Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

November 2013 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
November 2013

The First Thanksgiving and Ours Today
Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

In 1620, when the Mayflower Pilgrims left their ship at Plymouth Rock, they hastened to give thanks to God for their preservation, no doubt from the many perils they had experienced at sea. Then they set out to build a few houses and to plant some crops.  Historians teach us that these newly arrived strangers to the New World were helped with their farming efforts by some friendly Native Americans, who taught them how to cultivate fruits and vegetables, how to cook venison and wild fowl, and how to make good use of the many varieties of fish and shellfish which abounded in the cold New England waters.  Then one year later, in 1621, still suffering incredible hardships and mourning even the more recent deaths of family members and friends, the Pilgrims took time to give thanks to the Triune God for the harvest they had reaped as God had blessed them.

This idea of a gathered harvest culminating in a Thanksgiving Day occurred already in the Old Testament era.  Under God’s direction, Moses commanded the Hebrew people to celebrate a harvest festival known as “Succoth,” or the “Ingathering” that is still celebrated by devout Jewish people today.  

The first Thanksgiving Feast in the New World did not lack for guests.  In fact, there were many more who came than the hosts had originally expected. Massasoit, the Indian Chief who had shown much interest in these struggling newcomers, was invited to the feast and told to bring some of his braves with him. He surely must have taken the invitation to heart, because he actually showed up accompanied by ninety warriors!

Fortunately, the “Indians” also brought generous gifts with them for sharing at the first Thanksgiving Day celebration — five deer, lobsters galore, eels and turkeys, as they helped to prepare this magnificent feast for the 140 people present. Among the dishes served was a 17th century version of succotash that the Native Americans had taught the English women to make. There were desserts at the feast — dried gooseberries, cherries and cranberries.  And, according to legend, the Indians gave the pilgrim’s children their first taste of popcorn, made into balls and baked with maple syrup. 

In 1789 the Congress of the United States proposed to make a legal holiday of this National Day of Thanksgiving, for the many benefits received from Almighty God, who had afforded this new nation an opportunity to: "Peaceably establish a Constitution of Government for their safety and happiness."
Then in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, issued a National Thanksgiving Proclamation, inviting all American citizens to set apart and observe the fourth Thursday in November: "As a Day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the heavens!"

As your pastor, I am greatly concerned by the growing number of so-called Christians in the USA who attempt to celebrate thanksgiving with a big meal and football, but who can no longer find their way into a House of Worship to praise God publically for his countless blessings.  Please worship with us on Wednesday evening, November 27, at 7 PM. 

Above all, we will give thanks to our Triune God for the gift of our salvation, won for us through the merits of God’s beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. By his dying on the cross in payment of our sins, he has destroyed death, and by his rising to life again, he has restored to us the gift of everlasting life!  And this new life we enjoy, forgiven and redeemed as destined heirs of heaven, is always a great cause for thanksgiving indeed!

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Altar Guild’s Message
Susie Hoffman

As we approach the end of the CHURCH YEAR the parament color changes to white, the color of purity, completeness, and also of celebration.  This final month of the Season of Pentecost includes special celebrations that are emphasized by the color change of the altar paraments from green to white.
The first Sunday of this month, November 3rd, is All Saints Sunday and is dedicated to the memory of the saints and martyrs of history who have passed into eternity before us.  It is also an occasion to especially remember family members and friends who have gone into the presence of our Father God during this past year. 

The fourth Sunday, November 24th, is celebrated as Christ the King Sunday.  Our Lord Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, has risen to glory and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.  This is the final SUNDAY of the CHURCH YEAR CALENDAR.  The white paraments will remain through our celebration of our national Thanksgiving Holiday.  Though not originally a church celebration, this day emphasizes the need and desire of the Church to thank God continually for all His benefits to us.  Mt. Olive will celebrate on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 27th, at 7:00 PM.

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Board of Elders:
Jerry Garlington

As the season of Thanksgiving roles around again, I start to think of all the things for which we need to be thankful.  It seems like we have so much to be thankful for all year around, but we tend to get more focused on just how blessed we are during this season.  I know I am blessed with a wonderful wife and family, but I am also blessed with a wonderful church and church family.   The more involved we have become, the more we want to help.  We have several opportunities to be involved and enriched at Mt. Olive.  Liz and I love the choir and singing with them.  The choir members are so much fun to just be around.  Our hand bell choir members are also dedicated to enriching our worship.  Why not volunteer to join either one? 
If music is not your best talent, try volunteering with one of the church’s boards.  We can always use a helping hand, and you end up with the blessings that come from working with fellow members of the church.  Last month, I attended the church workday and really enjoyed the time spent cleaning out and reorganizing our storage spaces.  We really enjoyed fellowship with each other as well as keeping our church clean and in good repair.  Thanks Geoffrey Griesch and the Board of Trustees for their hard work throughout the year.  Finally, thanks to our Pastor and Lay Minister.  Pastor Paul and Bill Boykin are amazing men of God and dedicated to His work among us. 

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

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Preschool News
Krista Bernthal

The preschool is enjoying the wonderful season of fall.  Leaves, pumpkins, and Halloween have kept us busy!  If you have been downstairs lately, then you have seen the campground in the hallway!  The four-year-old class has added extra dramatic play to the program.  The children can play in the campground during free playtime.  We also include many planned class activities with the camping theme: hiking (with walking sticks we made!), making real and pretend s’mores, playing games and reading books.  The campground will be put away at the end of October.  We have five months of these centers planned for the year.  The next is a holiday wrapping station!

After Halloween we will get busy preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Our school wide Feast will be on Monday, November 25th!

The Okra Strut was lots of fun.  The preschool duck pond had more than 200 visitors!  Thanks to everyone who made the church’s participation in the event possible.

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Stewardship: “Grow as Stewards in Faith, Love, and Hope!”
David Buck

“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

November 3rd will mark the beginning of Mt. Olive’s annual stewardship program.  This year, Grow as Stewards through Faith, Love, and Hope!  will focus on the work of the Holy Spirit as he matures us for faithful stewardship.  

God has called us to be his stewards.  In his sovereignty, God has chosen to accomplish his plan on earth through us.  He continually calls us to offer ourselves to him and his work.  By ourselves, we are helpless, but he has also graciously equipped us to respond to his call and to be his God-pleasing stewards.  Through faith, love, and hope, God enables us to carry out his purposes for our lives.

Each of the first three Sundays in November, we will focus on one of the virtues of faith, love, and hope in both our Bible class and worship service.  I pray that each of you will avail yourself of the opportunity to worship Christ, our Chief Steward, and to learn how God uses faith, love, and hope to develop a closer relationship with us as well as to prompt us to action with our time, talents, and treasures. 

The fourth Sunday, November 24th, will be our commitment Sunday, the day we will turn in our sealed pledge cards for 2014.  Be reminded that pledge cards are between the Lord and you, and thus, they remain sealed.  God’s blessings on your continued faithful stewardship of the many blessings he has entrusted to your care.

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Christian Education: Yes, VBS Planning in November!
Katrina Folks

It may seem early, but we need YOUR help in planning next summer’s VBS!  If you were disappointed that we did not have VBS this year, come share your ideas and enthusiasm at the VBS Planning Meeting on Tuesday, November 12 at 7:00pm.  We are looking for the best way to make VBS a blessing to our congregation and the community.  Please use the contact information below to let me know if you can come.  Can’t make it to the meeting?  No problem, you can share your thoughts via phone, text, or email.  See you there!  Anna Wyss (317) 694-2662

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A Message from our President:
Bob Massa

“Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world.”  Psalm 48:1
At the November 17, 2013 Voter’s Meeting the congregation will be asked to approve the annual budget for 2014.  The proposed budget is 2% more than the 2013 budget.  Increases in personnel salaries and benefits, as well as heating and air conditioning maintenance costs, are almost offset by decreases in communication and travel expenses.

Another change the council implemented is the creation of a capital fund for major facility repairs or equipment purchases.  An initial cash reserve of $21,000 was designated from current cash balances for this fund and it is anticipated that each year portions of excess cash can be added to this balance to be used when major repairs or purchases are needed.  Examples would be the anticipated window replacement for the education/nursery wing, air conditioner replacement, or sound system upgrade.  The fellowship hall is over ten years old, reaching the age when significant funds may be necessary to maintain it, in addition to the rest of our church campus.

Finally, I want to thank the other six members of the “Magnificent Seven” who helped on our October 19th church clean-up day: Bill, Charlie, Chris, Geoff, Jerry, and Merle.  Your sweat and effort made it a great success; however, it would have been quicker and we could have accomplished more if we would have had the “Dirty Dozen” to assist us.

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A Special Thank You to Dr. David Mash!

Dr. David Mash has been a faithful servant, sharing his love of the Lord, entwined with his passions for studying the scriptures and his spiritual gift of teaching.  The members of his “downstairs” Bible class have been truly blessed to learn from him for over seven years!  As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lander University, David found it necessary to move to Greenwood earlier this fall; yet, he promised to commute to Mt. Olive each Sunday until the class completed the study of the book of Daniel.  Sadly, that study ended October 20th. 

Thank you, David, for guiding us, verse by verse, through 1st & 2nd Samuel, Matthew, Ruth, Esther, 1st & 2nd Peter, Daniel, and others.  Thank you for the countless hours you spent in preparation.  Thank you for keeping us up to date on world events that impact Christians.  Thank you for digging into the meanings of the original Hebrew and Greek words and culture so that we could learn God’s intended meaning of his Word.  Thank you for teaching us hesed: “the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of our Father God!” (

Though no longer at Mt. Olive, David plans to continue his Bible studies and is making them available to all of us on the web at 

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
Carole Mueller, President

From the very beginning of LWML, the motivation of women has come from their love for their Lord and His love for all people.  Just read 1 Peter 4:10-11: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

The Olive Branch meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.  Scheduled dates for November are the 12th and 26th.  We begin with Bible Study from 10:00-11:00, followed by a brief meeting and lunch, followed by crafts and projects (assembling Chrismons and hand-tied quilts).  We adjourn approximately 2:00 pm.  A dessert and beverage is provided.  You will need to bring you own sandwich.
The Mite Box Ministry

*  What is a Mite Box?  It’s just a simple box used to receive gifts of gratitude beyond the regular offering
*  Who uses a mite box?  Anyone who is a friend of missions can contribute.
*  What does it do?  One box isn't enough to build chapels, provide land for new missions, or provide scholarships; but, one box multiplied by 200,000 other boxes from all over the U.S. and Canada really does equal millions!
* How does it bless me?  Filling it gives JOY!  My purse is like the miracle of the loaves and fishes.  The more I give, the more is left for me.  What a joy to know there is no limit to God's giving!
*  Who receives the money from it?  Our DISTRICT LWML keeps 75% for district projects. The INTERNATIONAL LWML receives 25% for their mission goals. Check the LWML bulletin board to see where the LWML stands in attaining its District and National goals. 
* When can I use it?  Place money into your box anytime:  when you empty your pockets after a shopping trip; when you have occasion for a special thank-offering, such as on your birthday or anniversary; every day, along with a prayer for an LWML missions project.

