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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Olive Branch 2/10/16: + Ash Wednesday +

Accent on Worship

Lent, the invitation:  What is at your center?
     I remember that, when  growing up, Lent was a time when we went to services at church on Wednesdays, which was preceded by supper there.  For some reason I remember scrambled eggs (!!).  For many Lent is a kind of extended time focused on the death of Christ.  It’s also interesting to see many performances of requiem set-tings in concerts during this time.  Perhaps for many, these things are indeed meaningful to their celebration of the church-year cycle.  The fact that I can remember something of Lenten experiences from childhood is significant in and of itself.  It was a different stretch of time each year.  And we knew it led to Easter joy.  

     So what is it for us now?

       For the season of Lent, litur-gical materials and the lectionary now have as their themes renewal of Baptism, or perhaps more simply put, “Who are we?”  We confess our need for God’s grace and our vulnerability at Ash Wednesday, then enter the journey of Lent that culminates with the great renewal of new life:  renewal of our Baptism at the Easter Vigil, and celebration of the Risen Christ.        
     Along the way in that journey, the question seems clear to me:  What is at our center?  Certainly one might say the standard Sun-day School answer: “Well, that which you’re holding up and ask-ing me to identify really looks like a pencil, but I suppose the answer is Jesus.”  In reality, our center can be many other things:  power, money, things, substance, sin - all of these alternative centers,  and what we should do with them are rather blatantly demonstrated by Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel, following his Baptism as he is tempted in the desert.  They are NOT at our center.

     During Lent we are invited to intensify our desire for God to be at our center. As baptized children of God, we are called to live a certain way, in a world which at times can seem so God-less. We are even called to let go of those things which are tempting to be at our center.

     I recently heard a speaker talk about Doubting Thomas.  Thomas needed confirmation/validation that Jesus was alive through touching his side. This is what we do every time we gather for liturgy here – we touch Christ, affirming together that which is at our center.  During Lent, we have the opportunity to increase that confirmation/validation through our midweek gatherings at Noon Eucharist and Evening Prayer.  It’s an extra battery boost for our centers, for living in what may seem like a Godless world.  Well worth the time and effort to get here and be together.

     See you there.

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

February 14, 2016: First Sunday in Lent
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 8:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

February 21, 2016: Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Philippians 3:17--4:1
Luke 13:31-35

Lent begins.
Ash Wednesday, February 10
Holy Eucharist at Noon and 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.  This session concludes on Feb. 11.

     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

Climate Justice Task Force--Join Now

     Here is your chance to take action on your concerns. In January the Vestry supported the formation of a Climate Justice Task Force to investigate and recom-mend education and action for our congregation and its members. This short-term (3-6 months)"big issue" task force will investigate and make recommendations to other standing committees (properties, missions, neighborhood, education, etc). Climate Justice is already a consideration for many of these committees, and the Climate Justice Task Force will offer the opportunity for creative thinking and "whole picture" action. Say, "Yes!" when asked, or volunteer by leaving your name in the church office, dropping a note to Judy Hinck at, or writing your name and "Climate Justice" on one of the cream-colored cards in the pew and placing the card in the offering basket.

Midweek Lenten Worship
Wednesdays during Lent
Holy Eucharist at noon
Evening Prayer at 7 pm

The theme for 2016 is “Love does no wrong to a neighbor: Who Christ calls us to be to those 
not like us.”

A soup luncheon follows each Wednesday noon Eucharist, and a soup supper precedes each Wednesday Evening Prayer, beginning at 6 pm.

Lenten Devotional Book Available

"Return to God," Susan Cherwien's new devotional booklet for Lent 2016, is free and available at church. Pick one up for use during Lent!

This devotional is also available on the web in blog form at

Lenten series on Christian Nonviolence

     The Sunday afternoon Lenten series on the topic "Gospel Nonviolence: the Great Failure, the Only Hope" will begin this Sunday February 14 in the East Assembly Room at Mount Olive.

     There will be two repeat video presentations at 12:45 and 3:00.  The videos last approximately one hour followed by a half hour question/discussion period.  Each subsequent Lenten Sunday a new talk will be given. Light food and coffee will be available.  

We are likely to have visitors from other faith communities join us.

     These Lenten reflections will help ground the "soul searching  on U.S. continuing and expanding war efforts"  which our synod called on us to do.  We hope that you will find that these talks expand and clarify your understanding of Jesus and his life and message.

     A word about the video presenter: Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy is a priest of the Eastern Rite (Byzantine) of the Catholic Church.  He was formerly a lawyer, university educator and the founder and original director of The Program for the Study and Practice of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution at the University of Notre Dame. 

     For over forty years McCarthy has directed educational programs and conducted spiritual retreats throughout the world on the issue of the relationship of faith and violence.  He was the keynote speaker for the 25th anniversary memorial of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin  Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tenn. 

     Questions about this series? Contact Al Bostelmann (, 612 722-5957).


Help Needed for Two Hours this Saturday Morning!

     Please call or text Cathy Bosworth, 612-708-1144, if you can help our neighbor, Renee Ollikain, (we held her mother's funeral here on Jan. 26).      

