We met at the church on Monday, April 17. We had a fun evening of watercolor painting led by our artist-in-residence, Barbara Bierman. We painted a simple winter scene to take home. Our friends from Mt. Olive joined us for painting, fun, and fellowship.
From the annals of history
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church Food Pantry
“Frances Byrd Horn of Plenty”
Mission: To follow Christ’s directives to feed the hungry.
“It might interest you to know that:
Christ Lutheran, a partner of many decades and many caring people, is making a difference. Today, Mt. Olive’s Frances Byrd Horn of Plenty Food Pantry continues to provide food and inspiration for those in need. The pantry served almost 14,000 Blessing Bags (lunch bags) in 2022, and the need continues to grow. Approximately 300-450 blessing bags are distributed weekly and can be picked up on foot or drive-through.
If you enjoy serving others, please join us as we pack and distribute Blessing Bags every Wednesday at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Dress for work and the weather, and be prepared to make new friends!
9:30 to 11:00 AM Pack Bags 11:00 to 1:00 PM Distribute Bags
Thanks to our faithful donors for your continued support - you are a very important part of this ministry!
For May, we are requesting food donations of Vienna Sausages for the Blessing Bags. They may be left in the red wagon in the narthex. Or donations of any amount are always greatly appreciated and can be made online at clcdallas.org or by check/cash to CLC annotated with “Mt. Olive Food Pantry.”
"Building Freedom for the Homebound"
Have you ever changed a life in a single day? The Texas Ramp Project does it hundreds of times a year by building wheelchair ramps for older adults and others with mobility issues who can't afford to buy one! In a few hours last Saturday morning, CLC volunteers Teri Kuhlman, Jeff Uhri, Ron Palomares, Mike Macho, David Kuhlman, Peter Kowalczyk, and Andreas Bremer had a successful ramp build constructing a 24' ramp for a young girl with mobility issues.
Stay tuned for the next ramp build date, and join in on the fun and fulfillment of giving freedom to folks with mobility issues!
Saturday, May 13th
Please join us for a half day of fun and some work at North Dallas Shared Ministries, CLC’s new partner in ministry!
We will take a tour of NDSM’s headquarters, learn more about their ministry in the Dallas area, and provide some labor in the Clothes Closet and Food Pantry.
Since 1983, NDSM has provided food and clothing assistance to low-income families and seniors in crises. Today NDSM is a growing creative agency staffed by volunteers and partnering with 47 area churches. Christ Lutheran Church is the newest church to partner with NDSM.
NDSM provides the following services at no cost to its clients and patients:
We have already had a successful “Diaper Drive” for the benefit of NDSM and look forward to working with them in more ways to assist our Dallas neighbors.
North Dallas Shared Ministries | 2875 Merrell Road | Dallas TX 75229 | 214-358-8700 WWW.NDSM.OR
Attitudes and Attire
Saturday Shopping Session
May 20, 2023
9:30 AM – 12 Noon
Opportunities for Involvement at Attitudes and Attire
Attitudes and Attire, a non-profit agency located at the Dallas Apparel Mart, promotes personal growth for women seeking self-sufficiency. Over the past several years, members of our congregation have served as personal shoppers to help women emerging from difficult transitions (domestic violence, addiction, incarceration, chronic unemployment, and illness) find suitable clothing for job interviews.
The agency was flooded for the third time in five years by late last year. They have repaired water damage, refreshed the boutique, and are beginning to rebuild their volunteer program.
Once-a-month Saturday Shopping Sessions- need volunteers to act as personal shoppers—9:30 AM-12 noon. The next event is Saturday, May 20. To volunteer for this event, please sign up in the narthex by May 14.
Clothing Donations- both traditional work attire and business casual may be dropped off on Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the agency:
Dallas Apparel Mart- World Trade Center
2050 N. Stemmons Freeway
Please contact email@example.com for questions or more information.
Join us on Sunday, April 30, at 4:00 PM in the Sanctuary for a special concert by talented young musicians of Dallas. Come and hear those outstanding young musicians share their favorite pieces of music with us. The program will include music from different cultures and styles. All are welcome!
From the annals of history…
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church Food Pantry
“Frances Byrd Horn of Plenty”
Mission: To follow Christ’s directives to feed the hungry.
“It might interest you to know that:
Christ Lutheran, a partner of many decades and many caring people, is making a difference. Today, Mt. Olive's Frances Byrd Horn of Plenty Food Pantry continues to provide food and inspiration for those in need. The pantry served almost 14,000 Blessing Bags (snack bags) in 2022, and the need continues to grow. Approximately 300-450 blessing bags are distributed weekly and can be picked up on foot or drive-through.