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Youth Group News
Vanita Fielder

The Youth Group is planning its first fundraiser since the National Youth Gathering.  Mrs. Dana M. will be teaching the youth to make Christmas wreaths.  Completed wreaths will be on display in the fellowship hall and available to purchase for Love Offerings.  We have some very artistic youth in our group, making this an exiting opportunity for the youth to fellowship together.  Sunday, November 3, 2013 at noon is the first opportunity for the youth to work on the wreaths.  If you have a youth who would like to participate, please contact Vanita. 
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Welcome to Our Newest Members
Welcome to our newest Mt. Olive family members who were received on October 27, 2013:  Rebecca Griesch, Kristin Horzen, Kevin & Ann McElvaine, Dud & Susan Phelps, Eddie & Polly Roland, and Tom & Annmarie Turner and their daughter, Mickey.  Seek them out and help them as they learn their way around Mt. Olive.
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Social Ministry: “Seeds of Change” & The USO
Shari Selke

Brothers and Sisters of Mt. Olive:  “May you be blessed as you do those good, kind things that show you are a child of God.”  Philippians 1:11

November is a month that many groups and charities are vying for your attentions and resources. It is sometimes hard to know which ones to choose when they all seem so very worthy.  It is the same with what is presented to Social Ministry.  But as the church grows, so should our concern and outreach, so we are always looking for how God would use us to His glory.  One project has been on my heart all year, Heifer International’s “Seeds of Change.”  It is a wonderful program helping the very impoverished people in the Appalachians and Delta Regions in Arkansas by re-educating them on family farming, enabling them to work themselves out of poverty and provide a much healthier environment for their families.  There will be a display out in the Narthex for you to drop in your spare change each week. Social Ministry will match the funds up to $100.  Please help us meet our goal and see how your change can change the world.
Also we will be accepting donations for the USO pantry throughout the month of November.  The list of items requested are single servings of wrapped treats, canned or bottled drinks, creamers, sweeteners, travel size personal care items, including razors, and shaving cream.  There will be a more detailed list on the display at church.

Lastly, many thanks to everyone who contributed to the Ameris Bank / Sharing God’s Love Food Drive.  As soon as the totals are reported I will let you know the final count: but, I can say the Irmo branch was packed and almost completely full of food donations within the first two weeks.  Of course Sharing God’s Love is always in need of your donations of food, gently used clothing, and household items and may be left in the basket outside the church office.  It is amazing how useful this combined church ministry is to our community.  It is a real and present blessing to those who need the help.

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Evangelism: Do we realize what “Treasures of God” we carry around? 
Jon Richter

2 Corinthians 4 (ESV) 5 “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 13 “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak” …
Our “witness” to others is not our perfect conduct or even our “always godly” attitude.  It is OK for others (even family members) to see our rough areas.  It is to the glory of God that we can turn to Him in repentance – with the assurance of His Forgiveness and Acceptance.   As God washes us with His Word and offers Forgiveness through His Sacrament – we can witness to others around us of how his amazing grace can even save a ‘wretch like me’!  We should not hold back in giving Our Lord the credit for His work in our hearts and our lives. 

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Stephen Ministry: Prayer & Thanksgiving
Bill & Aresa Boykin

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

It’s hard to believe that November is already here!  Soon, everyone will turn their attention to Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas celebrations.  However, the joy of the approaching holiday season can turn into a time of painful loneliness and emptiness for those who have suffered a loss or who are going through a difficult time.  A hospitalization or ongoing medical problems may leave someone feeling isolated.  The loss of a job, the fear of layoffs, or a financial setback can devastate one’s self-esteem.  Family and personal struggles may leave a person with nowhere to turn for support.  But help is available!  Our Stephen Ministers are ready to provide confidential, one-to-one, Christian care.  They will listen, care, encourage, pray with and for you, and support you through the holidays and as long as your need persists.  If you or someone you know is hurting, find out more about Stephen Ministry by talking with Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin. 
We ask that every member of Mt. Olive keep Stephen Ministry in your daily prayers:
For Stephen Leaders – as they balance teaching twice-monthly continuing education sessions to our Stephen Ministers and participation in supervision groups.

For Stephen Ministers – that they are filled with the love of Jesus as they meet with their care receivers and that they receive Christian care in peer supervision groups and continuing education.
For Care Receivers – that they experience the presence of the Holy Spirit as they meet with their Stephen Ministers, and that others in our congregation will be identified and accept care from Stephen Ministry.
For Yourselves, the Congregation – as you are the eyes and ears for our Stephen Ministry!  It is the duty of all of us to be watching and listening to people around us, recognizing when they have needs for care, and caring for each other.  When you find a person whose needs are too great for you, share about our Stephen Ministry and put him or her in touch with Pastor or Bill.  Jesus is depending on all of us to be his eyes and ears on earth.

Thank you so much to Sue Yarbrough, Carole Mueller, Barbara Chesley, Peggy Osborn, and Carolyn Kibler for providing snacks for our October sessions.  Contributing snacks for our 2½-hour classes is a great way you can minister to your Stephen Ministry team.  There is a sign-up sheet under the bulletin board by the fire extinguisher or contact Stephen Leader Aresa Boykin, (803) 260-7198.

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Public Relations: Keeping Us Current!
Aresa Boykin

October has been a busy month for Public Relations.  While we are awaiting the arrival of our new pictorial directory, efforts have turned to Mt. Olive’s website.  Pastor, Bill, Sue, and I have been working steadily on much needed updates to the wording and photographs.  Our website host company, Adsoka will begin working soon to implement these updates.
As always, if you need special photography at any Mt. Olive event, please remind me to bring the camera!.
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Announcements & Opportunities

December-January Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the combined December-January newsletter is Wednesday, November 20.  Send articles to:

Thank You from the Trustees
The Board of Trustees would like to thank all of those who helped make the workday on October 19th a success.  We are planning another workday in January to trim back the Crepe Myrtle trees.  May God continue to bless Mt. Olive’s congregation.

It’s Time to Fall Back
Don’t be late for All Saint’s Sunday!  November 3rd is the day to set your clocks back an hour.

Midweek Bible Study at Mt. Olive
The Caring Evangelism course continues to meet on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 PM through November 13th.  For questions, contact Jon. 

Monthly Bible Study in Blythewood: Food for Body & Soul
Why not try the monthly Bible Study on Thursday, November 7th?  The first Thursday of each month, folks will gather at the home of Bob and Teri in Blythewood.  After enjoying dinner together, we will then have a one-hour Bible study.  The lesson will not be part of a series, and conclude in that one evening.  Dinner will be at 6:30 PM with Bible study going from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM.  For further information, call Bob.

Christmas Decorating Day
Ding Dong Merrily On High...Christmas bells will soon be ringing!!  Make plans now to help decorate the church for the season on Sunday, December 8th, immediately after the 10:30 service.  We'll enjoy a light lunch and lots of fun as we deck the halls!!  Watch for more details in the bulletin and call Karen M. if you have questions at.  

Stephen Ministry Snacks
Did you know that our Stephen Ministry team meets twice monthly throughout the year?  There is a sign up sheet for summer snacks, located in the hall beside the fire extinguisher, or contact Stephen Leader Aresa.  Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.  Thank you so much to Sue, Carole, Barbara, Peggy, and Carolyn for providing snacks during the month of September. 

Nursery Reminder
The church nursery is open during the Sunday school hour and the second Worship Service from 9:10-Noon for children, ages birth to 2 years, during Sunday school, and through age 3 during Worship.  The nursery is located inside the back entrance of the church, across from the Wagner House.  Parents, remember to bring your diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, sippy cup, etc.  A light snack is served.  Mrs. Flora is in charge.

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A Veterans Day Prayer
God of all nations, you are our Strength and Shield.  We give you thanks today for the devotion and courage of all those who have offered military service for this country …

We ask today that you would lift up by your Spirit those who are now at war; encourage and heal those in hospitals or mending their wounds at home; guard those in any need or trouble; hold safely in your hands all military families and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion and tranquil life at home.  Give to us, your people, grateful hearts and a united will to honor these men and women and hold them always in our love and our prayers until your world is perfected in peace and all wars cease. 
Through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen.       —Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phillips

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mt Olive Newsletter October 2013

Olive Leaves
October 2013
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“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
Celebrating Our Freedom in Jesus Christ

Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

And Jesus said, “If you continue in my Word, then are you truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:31-32)

For any of us who grew up in the Lutheran Church, we heard these words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ each year on Reformation Sunday (the Sunday closest to October 31), but perhaps it wasn’t until many years later that we began to actually comprehend them more fully.

“To become free,” is to become anxiety-free; worry-free, if you please.  To become free is to be set free from the fear of God’s lowering the boom of his judgment upon us because of our transgressions.  To become free is to become free from the fear of death and the grave and to live confidently in the hope of everlasting life. To become free is to receive the forgiveness of our sins in such a way that all our guilt is not only taken away from us, empowering us to forgive ourselves for our own past transgressions, but also empowering us to forgive others for the sins they may have committed against us too.

One great byproduct of our continuing to “read, hear, learn, mark and inwardly digest” God’s Word, our Lord Jesus tells us, is that we will then become personal possessors of divine truth.  And truth is a most valuable commodity in our culture today. For truth rids us of all need for false pretenses. Truth acknowledges the possibility for lies and self-deception. 

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a young man, who lived for years in a spiritual prison from which he could not set himself free.  It was not a prison made with iron bars that kept him confined to a small geographical location, but a psychological prison that prevented him from ever experiencing any real joy or true peace or happiness in his life.  Luther would have resonated very easily today with those people who label themselves as being “perfectionists.”

No matter how hard perfectionists strive to attain a high level of moral perfectionism, or to be the very best in their field at what they do in terms of their own career-development, they always end up disappointing themselves.  Consequently, suffering from a great deal self-disillusionment, they may falsely imagine that others readily perceive their apparent faults and foibles too. They imagine falsely that God only has ill will in his heart towards them too.

Luther eventually joined a monastery in the hopes of finding some personal peace.  He studied for the priesthood and actually became ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.  At the Spirit’s urgings, Father Martin eventually ended up teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg.

One day when he was lecturing on St Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, Luther came to discover the great freedom our Savior promises to us in that eighth chapter of John’s Gospel. St Paul’s writes, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:21-25).

