Where will our dreams take us?

We hope you are reading this in the comfort of your favorite space with your favorite beverage and you feel especially thankful for what we hope is your favorite church! Mount Calvary is a favorite space for many. It is filled with people who come here to love and serve others. It is filled with giggles and tears. It is filled with dreams of making our world a better place, one action at a time.

Throughout the years our members’ dreams and actions have shaped our space. In 1965, members dreamed of investing in education. Their dreams built the Education Wing and later launched our Preschool. In 1988, members dreamed of a strong community church with more room for everyone to worship. Those dreams built our current Sanctuary and later bequeathed it with modern technology. In 1999, members dreamed of welcoming more friends and neighbors. They built our Atrium, Luther Hall, office space and parking lot. Today the parking lot is a shared space for the whole community.

The dreams of our members have shaped our current architecture. We intentionally designed our atrium to be round and welcoming, with open windows to the sky. We added a Columbarium, thoughtfully placed to be at the center of all our activities. We positioned our Welcome Center to be readily identified by visitors, so they can navigate our building with ease. We’ve added signs and maps, all with the objective of directing people through our loved, but 80-year-old building. Last year, thanks to the success of our Mission Forward Campaign, we were able to remodel and relocate our restrooms to provide convenience for members and to increase the safety of our Mount Calvary Preschool.

The dreams of Mount Calvary members have blown the winds of change through our building since before 1945. Where will our dreams take us next? We want Mount Calvary guests to feel the grace, love, and inclusiveness that pulse throughout our building. We want everyone that walks in our doors to feel a sense of belonging.

What can YOU do to make Mount Calvary a better place? We dream of providing more space for our growing community. Our plans include tearing down the coat room and creating more space in the atrium. Take a look at the photo below. Our dreams shaped these plans, and when guests walk through the doors, they’ll be greeted with hospitality and clarity of where their destination is. Our newly-created space will promote warm, casual gatherings of friends, and conversation around tables.

Please take a moment to look at the all in Campaign video and web page. We have big dreams. We need everyone to do something – whatever you can. To make our goals over the next three years possible, we need everyone to be all in!

Ben Abrahamson’s Ukulele Ensemble

Have you ever thought you wanted to try playing the ukulele? No? Well neither had I, but all that changed when I met and talked with Ben Abrahamson. Ben is the guitar and ukulele instructor at the Mount Calvary Academy of Music, and his enthusiasm for the ukulele is so contagious that now I am thinking I have to try it.

Ben has been devoted to the arts since he was an elementary student at Bancroft in Minneapolis. He continued his studies at St. Paul Academy, and then Macalester College, where he earned his BA in Music. From an early age, he was especially drawn to jazz and flamenco guitar stylings. In fact, his love for flamenco led him to study at theTaller de Musics school of music in Barcelona.

Ben is offering two ukulele ensemble classes at The Mount Calvary Academy of Music this summer – one for kids, one for adults. I asked Ben about the typical student. “Usually the kids are starting from scratch” he told me, “but adults can range anywhere from beginner to advanced.” Students might be retirees that want to learn a new skill, or people who maybe once played the instrument, but haven’t picked it up in a long time.

The ukulele is fun, and not as serious as guitar, Ben told me. You can count on ukulele players to have a good time. “All you need are three or four chords, and you can jam with friends,” he says.

What can be really cool, Ben says, is when a young person takes the youth ensemble class and a parent or grandparent takes the adult class at the same time. Playing in a group teaches people to listen to one another and interact with one another. These ensembles provide a great opportunity for players of varying ages and abilities to have fun learning to play together.

Ukulele Classes

Youth Ensemble

For Ages 9-12

When:  Monday-Friday, July 16-20, 2018 10:00am—11:30am

Tuition:  $125 plus $5 registration fee

Adult Ensemble

Monday-Friday, July 16-20, 2018 12:00pm—1:30pm

Tuition:  $125 plus $5 registration fee

If you would like to know more about ukulele ensembles, guitar lessons, or any of the other Mount Calvary Academy of Music offerings, please visit our Web site, www.mcaom.org, or email Mary Lechelt at mary.lechelt@mountcalvary.org.



Preschool News for June

June 5th was an exciting day at the Mount Calvary Preschool! Students dressed in their nicest outfits to show off their school to family and friends. First came graduation! The older students wore mortarboard graduation caps and received diplomas to show how much they have learned. We know all those new Kindergartners will make us proud.

Then came our end-of-year program! Our audience was treated to a concert of songs we learned this year, including a special song written just for us, by Cheryl Natt. Our program was followed by a sugar cookie reception in the church narthex. We had such fun hosting our special guests. Now, here comes summer!

The 2018 program was the last one for two of our wonderful, preschool teachers. After many years of dedicated service, Kathy Studer and Dianne Wichterman will be retiring this spring. Thank you so much, Ladies!  You have been such a gift to us. We wish you so much happiness in your new adventures, and we sure hope you will come back to visit us once in a while.