If you enjoy serving others, please join us as we pack and distribute Blessing Bags every Wednesday and Saturday at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Dress for work and the weather, and be prepared to make new friends! Volunteers are especially needed on Saturdays from 11 AM to 1 PM.
9:30 to 11:00 AM Pack Bags 11:00 to 1:00 PM Distribute Bags
Thanks to our faithful donors for your continued support - you are an important part of this ministry!
For April, we are requesting food donations of Vienna Sausages for the Blessing Bags. They may be left in the red wagon in the narthex. Or donations of any amount are always greatly appreciated and can be made online at clcdallas.org or by check/cash to CLC annotated with “Mt. Olive Food Pantry.”
On Easter Sunday morning, some Episcopal, Lutheran, and other Protestant churches incorporate a ceremony called “The Flowering of the Cross” into their worship service. I first witnessed this at a Protestant church while living in Belgium.
Members of the congregation bring flowers or greenery to church. A bare wooden cross, covered with chicken wire, stands in the church. Before the service, worshipers are invited to approach the barren cross and twine a flower around one of the wires. The congregation continues to decorate the cross until flowers cover it completely.
The ceremony transforms a barren cross, a reminder of Jesus’ death, into an Easter symbol. Covered with fresh, living flowers, the cross serves not only as an emblem of Jesus’ resurrection but also of the continuing presence of Christ among today’s Christians. The flowering of the cross represents the transition from Good Friday to Easter, from meditation on Jesus’ death to joyful celebration of His resurrection.
As you attend the Easter Sunday worship service this year, please pause by the cross and add flowers. You can bring flowers from your garden or take one provided by the Flower Committee.
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor……. The Mt. Olive volunteers bravely embraced the cold rain this past Wednesday to distribute Blessing Bags to the needy in South Dallas. Given our being shut down several service days due to the snow and ice in the Dallas area, the patrons were incredibly excited to see us serving again. The Winter clothing contributed by CLC was also especially welcome.
We serve Blessing Bags every Wednesday and Saturday between 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3100 MLK Boulevard, Dallas. Please join us any time to serve the neighbors and make new friends! If you have any questions, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
A special thanks to all those faithful donors this past year for your monetary, clothing, and food contributions. You are an essential part of this ministry!
Donations of any amount are always greatly appreciated and can be made online at clcdallas.org or by check/cash to CLC annotated with “Mt. Olive Food Pantry.”
Happy February! Music ministry has had a busy start in 2023: the choir was singing already in early January, bell-ringers joined us in liturgy leading, several new soloist videos were produced, and now we've started to make plans for Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week.
This year we sang several new hymns in January and will continue with that also in the first half of February. Time after an epiphany in the church calendar is short. The 15 hymns dedicated to that period are worth discovering with their unusual melodies and harmonies in combination with powerful words.
Wednesday worship and gospel of John bible study started on February 8 at 6:30 PM, led by Vicar Kristen. Please consider joining us for these special services as we start preparing our minds and hearts for Lent. Our annual meeting was on February 5, and annual reports are available online and at church. Please keep checking our weekly emails and bulletins for future events and announcements.
Have you thought about singing in the choir, ringing bells, or leading worship as a soloist or cantor? Join us, and let's glorify God in our music! We welcome all; no music-reading or other professional skills are required.
Many thanks to Sanctuary Choir, Betsy Lintel, Laura Haynie, Gwen Sliger, Romali Fernando, Don Roland, Greg and Julia Smith, David Kuhlmann, and Karen Morton for their beautiful musical offerings in January! And Sergio Pena for monitoring our live stream services, and Gary Haschke for sound engineering! God Gets the Glory!
Prayers to all in need: Our church and all other churches, all countries and nations, and people who struggle with conflict and division, people in poverty, those dealing with health issues, and those searching for truth and spirituality and love.
"Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us." (Martin Luther)
See you at church!
Dr. Hando Nahkur
Director of Music
I am often asked, "Who will you give communion to?" My answer is; one of our members who cannot attend worship services.
Several times a month, you will see Pastor Ben bless caregivers as they are presented with communion kits.
Our congregation trained many people in the Stephen's Ministry program several years ago. Since then, we have had caregivers communicate with people who cannot attend worship. Although today most of our caregivers have not received Stephen’s Ministry training, Pastor Ben has shared training with our caregivers.
Caregivers are any of us who communicate with people who cannot attend worship, from members in the hospital or a rehab unit; to members who cannot leave their homes. Our congregation is blessed with many friendships. There was a time when this congregation had several women's circles. They were great at caring for each other.
