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

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