Accent on Worship
Back to normal?
We’ve now moved into our “normal” time of the Church Year, sometimes called “ordinary” time. After months of seemingly constant festivals, special seasons, times of penitence, times of celebration, we now have nearly as many months ahead where there is not much in the way of special observances. It’s a nice change at this stage, though by the end of the season after Pentecost I usually feel ready for the big run ahead as a Church Year ends and another begins.
But I wonder if we’re really “back to normal” at all. Or if we even want to be. In fact, in these early weeks of the season of Pentecost we are still not far from hearing that marvelous story of the coming of the Spirit to those first believers. Sound of wind, the sight of flames on or around their heads, and the gift of language to tell the Good News of Jesus to all in Jerusalem, that was a remarkable day, that birth-day of the Church. And those disciples never got “back to normal.” Read the account in Acts 2: 3,000 new believers on the first day, the disciples bravely out in the streets and in the Temple telling that the crucified Jesus is raised from death and is Lord and God. Very soon some of these believers were persecuted for their witnessing, some jailed, and some killed. I wonder if they sometimes wished it could be “back to normal.”
I doubt it. Not that there was always something wrong with “normal.” For some, it was a working merchant life as independent fishermen. For others, especially the women, there were families to raise, and daily housework to do. For many, “normal” used to be a state of pain and fear due to illness, or possession. So some of “normal” was good for these disciples, some bad, but for all this was their reality: once they met Jesus they were changed forever. And once he was raised from the dead, they would never know normal again.
It’s not highly likely that we’ll experience 3,000 new believers being baptized in one day, or should be expecting tongues of fire at our times together (though maybe we shouldn’t underestimate the Spirit!), but in the same way those early disciples were changed forever so are we. The Spirit is calling us to new things here at Mount Olive, always opening us to new visions of our service to God here. “Normal” life cannot be lived keeping to our own back yards, or our own church building walls. Once the Spirit has enflamed us with God’s love, filled us with faith in the risen Jesus, and showered us with gifts, we will never be the same.
It could be frightening, what the Spirit calls us to be. Sometimes those early believers must have been scared. But like them, we know that the Triune God is with us always, blessing us with love and sending us out to share that love. We know that we have life in our Lord Jesus as we gather around Word and Sacrament each week and as we are sent out by the Spirit into the world. We know that we are loved by the God of the universe, forever and always, and changed into children of God. Who’d ever want to go back to normal after that?
Olive Branch Summer Publication
Please note that during the months of June, July, and August, The Olive Branch is published every other week. This is the last weekly issue until after Labor Day. The next issue will be published on June 12.
If you are a regular worshipper (member or friend of the congregation) and will be graduating from high school, college, or a graduate school this spring, please let us know as soon as possible. We want to be sure all graduates are included in our upcoming graduate recognition.
Simply call the church office (612-827-5919), or drop an email (email@example.com).
Bach Tage Events
Saturday, June 8, 4 pm – Bach Masterworks Concert, featuring Marc Levine (Baroque violin), Tami Morse (harpsichord), and Tulio Rondón (Viola de gamba).
Sunday, June 9, 4 pm – Evening Prayer with Bach Cantatas 36 and 123; Susan Palo Cherwien, Susan Druck, William Pederson, and Daniel Mahraun, soloists.
Hebrews Study on Thursday Evenings
Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Pr. Crippen is currently leading a study of the book of Hebrews, an early Christian sermon preserved in the New Testament. As usual, there will be a light supper when we begin. The final session of this study is June 6. All are welcome to this study opportunity!
Summer Jobs After School
The Summer Jobs After School Program is in need of one more volunteer. If you would like to hang out with three or four cool kids to supervise jobs and an art project once a week for up to two hours for six weeks, call Donna at church, 612-827-5919. Summer Jobs After School will run from the first week in July through mid-August. It’s a lot of fun!
Coffee Hour Birthday Celebration
The families of Andrea Kloempken Volk and David Kloempken will host the coffee hour after the liturgy this Sunday, June 2, in honor of Leanna Kloempken’s 80th birthday. Please come by for the special treats and to help Leanna celebrate!
Adult Forum June 9
Jessinia Ruff, daughter of Mark and Lisa, is a recent high school graduate. She will be traveling to the Dominican Republic with SCORE International for an 8 month-long trip to study Spanish and participate in local ministry. Following the liturgy on June 9, she will talk more about the organization, the work she’ll be doing there, and how you can support her.
Vision for the Future/Our Vision and Energy: Sunday June 2, 2013
At our first Vision Event in April, we looked at our history and who we have been and what moved us to become who we are today. Decade by decade God’s purpose was revealed as the people of Mount Olive responded to Word and Sacrament with action, outreach, and service.
At our second Vision Event on May 5, we began by acknowledging that we strive to be Musical, Liturgical and Welcoming, and from there we defined other core values to guide Mount Olive into the future. Two values rose to the top as primary: grace and hospitality. Six other values also were core to our discussion: love, sacredness, justice, commitment, compassion and joy. What would it mean to measure all of our decisions and actions against these values?
Now it is time to use what we have learned and brainstorm together about what we may become over the next five years. Join us this Sunday to Visioning Event #3 and add your ideas to the wealth of information your Vision Task Force will digest over the summer. At Sunday’s event you will have the opportunity to choose from four discussion groups.
• Group #1 will generate a list of Mount Olive’s strengths and select two or three that, if built upon, could really move our ministry forward.
• Group #2 will focus on areas for further development, isolating two or three areas and suggesting ways we can move from good to better.
• Group #3 will examine the community data gained by our Observers and Interviewers over the last six weeks and see what it is telling us about where and how we need to reach out.
• Group #4 is for dreamers who will open doors and windows to what Mount Olive might be, brainstorming without thought of limitations or roadblocks.
