Partnership with Gethsemane Lutheran

All In with Gethsemane Lutheran Church

What makes for a successful partnership? Cohesion? Mutual respect? Common goals? In Mount Calvary’s partnership with Gethsemane Lutheran, both churches look for ways to learn from each other, grow together, and work together as one body in Christ. “We’re all healthier when we’re working together for the whole,” says Gethsemane’s Pastor Jeff Nehrbass.

Gethsemane is located on Colfax Avenue in North Minneapolis. The church was established by a congregation of Norwegian Lutherans in 1893, and they have a brick building that looks like lots of other Lutheran churches in the city, but now they face many challenges due to their changing neighborhood. The area is transient, with many people moving in and out. Pastor Jeff says that people move away when they can afford to, due to gang violence, drug trade, and the proximity of level-three sex offenders.

The neighborhood struggles with stress and violence. The people of Gethsemane work hard to “turn the temperature down” in their neighborhood. They did an assessment and found ways to address immediate needs in the area. The first order of business was to help people with some of their basic requirements, like food and childcare. They opened a food shelf, created a growing preschool that provides a place for 40 kids, and they hope to expand to 60. They hold neighborhood block parties with barbecues and peace walks. The goal is to find ways to interact with people where they are, in ways that will be meaningful to them.

At Mount Calvary, we look for ways to be reminded that our ministry is bigger than our own backyard.  “We look for opportunities to do ministry together; to build each other up,” says Mount Calvary Pastor Aaron.  Pastor Aaron and his family have spent time at Gethsemane baking bread in a brick oven for block parties. He and other Mount Calvary members also have accompanied our 8th graders, who go to Gethsemane for a day of service as part of their Confirmation program. The 8th graders help in the food shelf, organize and clean in the preschool, and do outside chores for neighborhood residents. One year they used their confirmation offerings to purchase and bring 60 yards of mulch to contribute to the grounds.

This year our 8th graders will go to Gethsemane on April 6th to partner with them in service. We look forward to an enduring partnership with Gethsemane, as one more way to reach out and invite others under the umbrella of God’s love. As Pastor Jeff says, “It is wonderful to be able to be in partnership and to be accompanied in the walk that we do together, here on the North side. We can learn from each other, we can grow together in partnership, and we can learn what it means to be One Body in Christ.”


Quilting News – End of Year Report

We can’t cure poverty but we can help poor people feel a tiny bit comfortable person by person. This year our quilts helped 913 people feel a little more comfortable and cared for and hopefully a little bit warmer. Nancy Fleagle shared some very interested stats with us. We started this very important ministry in May 2006 and didn’t start to keep track of how many quilts we made and delivered until 2009 but since then the number is 8,420! So pat yourself on the back, Ladies, as that’s a whole lot of quilts.

Along the way we added other items to donate: pillows, blankets, toiletries, warm hats and scarves knit by some of our knitters. In fact, this month there were two vehicles packed to the gills. I overheard Nancy F. tell Carol that Vicki Roal, one of the drivers, said she’d take out 2 seats in her van to make more room for donated items. Carol is the other driver and besides doing that has found time to move to their new home (we’re waiting for an address, Carol), and go to the school holiday programs of two of her grandchildren. Nancy Fleagle has taken time to host Thanksgiving gathering for 27 in her family and will have the whole group again for Christmas and probably New Year’s. Nancy also watches for special sales at Joanns, as we do need “manly” fabrics from time to time. We’re still using the mammoth group of fabrics that Bev Schroer donated when her daughter Lisa got loose at garage sales, but many of those fabrics are “ladies” fabrics, thus the need for manly fabrics.

Let me back up for a minute. I think of this every time I look at our store room. It’s thanks that we can find anything in that room and that batting gets ordered so we have enough to make quilts each week. I can remember the early years when we had absolutely no storage space and had to drag everything home between quilting sessions. This is a huge improvement! But the storage room doesn’t keep itself organized.

One of the items in the storage room is quilt kits, meaning blocks cut so we can sew 6 across and 10 down for a quilt top. Now that Christmas is almost over, think about whether you can help to sew up some kits from time to time. And speaking of quilt kits we’re having a cutting party on the 5th Thursday in January, to cut 8″ strips and to sew up some kits for those who can’t stand to do the cutting. We’ll do everything except tie quilts that day. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you as we get closer.