Suddenly, Martin Luther felt that a tremendous weight had been lifted from him.  He came to experience the liberating grace of God through his faith in Jesus Christ and his Gospel.  He realized that God’s love was nothing he had to earn or merit through his own attempts at being self-righteous, but that God’s love and redemption were gifts of God’s free grace and mercy available to him that were first unleashed when our Savior died on the cross to make a complete atonement for our sins.  The proof of all this was bound up in our Lord’s glorious resurrection from the dead that first Easter morning.

The hymn writer puts it well: “Salvation unto us has come, by God’s free grace and favor.  Good works cannot avert our doom; they help and save us never! Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, who did for all the world atone! He is our one Redeemer!” (LSB 555:1)

Please join us for a Festival Service of Holy Communion on Reformation Sunday, October 27th.  As we sing, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” we will do so joyfully, as people who celebrate our freedom in Jesus Christ yet today! For the One who was crucified for our sins is now risen from the dead and has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. 
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Board of Elders: Clergy Appreciation
  Jerry Garlington

“Serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13b

Before I realized that this month was Clergy Appreciation Month, I started my article about Pastoral Care.  I don’t mean Pastoral Care for us, but rather how we care for our pastor.  At Mt. Olive, we have been blessed with a caring, loving pastor.  That blessing comes with responsibility.  We are charged with caring for our pastor. 

While the Board of Elders has a large part of that care (i.e., prayer, salary, benefits, support) members of our congregation also have responsibilities.  We are called to pray for the pastor.  That doesn’t mean to pray for him in times of need or when October rolls around.  We are called to pray a lot more often.  We can also be encouraging.  It doesn’t take much to say a kind word or do a kind deed. 

The LCMS recommends October 13 as Clergy Appreciation Sunday.  Make it your personal goal to say a special prayer for and encourage Pastor Sizemore that day.  I know he appreciates the things you do for him and his family.

Remember, the apostle’s encouragement to “serve one another in love” also applies to the relationship we have with our pastor.
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A Message from our President: Prayer is Free
Bob Massa

Prayer is free; however, the house in which our corporate prayer takes place has costs that must be paid.  “What?” you say.  This is just one way of saying that our church boards are in the process of preparing their budgets for 2014.  We have been blessed this year by our worship and Sunday school attendance, our midweek Bible studies and other ministries, and the improvements to our facilities. 

Some of the broad considerations our boards and council will be discussing include:
Expanding and/or adding ministries, education, and worship
Exploring additional possibilities for evangelism, social ministry, fellowship, and public relations
Assessing anticipated facility needs and improvements for the coming and future years.
As the boards strive to prepare Christ-centered plans, they will seek through prayer, our Lord’s guidance, discernment, and wisdom.  Won’t you pray for our boards as they work through this process?  After all, prayer is free!

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A Stewardship Minute:
“Grow as Stewards in Faith, Love and Hope!”
David Buck

The theme for this year’s stewardship program is titled “Grow as Stewards through Faith, Love and Hope!”  In Paul’s letter to the people in Thessalonica, he wrote, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).  God graciously gives us faith, love, and hope – virtues essential for our lives as Christians and as God’s stewards. Each week during this three-week program in November, we will be focusing on one of the triads of faith, love, and hope.

In week one, November 3rd, we are reminded that it is through faith that we have access into God’s grace and a new relationship with him.  Not only does faith justify us and give us peace with God (Romans 5:1), we are told by Paul in our theme verse that faith produces works.  Faith leads to action.  Through faith, we are empowered to fulfill God’s purposes. Our deeds as stewards are evidence of our faith.

During the second week, November 10th, we will focus on the virtue of love.  Love seeks the welfare of others “ since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11-12).  God’s love in Christ will compel us to do things that appear foolish to unbelievers.  God’s love prompts us to give freely of our time, talents, and treasures to help others and extend his kingdom.

The third and final week, November 17th, we will bring focus on the virtue of hope.  Through the resurrection of Jesus, we, as believers, are given the victory over death and the assurance of our salvation.  Filled with the hope of eternal life with Jesus, we “give [ourselves] fully to the work of the Lord, because [we] know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Praying that each of you will be in worship and in Bible study as we focus on the theme “Grow as Stewards through Faith, Love and Hope!”  Commitment Sunday will be November 24th, when we offer our sealed pledges for the Lord’s ongoing blessings at Mt. Olive.

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Youth Group News
Vanita Fielder

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  Galatians 5:1

The Mt. Olive youth will have several opportunities this fall for service and fellowship.  First, is the Homeworks Fall Project, Saturday, October 19th.  Our youth participated in this project last year and look forward to another day of service.

The Southeast District Youth Gathering Event is coming up the weekend of November 8-10 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cary, NC. 

The group is also looking to begin their fundraising for the 2016 National Youth Gathering.  Details will be provided soon.

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Christian Education
Katrina Folks

September was a great beginning for Sunday School.  We have been singing hymns and Bible verse songs, hearing about the kings of Israel, and learning about sin and forgiveness.  We sent a check for $250.00 to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation to purchase 50 French language Bible storybooks, our mission project for 2012-2013.  Moving into October, we will continue with openings beginning promptly at 9:15 AM.  For those who arrive early, please make sure there is an adult upstairs before leaving your child.

During October we will continue to hear about the Israelites and how they spiraled down into lives of sin, consistently breaking God’s Ten Commandments.  We will learn how God never left them, sent them prophets, and loved them despite their sinfulness.  All these stories reinforced in God’s Word are applied to the children’s lives through puppets, object lessons, and song.  We, too, are sinful creatures.  We, too, sin against God in word and deed.  The children have learned about Confession and Absolution as we approach our worship each week.  We will be introducing parts of the liturgy in our openings as well.  Please praise your child for his or her participation in the worship service.  The children are trying hard to emulate what they have been taught at Sunday School.

On Reformation, October 27th, there will be some special activities in commemoration of Martin Luther’s work and insight of God’s Holy Scriptures.  On that day, we encourage your child to wear red.  We have will have some fun learning games and a German treat, as well as learning a Reformation song.
We deeply appreciate the offer of David and Joy Fletcher to help us with our growing group!  What a wonderful addition to the all our Sunday morning activities!  If anyone else would like to lend a hand, but can’t be there on Sunday mornings, we could use someone who is willing to cut pieces for a project on Reformation and someone to help make a German treat for the same day.  Contact Lisa at 546-0600 if the Spirit is moving you to use your own spiritual gifts.

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Preschool News
Krista Bernthal

The preschool is in full swing now!  Our 26 students have settled in well and are enjoying school.  Check out the new barn mural in our hallway.  The two-year-old class will use it all year as a backdrop for learning about farm animals, seasons, shapes and colors.

We are in need of snack donations for our hungry learners.  We offer a sweet and salty snack each day such as pretzels, goldfish, crackers, teddy grahams, and assorted cookies.  We also like to have cheese cubes and fruit once in awhile.  If you want to donate perishable food, place it in the preschool office fridge.  Thank you for your help with snacks!

At the Okra Strut, the Preschool had a duck pond game in the church tent.  Many children and adults stopped by to say hello and play!

Thanks you, as usual, for your strong support and prayers. 

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Altar Guild’s Message
Susie Hoffman

As the long season of Pentecost continues through the month of October we celebrate LWML Sunday on Oct. 20th.  The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League is celebrated for its many contributions to our congregation and to missions, both locally and throughout the world.  Making Chrismons for our Christmas trees, quilts for those in need, dresses for girls in Africa, and collecting mites to fund many mission projects here and abroad are but a few of the projects this group has been involved in helping to complete.

On October 27th we will remember the contributions Martin Luther made to our understanding of Biblical Truths.  Diligent searching of scripture revealed to Martin Luther the life-giving truth that we are saved solely through the grace of our loving God.  He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price demanded by sin.  Jesus became the ransom to redeem each believer who can now receive salvation.  God, in His love for all mankind, formed the plan and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for our sins.

Red, the color of truth, fervor, and love is the parament color for this day.  The open Bible on the altar parament reminds us of Luther’s credo that scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone saves us.  The Bible is the source of knowledge and understanding of God’s everlasting love for each of us.

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Public Relations
Aresa Boykin

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”   Acts 1:8

Mt. Olive’s Public Relations Board is responsible for distributing information about our church to our members and the community.  Most of you are aware of the Olive Leaves, our newsletter, the countless photographs that line the halls, our Facebook page (, our website (, the “photography lady” who shows up in your classes and activities, and most recently, the pictorial directory.  The PR Board is also responsible for Mt. Olive’s Yellow Pages, both print and on line (, the Worship Directory in The State Newspaper, and even our internet provider, to name a few.  The PR Board is always looking for new and better ways to spread the word about our wonderful church and its witness to the power of the Holy Spirit’s working through our church body!

The Public Relations Board will be meeting Sunday, October 6th after the late service to discuss its responsibilities and commitments, and the 2014 budget.  Anyone who is interested in PR activities (website, Facebook, photography, publicity, media) is welcome to join our board and give input to our elected members, Sue O, Sarah V, and Aresa.

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
Carole Mueller, President

The Olive Branch meets the second and fourth Tuesdays, October 8th and 22nd.  The ladies begin with Bible study at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM; followed by a brief meeting, sack lunch (dessert and beverage provided), crafts, and projects, concluding at 2:00 PM. 

LWML Sunday will be observed on October 20th with the ladies serving as ushers and lectors at both worship services.  After the second service, the ladies will meet in the fellowship hall for a salad luncheon and a short program.  One of our own members, Daniela Straeuli-Paul, will be giving a presentation on life in the Lutheran Church in South Africa.  You won’t want to miss this!  A sign-up sheet is located in the narthex.

Be a missionary with your mite box!  Here are some suggestions to help you remember to add coins to your mite box most every day:  Put your pennies or loose change in your mite box at the end of each day.  Say “thank you” with an appropriate amount whenever calamity or misfortune has been averted or when you are especially thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.  Empty all your loose change from your pockets or purse each Sunday into your mite box.  If you need to get a mite box, they are located in the hallway table outside of the church workroom.

The first Sunday of each month is designated for LWML mite box collections.  As a reminder, the large mite box will be located in the narthex.  You may also donate your mites anytime, as the large mite box is housed in the back of the sanctuary.  Our mites go toward the LWML’s national mission goals and district grant goals.  These are posted on the LWML bulletin board in the hallway.  As always, your contributions are greatly appreciated!  It is astonishing what great things mite giving accomplishes!

