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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Olive Branch, 1/20/16

Accent on Worship

Gathering Rite:  Preparation

     When does this preparation for the liturgy happen for you?  Some might say when we set
the alarm clock on Saturday night. Others might say when we dress. What we wear can say something about how we regard the activity we’re dressing for. Some can say even that what we wear has an effect on our behavior.  Tuxedos just make me stand with better posture!  Jeans and old pull-overs, well…posture is definitely different than when in a tux.

     What are we preparing for?  Folks may answer that question differently, but let’s start with
this assumption: we are preparing for an encounter with God, alive in this place, and in each other.  Since there is no place that God is not, it is WE who take on this conscious focus when we come.  In that en-counter we get to express how important God is to us, we will hear the Word of God which will challenge us for the part of the service that takes us out of this place back into the world,  and we will partake in the sub-stance (bread and wine) that literally keep us a part of the Body of Christ.  Through all these things we are strengthened as we are sent.

     The Gathering rite is indeed an important part of our conscious and thoughtful participation in liturgy.  It begins with all of the things mentioned so far – from plans to be here, a rehearsal on Wednesday, baking bread,  ironing linens,  setting the alarm clock,  dressing,  getting here,  lighting candles,  all the way through to the prayer of the day.  Sometimes we corporately approach God through confessing our brokenness,  or remembering whose we are in remembering our Baptism.  We greet God with praise. We sing as one voice – a hymn or psalm, perhaps the Kyrie (sung prayer),  and perhaps sing a Hymn of Praise.  This “gathering” is actually quite vast and varies Sunday to Sunday, liturgical season to season.

     For many, once arriving here, before the liturgy formally begins, thoughts turn to prayer. We set aside the nave for liturgies – prayer, praise,  proclamation, celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  We may greet some people in the narthex or in the lounge, but once entering the nave,
you may notice how many people prepare silently for what is about to take place. Some kneel in prayer.  Some look through the service folder to see what has been planned for us to do, some look up the hymns and readings for a precursory look, perhaps marking them with the ribbons.  Generally, it is quiet focus on God and mentally getting ready for what is to come, whether there is prelude music or not.  It is important to respect that silence for those who value this preparation.

     Not all congregations regard their space in this way.  For some, it’s about the people.  In that way of looking at things, it’s more like a reunion room.  People great each other when they first arrive, happy to be reunited.  For many here it’s a little different. Our time for “reunion” and greeting, also important, comes following the liturgy in the Chapel Lounge over coffee and treats!  We are strengthened by our encounter with God, and now turn to each other for our mutual love and support before we return to “the world” so to speak.
     What are you doing Sunday?

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

January 24, 2016: 3rd Sunday after Epiphany
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
I Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

January 31, 2016: 4th Sunday after Epiphany
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
I Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

The Presentation of Our Lord
Tuesday, February 2
Holy Eucharist at 7:00 pm

Thursday Evening Study on the Book of Daniel

     “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land” is the title of the current Thursday Bible Study, exploring the book of Daniel. Written in a time of national tribulation and set in another such time, the book explores how God’s faithful live faithful lives in a threatening world. As always, the study begins with a light supper at 6, followed by the study. All are welcome!

Book Discussion Group

     Mount Olive’s Book Discussion Group meets on the second Saturday of each month, at 10:00 a.m. in the West Assembly Area at church. All readers are welcome!  For the February 13 meeting, they will read God's Hotel, by Victoria Sweet. For March 12  they will read In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson.

Sunday’s Adult Forum: January 24
     “Luther and the Jews, presented by Darrell Jodock, Drell and Adeline Bernhardson Distinguished Professor of Religion Emeritus, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, and founder of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College.

Coffee Hosts Needed!

     There are currently no hosts signed up for the coffee hour served between liturgies. If you’d like to help in some way, but don’t want to serve, consider making an extra batch of bars, cookies, or cake the next time you bake. You can bring the extra to church to be frozen for those days when no one signs up. Carla is glad to serve the treats, but would welcome help with the baking. Thank you for considering this important ministry of fellowship.

Music & Fine Arts News

Sunday, January 31, 4:00 p.m.
“A Winter Tapestry”
From Age to Age Choral Ensemble

     Mount Olive Music & Fine Arts is pleased to welcome From Age to Age choral ensemble for the first time on their concert series. From Age to Age brings a program that will warm your heart as you listen to an eclectic mixture of repertoire representing all musical eras, and the standard of excellence that resounds the mission of our ensemble.

     A reception follows the concert in the church’s Chapel Lounge.

Lent is Coming:  Mark Your Calendars!

     The Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper will be held on Tuesday, February 9, beginning at 6:00 pm.
Plan to come for a night of fun and fellowship for the whole congregation!

     If you are willing to help with this event, please contact Amy Thompson via email to:

- Sponsored by the Mount Olive Youth

Sitze will lead February 6 “Stewardshift!” workshop

     Bob Sitze, author of Stewardshift: An Economia for Congregational Change (Morehouse, January 2016), will lead a “Stewardshift!” workshop Saturday, February 6, for Mount Olive leaders and others who want to deepen and broaden their understanding of stewardship for congregational mission and daily life. The workshop, in the Chapel/Lounge, will start at 10:30 a.m. and end at 2 p.m., with participants joining Mount Olive’s Community Meal at noon.

     Sitze (pronounced sights) says participants in the interactive workshop will wrestle with questions about the present and future of stewardship. They’ll examine the meaning of stewardship as the church and the secular world have understood it. Using ideas detailed in his new book, Bob will challenge common stewardship beliefs and practices, arguing that some may have run their course in the life of the church. He proposes a “shifted stewardship”—simultaneously more biblically centered and more secular—to more effectively shape and serve personal identity and congregational purpose. Bob’s workshops incorporate discovery-based methods, intellectual and emotional honesty, and what he calls “Lutheran levity.” Advised that Mount Olive people are not shy about asking questions and sharing opinions, Bob responded that he welcomes that prospect.

     Bob Sitze is a former teacher and director of Christian education in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. He worked for many years—until his recent retirement—in the ELCA’s national offices as a resource developer and workshop leader in the areas of stewardship, Christian education, hunger, and ministry in everyday life. Four of his previous books, all focused on congregational dynamics, were published by the Alban Institute. Bob and his wife, Chris, live in Wheaton, Illinois.

    To help estimate the need for seating, tables, and handouts, please let us know you’re coming by leaving a note marked “stewardship” in the church office or a message for Donn at or 952-452-2049.

Donn McLellan, director of stewardship

Creation Awakes 

     Please join the new Holden Village Co-Executive Directors Peg Carlson-Hoffman + Chuck Hoffman as they share images and information about the impact of the Wolverine Creek Fire on Holden Village. These free events are opportunities for the Holden community to come together in familiar rhythms of teaching sessions, coffee break, and worship. The Directors will provide insights on plans for 2016 and beyond. Full Narnia (childcare) programming is available, so the whole family is welcome.

     This event will be held on January 23, 2016, 2:00–5:00 pm, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S., in Minneapolis. Mount Olive member Senator John Marty is part of the teaching staff for this forum. His presentation is entitled, "Moving to a Fossil-Fuel Free Future; Addressing Climate Change Because There is No Planet B."  To register, please visit

News from the Neighborhood
 Anna Scott

Listen for A Change

     Trinity Institute National Theological Conference presents: “Listen for a Change - Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice,” January 21-23, 2016. Hosted by Central Lutheran Church, this event is free, but registration is requested. For more information or to register go to: & click on Events & News or talk to Anna Scott.

     TI2016 is for anyone who is interested in a theological perspective on racial justice and a fuller understanding of present realities and ways to transform them. It’s not just for clergy – anyone interested is invited to attend. TI is also perfect for seminarians, students, activists, and young church leaders looking for new insights from thought leaders and change agents and all who are dedicated to or interested in striving for racial justice.

Oh My Lord, What Can I Do?

     It breaks one's heart to know: over 100,000 children in the Twin Cities live in "food insecurity," a polite term for a child not knowing when they will get their next meal. On weekends, without the meal programs at school, hunger is their frequent reality, and for their family as well.

     In this nation of abundance how can this happen? At an elementary school near Mount Olive:
 - 92% of children receive free/reduced cost lunch because their families cannot afford to pay;
 - 17% of children are homeless or "highly mobile;"
 - 50% of children know little or no English.

     It breaks one's heart to think of hungry kids. What can I do? What can we do? Here is one answer. Watch The Olive Branch in coming weeks for more information on The Sheridan Story.

It’s a Clothing Swap!

     Mount Olive will host the Do It Green Clothing Swap on Saturday, January 30, from 2-4 p.m.

     Do It Green Minnesota is a non-profit organization committed to educating Minnesotans about making sustainable and green choices to better their lives and their community.

     These clothing swaps provide a place for people to exchange clothes free of charge, which prevents waste, encourages reuse, and provides access to clothes to those who might not be able to afford them.

     The event is free and open to the public.

Winter Gear Drive Continues

     Neighborhood Ministries is receiving donations of winter gear for children and adults.

     New or gently used items (hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, and coats) can be donated in the box near the coat room. There is designated space for coats in the coat rack area. Items will be given away at the Community Meal throughout the winter or brought to the Central Lutheran Free Store.

     Thank you!

Hymn Festival: “One Body, Many Members”

     David & Susan Cherwien will lead a hymn festival this Sunday, January 24, 4:00 pm at The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Roseville (3115 Victoria St. N., Roseville).

     All are invited!

Who exactly is the Synod? Well, We Are

     Sometimes when Lutherans speak of “the synod,” what they really mean is the synod staff. In fact, the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA is all the 155 congregations, other institutions, and all the nearly 190,000 members. We are the synod. We have a staff, too. Bishop Ann M. Svennungsen and twelve others work out of the synod’s office in the Minnesota Church Center at 122 West Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis and provide both service and leadership to congregations. But they, like the staff of Mount Olive, are there to serve the greater group.

     As part of that greater work together with our sisters and brothers, Anna Scott, our Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach and Ministry, was just named Vice Chair of the synod’s Public Voice Committee. This is the synod committee that works on how the many congregations of this synod speak in the public square and work in our neighborhoods for the good of the people of this city and world. But Anna is not alone in serving from Mount Olive. Two Mount Olive members serve on the Synod Council, the governing body of our synod between assemblies: Pr. Crippen, and Ty Inglis, who serves as synod treasurer, elected in 2015. Adam Krueger is co-chair of the synod’s Candidacy Committee, responsible for working with seminarians from Minneapolis as they navigate through the approval process. Through these, this is one way Mount Olive lives out our part as one of many that make up the “synod.”


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