Thank you to all of you who find sheets at garage sales and thrift shops for our quilt backings. I think I hit pay dirt when I find 6, but then I hear Maie tell about bringing in 13 and Carol cleaning out a good part of a basement thrift shop’s sheet storage up north. We did get some darker colored sheets when we put a note in the bulletin that we could use those. The backing sheets are like feast and famine; we either have lots or are almost out. But if you stop to think of it, when we make 80-90 quilts a month, if we don’t get any sheets donated for 3 months that could wipe out our supply.

In case you wonder why we are hoarding beanie babies, well, we aren’t exactly. We did get two generous donations after the last quilts on the pews and are doing something we did before when we had an overload of the little critters. We will be taking some to Harriet Tubman Shelter, a shelter with a lot of little kids, sometime this winter, so they have a toy of their own.

Our stick pins are getting dull, or I should say duller, so we need to bring a couple of cakes of soap, as that really helps the pin slide through the fabric when you stick the pin into the bar of soap first. We’re actually starting to get almost low on light colored sewing thread for the machines but will let you know when we need some.

So relax over Christmas, have an extra cup of tea with a cookie, and even take a nap. Then on January 3rd we’ll be ready to “hit it” again. Thank you for all your donations and mainly for showing up week after week to help with this very important ministry. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A Message from Pastor Dave 12-28-18

Now every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor. Luke 2:41-52

Just a note. The boy Jesus did not stay in that Temple. In fact, if you follow the story throughout the Gospel of Luke, you will find Jesus spending most of his time in places other than a place of worship. You will find him on a hillside feeding a crowd of hungry people, where his disciples say, “Let’s move on, what can we hope to do among so many hungry folks?” And he responds to them the same way he did to his parents, “Didn’t you know, I need to be here?” You will find him eating with sinners, touching lepers, healing the sick, forgiving the ones no one else would forgive, while the people said again and again, “What are you doing? Why are you so concerned about such people?” And he answers, “Didn’t you know, I need to be here?” In Luke’s Gospel, you will find Jesus face to face with his enemies, forgiving those who tortured him and hanging on a Cross. And as his followers and foes alike look on him with growing questions and disbelief, he says, “Didn’t you know? I need to be here.”

I need to be here in such places, Jesus teaches, because this is where God stands. And when people come looking for me, I want them to know that I can be found in God’s house. And I can be found among the hungry and those needing to be healed. And I can be found toe-to-toe in those encounters with my enemies and in the experience of suffering and death. I can be found on hillsides, lakesides, streetsides, bedsides, in your homes, in your church and where you work. I need to be in such places, Jesus taught us, because that’s where God’s people are. That’s the view we have looking out the windows on our world, and we need to know that He is with us. Standing on the unmerited love of God. Standing on the unmerited, free gift of life. Standing on God’s Word, uttered from the first moments of creation until now.

Following yet another Christmas and entering another new year, times it seems that many of us are given to a little more reflection and introspection than usual, I ask you, do you know where you stand? In your own seeking after Jesus, or searching for meaning, truth, or purpose, do you know what supports you and holds you up? When you consider the view out the windows of your life at this moment in time, do you know where you stand? And do you know the One who stands with you?

And in those days when your faith is such that you feel like Mary and Joseph frantically trying to find the son they fear they have lost, do you know where to go to find Jesus? Perhaps a good place to start is in those places he said he must be. 

Linked In Prayer 1-19

Linked In Prayer

 As we begin this new year, Psalm 136 provides a pervasive message that is most helpful as it resounds in our heart and mind. 

Give Thanks to the Lord, For God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever!

  • I invite you to set aside time to read these verses slowly. 
  • Close your eyes, let God’s word sink into your being.
  • Read the passage daily for a week or for a month. 
  • Write a portion of the passage on a post-it note so you can easily see and remember it. 
  • Move the post-it around to allow it to be seen and remembered. 
  • Pray this prayer for others as an outpouring of love.
  • Notice how the Holy Spirit is working through the passage into your life. 

Blessings to you in your relationship with God!


1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 

2 O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 

3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

4 who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

5 who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

6 who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

7 who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

8 the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

9 the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

Psalm 136:1-9 NRSV


Give Thanks to the Lord, For God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever!