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Evangelism: We Start with Prayer
 Jon Richter

When Peter and John were released after being threatened by the council, they gathered with their friends and prayed.  And then… and then…
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.  (Acts 4:31 ESV)
Evangelism is the work of God – we do need to pray.  But what should we do if He really wants to use us – or even to work through us…?  I have been praying that our outreach at the Okra Strut was everything that Our Lord wanted it to be.  And, our Caring Evangelism training program continues to meet on Wednesday evenings through November.
We start with prayer.

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Stephen Ministry:

What Exactly is This Stephen Ministry We’ve Been Reading About in the Weekly Bulletins?
Bill & Aresa Boykin

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Stephen Ministry is lay caring ministry.  Stephen Ministers are not counselors or therapists; rather, they are caring Christian friends who can offer a listening ear to help others through the tough times in life.  Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised in their ministry.  All of us go through tough or difficult situations.  Sometimes, we manage on our own.  Other times, we get stuck or feel so overwhelmed that it would help to have a special Christian friend to meet with on a weekly basis – a friend who will listen and share your burden.  Confidentiality is of utmost importance in Stephen Ministry:  your identity and everything you talk about is held in confidence.

You may be asking what qualifies as an overwhelming situation?  Just about anything, such as: the death of a loved one, separation or divorce, adjusting to living in a new community, illness, living with a difficult family member or situation, unemployment or job loss, aging or loss of independence, facing difficult decisions, feeling alone, having faith questions, retirement, or even feeling overwhelmed and at the end of your rope because of your circumstances!   The list goes on and on.

To find out more, you can visit, where you can even hear testimonies from care receivers.  If you are going through a tough time and could use a caring friend, contact Pastor Sizemore or Stephen Leader Bill Boykin to find out more about having your own Stephen Minister to walk by you through your difficult time. 

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Social Ministry: Sharing God’s Love and Ameris Bank
Shari Selke

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:58

WOW!  Ameris Bank is sponsoring their annual food drive throughout the month of October.  The Ameris Bank branches will collect food donations for their local food pantries.  The bank will then give a matching cash donation to each food pantry based on the food collection of each branch!  These have been substantial donations all over the state! 

Our local food bank is Sharing God’s Love, serving those in need in the Irmo area.  Because this is such a wonderful way to add to our support of Sharing God’s Love we will be taking all food donations to Ameris Bank on Lake Murray Blvd. throughout the month of October.  So please look for the specially marked box that is ready for your food donations!  For our members who do not live in Irmo, we encourage you to take your food donations to your neighborhood Ameris Bank Branch and support your community food pantries.  I believe we can fill the pantries to the rafters and strengthen the funds that are so needed by so many in our communities!

Remember Mt. Olive accepts donations for Sharing God’s Love throughout the year along with many other area churches.  Donations are not limited to food items.  Sharing God’s Love provides clothing, household linens, personal care items, school supplies, and assistance with utility bills for those in need in the Irmo area.   So please bring whatever you are moved to bring to support this ministry.

**The Social Ministry Board will be will be meeting October 6th after late service.  Anyone interested in helping, especially with the approaching holidays, would be more than welcome!

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Announcements & Opportunities

November Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the November newsletter is Sunday, October 20.  Send articles to:

LWML Sunday
LWML Sunday is October 20th.  Ladies of all ages, please sign up to attend the salad luncheon in the fellowship hall after the 10:30 service.  One of our own, Daniela will be sharing with us “The Lutheran Church in South Africa”.  There will be a sign-up sheet in the narthex.

New Members Class
Pastor Sizemore continues to teach the new members class during the Sunday school hour through October 20th.  Mt. Olive’s new members will be “officially welcomed” on October 20th at the 10:30 worship service.

Midweek Bible Study at Mt. Olive
The Caring Evangelism course continues to meet on Wednesday evenings thru mid November at 7:00 PM.

Monthly Bible Study in Blythewood: Food for Body & Soul
Why not try the monthly Bible Study on Thursday, October 3rd?  The first Thursday of each month, folks will gather at the home of Bob and Teri in Blythewood.  After enjoying dinner together, we will then have a one-hour Bible study.  The lesson will not be part of a series, and conclude in that one evening.  Dinner will be at 6:30 PM with Bible study going from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM. 

Stephen Ministry Snacks
Did you know that our Stephen Ministry team meets twice monthly throughout the year?  There is a sign up sheet for summer snacks, located in the hall beside the fire extinguisher, or contact Stephen Leader Aresa.  Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.  Thank you so much to Mary S for providing snacks during the month of September. 

Free Photos from Bulletin Boards!
Parents, Grandparents, Sunday School Teachers, etc.:  Please take the photographs of your loved ones from the bulletin boards.  If you’d like to share photos with our homebound members, please grab several!  These are a gift to you from the PR Board!  Take them and enjoy!

Nursery Reminder
The church nursery is open during the Sunday school hour and the second Worship Service from 9:10-Noon for children, ages birth to 2 years, during Sunday school, and through age 3 during Worship.  The nursery is located inside the back entrance of the church, across from the Wagner House.  Parents, remember to bring your diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, sippy cup, etc.  A light snack is served.  Mrs. Flora is in charge.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

September 2013 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
September 2013

Pastor's Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

September:  Vacations Are Over, Schools Reopen and Churches Hope to Be Full

This summer in South Carolina is the coolest, wettest and most unusual summer I have ever experienced since moving to the Palmetto State from Georgia in 1989.  At age 34, I accepted a call to become the first full-time pastor of a new mission church in Simpsonville, a suburb of Greenville.  Two weeks after moving there, Hurricane Hugo hit the coast causing much devastation in Charleston and in many other coastal regions. Much rain fell also in the upstate following that mighty storm. 

At age 42, I was installed in January 1998 as pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran here in Irmo.  As it turned out, Columbia was at that time also experiencing an unusual weather pattern which meteorologists labeled as “El Nino.”  Once again, there were record amounts of rainfall from the sky every day.  But even then, I don’t remember receiving as much rain as we have recently.

On the positive side, our house has stayed much cooler this summer than most summers.  Our electric bill is way down from what it usually is this time of year.  My only complaint is that hundreds of ants have now invaded our house, looking for higher and drier ground.  Gratefully, if I may say this, the exterminator has promised to come our home this coming Thursday.

But now September is here.  Vacations, for the most part, are over.  Schools, for the most part, are reopened.  And churches, that usually experience a great drop in attendance during the summer months, are hoping their pews will soon become much fuller with faithful worshipers again.

So much rain has made me stop and think about the seasonal aspects of our human lives too. 
In the life of most every human being, there is hopefully a springtime, a summer time and an autumn, ultimately concluding with those cold, bristling, winter months at the end.  But for some people, their lives are unfortunately, tragically cut short.

Spiritually speaking, we need the precipitation of God’s Word to fall steadily upon our lives too.  And the Prophet Isaiah once compared the steady outpouring of God’s Word upon us to rain when he writes:  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there without watering the earth, making it bear and sprout by furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my Word be which goes forth from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it! (Isaiah 55:10-11)

In the prophet’s own understanding, his confession of faith regarding the power of God’s Word here is the only proper follow up to the exhortation he makes a half dozen verses previous: “Seek the Lord while he may be found and call upon him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thought. Let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them!” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
September is here.  Vacations, for the most part, are over. Schools, for the most part, are reopened.  And churches, which often experience a decline in their worship and Sunday school attendance during the summer, hope to recoup from their losses once again.

Come to worship! Bring your children to Sunday school!  Attend an adult Sunday school class too!  For the Savior, Jesus Christ, by His perfect life, innocent death and glorious resurrection, still calls out to us saying: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls!” (Matthew 11:29)

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Board of Elders
  by Jerry Garlington

I want to give you at least a taste of the LCMS Convention without boring you with too much.  I received a letter from the Southeastern District President, John Denninger with his “My 10 Takeaway’s from the LCMS Convention”.   I will not quote everything he said, but I will use his memo as a reminder of the important events of the convention.  Here are some thoughts:

1.  Worship, praise, adoration of Jesus and attention to His Word, is always good but got even better as the days went by.  We started each day with worship, had worship after lunch and ended each day with worship.
2. On your feet, heart-beat moments included:  Welcoming 3 new partner church bodies from Liberia, Siberia, and Togo.  Honoring missionaries, military and institutional chaplains, and those responding to disaster.
3. LCMS resolves to share Jesus right where we live.  Including:  Church planting and renewal, Black and Native American Ministry, Giving special focus in hard to reach places where we are most vulnerable, but most needed (College campus, Urban, Inner-City, and Rural ministry), Learning Spanish or other modern languages spoken where we live, Outreach to those in jails and prisons and their families, Marking a day to celebrate refugees living among us.
4. We’re predisposed to study.  Resolved to complete the following studies:  A Theological Statement of Mission for the 21st Century, due in 2017; Study doctrinal training for District Dispute Reconcilers; Study the relationship between the ministry of the laity and the public call to ministry; study the roles of women and men in church and home; Study employment of women in military combat; Study our Lutheran schools and called teachers vs. contracted teachers; Study the relationship between science and technology.
5. We will talk.  Under the title Koinonia (Fellowship) using God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions, we are determined to resolve our differences by talking and listening to each other rather than clubbing each other over the head.
6. You shall visit.  Mandated visits will happen.  Circuit Counselor title change to Circuit Visitor. 
7. Balance.  The laity historically provides wisdom and balance in our church body.  Kept the election of delegates at the Circuit level rather than raising it to the District level.
8. Called Workers and Laity Working Together for the sake of the Mission.  Much of our convention conversation spoke to lifting up, supporting and caring for the ordained.  But don forget the holy partnership outlined in Ephesians 4.  Only with cooperation of the ordained and the laity do we have any possibility of reaching the 32 million people in the district with the love of Jesus.
9. Time for the Southeastern District to engage in mission.  Discipling takes place when following Jesus, not just reading books and writing papers.  Lots of our learning will happen as God:  speaks to us in His Word, places His love in our hearts, encourages us through the body of Christ, and guides us to reach out to our neighbor.
10. Jesus is Lord of the Church.  After all is said and done, whether you vote “aye” or “nay”, whether you agree or disagree with convention decisions, there is great comfort and joy in the fact that Jesus remains the Lord of the Church.

Thank you for the opportunity to attend this convention.  It is an experience that I will never forget.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months. 

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Musical Notes
by Karen Meetze

"All God's critters got a place in the choir.... some sing low, some sing higher...some sing out loud on the telephone wire and some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got now!"

The singing and ringing season is quickly approaching and I am excitedly awaiting the arrival of the choir birds and bell ringers!  I know you have all missed the special music during worship services this summer!  The choirs have enjoyed their break but rest time is over and now we are ready to get busy!  But we need some more members!  Adult Choir begins on Sunday, September 8th at 6:00, and Handbell Choir begins on Sunday September 15th at 4:45.  So bring your high/low voices and your bell ringing paws and come make a joyful noise! 