We are blessed with some caregivers who faithfully contact and serve communion to those who cannot attend worship. The care receiver is often back worshiping with us within a few weeks or months. Pastor Ben, Vicar Kristen, and Virginia meet regularly to review the names of people in our congregation who desire contact.
Our caregivers faithfully serve communion to the care receivers each month and always ensure they are seen before the holidays. Many times they deliver the Sunday Altar flowers. We are making arrangements to see as many as possible for Ash Wednesday.
If you cannot attend worship or special services or know someone who cannot and desires personal contact, please contact Pastor Ben, Vicar Kristin, or Virginia Worley.
It is a blessing to share the love of Christ as a caregiver and to receive the love of Christ as a care receiver.
Virginia H. Worley
Music expresses the rhythm of our souls. Above are the basic essential elements of experiences beyond our wildest imagination. They are the consonants and vowels of amazing compositions that take our hearts on flights of passion and our minds into the farthest reaches of the universe.
Martin Luther is quoted as saying, "Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
Maya Angelou, “Music as my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Plato: Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and everything.
Victor Hugo, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
This Sunday is our last class exploring spiritual disciplines and exercises before the retreat. We will explore how music creates the space where we encounter God.
If you wish to be a participant in the retreat on Saturday, January 28, be sure to sign up either on the sign-up sheet in the Narthex or on-line. For more information, email Joan at email@example.com.
I'm getting ready to do something I almost never do, which is preach a sermon series. This month our cycle of readings gives us one of the most profound parts in all of Scripture (at least in my opinion), the opening chapters of Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth.
When I wrote Fidelia and the Pirates a few years ago, and then the Christmas Special last year, I made the main character a resident of Corinth largely because of this letter (also because it was a significant port city and the pirates had to be sailing somewhere--I'm a stickler for authenticity even when writing a goofy drama). During my year of internship, I wrote out a section of the first chapter on construction paper and posted it in my "office," an empty room with a desk that I rarely had any occasion to use, but that seemed to need a motto of some kind. And fresh out of three years at a big-headed divinity school at world-famous university, this was the passage I chose:
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:20-25)
That's still a couple weeks away, however. Before we get there, we'll be introduced to a community experiencing internal conflict and division over the meaning of the good news of Jesus Christ. Much of the details are obscure to us, twenty centuries later, but even so it feels familiar to me. The way Paul tells it, Christ has become secondary in this church to the different factions, practices, and schools of wisdom that are current in Corinth.
I've been thinking about this a lot, as I see Christianity in America becoming defined by issues and beliefs that I would consider at best secondary, more often irrelevant, and sometimes totally fraudulent. I've written about it in the Dallas Morning News. More than once! There is an enduring temptation to get beyond Jesus, to find our truth or our unity with each other in values or beliefs ("wisdom," in the language of Paul's day) that are not part of the essential proclamation of Christ crucified and risen.
So Paul has his work cut out for himself, writing then to Corinth and to us today. We'll hear about spiritual gifts and calling this week, about factions and leaders next week, and about the "foolishness of God" and the simple message of Christ crucified in the weeks that follow. I don't know how or where this will go, but I hope you'll join me for the journey.
Reading artwork with spiritual eyes.
Recently, the world has been treated to a new way of engaging art, the Immersive Experience of Van Gogh, Monet, Frida Kahlo, and now Egyptian tomb art with King Tut. These involve not just the works themselves but technologies such as VR, holography, and digital projection to enable the viewer to enter the art and engage all the senses at once. I have not been to one of these exhibits, but "Beyond King Tut" may lure me. I have visited the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the pyramids. How will the experiences differ? And how does it compare to viewing a painting in a frame?
Below is a watercolor painting I hung up in my office a few weeks ago. No one asked me about it. After all, its historical significance is not apparent like Anubis. The painter is a friend still taking lessons from a few years ago. And, perhaps, a church is not the usual subject matter for art in a legal office. So, I began to share the story of the picture. https://emmitsburg.net/sjlc/index.htm The congregation that worships there was my first after seminary, but its incorporation goes back to the year George Washington was born. The building pictured here is only one of many on this site over the years, but its location makes it so important. One of the nation's first crossroads converged here. It was a stagecoach stop with overnight taverns, stables, and blacksmiths. Early pioneers moving across the lands passed through, prayed, and bolstered their courage before heading out on the next leg of their journey.