Christmas 2018 Services

Christmas Worship At Mount Calvary 2018 


Pre-Christmas Eve  

Wednesday, December 19 @ 7:00pm 

Pastor David Olson –  “For Everyone Born, a Place at the Stable” 

Music by Chancel Choir, harp, organ, and flute 

We are once again offering a “Pre-Christmas Eve” worship service for those in our community who travel over the holidays and are unable to attend Christmas Eve services at Mount Calvary. This service will be the same as our 10:00pm services on December 24. 


Weekend Christmas Services 

Saturday, December 22 @ 5:00pm 

Sunday, December 23 @ 9:00 and 10:30am 

Pastor Brenda Legred –  “The Best Present Ever” 

Music by Saturday Worship Band – featuring North Country Girls with Pat Frederick on fiddle and Diane LaMere on piano sharing Christmas music with a ‘back home’ country/folk style. 


Christmas Eve Services 

Monday, December 24 

Pastor David Olson –  “For Everyone Born, a Place at the Stable” 

1:00pm – Cantate Choir, organ and trumpets 

2:00pm – Cantate Choir, organ and trumpets 

3:00pm – Bel Canto, organ and trumpets 

4:00pm – Bel Canto, organ and trumpets 


Candlelight Service 

10:00pm – Chancel Choir, harp, organ and flute 


Christmas Day 

Tuesday, December 25 @ 10:00am 

Pastor Brenda Legred –  “Good News for All” 

Music by Mount Calvary Bells, and organ 


First Weekend of Christmas 

Saturday, December 29, 2018 – 5:00pm 

Pastor Aaron Werner –  “God’s in the House” 

Music by Saturday Worship Band, featuring Pat Frederick on fiddle 


Sunday, December 30, 2018 – 9:00 and 10:30am 

Pastor Aaron Werner  –  “God’s in the House” 

Music by Lauren Marty, harp; Maya Schrof, flute; and Susan Lindvall, guest organist 

Pastor Dave’s Message 12-14-18

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38

In a small rural town far north of the King’s palace, a town called Nazareth, a teenage peasant girl was visited by an angel. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, who traced his ancestry all the way back to King David. Joseph, however, was not royalty. He was a carpenter, a simple laborer who was about as likely to see the inside of the royal palace as any other peasant. He was proud of his ancestry, but in real terms it meant nothing. The angel, Gabriel, brought some unsettling news. She was to have a baby. God was going to use her womb as His dwelling place. And the son, Jesus, was to be the long-awaited Messiah whose kingdom would last forever. And do you notice that the angel doesn’t ask her “Are you up for the challenge?” He doesn’t ask her if she is willing or not to take this project on. He doesn’t ask her how her schedule looks for the next nine months. Nor does he promise her that Joseph will stick around after he finds out she’s pregnant. He doesn’t reassure her that the people of her town and her parents will be understanding, that her pregnancy will go smoothly, and the labor will be easy. He says simply, “Mary, God chooses you. The Son of God will dwell within your womb. You will name him Jesus.” And Mary says, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Let it be just as you have spoken.”

God will dwell where God chooses. God will come in the ways God chooses. God is not a God who dwells in temples and cathedrals, but in and among His people. And at this very moment, God is still choosing. God is still fashioning you and me and this community of faith as dwelling places for His Son and Spirit. And he doesn’t come on tiptoes asking if now is a good time for us. He doesn’t come asking if we could carve out a little time for Him nor does He promise that everything will go smoothly. Jesus, the Son of God, is not coming soon to a sanctuary near you. He’s coming to you. And you can either live with reality and align yourself with the will and workings of God, or you can try to live around it and deny that God has anything to do with you. Mary, for her part, despite whatever fears, misgivings and uncertainties raced through her mind, said “At your service, God. Here I am. Let it be with me according to your Word.”

Gabriel stood before Mary and said, “You, favored one, will be the dwelling place for Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world.” Mary said “Whatever that means, wherever that leads, however that is to come to pass, yes. Here I am. A servant of the Lord.” If by chance this Christmas you should encounter just such a messenger, I hope that you would be given the grace to respond like Mary. I hope that you would recognize all the reasons you should be afraid and yet heed the angel’s words, “Fear not.” And I hope that you would lift up your eyes from your shoe-tops and look square into the face of God and say, “Here I am Lord. A work in progress. Your dwelling place. Let it be with me, also, according to your Word.”