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A Message from our President
by Bob Massa

“We offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us; ourselves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

We speak these words during each worship service after our offering is collected. With the beginning of a new program year we can ensure truly “giving of ourselves” by becoming involved with the various Mt. Olive ministries or activities.  Some thoughts on giving our time or ourselves are:  every board would gladly welcome another volunteer; or, maybe The Spirit is moving you to start a new ministry or activity for Mount Olive.  For instance, I believe our church membership has numerous readers who have read some interesting Christian books.  Monthly in this very publication we could have a book review and other congregation members would be exposed to a book they might never have read.  This could be a simple way to share God’s Word for the shy person and it might even grow into a “Book Club” that could meet on a regular basis for fellowship, devotion, and discussion of the group’s selected book.

Maybe games are your motivation; organize a card club.  Pinochle, Bridge, or Hearts may be your way to be involved with other members and fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Also, I know of a church where a group of retirees organized after school programs that ranged from tutoring, teaching and playing chess, to teaching classes on woodworking and small engine repair.  Our Stephen Ministry began in this manner.  There was a need and The Spirit touched a member’s heart; and, after prayerful discernment, the congregation had a new ministry.

Mt. Olive is a talented and diverse congregation!  Each one of us has unique talents and spiritual gifts to offer.  If we give of ourselves, what an exciting fulfilling church year we will have!

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Public Relations
by Aresa Boykin

Everyone is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Mt. Olive’s Pictorial Directory! As our church grows, it’s not quite as easy to put names with faces!  What a wonderful “problem” for us!

A big thank you goes to Patti P and Teri M who have assisted with scheduling, layout, and phone calls.  Now that the photography has been completed, we will focus our attention on formatting and proofreading the directory.  For those of you who were unable to have your pictures made, please submit your photos to the church office by September 15th.  Remember to submit photos of our college students and military members who are stationed out of town or deployed.  Future members may also submit photos for the directory.  Most importantly, these photos will be returned to you! Because of today’s technology, I do not have to send them away.  We are hoping that everyone will be included!

I also want to welcome Sue O and Sarah V to the Public Relations Board!  Sue, as the church secretary, has been a big part of public relations in the areas of Mt. Olive’s website, Yellow Pages, and the newsletter.  We are excited to have Sarah on board because of her fresh perspective.  Thank you for agreeing to help out!

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Christian Education
from Katrina Folks

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”  Thus the psalmist opens Psalm 95, and thus we open the new Sunday school year.  The children in Pre-3 through 4th grade will continue to meet upstairs and have group openings each week led by Lisa Sizemore.  During that time they will learn the Bible story through object lessons, readings, storytelling, puppets and song.  Each week we praise the Lord God as our rock:  the rock of our lives and our church family.  Along with familiar hymns, we hope to teach the children parts of the liturgy, so they may participate more fully in the worship service. Following the group gathering, the children will be divided according to levels. 

We gratefully acknowledge the following individuals who have graciously accepted God’s command to teach “all nations”:

Connie C will be a wonderful teacher to welcome our new 3 year olds to Sunday School.  She will definitely explain to those little ones of Jesus’ love for them. 

Dana M, also so wonderful with the younger set, will have the 4 years and kindergarteners with her ready smile and sweet spirit. 

We welcome Anna W, a new addition to our church.  She will guide our 1st and 2nd graders in their class as they advance to deeper understandings of the Old and New Testaments. 

We are still in the process of looking for a couple to lead the 3rd and 4th graders.  This is a group of eleven children, bright, inquisitive, and eager to test our Bible knowledge and insights! 

Sunday school for 5th graders through high school will meet in the Wagner House.

Bill B will continue our wonderful parent-child confirmation studies starting September 15th, once the early communion classes are concluded.  What a terrific class for initiating dialogue between parents and children in regards to faith and God’s Word!  The class will continue with the curriculum, Partners in Learning: A Family Confirmation Approach, which is designed to help parent-mentors share their faith and strengthen relationships with the students.

This year we have added another class for 7th and 8th graders at the Wagner House.  We have a temporary teacher for the three 7th and 8th graders, and are looking for someone willing to teach this class.  Our high school class continues under the great leadership of Mike K.

We are always looking for willing helpers and substitute teacher assistants.  Come up and visit us.  See for yourself, Mt Olive Lutheran Sunday School is built on the Rock!

There are currently three Bible classes for adults.  Keith’s class meets in the fellowship hall and is currently studying the book of John.  David’s class meets downstairs and is part-way through the book of Daniel.  We will be losing David at the conclusion of Daniel as he and his family have moved to Greenwood. 
The third class, beginning September 1st, is for ladies:  Golden Fruit:  Living the Fruit of the Spirit.  Teri M will be teaching this 10-week class in the Wagner House.  Each weekly session of this Bible study will focus on one fruit of the Spirit and will consider how the lives and stories of nine biblical women convey that characteristic.  As you study women like Esther (self-control) and Dorcas (goodness), Ruth (love) and Elizabeth (joy), you'll see how God is at work in your life, too, and how His promise of salvation and peace through Jesus are fully yours all the time.

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Youth Group News
from Vanita Fielder

Please join the Mt. Olive Youth on September 29th at the Mt. Olive potluck to hear about the National Youth Gathering, its impact on our youth, and to view pictures.  Ten of our Mt. Olive youth attended the Gathering at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas: Zachary C, Jeremy F, Tyler F, Kayla G, August K, Emily K, Krista K, Tyler L, Zachary L, and Kathleen S.  Jim and Vanita chaperoned.  They attended various sessions, Bible studies, learning activities, testimonials, and praise and worship.  They also took time to explore San Antonio. The youth are looking forward to sharing the special things they learned with the congregation.

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Altar Guild Message
by Susie Hoffman

As the longest season in the church year calendar continues, information relating to worship symbols not often mentioned may interest you.

The box-like shape of the altar, itself, historically represents the tomb where Jesus’ lifeless body was laid.  The use of the Fair Linen, the white cloth that stretches over the full length of the altar, is said by some to represent the cloth that covered Jesus’ body.  By others it is said to remind us of the Christians who secretly worshipped in the catacombs to avoid discovery by the Romans.  They spread cloths over the stones in those underground cemeteries when they prepared to worship. 

The sanctuary candle, which is suspended in the chancel, is called the “eternal light”.  It represents Christ, the light that remains constant and bright.  It does not dim or diminish.  Christ Himself tells us “I am the light of the world” in John 8:12.  The number and arrangement of candles in the chancel has varied greatly in the history of the church.  The use of candles ON THE ALTAR is of medieval origin.  The two candles placed on the altar are known as “Eucharistic lights” as they usually burn only when the service of the Eucharist or Holy Communion is planned, but since lights are symbolic of God and Jesus Christ, there is no good reason to forbid their use on the altar at all services.

Why do we usually see the empty cross instead of the crucifix in most Lutheran churches?  Both symbolize the death of Jesus in payment for our sins, but it was the resurrection of Christ from the grave that gave us the justification we need to gain eternal life.  That is what the empty cross tells us.  That is the traditional cross used by many Lutherans.

The Paschal (from the Greek pascha meaning “Easter”) candle symbolizes the resurrection victory over the darkness of sin and death.  The use of this candle goes back to the early church during the fourth or fifth century.  It is traditionally burned from Easter to Ascension Day to represent the visible human presence of Jesus on earth.  Because of the connection between Easter and Baptism, congregations are encouraged to light the Paschal candle for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. (Romans 6:3-4….”Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may lead a new life.”) This symbol of Christ’s triumph over death and the grave also makes it appropriate for use at a Christian burial.  The funereal pall placed over a casket and its carriage is white to symbolize the righteousness with which Christians have been clothed in Holy Baptism.

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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

The preschool is starting up its seventh year!  It is hard to believe that this ministry has gone on that long already.  I guess time flies when you are having fun!  We are eagerly getting 23 sweet children introduced to their classes, teachers, and friends.  We have a great group, and we are looking forward to our school year together. 

It is that time of year to ask for snacks!  Please grab a shopping list from the narthex if you can help. We offer a sweet and a salty snack to the children each day. We would also love to be able to offer fruit once in a while.  Grapes, apples, pears, bananas, or oranges may be donated - just place them in the fridge in my office or labeled "preschool" and placed in the kitchen fridge.  Thank you in advance for your donations! 
Once again, we will be partnering with the school district to place children in our school who are unable to be placed in public preschool.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child, let me know.   As usual, thank you for your prayers and support.  I love being in ministry with you!

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

The Carolinas District LWML Mission Goal statement is to be bold in the spirit by God’s grace and in ministry tell the world what Christ has done.

Who are the women of the LWML?  The Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML), with a membership of over 250,000, is the official women's organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  The LWML focuses on affirming each woman in her relationship with Christ to enable her to be in ministry among the people of the world.  For over 60 years the organization has been encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and to financially support global missions.  For additional information, visit the Carolinas District web site:

The current Carolinas Cross Connection is posted on the LWML bulletin board outside the workroom.  Copies are available on the table in the narthex & upon request.

The Olive Branch, Mt. Olive’s LWML group, will resume monthly meetings in September.  Scheduled days are the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, with a Bible Study from 10:00-11:00, a brief meeting and lunch followed by crafts/projects.  Mark your calendars and plan to be there for Bible study and lunch (dessert & beverage provided).  If crafts are your forte, we welcome your assistance and will conclude approximately 2:00 p.m.  The assembling of Chrismons for the upcoming Christmas season will be discussed at our first meeting, Sept. 10th.  For those interested in completing hand tied quilts for charities, we will continue with this project.  If you have any ideas for future projects, share them.

LWML Sunday will be observed on October 20th.  The ladies of the Olive Branch will be organizing activities for the afternoon.  Ideas for our program are appreciated.

The first Sunday of every month is designated for LWML mite box collections. You can pick up a mite box on the table in the hallway.  On collection Sundays, the large mite box will be located in the narthex as you enter church.

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A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

Christopher Chapman died in 1680 and his burial stone is in Westminster Abbey in London. Etched in that stone are the words that describe the way Christopher tried to live:
What I gave, I have.
What I spent, I had.
What I left, I lost by not giving it.

In those words it is clear that he felt most fulfilled in his life when he lived as a giver. What he gave he had, because it came back to him multiplied. What he left behind he lost because he couldn’t take it with him … and he could have given rather than having left it. There is a very practical side to this story.
A pastor was visiting an old man whose wife had just died. During the conversation the husband told the pastor that his wife left a gift for the church in her will. It was not a large amount, just over a thousand dollars. Of course, the pastor was pleased that the woman had remembered the needs of the church in her will. Two nights later the pastor told the church board that the improvements in the parsonage had cost about one thousand dollars over the budget. Just as the board members began to wonder if the treasury had enough money to meet the need, the pastor told them about the gift, which would more than take care of the overrun. Suddenly each of the board members began to smile. The problem was solved.