Join us June 2 for the final vision gathering to give input on Mount Olive’s strengths (values), neighborhood surrounding the church (community observers and interviewers) and a vision for our next steps. We need your vision and energy! We will gather in the Undercroft after worship on Sunday, share a simple lunch, and work together to discern God’s will for our work in this faith community. See you there!
– Your Vision Leadership Team
Night On the Street Recap
On April 19 I participated in a night out on the street. I would be lying to you if I said I was excited to do it. And when the night rolled around I wasn’t in the greatest of moods, but my attitude changed the further into the night we got.
I and my dear friend, Peter Crippen, arrived there on a Friday afternoon, and as soon as we pulled into the parking lot we saw a huge crowd and a big stage. They had all the currently popular music playing and people having fun. They started us off playing some games and listening to music. Then they went on to tell us about the program and what we would be doing for the rest of the night. So after I got my dinner baggy (which contained some very well done chili, a corn muffin, a chocolate chip cookie and an apple), we went inside the church. They brought our group to a room at the far end of the hall, it was a fairly big room and, compared to the others, rather comfortable.
They sat us down, did their introductions, and then brought in a few groups to speak to us. But the one that caught my attention the most was a man who was homeless when he was a kid. He told us about how he would have to sleep during the day (since sleeping at night was, and still is, rather dangerous). When he could sleep at night it would be at a homeless shelter, and he went on to tell us how they sleep on not much more than a gym mat. He also told us that when they do go to those shelters for a night, they’d have to sleep with everything on, like shoes, socks, and even sometimes backpacks. Because if they didn’t, their possessions would get stolen.
Later that night we went to the chapel of the church and there they hosted an amusing play. The play was not really relevant to what we were doing, and I started to wonder, “what does this have to do with homeless people?” But at the end they explained how the little play tied in with what they were doing and it made better sense. Later, we went outside and the iron clad doors were closed and we were told we are not allowed back in. And so we all prepared for a very cold night. On the stage they “rewarded” the churches who raised the most money, and then we said some prayers and got briefed on what was going to happen and what we would be doing that night. So Peter and I and the rest of the group we were in set out across the slippery parking lot to grab our shelter, a Grade A cardboard box. We set up our little camp, and hey, our “camp” looked like something out of a post- apocalyptic science fiction movie. After some talking, I considered going to sleep and then going home the next morning. But the person I was talking to noticed a group of people congregating at a trailer, and he realized they were giving cookies and cocoa out (one detail of the night I wasn’t made aware of until that night!), so we went over and ate our cookies and drank our cocoa and went to sleep.
The next morning they fed us granola bars and fruit. Then they had us take a big group photo and after all that was done we went back to the chapel and they debriefed us on the night, showed us a video they made with recordings, and then we sang a few songs, or rather, the same song repeated every time a group representative went up to say something. After that we went and cleaned up the mess of the parking lot. I won’t lie, I was disappointed seeing the little post- apocalyptic camp we created with tarps and boxes being taken down, but then I got over it and we went home. And by the end I possessed 3 new things: 1.) a new perspective on homeless, more importantly, homeless youth (witch this thing was all about); 2.) the experience of sleeping on a fairly empty stomach; and 3.) knowing what it was like freezing outside in the dead of night. And yes the last one might sound negative, but it does make you ask yourself, “they sleep like this every night?”
All in all I had a great time! And I would like to thank all the people at Mount Olive who donated money to make it possible for me to attend!
– Eric Manuel
A Note of Thanks
To Our Mount Olive Church Family
We want to thank you for your care, concern, and prayers during Stan’s recent hospitalization and while in transitional care. Thank you to Pastor Crippen and Vicar Neal for your visits to boost our Spirits. Stan is now at home and our journey continues with extensive rehabilitation/therapy.
We also want to thank the prayer shawl committee for the shawl. It has provided soft comfort and warmth (both physically and emotionally) for both of us.
We need your continued prayers of hope for Stan’s recovery toward optimum health.
Thank You and God’s Blessings,
Stan and Jo Ann Sorenson
Remember the Hungry and Homeless
Now that the end of the school year is at hand, our thoughts turn to vacations. In your travels, please remember to save unused complimentary toiletries for homeless persons. These, as well as trial size toiletries that can be purchased, are ideal because of their small size. Please bring your donations to the coat room at Mount Olive.
Also, as you may know, food needs are even greater in the summer months when children are not in school receiving free lunches. Please keep this in mind when making your food donations. CES (Community Emergency Services) has a food shelf to which we contribute. For our guidance, they have listed some needed items as follows: Chili, Sugar, Beef Stew, Salt, Canned Beets, Cooking Oil, Pudding Cups, Jello Cups, Coffee/Tea, Toilet Paper, Cocoa, Mac and Microwaveable Cups
Your usual generous response will do much to help provide for hungry children. Thank you!
Book Discussion Group
Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at church. For the June 8 meeting, they will discuss The Calligrapher’s Daughter, by Eugenia Kim. For July 13, they will read The Violent Bear It Away, by Flannery O’Connor. And advance notification (because of its length) that for August 10 they will discuss Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Lost and Found
The Lost and Found basket is filled to overflowing and our kitchens cluttered with pans and dishes which have been left at church. This Sunday, June 2, please plan to visit the Lost and Found table, which will be set up in or near the coat room. There may be things there which belong to you that you didn’t even know were missing!
TRUST News: Attention Runners
If you are a marathon runner and are looking forward to a summer of running, TRUST’s Parish Nurse Program is sponsoring a 5K and a 10K run on June 8. For information about or enrollment forms for this race, please look on the bulletin board located on the lower level of Mount Olive, just outside Donna Neste’s office.