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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Olive Branch, 1/27/16

Accent on Worship

On the 17th of January I took on the challenge of discussing panhandling and the Christian response during the adult education hour. It was very interesting, conflicting, and complicated, but a valuable attempt at further understand-ing how God calls us to live and move in the world. Though I cannot repeat this discussion verbatim, I am going to do a two part series on a few of the highlighted pieces.

Part 1

     Much research went in to this topic, but the most valuable piece was an interview with Monica Nilsson, the Director of Community Outreach at St. Stephens Human Services – a ministry focused on ending homelessness. Monica has deciphered four main cate-gories for why people begin panhandling. 1) They have untreated trauma/mental illness; 2) they are broke; 3) they have a chemical depend-ency; 4) they are lonely. For the many reasons why people start panhandling, every cardboard sign reads the same message of “I need help.” The most critical help is relationships and a sup-port network to help them start meeting their more complex needs besides just the few dollars a day for xyz. That's where information is helpful and acknowledgement that what they're going through, whatever it may be, is difficult.

     Monica and the St. Stephens’s staff do not recommend directly giving panhandlers tangible items (money, socks, tooth-brushes), she does however say that everyone deserves to be acknowledged and respected. When she encounters someone on the street, she does not give money, but she will ask their name and say, "I wish you well," and may ask if there's any information or resources that they need.  

Resources available at Mount Olive:

-  The St.  Stephens Street Outreach booklet gives all the shelter and other immediate need info. These are posted on the kiosk or I can get you any if you want copies to keep in your car (see page 5);
-  The Handbook of the Streets is a complete listing of most/all resources available in South Minneapolis;
-  A short list of nearby food shelves, free meals, shelters, etc. is posted on the kiosk and the bulletin board downstairs. Take pages, make copies, and give them away to those that need them;
-  Anna Scott, Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach and Ministry;
-  You. Your compassion. Your willingness. Your care and concern and action.

- Anna Scott
Coordinator of Neighborhood Outreach & Ministry

Sunday Readings

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

February 7, 2016: Transfiguration of Our Lord
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Corinthians 3:12—4:2
Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

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.

Attention Worship Assistants

     The Servant Schedule for the 2nd quarter of 2016 (April - June) will be published at the beginning of March 2016. The deadline for submitting requests to me is February 10, 2016. Please email your requests to

- Peggy Hoeft

Coffee Hosts Needed!

     There are currently very few 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

Hungry Children?

     Last week, you read about Jefferson elementary school, just a few miles from Mount Olive:
92% of children at Jefferson receive free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. But, on weekends,these children often have little to eat:

17% are homeless or “highly mobile;”
children are often alone at home on weekends, because parents are at work. Imagine the feeling of arriving for school on Monday hungry. How hard it is for these children to begin
the week prepared to learn in the presence of gnawing hunger, because there was little to eat over the weekend.

     The SHERIDAN STORY exists to fill that “food gap” between Friday and Monday. Studies have shown that children who receive adequate food on weekends experience increased self-esteem, improved behavior at school, better academic performance, significant improvement in standard-
ized test scores, increased interest in school, and better relationships with school personnel.
     We’re going to learn how we can personally be part of THE SHERIDAN STORY. Keep watch on this space in coming weeks for more information.

St. Stephen’s Outreach

     St. Stephens is a resource if you are concerned about someone on the street and would like an outreach team to make contact with them. The smaller booklet is for immediate needs and helpful in explaining how to enter a shelter. The Handbook of the Streets is a comprehensive collection of most types of aid in the Minneapolis area. Calling 2-1-1 will connect you with United Way and give you access to personal advice and contacts and is the fastest source of up-to-date information.

It’s a Clothing and Seed Swap!

     Mount Olive will host the Do It Green Clothing Swap this 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. Bring clothes and seeds to share with others!

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!

Psalms & Spirituals with the National Lutheran Choir

Saturday, February 27, 2016 – 7:30pm
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley

Sunday, February 28, 2016 – 4pm
St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth

Tickets: Adult $25 | Senior $23 | Student $10 | 17 and under FREE
Call Brown Paper Tickets (800) 838-3006 or order online at

Church Library News

     Reminders -- We would like to remind all patrons of our church library to search their homes for books or other media that belong to the main church library (or the Courtyard library) and somehow haven't been returned on time. Please do it soon and return those items, thus giving you peace of mind (no fines, no questions) and we will be happier too, and able to function more efficiently!

     The second reminder involves bags of books that seem to appear at our library door or on our check-out desk; no doubt left as a kind donation, but with no identification as to just who left them for us!  First, we would like to know who you are when you leave bags of books for us.  Second, if these items are old or in poor shape, please don't assume we are going to want them either.  We have to be selective, not only because of limited room, possible duplication, or even usefulness of topic etc.  If we decide not to use them, we would like to have your name so that we can offer them back to you or offer further suggestions.

     An appropriate quote for the beginning of a new year: "A truly great book teaches me better than to just read it.  I must soon lay it down, and commence living on it's hint; what I began by reading, I must finish by acting."  - Thoreau

     Resolve to come in and use the library resources often -- we are looking for you and want to welcome you warmly!

- Leanna Kloempken

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