Prayer: Dear Lord, every good thing on earth has come from you. Accept our profound gratitude for your indescribable goodness. In Jesus' name. Amen

A Stewardship Minute is available to subscribers of Stewardship at  Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576     

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Parish Fellowship
by Flora Weed

The Parish Fellowship Board has been busy developing guidelines for bridal and baby showers.  The new guidelines will be effective beginning in January 2014.

1. Any member of Mt. Olive can host a shower, following the guidelines for use of the fellowship hall.  Please schedule the room with the church secretary.

2. For members who are new to Mt. Olive and who live far from family and friends, the Parish Fellowship Board will host a shower.

3. If members would like to host a shower, but finances are limited, the Parish Fellowship Board will help host a shower.

4. Anyone using the fellowship hall must abide by Mt. Olive’s guidelines.  These are posted in the kitchen near the entrance to the storage room and in the hall by the main entrance to the fellowship hall.

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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

Bill and I, as your Stephen Leaders, want to thank each member of the Mt. Olive congregation for your ongoing support of our Stephen Ministry!  Thank you to Liz G and Judy B for home-cooked goodies for our continuing education sessions during the month of August.

The rest of this article will focus on ways you can pray for all the aspects of our Stephen Ministry.  You might want to clip the article and keep it with your daily devotions or prayer list.
Our loving God, as your chosen people, holy and dearly loved by You, we ask for Your guidance and blessing on our Stephen Ministry.

We pray for our Stephen Leaders, that they may be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Guide their learning, and be with them through the joys and challenges of their ministry.
We pray for our Stephen Ministers so that they may remain humble servants to You, focusing on bringing your love and salvation to those experiencing the challenges of life.

We pray for our past and current care receivers, and for their faithfulness, willingness, and courage to accept Stephen Ministers to walk along side them during their times of need and for the healing that only God can bring.

We pray that each of us, during difficult times in our lives, will recognize our need to receive care from others, so that we will be willing to receive Your care through our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
We pray for our congregational members as they offer support for our Stephen Ministry through prayer, snacks, and keeping their eyes and ears open to those who might benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister.

And whatever we do, whether in word or deed, let it all be in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God our Father through Him.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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by Jon Richter

Who will you invite to “Return to the Lord?”
Isaiah 51:11 gives us a wonderful picture of people returning to Our Lord:
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
 and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
 they shall obtain gladness and joy,
 and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Surely we want our family members, friends and even acquaintances to join us in the party of Joy and Peace that only Jesus can give.

As we are thinking about opportunities to witness, consider the Irmo OKRA STRUT!!  Once again, we are signed up to host a booth on Saturday, September 28th.  We want people to pray now for our preparations and for those who would respond to our outreach. There will be sign up sheets for shifts for booth hosts available after Labor Day.  Please call Jon if you need further details or can help in preparation.

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Social Ministry
by Shari Selke

Thank you to all who volunteered at the American Red Cross Blood Drive in July.  We had 23 participants and a total of 17 units were donated.  The next blood drive for will be Saturday – January 25, 2014.  If you have any questions please contact Katrina Davis.

Sharing God’s Love (SGL) would like you to note on your calendar the following events:

September 16th is the 4th Annual Golf Tournament at The Club at Rawls Creek
September 21st is SGL’s Annual Fall Yard Sale.
If you would like to donate any items to the sale you may drop off your donations at Sharing God’s Love – 147 Friarsgate Blvd. – Irmo, SC   29063

SGL is still in need of school supply donations as well as children’s clothing.  The following needs are also posted outside the church office on the bulletin board:  Soup, Tuna, Jelly, Grits, Rice, Sugar, Tea, Cereal, Mac N Cheese, Pork & Beans, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Shampoo, Deodorant, Toilet Paper, Soap, Laundry Detergent, Dish Detergent, Towels, Wash Cloths, and all sizes of Bed Linens. These items may be left in the basket outside the church office.

Lutheran Hospice is in need of volunteers for patient care, office work, and special events. Details will be posted on the bulletin board. If you are interested please call Volunteer Manager, Beth McLean, at 803-461-0456.

The 23rd annual Walk for Life/Race for Life, a 3.1 mile walk/race ($25 registration fee) and 10K race ($30 registration fee) through historic downtown Columbia, will be held Saturday, October 5, 2013.  The Walk/Race will begin and end in Finlay Park.  The Walk/Race is a collaborative effort among dedicated sponsors, teams, individual walkers, contributors, health care professionals, volunteers and of course, breast cancer survivors.  Last year’s Walk drew more than 6,700 participants and raised more than $550,000, including in-kind donations, for Palmetto Health Breast Center.  All proceeds stay at Palmetto Health Breast Center.  See more at .

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Announcements & Opportunities

October Newsletter Deadline
Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the October newsletter is Friday, September 20.

New Member Class
Pastor Sizemore will teach a class for new members during the Sunday school hour, beginning on September 15th through October 20th.  New members will be “officially welcomed” on October 20th at the 10:30 worship service, followed by a covered-dish fellowship meal.

Midweek Bible Study at Mt. Olive
The "Caring Evangelism" course has been on summer vacation and reconvenes on September 11th.  The reading of chapters 5 and 6 should be completed by the 11th.  For questions, contact Jon Richter at 260-1418.

Monthly Bible Study in Blythewood: Food for Body & Soul
Are you too busy for a weekly Bible study?  Then why not try the new monthly Bible Study beginning Thursday, September 5, 2013?  The first Thursday of each month, we will gather at the home of Bob and Teri.  After enjoying dinner together, we will then have a one-hour Bible study.  The lesson will not be part of a series, and conclude in that one evening.  Dinner will be at 6:30 PM with Bible study going from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM.

Stephen Ministry Snacks
Did you know that our Stephen Ministry team meets twice monthly throughout the year?  There is a sign up sheet for summer snacks, located in the hall beside the fire extinguisher.  Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.  Thank you so much to those who provided snacks during the month of August:  Judy B and Liz G!

Attention Thrivent Financial for Lutheran Members:  CHOICE DOLLARS PROGRAM
Are you aware of the Choice Dollars Program offered by Thrivent to its policyholders?  The program allows policyholders to direct a portion of available charitable outreach funds to a pre-approved non-profit agency.  Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and Mt. Olive Lutheran Preschool are approved agencies to which you can direct the funds assigned to your policy.  This can be done very simply on-line or with a phone call to (800) 847-4836.  Ask for the Thrivent Choice Program.  There are presently several members of Mt. Olive who have directed their Choice Dollars to our Preschool and church.  To continue to receive these funds, this process will need to be repeated with each notification to you that funds are available.  Funds must be designated by September 30th.

Free Photos from Bulletin Boards!
Parents, Grandparents, Sunday School Teachers, etc.:  Please take the photographs of your loved ones from the bulletin boards.  If you’d like to share photos of Mt. Olive’s activities with our homebound members, please do!  These are a gift to you!  Take them and enjoy!

Nursery Reminder
The church nursery is open during the Sunday school hour and the second Worship Service from 9:10-Noon for children, ages birth to 2 years, during Sunday school, and through age 3 during Worship.  The nursery is located inside the back entrance of the church, across from the Wagner House.  Parents, remember to bring your diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, sippy cup, etc.  A light snack is served.  Mrs. Flora is in charge.

Children's Worship & Bulletins
Parents, many of you bring children to worship service from infancy; however, for those of you who have used the nursery for worship, please remember that once your children reach 4-years-old, they should begin attending the service.  One way to help with the adjustment is to pick up children’s bulletins from the table in the narthex.  These bulletins match our church year, so your children will have illustrations and activities for the weekly lessons and church season.  There are extra crayons in a basket in the hallway, too.  Then later in the day, you can use the bulletin to discuss the service with your children.

Monday, July 29, 2013

August 2013 Newsletter

Olive Leaves
August 2013

Pastor’s Article
by Pastor Paul C. Sizemore

Getting Ready for Sunday Mornings

It certainly has been encouraging for me to see so many worshipers attending the Divine Service during these summer months.  There is the faithful attendance of our own Mount Olive members, but there are also many guests present each Sunday morning, whom the Holy Spirit continues to draw into our sanctuary, to be gathered together with us around God’s Holy Word and blessed Sacraments; Baptism and Holy Communion.

Most every Sunday we begin the liturgy with words from I John 8-9, “If we say that have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Then we proceed to make a corporate confession of our sins.  Coming into the presence of God intentionally, having called upon the name of the Holy Trinity, we purposefully set aside any false, misleading presumption of self-righteousness on our part, and celebrate once again that we are justified by grace through faith in Christ.  Paul writes:  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (v. 24-25)

The weekly ritual of confessing our sins and receiving the absolution from God, through the pastor, as though it was being given to us directly by God himself, reminds us that we come only knowingly, fully into the divine presence of God as “forgiven people,” as Easter people forgiven by the God whose Son Jesus had come to redeem us fully from the threatening power of our sins. 

The Lamb of God has died on the cross and been raised to new life again to make the love of God our greatest personal possession.  And we rejoice with the psalmist when he says: “Let us go into the house of the LORD!  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces!”  (Psalm 122:1, 6)  
So let me now ask you, what do you think?  Do people look forward to participating in the Divine Service every Sunday as they are able? Do they sense that our sanctuary is an extremely beautiful place, not only architecturally, or because of its glorious interior design; with the beautiful chancel furnishings, stained-glass windows, candlelight and its lovely music?

Is our sanctuary also a magnificent place for many people, because they realize that they are being drawn here, away from all their other cares and problems of life, by the promise and the power of the Crucified and Risen Christ?  You know what our Savior says prior to his crucifixion.  “And I, when I am lifted up, will draw all people unto myself!” (John 12:32) 

Our sanctuary is a beautiful place because here, Christ’s Gospel is proclaimed. It is here that his sacred Scriptures are read.  It is here that his Holy Supper is faithfully celebrated.
I and others on our church staff, along with those who sing in the choir or ring bells, and those who write and publish bulletins, fold and staple them, spend a great deal of time getting ready for the Divine Service on Sunday mornings.  But worshipers do well to prepare themselves for morning worship too. 
Oh, there are the obvious things like getting enough sleep on Saturday night and getting up early enough to arrive at church on time without feeling rushed.  Young families especially know the struggle of getting children dressed and out the door. The LORD God deserves our best.

