Accent on Worship
Sabbatical: How sweet it was (and is)
The afternoon of December the 1st marked my return from a three-month sabbatical which began September 1. Interim Cantor William Beckstrand asked me to play organ for the Advent Procession Service, which I gladly did. That event underscored how much I missed all that we do together in song!
As I’ve said often: the sabbatical was a tremendous gift, for which I am very grateful. It was truly a time of adventure – having quite the variety of experiences in many places, learning a lot about opportunities, assembling musical/liturgical ideas, and also pitfalls to avoid!
Since several of you have asked what I did, I thought I’d outline it a bit. The first two months were filled with travel. Two trips to Europe, spending time in Provence and Paris in France, and in Berlin and Leipzig in Germany, and in Cambridge England. Stateside I went to Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona and Indiana.
During these 13 weeks I attended 14 liturgies in Europe, and 11 here in the States. I also attended 8 concerts, and provided 5 hymn festivals. Four of the weekends were right here in the Twin Cities, and on those four Sundays I attended 7 services in local churches. The concerts included 5 choral concerts, and 3 organ recitals. These were, without a doubt, world-class events which will provide ideas and inspiration for a long time!
Each of these experiences does a lot, whether here in the U.S. or in Europe. Being what we and the Church have come to call “a visitor” itself continues to raise enormous questions for me about our understanding of ourselves as Church, and what we are doing and how we relate with anyone in attendance at liturgy (including God!!). No doubt more will come out from me on this topic!
I kept a journal in blog form, accessible to anyone: www.cherwien.blogspot.com, with more details of my experiences. I also created a notebook with all bulletins and programs which I’d be happy to share with anyone who wishes.
In addition to all of that activity in travel, during the third month there was a significant amount of down-time, especially during the weekdays. This, too, was a huge gift (maybe even a challenge at times) as I tend to have a lot of irons in the fire with my normal schedule (who doesn’t?). I was really forced to “be still and know that God is God” in those times. We also cashed in some miles, and flew to Susan’s sister in Sacramento for a cherished visit.
It was my hope as well that my sabbatical would work in two ways: not only for my experiences and time away, but also as an opportunity for Mount Olive (and National Lutheran Choir) to have some fresh and enriching experiences with the help of those assuming my responsibilities. From all reports, this has happened. Bill Beckstrand was inspired by you, and you by him. I am grateful for his gifts, and for your gifts and generosity to him.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now: nose to the grindstone it is!
– Cantor David Cherwien
December 15, 2013 – Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 35:1-10 + Psalm 146:5-10
James 5:7-10 + Matthew 11:2-11
December 22, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-16 + Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Romans 1:1-7 + Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesdays in Advent
December 4, 11, and 18
Fair Trade Craft Sale: Last Day!
The Missions committee is hosting a Fair Trade Craft Sale during Advent. Purchase beautiful and unique Fair Trade items from SERRV International, handmade by disadvantaged artisans in developing regions around the world. With each purchase, you help artisans maintain steady work and a sustainable income so they can provide for their families.
Sunday, December 15, Advent 3, is the final day items will be available for sale, following both liturgies (cash and check only). Fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate from Equal Exchange are also available. This is not a fund-raiser, just an opportunity to buy good products for a good cause.
Book Discussion Group
For this Saturday, December 14, The Book Discussion group will discuss The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty, and on January 18 (postponed one week due to the Liturgy Conference), we will discuss Moon Tiger, by Penelope Lively.
Thursday Evening Bible Study
On Thursday evenings (except for Thanksgiving Day) through December 19, Vicar Beckering is leading a topical study on the Biblical witness to suffering and who God is for us in the midst of that suffering. This Bible study series meets in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Each gathering will begin with a light supper. All are welcome!
The Altar Guild is hosting a chancel-cleaning event on Saturday, December 14, from noon to 3:00 p.m. All are welcome to help out for an hour or two. Bring your favorite duster and polishing rags, and help spiff up our worship space for Christmas. Questions? Contact Beth Gaede via email at bethgaede [at] comcast [dot] net.
Mittens + Gloves = Warm Hands
At the Community Meals in December (7 and 21), mittens and glove will be given to our guests who need/want them. If you would like to donate mittens and/or gloves to this cause, please call Irene Campbell at 651/230-3927.