Pastor Dave’s Message 12-7-18

John the Baptizer said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. Luke 3:7-18

John the Baptizer came preaching to the people that the promised Messiah was coming soon. There was some unfinished business to attend to before his arrival. There was a need for the people to make ready to receive him, to confess their sin and turn away from those things that were too easily given the place of God in their lives. John the Baptist spoke of a new hope God was about to present to the world, inviting the people to join him in turning their hearts back to God.


Advent brings John’s message back into our midst. We have preparations to make, unfinished business to attend to, sins to confess. All because God has cradled hope on our doorsteps in the person of Jesus, the incarnation of Good News and undying love. Jesus has come to us today and into our lives with an invitation to live with hope, live with joy, and live at peace. Jesus has come seeking to restore and rebuild what our sin has broken down, to heal such things as only His Spirit can make whole.


As part of your Advent preparation, I would invite you to consider your unfinished business. What are those things which cast long, dark shadows across your life and the lives of those around you? What are your obstacles to living with faith and with hope? What is it that is depriving you of a peaceful soul? Who are those people to whom you have amends to make or whom you pray would come to you? Where is it that forgiveness could be offered but has been withheld out of pride or spite? What change of attitude is needed for you to make way for hope?


Some of the answers to those questions may be easy and dealing with them relatively painless. Others may be difficult and the thought of dealing with them quite painful. In some instances, the injustice or hurt may be so great that the thought of working through it may seem next to impossible. In any case, there is urgency to begin. Life lived always in the shadow of unfinished business is so much less than what it needs to be.


Like John the Baptizer, I would direct your attention to the one who is greater than any prophet, pastor or priest. Greater than any psychologist, therapist or counselor. The One who through God’s own Spirit brings his healing and comfort to us now. See Him as the hope, your hope, for freedom from whatever it is that keeps you from peace.


“All of us have unfinished business,” said a hospice nurse. “No one can die in peace until it is put to rest.” As the story of Jesus unfolds, you see how He came to put all unfinished business to rest. To restore hope where it had been lost and to strengthen it where it had become weak. He came to announce hope for those who felt hopeless and to reconcile all of God’s children to God. It is for this gift that we prepare our hearts. It is for this reason that we make room for the gift of hope, for the gift of reconciliation, for the gift of peace.


Advent is about remembering that never, ever, do we live without hope. Never, ever, do we make our way without God. We have a hope that can turn hardened hearts and brooding vipers into a people who prepare the way of the Lord and then walk in it. A people who sing about and tell others that God is coming straightaway and His kingdom is so near to you that you can see it. Not only that, but you can live in it. Today.

Pastor Dave’s Message 11-30-18

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3:1-6

Every year, the second weekend of Advent, John the Baptizer appears in our readings with his distinctive look and his distinctive message. Every year, the second weekend of Advent, John the Baptizer shows up not only in the wilderness of Judea, but in the wilderness we call Mount Calvary. For those of us accustomed to hearing John’s story, we know the mighty action of God about to follow. We know that John’s presence means that God is about to do a new thing among His people and there are preparations to be made. In the days of John and Jesus, God’s people believed that the spirit of prophecy (the gift given to men and women who would bring a clear and decisive word from God) had died out several hundreds of years before. The rabbis taught that this spirit would return just before the Messiah would come, just before God would send a new King to ascend the throne of David and save God’s people from their enemies and bring about a new hope. We know that crusty, colorful old John was the surprise God sent the people to stir their hearts and expectations. We know that John, from the moment of his miraculous birth to the aged Zechariah and Elizabeth, was a shock to everyone’s system, a disrupter of everyone’s carefully honed routines and ruts. Everything about him, from his clothing, diet and message screamed “Stay away!” But his words, his faith, his passion…. drew you anyway. God, in God’s very characteristic way, had chosen an unlikely messenger in an out-of-the-way place to open the eyes of those who had become blind, to put a fire in those whose hearts had become burdened and heavy-laden, and to remind the people to keep their eyes wide open for the surprises God was about to reveal. 

People of God, do you have eyes wide open for those surprises God is about to unveil? Do you have that fire kindling within you that is seeking God’s Word and wonders for your burdened and laden heart? Do you trust that God will provide the prophet, the grace, the challenge and the hope you need to know that presence of God has drawn near and that, with God, hope is always yet to be? Would you know it when God’s messenger has shown up in your wilderness and bid you to bring your heart and your minds home?