If possible, arrive inside the sanctuary some 20 minutes ahead of time.  Read those words on the front of the bulletin entitled: “Today’s Worship Emphasis.”  Read through the appointed Bible readings before the Divine Service begins.  Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to keep you attentive to God’s Word that day.  Review the hymns and meditate on their words. And by all means, pray for the preacher and for God’s blessings on the sermon that he is about to give, whoever he happens to be.  St. Paul wasn’t afraid to ask for people’s prayers. With my namesake, I also ask you to: “Pray for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak it!” (Ephesians 6:19-20) 

See you in church this coming Sunday!
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Board of Elders
  by Jerry Garlington

Late in the month of August, we will be installing the newly elected officers and boards for the congregation.  Due to the growth of our church, I added another Elder to the board.  We are pleased that Charlie Sandt agreed to serve and was elected.  He has experience serving as an Elder at Mt. Olive and will be a great addition.  Three other Elders (Pete Witt, Charlie Stuck and Stan Slaughter) were re-elected to the board. 
What this means is that there is going to be less turmoil in your Elder assignments.  Almost all members will retain the same Elder as they had last year.

I am grateful for the faithful service of your Board of Elders and look forward to working with them again this coming year.  Please don’t hesitate to call on your Elder with your concerns or comments.  The church keeps a current Elder list posted outside the Secretary’s Office.
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Christian Education
from Katrina Folks
Summer Sunday School & Rally Day
The preschool-3’s through 4th graders have had wonderful Sunday sessions upstairs in Summer Sunday school.  We have focused on the W’s of prayer:  Who, what, where, how, when, why.  We have done this through Bible stories, songs, and a book by CPH entitled God Invites Us to Pray.  All these ideas are reinforced using a “hands on” project each week.  By the end of July we completed our focus on the Lord’s Prayer.  In August we will extend our classes by learning about the acts of prayer:  adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.   At the end of August those students who have successfully said the Lord’s Prayer on their own will receive a “prayer pin” similar to the Ten Commandment pins the children earned last year. 

We anticipate Rally Day being held on August 25 after the late service, at Saluda Shoals Park, at the Red Bud shelter.  This shelter boasts a nearby volleyball site, well loved by so many of our members.  The Education Committee will purchase wristbands for entry into the Splash Pad.  Those of you who have homemade ice cream freezers, contact Katrina if you would like to share that special treat with us!  Everyone else, please bring side dishes to go with the hamburgers, hotdogs and beverages that will be provided.  We will have signup sheets in the bulletin two weeks before the event.  We had over 100 attend last year’s picnic and still had plenty of room for more!  Join us and enjoy this annual Mt Olive favorite event!

First Communion & Confirmation Classes
Baptized young people who are entering the 5th grade (and up) this fall will be invited to receive Holy Communion if they participate in and complete a 4-week Sunday school class, August 18th through September 8th, taught by Pastor Sizemore.  Faithful attendance on the part of students and their parent(s) is required.  To be admitted to the Sacrament of the Altar, students must have memorized the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments.  First Communion will be on Reformation Sunday, October 27th.

On September 15th, these students, along with our 6th graders, will continue in Confirmation Classes each Sunday. Bill Boykin will teach these classes during the Sunday school hour.  Parents, grandparents, or other adult family members are being asked to attend as mentors for their children.  The class will continue with the curriculum, Partners in Learning: A Family Confirmation Approach, which is designed to help parent-mentors share their faith and strengthen relationships with the students.  If you have questions, contact Pastor Sizemore or Bill Boykin.

Assistant Sunday School Teachers Needed
“We offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us; ourselves, our time and our possessions, signs of your gracious love.  Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Recognize this prayer?  You should!  We pray it almost every week after the offering is gathered at Mt. Olive.  Part of stewardship is ourselves and our time.  We need your time. We have busily been cleaning and assessing our needs for the 2013-2014.  If you have been down the fellowship hallway, you will see how Mt. Olive’s Sunday school has grown.  By September 1, we should have 8 more little lambs on our bulletin board.  We anticipate the need for four classes next year.  We are looking for assistant teachers. 

Please listen to “the voice of Jesus calling” you.  Assistant teacher job description: 

*Be dedicated to sharing your personal faith with children and to the presentation of God’s Word.
*Attend and participate in the opening, Bible and song time with your class.  Various leaders will lead this time.
*Return to the classroom with your class.  Discuss details of the story.  Follow up with materials, *Bibles and handouts that you have previously reviewed during the prior week.  In the CPH materials these are steps 4-6.  Steps 1-3 will have been covered in the opening.
*Interact with the children when you see them at church.  Encourage them in their daily walk with Jesus.  Pray that they will remain true to the Triune God and their baptism.
*We are open to both female and male teachers.  We have a lot of high-energy boys that could use strong Christian male role models.

What will be your time commitment?  About 1.5 hours a week.  Allow 30-45 minutes to review the materials.  Allow 30-45 minutes for actual class time.  Finally, be available to attend 3 quarterly meetings
during the year.

Do you “hear Jesus calling?”  Is His Spirit tugging at your heart?  Contact Lisa Sizemore (, 546-0600) to respond.  “Here am I, send me, send me.”

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Youth Group News
from Vanita Fielder

Ten of our Mt. Olive youth attended the National Youth Gathering at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas: Zachary C, Jeremy F, Tyler F, Kayla G, August K, Emily K, Krista K, Tyler L, Zachary L, and Kathleen S.  Jim and Vanita chaperoned.  They attended various sessions, Bible studies, learning activities, testimonials, and praise and worship.  They also took time to explore San Antonio.
Please join us September 29th at the Mt. Olive potluck to hear about the Gathering, its impact on our youth, and to view pictures.  We look forward to sharing the special things we learned.

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June 26, 2013

Today the Supreme Court issued its ruling, striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act  (DOMA), allowing for federal benefits for legally married gay couples and potentially allowing for gay marriage in all of California with regard to Proposition 8. Though the ruling is not a surprise, we are saddened for our nation, even as we call our fellow Christians to faithfulness and prayer.

As Christians, we believe and confess that God himself instituted marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman. Same-sex unions are contrary to God’s will, and gay marriage is, in the eyes of God, no marriage at all.  As Christians, we proclaim this truth, no matter what the courts or legislatures may say. We are called not to popularity but to truth. Therefore, we call on our fellow Christians to be faithful first to God’s Word, knowing that another court is ultimately supreme.

Marriage is a fundamental building block of society, binding parents to their offspring. Every child benefits from the nurture of a mother and the leadership of a father. While having one mother is a blessing, having two mothers or two fathers is confusing for the child and detrimental to her well-being. The divorce culture has done great harm to the institution of marriage as well, and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) has and will continue to respond to that heartache with Christ’s comfort while simultaneously working to restore a culture where marriage is upheld.

While this occasion reminds us that Scripture calls homosexuality sinful (Lev. 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:24-27), the Bible also says plainly that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” that is to say, those who repent and show genuine sorrow over their sin, are forgiven and loved by Christ.
And so as Christ’s Church, we forgive and love too, following his lead with compassion and humility. We forgive and love because we are all sinners in need of his grace and mercy; because no matter the sin, we have all rebelled against our Creator and fallen prey to unbelief, because he has justified us by grace through faith, freely given and joyfully received (Romans 3:23-24); because Christ has reconciled us to the Father; because he has declared us righteous and we are.

In love, we will continue to teach marriage according to God’s plan and gift. We will continue to proclaim marriage as a picture of Christ’s love for his bride, the church. And we will continue to be a place of forgiveness, mercy and healing for all people, even as we will continue to proclaim God’s truth in love. As we move forward, we offer up our prayers for this nation and particularly for marriage, family and children.

Rev. Bart Day, Executive Director
LCMS Office of National Mission

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Altar Guild’s Message
by Susie Hoffman

The SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST in the church-year calendar comprise about one half of the year.  The green paraments symbolize the life and teachings of Jesus and the nourishment our souls receive as we study His words and works.   It is a time when the church should live and exercise its ministry. 

We are reminded when we see the vestment Pastor Sizemore wears during communion, called a chasuble, that as this garment surrounds Pastor, so Christ surrounds each of us with His love.  As we are told in Acts 17:28, “For in Him (GOD) we live, move, and have our being.”   The symbols on the chasuble remind us of the Triune God.  The triangle has three equal sides demonstrating the equality of the three persons of the Godhead.  The empty cross reminds us of the great sacrifice Jesus has made to gain forgiveness and salvation for us.  The descending dove represents the Holy Spirit.  The symbols on the parament are the CHI RHO, from the first two letters of the Greek language for the word “CHRIST”; the CROWN which indicates Christ is our King and we are the heirs of heaven because of Him; the CROSS, again, to remind us of Christ’s death and atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world; and finally, IHS (sometimes also seen as ICS), a monogram in the Greek alphabet using the first three letters in the name “JESUS”.

The early church fathers stressed the importance and value of keeping the “traditional liturgical forms such as order of the lessons, prayers, vestments, etc.” which have been handed down for centuries from the early Christian Church.  In general, all Lutheran churches follow the same three-year cycle of Old Testament, Epistle, and New Testament readings.  Many other Christian churches follow this same cycle.

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Preschool News
by Krista Bernthal

Kindergarten Kamp will be here soon!  Do you know any children who are heading to Kindergarten in the fall?  Invite them to join us August 5-9 in the mornings for some fun preparation for their first big day at school.

The preschool will start back up the last week of August.  We still have some openings in our 2 and 4-year-old classes.  We are looking forward to a great year.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Thrivent Choice Dollars Grant Opportunity

Lutheran educational institutions including our preschool have a chance to receive a $2,500 grant—and more—through Thrivent Choice.  You can help make it happen with a simple click or call!

Here’s how it works: 
Thrivent Choice is a member-advised charitable grant program from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.  It allows eligible benefit members of Thrivent Financial to recommend where the organization distributes some of its charitable funds. 

If you have Choice Dollars® available to direct, it’s easy to help our preschool.  Simply direct Choice Dollars to Mt. Olive Lutheran Preschool between May 1 and Sept. 30, 2013:
*Recommend that our preschool receive Choice Dollars grant funding from Thrivent Financial.
*Help give us a chance to receive an additional $2,500 grant!

It’s easy to direct Choice Dollars now:
 *Go to and click on the red “Get Started” button, or
 *Call 800-THRIVENT (800-847-4836) and say, “Thrivent Choice.”

Join others in supporting Mt. Olive Lutheran Preschool in a new way. Click or call today!

