-pledgers, including, in 2014, three of the twenty largest gifts and seven of the next twenty.

     So for us commitment means, first and foremost, that as individuals or households we make a commitment or promise to ourselves and to God that we’re going to do our best to give a certain amount of money to Mount Olive’s general fund in the year ahead. That’s what most of us do annually, isn’t it?

Should those among us who are traditional pledgers give it up? No! We’d like to see the numbers of those filled-in cards increase. Among other things, they give us an early indication of whether or not we’re likely to get the revenue we need. And if some members have been non-pledgers chiefly for privacy reasons, they should know that at Mount Olive Administrative Assistant Cha Posz, a member of another congregation, is the only person who sees what each of us gives annually.

     Some of us are likely non-pledgers for reasons of tradition, theology, or philosophy. That’s fine. What pledgers and non-pledgers have in common is that we commit ourselves to providing our share—however each of us defines that—of the resources needed for our mission and ministry in 2016.
So whatever you present on one of those two Sundays or on Thanksgiving—a filled-out pledge card, a blank one, or some other token (maybe one of the green cards in the pew racks)—think commitment as you do so. And please consider praying that you and all of us may be strengthened in commitment and mission.

- Donn McLellan, director of Stewardship

Church Library News

     Mount Olive's library recently received a large and unique collection of CD recordings, originally owned and developed by Mr. Ed Mikkola, an elderly member of Mount Olive, who in younger years was a church organist. The original collection of CDs, were given in 2003, some from Cantor Cherwien, and the larger group of about 60 were on loan to us from Dan Burow.  That last grouping has now been removed from our display and a new selection of a similar amount from Mr. Mikkola's collection have been chosen, processed, and are now available for check out in our current CD rack.  (Did you know that in 2003, Dan Burow hand-made the CD rack that has displayed our older collection all these years, and now contains our new selection just debuted this month?)   Be among the first to come in and check out one of these special new additions to our library resources!

     Speaking of Dan Burow, be sure to look for his brand new book entitled, "I Remember When -- Rev. & Enlarged," which was a recent gift to our library.  If you have been a regular reader of his columns in the TRUST and CoAM newsletters, you will delight in settling back for a wonderful afternoon or evening of reading from this new book to reminisce along with this talented author.  Look for his book on display in our church library right now!

     Thanks to Elizabeth Beissel who recently brought us another item of interest on display.  This is TIME's Special Edition entitled "Francis: The Pope's Bold Message Comes to America," by John L. Allen, Jr., a journalist who covers the Vatican for The Boston Globe and who is the Senior Vatican Analyst for CNN.  This is a beautifully done and accurately portrayed record of the Pope's recent visit to America and you will want to stop in some time to sit down and relish the tapestry of sights and photos in this great edition. This item is for display only and not for check-out.

     Those of us who are seniors are often concerned with our lack of energy and flexibility.  I will conclude this article with a couple of examples that might help spur us into further health efforts: 78 year-old metal sculptor Rochelle Ford, writes, “Every morning when I wake up I say, ‘I’ll never be as young as I am today.  Today is the youngest day of the rest of my life.  Therefore, get up and do something fun.’” ----- 88 year-old Yvonne Dowlen, a figure skater, writes, "As you grow older, if you don't move, you won't move!” -----79 year-old Harriet Anderson, the oldest female to ever finish the IRONMAN World Championship, writes, “I used to think 50 was old.  I was wrong.  It is not even close!” --- Lastly,  88 year-old award-winning choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne writes, “The secret to staying young and being happy is loving what you do and loving the person you are with. It’s as simple as that!”

    What special things to ponder indeed!

- Leanna Kloempken

Road Trip!

     Christine Skogen invites all to join her for her junior organ recital, to be held in the Center for Faith and Life at Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa.

     The event will take place on Thursday, November 19, at 6:30pm, in the Main Hall. The recital will include works by Bach, Widor, and Fletcher.

     A short reception will follow the program. All are welcome!

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