A photo of me now hangs on the wall at the sanctuary's entrance as one of this congregation's many historic pastors. I am part of an ongoing ministry that will continue in time. The many people who have lived, worked and worshiped here have stories that moved across this country and the world. All of them are “present” here in this painting. If I ponder long enough, I can feel their energy, their spirit, glowing like the light in the windows on that dark snowy evening. In the gathering room, I hear the voices discussing and debating the many decisions made over the centuries. I can see the kids having snowball fights. Over there is the cemetery that is home to revolutionary, WWI, WWII war casualties, etc.
We need to take the time to allow the painting or other artwork to speak to us so that we can enter into the lives or events that it depicts. We may even look at Egyptian tomb art as tourists would. But it, too, represents the lives of people who attempted to understand the spiritual aspect of life, the stories that helped them make sense of their world, and what might be beyond. We will try to do this in our spiritual disciplines classes.
By Rev. Joan Copeland
What might be gained at an Advent Retreat?
The photo above is a delightful wooden version of an advent calendar. The winter scene reminds me of Christmas in Germany. Instead of the little punch-out cardboard doors with candy hiding behind them that we find in our grocery stores, some drawers might hold a meaningful treasurer. We hope you will return home with nuggets of wisdom, peace, and clarity that enhance your life no matter what the curiosity, goal, or burden brings you to our spiritual retreat.
There are as many reasons to go as there are retreat centers worldwide. Each person comes with their longings for answers. And while many settings enhance contemplation, whether sparse desert, lush forests, quiet, noisy, busy-ness, or solitude, our Advent Retreat will be four hours roaming from place to place on our campus at Christ Lutheran. By December 10, our church will start to "look a lot like Christmas" as preparations for the culmination of the Advent season are underway.
Still, we don't want to dismiss the purpose of Advent. We look toward the coming of the Messiah in a three-fold way. We will celebrate the birth of Jesus that manifests God among us; we often invite Jesus to come into our hearts daily to guide and direct us, and we await Jesus' promise to return as king to rule the world in righteousness. Each of these should give us pause to think about our preparedness actually to meet Jesus. This is not about how clean and organized our homes are. This is not a solemn time to contemplate our shortcomings but rather a season to contemplate how we can draw closer to the God that seeks us, calls us, and wants to commune with us every minute of the day. It is a time to deepen our prayer life and quiet the demands of the world’s expectations so that we can see the creative wonder of everything around us.
On November 13th, 20th, and December 4, during adult education, we will learn and practice several spiritual disciplines that will help us pray more deeply and allow scripture to speak to us in new ways. Then December 10, we will put it all into practice during the retreat. We will learn to consider everything in our surroundings with
fresh eyes that are not clouded by what we already “know.” This will be a time to cultivate an openness to hear the Holy Spirit share with us what God is up to now and an invitation to participate beyond what we think our limitations might be. It will be a time of becoming.
Lectio Divina is sometimes called the Holy Reading of Scripture or reverently reading on one’s knees.
In the past few weeks, I have asked you to develop a heightened awareness of who you are today and the moments in your life, both past, and present, that inform, shape, and fuel the person you are. You have joys and sadness, trials and temptations, strengths and struggles, anger and grief, stresses and questions, gains and losses, etc. You have grown up with, or possibly without, scripture study or an active life in a congregation. You may be a world traveler experiencing new cultures or someone who has never left the town where you grew up. You may be like me, someone who delights in the study of context or reads literally.
We are each unique and bring many things with us when we sit down to read the Bible. Sometimes we tend to go to the Bible looking for answers to a problem, inspiration for a decision, or comfort when distressed. Many publishers have attempted to answer those needs by creating The Woman's Bible, The Youth Bible, or The Devotional Bible for Men to help apply Bible principles to everyday life. In Lectio Divina, we do not discredit or set aside those tendencies and reframe the needs behind them.
As a funny example, I noticed that Pr. Lanny had posted a meme on Facebook. Standing at the sink, a husband asked, "where in the Bible does it say it's a man's job to wash dishes!" And the wife responds, “2 Kings 21:13 ‘and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.’” And while that may be a humorously applied verse fragment in a chapter that speaks of something much different, it is far from Lectio Divina!
Instead, imagine standing under the vast canopy of a clear night sky with all its stars, planets, and galaxies reflecting light upon you. Or, maybe you would instead picture the canopy of an ancient forest with its leaves rustling overhead whispering their story of how the breezes, sunlight, and woodland creatures have danced and scampered among them. And there you are, just sitting, conversing with God under this canopy. And God is doing the talking.