An Opportunity to Thank Our Terrific Staff
Each year at this time the Vestry asks that you consider a monetary gift to recognize our Mount Olive staff for the faithful service that they provide throughout the year. If you would like to contribute, please leave (or mail) a donation marked “staff gift” in the church office. Checks can be made payable to Mount Olive Lutheran Church. Gifts should be received by December 15. Thank-you.
– Lora Dundek, Vestry President
Alternative Gift Giving
Are you looking for something different to do this year for Christmas gifts? Take part in a growing tradition by giving gifts that help those in need. The Missions Committee is promoting the idea of alternative gift giving this Christmas. For example, in honor of a loved one, for $120 you can “buy” a sheep for a family through the Heifer Project that provides warm clothing and income through the sale of the wool. We have catalogues from different charitable organizations that you can use or you can order from the organizations’ websites. Some of these organizations are:
• Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – www.elca.org/goodgifts
• Lutheran World Relief – http://lwrgifts.org/
• Heifer Project International – http://www.heifer.org
• Common Hope – http://commonhopecatalog.myshopify.com/
• Bethania Kids – http://bethaniakids.org/creative-giving-catalog/
In the brochure racks at Mount Olive is a small guide to recommended brunch places within, at most, three miles from the church. Most restaurants are within 1½ miles. If you notice deletions, additions, or corrections that need to be made to the brochure, please contact Susan Cherwien – firstname.lastname@example.org – sometime during the month of December, so that we can have the corrected version ready and available for our guests at this January’s Liturgical Conference.
Friday Afternoon Support Group
Caregiver? Chronic Illness? Loss of home? Loss of loved one?
We each encounter a variety of losses throughout our lives. Do you wish for a familiar place where you could find some reassurance, share your story, discover a simple skill or two that could help in those moments when you feel overwhelmed?
Beginning Friday, December 27 at 1:00 p.m., join us for a four-week structured support group at Mount Olive. Cathy Bosworth, Vicar Emily Beckering, and Marilyn Gebauer will serve as facilitators for this group on consecutive Fridays through January 17. Each week a brief educational component will be offered with equal time for you to share personally in a confidential, supportive setting.
If you are interested in attending, or have questions, please contact Cathy Bosworth (952-949-3679 or by email to email@example.com) or Marilyn Gebauer (651-704-9539 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org). If four or more people have interest in participating, each will be contacted to confirm the group will meet as planned.
Home Care Holiday Kits for Our Savior’s Housing
Many residents of Our Savior’s Shelter have moved into the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. These individuals have struggled with homelessness for years and are now finally settled into their very own apartment, which they are able to maintain with the support of Our Saviour’s Housing Case Management. Holiday Home Care Baskets are a wonderful gift to help ease their budgets and maintain a beautiful and clean home of their own. Suggested items include:
-glass cleaner -toilet cleaner
-all-purpose cleaner -disinfectant wipes
-micro-fiber cloths – laundry soap
-sponges -fabric softener
-dish soap -bleach
Our Savior’s currently has 75 Residents in this program and would happily accept any number of baskets the people of Mount Olive are able to put together! In order to deliver the baskets to each resident in time for the holidays, we are asking that all baskets be delivered to Mount Olive by this Sunday, December 15.
Conference on Liturgy: Jan. 10-11, 2014
By now you should have received the brochure for this year’s Conference on Liturgy, to be held January 10-11, 2014. The theme of this year’s conference is, “The Psalms: Humanity at Full Stretch.”
The conference begins with a hymn festival on Friday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m. Leadership for the hymn festival this year will be by the Mount Olive Cantorei, Cantor David Cherwien, and the Rev. Dr. Don Saliers. Don Saliers will be the keynote speaker for the conference this year, and will also be guest preacher at Mount Olive that Sunday for the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, January 12.
Please note that the cost for Mount Olive members to attend this year’s conference is $35/person.
National Lutheran Choir Christmas Festival: LIGHT
This year’s treasured Christmas Festival, “Light No Dark Can Overcome,” features both well-known and new music, including Midwest premieres by Kevin Siegfried and Tom Trenney. Carols, anthems and poetry combine to create a journey in time and space. Directed by NLC Artistic Director, David Cherwien, Gregory Peterson, organist/pianist.