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LWML (The Olive Branch)
by Carole Mueller, President

LWML – an organization with a heart for missions.  All members are working toward the same goal, to help share the Good News of Jesus Christ with people throughout the world.  Members work to support, encourage, and lift each other up in prayer as they grow together in their faith as sisters in Christ.  The Olive Branch will resume their monthly meetings in September.  Scheduled days are the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month, with a Bible Study from 10:00-11:00, a brief meeting and lunch followed by crafts/projects. More information on Bible studies and upcoming projects will be announced in the bulletins and fall newsletters.  Suggestions for both are always welcomed.  We again plan to assemble Chrismons along with completing hand tied quilts for charities.

The Carolinas District Camp Retreat Weekend is Aug. 16 through 18 at Camp Linn Haven, Linville, NC.  The Foothills Zone is sponsoring this event.  Registration deadline is Aug. 5th.  If you are interested in attending, please review the LWML bulletin board for details and complete paperwork for forwarding to Camp Linn Haven Registrations.  Camp fees are $95.00 with a $5.00 registration fee to the Carolinas District LWML. 

The first Sunday of the month is designated for LWML mite box collections and the large mite box will be
located to the left as you enter church.  All other Sundays, you will find it in the back of the Sanctuary.  Mite donations are divided with 75% support for district efforts and 25% for the national level mission grant goals and program support.  Further information is posted on the LWML bulletin board.  Thank you for your contributions. 

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A Stewardship Minute
from David Buck

“Stewardship means responsible use of that which we hold in trust from God,
but which God has loaned for our blessing and enrichment while on this earth.”

This means that everything of worth we have is on loan to us from our God: Our bodies, our brains, our talents, possessions, and the time we have here on earth. Whatever we have is on loan to us from our loving Creator. The only thing we will have left at the time of our death is our spirit. The bottom line regarding our time here on earth, whether short or long, is the quality of our stewardship. Either we are faithful and diligent servants of God or we are not. Recall Jesus’ message about judgment day found in Matthew 25?  He said that on judgment day, the sheep representing good stewards would be on his right hand and the goats representing the poor stewards would be on his left hand. The sheep would be welcomed into the kingdom and the goats would not have that honor. The sheep represented the good and faithful servants of the Lord and the goats were the opposite.

The good stewards had fed the hungry, given them water to drink, found clothes for the poor, visited the sick, welcomed the stranger, and even visited those in prison. Good stewards are a caring, loving, giving and thoughtful group of the Lord’s people. The others are not. They are a selfish group with little concern about the needs of the poor, the sick, the hungry, the friendless, and the mistreated. Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves.” (Matthew 22:27) He was…and you and I should be people who serve as well.
Prayer: Lord of all, we remember that you lived a life of caring and serving. Stir up our own zeal and concern that we may follow your lead closely day-by-day, year-by-year. In your name we pray. Amen

A Stewardship Minute is available to subscribers of Stewardship at  Parish Publishing, LLC      (888) 320-5576     

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Public Relations
by Aresa Boykin

Thank you so much to those of you who have made photo appointments for Mt. Olive’s upcoming pictorial directory!  Sign-ups have been so successful that we’ve added two additional days of photography!  There are still 12 appointments left on Friday, August 30th between the hours of 2:15 PM to 6:30 PM.  If you have yet to sign up, please see me at church between services or contact me at (803) 260-7198 (cell) or e-mail me at

RELUCTANT or CAMERA SHY?  Please bear in mind that the pictorial directory is not only for our current Mt. Olive family and friends, but will be a tremendous help to our new members as they assimilate into our family.  There is no charge for your photography session.  As long as you stay a few minutes to view your photos, you will receive a free 8x10 of your directory photo.  You are not obligated to purchase pictures, but of course, you will have the opportunity to do so.  Each family will also receive a free Mt. Olive Pictorial Directory in one of three formats:  standard size, pocket size, or DVD version.  Mt. Olive also receives more extra directories based on our participation.

OUT OF TOWN or HOMEBOUND?  For those of you who are unable to make it to Mt. Olive for a photo appointment, you may submit a picture for the directory.  A photo with a solid background works best.  Please bring or mail your photos to the church office by Aug. 18th.

OR, if you would like a current photograph made, I will be more than happy to work out a time with you.  In fact, I have already had a photo-shoot with one of our homebound members!  For those who are homebound, either Bill or I will be calling.  For those who will be out of town, I will bring my camera to church on August 11th and 18th.  It will be very helpful if you can let me know in advance so we can work out a time after either service.  (My contact info. is above.)

FUTURE NEW MEMBERS?  Those of you who plan to attend Pastor’s New Members Class in September, you are also invited to sign up to be in the directory!   You are already “well on your way” becoming Mt. Olive family and friends! 

Our photography weekends are:
August 22-24, in the fellowship hall.  (Use the main entrance.)
August 30-31, in the preschool area.  (Remember to use the preschool entrance.)

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by Flora Weed

Our June Fifth Sunday Potluck was very well attended.  We had plenty of good food and ice cream treats for the kids.  Our dessert table was overwhelming, but we'll make sure that we use a bigger table for all those wonderful treats next time.  I would like to give a big" thank you" to everyone who helped with the cleanup.  It's easier and faster cleaning up when you have many helping hands.

Our next Fifth Sunday Potluck will be September 29th.  The group who attended the National Youth Gathering will tell us about their experiences.

On a different note, starting in September after the 10:30 AM service, we will be trying something we haven't done in many years.  We will have a "Lemonade and Cookie" social located at the front entrance of the church.  This will be a time for us to chat and laugh and get to know each other a little bit more.  If you would like to donate or bake cookies, please see Rita Witt or me.

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by Jon Richter

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.  1 John 4:11-12

As Our Lord gathers us around His Word and Sacraments every week, we often see His love growing in us as we abide in Him.   Feeling the love between one another is based on relating with each other on a regular basis.  For example, I could tell that Pastor Sizemore loved me from his manner in the pulpit and serving me at the altar when we first came to Mt. Olive; but, after several conversations and his visit to our home, I knew he loved me more.  And now that much more relating has occurred, I see the superhuman love of God’s abiding in Pastor that makes me feel more secure than ever in that love!!

Are you “the only Bible that some folks will ever read”?  If that old saying has any truth to it – it might be said that you may be the only “abiding love of God that some folks will relate to”…  and that relating takes time and commitment.   Who are you praying for – that does not already know our Lord?  It does take our will to intentionally reach out to others.  But once we do reach out, we can trust God’s abiding love to be visible through us and to be perfected in us as well!

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Stephen Ministry
by Bill & Aresa Boykin

The Ministry of Listening

Think of a time when you really felt cared for.  Chances are someone focused on what you had to say, was attentive to your needs, and listened to how you felt instead of telling you how you should feel or what you should do.

Listening is one of the most powerful ministry tools at your disposal.  It demonstrates that you care about the other person.  In Stephen Ministry, a great deal of time is spent in teaching and practicing listening skills because of its importance as a caregiving tool.  You too can become a more caring listener by understanding and applying these six listening concepts from Stephen Ministry training:

1. Listening is active.  Focus your attention on what the person has to say instead of thinking of what you will say next.  Look at him or her so the person will know that you are tuned in.

2. Listening takes patience.  Often you will need to build trust before someone will open up.

3.  Listening involves more than just words.  Pay attention not only to what is said, but also to what is not said, or how it is said.  Also pay attention to body language and facial expressions.

4. Good listeners aren’t completely silent.  They restate key thoughts to be sure they understand or ask focused questions to encourage the person to dig deeper.

5.  Listening happens over time.  One conversation can build upon another.

6.  Listening is confidential.  A great way to build that trust and to show the person you really care is to maintain confidentiality and not share private conversation with others.

Jesus was the model of a good listener.  By listening to what people had to say, he demonstrated how much he really cared about them.  Think of the stories of Nicodemus, the road to Emmaus, or the woman at the well.  Jesus listened first, and then gave them what they needed.

We all want Mt. Olive to be a caring place where members and guests truly feel people care about who they are and how they feel.  Listening is a great gift we can give to one another, and one we can all use to make
Mt. Olive a more caring place.

Most importantly, a huge thank you goes out to each of our care receivers for having the faith and courage to accept a Stephen Minister!  Without you, Stephen Ministry is nothing. 

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Announcements & Opportunities

September Newsletter Deadline

Mark your calendar!  The deadline for submitting articles for the August newsletter is Tuesday, August 20.
Send articles to:

Midweek Bible Studies

The Caring Evangelism course will take a summer vacation and reconvene on September 11th.  For questions, contact Jon R.  Look for announcements in the Olive Seeds for updated information about Bible Studies this summer.

Stephen Ministry Snacks

Did you know that our Stephen Ministry team meets twice monthly throughout the year?  There is a sign up sheet for summer snacks, located in the hall beside the fire extinguisher, or contact Stephen Leader Aresa Boykin (407-6040, 260-7198, or  Since classes are on Mondays, you can bring snacks on Sunday, mark them “Stephen Ministry,” and leave them in the kitchen.  Thank you so much to those who provided snacks during the months of June and July:  Jan Mc, Judy B, Marge C, and Mary S. 

Attention Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Members:  CHOICE DOLLARS PROGRAM

Are you aware of the Choice Dollars Program offered by Thrivent to its policyholders?  The program allows policyholders to direct a portion of available charitable outreach funds to a pre-approved non-profit agency.  Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and Mt. Olive Lutheran Preschool are approved agencies to which you can direct the funds assigned to your policy.  This can be done very simply on-line or with a phone call to (800) 847-4836.  Ask for the Thrivent Choice Program.  There are presently several members of Mt. Olive who have directed their Choice Dollars to our Preschool and church.  To continue to receive these funds, this process will need to be repeated with each notification to you that funds are available. 

Free Photos from Bulletin Boards!

Parents, Grandparents, Sunday School Teachers, etc.:  Please take the photographs of your loved ones from the bulletin boards.  If you’d like to share photos with our homebound members, please do!  These are a gift to you!  Take them and enjoy!

Nursery Reminder
The church nursery is open during the Sunday school hour and the second Worship Service from 9:10-Noon for children, ages birth to 2 years, during Sunday School, and through age 3 during Worship.  The nursery is located inside the back entrance of the church, across from the Wagner House.  Parents, remember to bring your diaper bag with extra diapers, clothes, sippy cup, etc.  A light snack is served.  Mrs. Flora is in charge.

Sharing God’s Love (Our local food bank) Always Needs:
Pantry – jelly, grits, rice, flour, sugar, cereal, spaghetti sauce, dried beans, pork & beans
Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, soap
Household –laundry detergent, dish detergent, children’s clothing
Linens – towels, wash clothes, sheets, comforters

Join Us in Worship

Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Sunday School and Adult Bible Classes:
Sunday at 9:15 a.m.

All are invited!

Learn about our Preschool that serves
the Columbia, SC community.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church

1541 Lake Murray Boulevard
Columbia, SC 29212

Get directions

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