Epiphany Gallery – Featured Artist, Kate Patten

For the month of June, Epiphany Gallery was full of color! Minnetonka student and photographer, Kate Patten, was our student showcase artist this spring! On June 7, she graduated with an International Baccalaureate diploma and completed a senior capstone project as part of her course of study. In the fall she will be attending DePaul University in Chicago. She loves the urban campus and is excited to take a variety of classes to see what interests her most!

The Patten family moved to Minnesota when Kate was in 5th grade. She started Mount Calvary’s confirmation program when she was in 6th grade and after being confirmed Kate began attending our high school youth ministry, The Vine. She’s served on many mission trips, is a small group leader at The Vine, and this year, and volunteered to lead games each week! Kate’s contribution and commitment to our youth ministry has been a constant and joyful gift! She will be missed, but we pray God’s blessings for her as she takes this next step in her life!

About the exhibit:
“When I decided I wanted to do Capstone, my project idea was an easy decision to make. I wanted to explore how color can affect the mood and reception of a photo and overall what each color can represent and how it is used in everyday life,” explains Kate.

For her project, she worked with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet and photographed images highlighting those colors, one color at a time, during the two-week project period. Her friends volunteered to be models as they went out in search of color. The result is a beautiful rainbow of creativity and connection! After creating the photographs, Kate researched and describes what each color is typically known to emote and represent. For us, every color is pure joy!


Foundation News

Mount Calvary Foundation Board members have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Ross McGlasson over his many years of leading the Foundation. Ross was instrumental in the establishment of the Foundation in 1989. He was a member of the Foundation’s first Board of Directors. After getting the Foundation up and running, Ross took a break to attend to the numerous other community activities he has participated in and led. Fortunately, in 2002, Ross returned to the Foundation Board and shortly thereafter took over as its President. The Foundation has been in “good hands.” To state the obvious, Ross McGlasson has many talents. He is smart, he is committed, he has ideas, he is straightforward, he has a sense of humor, he shows up, and most importantly, he is effective.

As a result of Ross’ leadership and stewardship, and the generosity of many in our church congregation, the assets of the Foundation have increased from approximately $190,000 in 2002 when Ross returned to the Board to more than $650,000 today. The Foundation has budgeted and is positioned to make grants in excess of $30,000 this year to support programs at the church, in the greater community, and internationally. Earlier this year, the Foundation Board reluctantly permitted Ross to step down as its President. There were ten no votes and only one yes vote on the resolution. Nevertheless, for some reason the one yes vote prevailed. However, this change came with an essential condition – Ross is continuing as a member of the Foundation Board. We are still in “good hands.”

Ross, the members of the Foundation Board, all current and former board members, thank you for your commitment and guidance in leading the Foundation’s efforts for 16 years. You have been invaluable. We are pleased – extremely pleased – that your active participation and guidance will be continuing.

The Inviting Church

Hospitality and welcome are frequent topics of discussion and focus for congregations like Mount Calvary. What is a visitor’s first impression when entering the atrium? The sanctuary? Does the bulletin assist visitors in navigating our worship? Are our members friendly and warm towards strangers and unfamiliar faces? Do our sermons and prayers reflect the hospitality and grace of Jesus? And, similarly, do our members experience warmth, welcome and gracious hospitality as strongly or stronger than they did years ago?  When we go offsite to do mission projects, do we show the compassion, humility and neighborliness of Jesus? These are important questions that always call out something more and something better from all of us. 

Hospitality and welcome are not just concerns for paid staff, but for all our members. I hope that whenever you gather here or represent Mount Calvary out in the community, you are considering the face you put forward to others. Do you make time for the stranger?  Do you greet and encourage and invite others into those things that matter to you? Do you represent Jesus and his teachings about open tables, open arms and open communities that are sanctuaries of grace? These are important questions that always call out something more and something better from all of us.

How many neighbors and friends have you invited to come be a part of our fellowship and mission? I would like to encourage and raise the bar of expectation for all of us. I want you to commit to inviting and welcoming others to worship with us, come to a Bible or study class, participate in our youth or confirmation programs, or check out what we are about in mission and see if it fits them. Instead of “wondering” about that neighbor you haven’t seen at church for a while, call them.  Ask them to join you at something or go for coffee. I also want you to be evangelists: tell the story of our outreach ministries: invite someone to join you at a packing event of Many Hands Many Meals; tell parents of preschoolers about the best Preschool in these western suburbs with our team of teachers who have a higher degree of licensure, training, and experience than any other and who have a passion for children;  tell a neighbor about our Academy of Music and encourage youth and adults to sign up for lessons…it’s a program that other congregations locally and nationally are seeking to replicate.

Hospitality is just another form of generosity and care. It is grace in action. It is sharing what you value with another and inviting them into this place where the Holy Spirit inspires and stirs up. Ask, seek, and knock…on your neighbor’s door! You will be surprised how many wonder what took you so long.

Your neighbor, 

Pastor Dave