I like to use those two images to help me focus on how I approach scripture in Lectio Divina. This spiritual practice is not a study or analysis of the author or passage's meaning. While we may come to the reading with a longing hoping to be met, we will not consciously search for answers. Instead, we will suspend above us like leaves or the stars - all of who we are and what we bring. Allow all our heightened awareness of our life to form the canopy under which we invite God to enter our hearts. Imagine that we toss each of those things into the air, and God takes them into Godself. As stars, they will shed light on us; as leaves, they will whisper to us, but they will not drive the direction of the conversation. Openness to hear what God has to say is how we approach Lectio Divina.
We will learn more in-depth about “how to” in one of our three classes before the retreat but preparing our minds and hearts beforehand makes for a more rewarding experience. That's why we have spent several articles on personal reflection.
We begin with a centering exercise, disconnecting from our cell phones and the people around us and intentionally, meditatively slowing the many competing thoughts in our minds. We will read the passage several times, silently to ourselves, out loud, with different voices, silence, and time for quiet reflection between each reading. Frequently what happens is something in the passage that will consistently stand out for you. This might be something to contemplate in the quiet time of reflection. What is important is focusing on how that image, metaphor, or person impacts you. How do you identify with it?
Sometimes what it takes to be life-altering is entering the Bible story with all that I am, not just reading it at a distance. For example, when I was a member of All Saints Lutheran Church in seminary, we did a living Tenebrae service. I was one of the readers, and my teenage son, with long dark hair, was chosen to be Jesus. To witness a reenactment of the crucifixion with my son on the cross, I intensely identified with Mary's anguish and any parent who has lost a child, adult or not, through illness, violence, war, or accident. It has intensified my relationship with my sons and grandson and granted me patience and empathy for all living things. Just a couple moments from my life that were part of the canopy above me were the death of both my parents, the discovery of being adopted and learning my birth mother’s story, and all that I had learned in seminary. No one is required to share their insights, as I have, but it will be good for you to journal your thoughts for future Lectio Divina.
"SAVE THE DATE"
Building Freedom for the Homebound
Have you ever changed someone's life in a single day? The Texas Ramp Project does it hundreds of times a year! We build wheelchair ramps for older adults and others with mobility issues who can't afford to buy one. In a few hours on a Saturday morning, we give these folks the freedom to leave their home again - the house where they want to remain but whose steps have imprisoned them.
Please feel free to join in on the fun of our next ramp project on November 12th. If you are interested in participating, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 5th. For more information, please go to texasramps.org.
We look forward to having you join us in this life-changing project!
Mt. Olive's 74th-anniversary celebration was a wonderful event, with a powerful worship service combining the musical gifts of the Mount Olive congregation with witness and testimony about the power of God in the members' lives. Pastor Ben was honored to be asked to preach on the theme "Lord, Make Us An Instrument of Thy Peace" and the passage, Romans 12:1-13. He talked about "peace" used in good ways and bad in the Scriptures and Martin Luther King Jr.'s distinction between a "false peace" based on the "absence of tension" and "true peace," which is the "presence of justice." CLC folks enjoyed the community's hospitality in the church basement afterward, with delicious food and good company!
Thank You Note From Mt. Olive
On Sunday, September 25th, Mt. Olive celebrated 74 years in the ministry. We were blessed with the presence of Pastor Ben and other members of CLC. We are so grateful for your support over the years and ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers.
Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland. Photo by Paul Barr
When we travel, we often come across amazing vistas that inspire our awe and wonder at the magnificence of God's creation. It feels as if we can truly sense God's presence and activity. When I was just a kid, we lived a half block from the ocean, and the changing weather would alter how the water looked and sounded. I knew its changing moods and felt as if all eternity moved and had its being in the powerful movement of the tide. At night I was lulled to sleep by the pounding of the waves upon the sand.
Each of us has some place in the natural world that pulls our thoughts, at least momentarily, toward the divine. But we can't always be in the mountains, by the ocean, or under the Northern Lights. Your focus this week is to think about the environment you find most conducive to prayer and contemplation. For many, that might be sitting in the sanctuary of a church, cathedral, temple, mosque, or tent where the handiwork of the community brought forth an architectural and artistic vision of a place where God and humans could meet. Or, perhaps, it is a particular piece of artwork that evokes some inner stirring of emotion or tells a powerful story. Or, maybe, it is simply gazing into the candle flame or the crackling fire.
Whatever it might be for you, jot it down and think about why it facilitates contemplation and communion with God. Does it carry memories of significant events, evoke stories from scripture, or does it simply carry you away from the cares of the moment? Whatever it may be, consider how you feel about this place.
God's Work. Our hands.