Friday, December 13, 2013 – 4:30pm
Friday, December 13, 2013 – 8:00pm
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – 8:00pm
All performances held at the Basilica of St. Mary, 88 North 17th St. in Minneapolis (612.333.1381).
Christmas Worship Schedule
Christmas Eve, December 24
9:30 pm – Choral Prelude
10:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Christmas Day, December 25
9:00 a.m. – Christmas Carry-In Breakfast
10:00 am – Festival Holy Eucharist
Name of Jesus, January 1, 2014
10:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Information About the New Pictorial Directory
1. Photo selection: If you have not selected the photograph for you and or your household for the new pictorial directory, please go online and choose a photograph to be included before Tuesday, December 17, 2013. Elisabeth Hunt will be on hand Sunday, December 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the fellowship area to give assistance with your photo selection if needed. A photo will be selected for households that have not selected one by 9 a.m. December 17, 2013.
2. Photo purchases: If you want to purchase photos as Christmas gifts for family or friends, please complete your orders by Sunday, December 15, 2013 to insure delivery to you in time for Christmas. If photos are ordered after December 15, a charge for express shipping will be required to have them arrive by Christmas.
3. Make-up photo sessions: Paul Nixdorf has set aside a number of slots in the next two weeks of December, for make-up photo sessions for individuals and families who have not yet had their photos taken. We have families who have children returning from college or travel for the holidays who have already indicated an interest in having photos taken. Please contact the church office at 612-827-5919 or email@example.com and leave your name and number. You will be contacted to schedule a time for your photos.
4. Reserving a traditional paper/print copy of the pictorial directory: Please contact the church office by calling 612-827-5919, or send a message via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, to have your name put on the list for paper/print copies of the new photo directory. There is no charge for the initial paper/print copy to households that do not have an internet connected computer. For households with computer access, a $4 donation is suggested if you request a print copy. This will help defray the cost of printing.
5. Online Pictorial Directory Launch: Watch for your password to the “Members Only” section of the Mount Olive website, www.mountolivechurch.org, where the new Mount Olive Electronic Pictorial Directory will be posted. Your password, along with instructions, will come to you via e-mail from the church office. Our launch date is set for early January. As previously communicated, to provide for security and privacy, the directory will be in the “Members Only” section of the website and requires a password to view material posted.
6. Directory Updates: The Mount Olive Electronic Pictorial Directory will be updated regularly throughout the year, at least quarterly. We have designed the directory maintenance in such a way that we can make changes and updates in the church office. New member information and photos will be added shortly after they are welcomed. If your home or mailing address, e-mail address, phone number or other information changes, please contact the church office at 612-827-5919, or email@example.com with the updates. Updated print copies of the directory will be made available annually.
Church Library News
You are invited to stop in the main library soon for the newest display of books, including:
• Advent for the Family, by Fredrick P. and Patricia K. Auman
• Programs for Advent and Christmas, edited by Vincia Alesin
• Programs for Advent and Christmas, Volume 2, edited by Vincia Alesin
• Christmas the World Over, by Daniel J. Foley
• First Christmas: The True and Unfamiliar Story, by Paul L. Maier
• Our Family Christmas Book: Stories, Features and Activities for All the Family to Enjoy, compiled by Mary Batchelor
• The Martin Luther Christmas Book, with Celebrated Woodcuts by His Contemporaries, trans. and arranged by Roland H. Bainton
• Christmas in Our Hearts: Candle, Star and Christmas Tree — When Christmas Came to Bethlehem, by Charles L. Allen and Charles L. Wallis
• A Book of Christmas and Epiphany, with daily devotions by Victor E. Beck and Paul M. Lindberg
• Our Christmas Story, by Mrs. Billy Graham
Parents, bring your children into the main library (and check the browser bin in the Courtyard Library) for special Christmas books for their appropriate age group.
There are always a variety of free bookmarks for children and adults to browse and don’t forget to check our CD and DVD racks as well.
Very soon we will work on a library volunteer list for the first months of 2014 and we need to add at least one (or more) new volunteer to that list. Please let me know if you would be willing to help in our library ministry on a rotating Sunday library schedule. We will be glad to provide modest library training and you would be working in pleasant surroundings. You could reach me at church, or by phone (please leave a message if needed) or leave your name and intention with the church office to forward to me.
Closing this article with an appropriate and likeable quotation from Mark Twain: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
– Leanna Kloempken