     Renee does not have transportation and needs help to move around and sort through her mother's storage unit on American Blvd. in Bloomington.  She then needs a vehicle and someone who can transport some of these items back to her apartment.

Can you help? Please contact Cathy Bosworth as soon as possible.

Transitions Support Group
(Please note day of week change for March only!)

     All are welcome at the Transitions Support Group. If you’re looking for new ideas or encouragement to meet the challenges or uncertainties that are before you, please consider joining us on Tuesday, March 8.

     This is an opportunity to share in fellowship, prayer, and discussion with others in the Mount Olive community.    
     Transitions Support Group meets on Tuesday, March 8 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 in-formation, please contact Cathy 612-708-1144, or Amy 612-710-1811, .

Keep Us in the Loop!

     Have you moved? Are you moving? Dump your land line or get a new phone number or email address?

     Please be sure to let us know so that we can update your contact information and keep YOU in the loop!

The Sheridan Story
What is The Sheridan Story?

The Sheridan Story began in 2010 when the school administration at Sheridan Elementary School discovered that students were stealing and hoarding food on Fridays so that they would have something to eat on the weekends. The Sheridan Story was launched as a project of Mill City Church. In our first month, a bag of non-perishable food went home each weekend to 27 students. Soon the program was opened to all students at Sheridan, serving over 300 kids per week. The program opened to 4 more schools in the next year. Since 2013, The Sheridan Story has expanded to serve 74 schools across the metro area! But, there is still so much need: over 100,000 kids go hungry each weekend in the Twin Cities.

How does The Sheridan Story work?

The Sheridan Story partners with organizations, such as churches (like Mount Olive!), and schools. The organizations (like us!) sponsor the program in the school, paying for, packing and finally distributing the food directly to the kids each Friday. The Sheridan Story does all the organizing and logistics and supply, providing children with as much healthy nutritious food as they can carry to see them through the weekend.

Does it work?

The incredible story of growth in a few short years says "Yes it does!", even as it points to the stunning need right in our own neighborhood. Spend a little time reading about the Sheridan Story by clicking here: Hear the words of Jordan and her mother about the difference the Sheridan Story has made for her by clicking

What can we do here at Mount Olive?

We're looking for 25 sponsors willing to commit just $12 per month, or $130 per year to sponsor a child at Jefferson Elementary for one year. These 25 sponsors will support the kids of one classroom at Jefferson, where 92% of the children lack proper food every weekend. What a difference such a small amount of money can make in a child's life. Are you willing to be a sponsor? Pray over and consider if this may be a way God would have you help a child. 

And there will be other ways to help. Watch this space next week for how to respond, and other ways you can be part of The Sheridan Story, helping children in need.

Ukrainian Easter Egg Workshop

     Pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter eggs, are made during Lent and Holy Week among those in Slavic countries. The word "pysanky" is from the word "pysanta"= to write, because the designs are written on the egg in hot wax. The traditional designs and colors have specific meanings, and the eggs are often passed down in families from generation to generation. Pysanky is a very old tradition, combining meditation and prayer with art. 

     Cha Posz, Mount Olive’s administrative assistant, along with her husband Kurt, both members of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in St. Paul, have offered to teach a basic class at Mount Olive on the making of pysanky. The class will take place on Saturday, February 27, from 9 am to 12 noon in the East Assembly Room next to the Chapel Lounge.  A fee of $10 will be charged to cover supplies. Please e-mail or call the church office to register, so we are sure to have enough supplies on hand. All ages* are welcome! (*keeping in mind that it does involve hot wax and a flame…)

Prodigal Son Artworks

     During the Lenten season a portion of Jerry Evenrud’s Prodigal Son art collection will be on display in the hallway display case, the West Assembly area, and in the Chapel Lounge. We have facsimiles of the original art pieces, on loan from Luther Seminary. The book, And Grace Will Lead Me Home, which features the entire collection, is on display on the long cabinet in the West Assembly area. Each image has an index card which references pages in the book where more information is available.

     The Prodigal Son display coordinates with Return to God, this year’s Lenten devotional booklet by Susan Cherwien which is available in the lounge areas.

- Paul Nixdorf

Soup-Makers Needed!

     Soup makers are needed to provide soup and bread for our midweek Lenten meals. 

     Soup and bread for the lunch following Wednesday midday Eucharist should feed 40-50 people, and for the supper before Wednesday Evening Prayer, we need soup and bread for about 15-20 people.

     If you can help by signing up to bring a meal (or two!), the sign up chart is available at the serving window at coffee hour on Sundays.

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

Workshop with Gertrud Mueller-Nelson

     Our friends at Christ Church Lutheran asked us to share this information about an upcoming workshop by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. Some of you may know her as a beloved writer, others as a gifted artist and illustrator, still others as a wise teacher and workshop leader. She is all of these, and she’s coming to Minneapolis on Saturday, March 5.

     Gertrud will offer a free workshop at Christ Church Lutheran entitled, “The Home and What’s Holy: Nourishing Faith in the Home.”  Her wonderful book, To Dance with God, is a classic work on sharing faith with children and bringing ceremony and Christian practice into in the home. All are warmly invited to attend this workshop which is free and open to the public.

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