Q. How many members do you have?
A. About 600, with an average Sunday attendance of about 250. About one-third of worshipers come from nearby neighborhoods.
Q. How often do you celebrate communion?
A. Every Sunday and on all feast days that do not fall on Sunday; also at most weddings and funerals.
Q. How long are your services?
A. About an hour and 15 minutes, longer on festival days.
Q. I thought you were Protestants. Why do you kneel, bow, chant, burn incense, and make the sign of the cross?
A. Martin Luther and the early Reformers didn’t reject any of these practices. We embrace worshiping with all of our human senses. It’s not the only way to worship God; it’s just the way that suits us best.
Q. You are located in a relatively poor neighborhood. What are you doing about that?
A. Industrious immigrants have turned our neighborhood around in recent years, but poverty persists, and the needs of the city are great. Our vision of ministry with our neighbors is moving beyond offering helpful programs to building partnerships that help all involved lead lives of dignity and hope.
Q. Given your inner-city location, is it safe to come to Mount Olive?
A. Yes. Congregational leaders are attentive to security concerns as well as thankful that our neighborhood crime rate has declined dramatically over the past 20 years.
Q. Are you a gay church?
A. No, but we have many members who happen to be gay. We don’t categorize people by GLBTQ, race, class or any other measure. People here delight most in being known as “child of God.”
Q. What’s your political agenda?
A. Mount Olive has more liberals than conservatives, but we try to respect differences on divisive social and economic issues. We believe the Holy Spirit leads us to care not just for our own personal needs, but also for the needs of our neighbors near and far.
Q. What’s the role of women?
A. Women are ordained as pastors in our denomination. Many of our parish leaders are women.
Q. What about children?
A. We do not have a staffed nursery but welcome children to worship with the whole congregation. We also offer Sunday school, musical opportunities, confirmation, and a youth group.
Q. What are Lutherans all about?
A. Lutherans have been called the original Protestants, people who left the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s and hope for reconciliation one day. In recent years Lutherans and Catholics have increasingly found agreement on issues that once divided us. For example, members of both bodies recognize each other’s baptism and believe God saves us by God’s grace, without our earning salvation.
Q. Where does Mount Olive fit among the scores of other Lutheran choices in the Twin Cities?
A. Like every congregation, we have our own style and traditions. Throughout the Twin Cities, congregations have adopted a variety of worship styles. If you like formal worship, classical music, an atmosphere that welcomes all, and a commitment to social ministry, you may find Mount Olive a place that encourages you on your journey and helps you meet God.
Q. What are the initials ELCA and RIC?
A. The ELCA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is the largest Lutheran body in North America. RIC means “Reconciling in Christ,” shorthand for parishes that affirm all people’s full participation in church, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation.