Confirmation Kicks off Serve the Max Month with Service Project Night!

 
Tonight is the last regular night of Confirmation before the Lenten/Easter break. Groups will hear from the Director of Launch Ministries and work on assigned service projects. All the supplies for the projects were purchased with Confirmation Wednesday night offering. We are very close to our $5000.00 goal.  
 
Here is a quick recap of what we will be doing with about 400 people working together in our building:

6th Grade – will make 540 after-school snack-packs for WeCan which is located in Mound. 

7th Grade:

  • 250 Personal Care Kits for Lutheran World Relief for distribution in disaster areas.
  • Launch Ministry (Carver County) – 40 Cosmetic kits, 30 Art Activity Kits (Young adult) & 36  basic, first aid/self care kits benefiting young adults who are homeless and working to find employment & housing.
  • 100 Food/Snack bags to be included in Military Care Packages for overseas distribution through Molly’s Military Care Package & Veteran Projects.

8th Grade – will assemble 110 Newborn Kits to be distributed in third-world countries through Global Health Ministries.

It will be a busy, high-energy night filled with excitement and love as the confirmands get to see how their offering is being used. It’s amazing how much middle-schoolers can get done in a very short amount of time when they are working to help others!
 
 

MHMM 2018 in Review

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A Message from Pastor Dave – 2/15/19

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. John 15:9-17

This weekend we are in our fifth of six weeks exploring the different ways God calls us to love. There is friendship love philia, romantic love eros, family or nation love storge, and sacrificial love agape. There is also the radical love that Jesus calls forth from his followers: love of the stranger and love of the enemy. Our focus will be on agape, the most commonly used word for love in the New Testament and used to describe the love of Jesus and the love that Jesus commanded, and others wrote about for those of us who follow Him. Agape is used over 250 times as a noun or a verb, nearly 5 times as often as the word for friendship love.

I chose this passage from John for a preaching text on agape because of Jesus’ command to ABIDE in this love. This passage is part of a longer piece and follows Jesus’ comparison of their relationship with Him as being like branches being connected to, abiding on, a vine. “I am the Vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:5) Living with Jesus, living in Jesus and Jesus living in us is living in agape love. Living and dwelling and making our home in the love Jesus has offered and gives freely. This passage and the other passage I chose for this weekend from Colossians 3:12-17 describe lives abiding in such love and both are often chosen as texts for weddings. Agape is the type of loving that makes you both strong and vulnerable, it is the most courageous and compassionate of loves, and it is the kind of love that should be the spine of every family, community and congregation. I described it this way once as I concluded one of my wedding sermons:

Side by side, you are pledging to stand with each other in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, for as long as you both shall live. Side by side, you are pledging to run the race and be there to urge each other on wherever the roads may lead. Today, God promises to run that race with you….to bless it and strengthen it and call it sacred. One family, one promise, one joy. 

 We all know that there is no relationship quite like marriage where love matures and is tested, where loyalty and faithfulness is given and returned, where prayers are fashioned around the ordinary struggles of life, and where two individuals become family. There is no place like this love, when you are wounded or weary and longing to be comforted and held. There is no place like the one you stand in together, wherever that may be, when it is a place filled with laughter, playfulness, faith, love and hope. It is a home where husband and wife share their visions, values and dreams, and that Jesus creates a family which will stand the tests of time.

It is towards such a home that we now send you forth. Go in this love. Go, carrying in your hearts the love we have for you. Go, in the grasp of Jesus, towards a love that will bend, but not break; towards a love that will grow stronger, deeper and wider as days become years; towards a love that will enfold you with the arms of God, and not let go.”

This way of loving is powerful, risky, exciting, and Christ-like. This way of loving allows hope to grow where it otherwise might not and allows trust to develop when it seems improbable to imagine. This way of loving and living and abiding together is perhaps the only way we might stretch to those improbable loves towards the enemy and the stranger. Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” Make your home in my love, Jesus is saying. There is NO place, NO place, like that home.

Mona Affinito Speaks on Reconciliation

Dr. Mona Gustafson Affinito spoke to our Senior Adult Ministry group on the topic “Reconciliation: How to if you want to.” Dr. Affinito is a former college professor and administrator with a private psychology practice. She is also the author of books on the psychology of forgiveness, as well as a fictional novel about the wife of Biblical Job.

So much love in the preschool

Our students had so much fun celebrating love in the Mount Calvary Preschool. We had crafts, songs, and of course, treats!

Happy Valentines Day!

 

 

Prayer Vigil 2-12&13

PRAYER VIGIL FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS

February 12 @7pm & February 13 @11am 
Mount Calvary Sanctuary

Come you who long for peace
Among nations and between peoples
Peace in our homes and our hearts.

Come all who are weary and heavy-laden.
Come to the river of life, lay down your burdens
And pour out your prayers before the throne of the Lamb.

  • Liturgies for the Healing of the Nations-ELCA

As part of the global family, let’s gather together to pray for those who may be lost, in pain, or banished from their homelands. We’ll lift up those who may be sick in body or spirit, those who may be lonely, or those who may be missing loved ones. Praying together can help us discover that still, small voice of calm, and that warming presence that is always in our midst when two or three are gathered.

As a faith community, it’s important for us to provide space for prayer and reflection – not only to call on God for peace, healing and comfort, but to stand in solidarity with our neighbors who are suffering. Please join us as our community gathers to hold vigil and pray on Tuesday, February 12 at 7:00 pm or Wednesday, February 13 at 11 am in the Sanctuary. Bring family, neighbors, coworkers and friends – all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Pajama Days in the Preschool

It’s been cold and snowy outside, but warm and cozy in the Mount Calvary Preschool where we celebrated Pajama Days!

Why love? by Pastor Aaron Werner

God’s love creates life. We asked several Mount Calvary leaders to tell us their stories of how God’s love created new life in them.

One council member talked about her judgmental church upbringing. She was taught to be afraid of God, to dread God’s anger, and to be good enough to escape God’s punishment in hell. This fear of God sucked life from her soul, until she heard a different message at a new church. In this church she heard God loves her and everyone. God desires her and everyone. God’s embraces her and everyone. And the sweet embrace of God’s love banished the bitter old fears, breathing new life into her.

One youth shared how he was alone and afraid amongst his peers, not really sure how to act, not really sure who he was or where he belonged. Until he received an invitation at church. “Come sit with us at worship,” some older kids said.

“Come with us out for lunch,” they invited him. “What are you
doing tomorrow? Come and hang out with us. You’re a part of our group.”

And these invitations were God’s love for him. The welcome of God’s love in the love of his peers drew him out of his loneliness and into new life.

One mom suffered the death of her dad. She carried a life-draining
grief. “God, where are you?” she lamented. Until she saw Jesus again at Good Friday, hanging on the cross and dying there. In Christ’s suffering face, his bloodied brow and pierced hands, she experienced Christ’s embracing her own human suffering and sadness. Jesus’ sacrificial love transformed her grief and resurrected her to new life.

God’s love is the stuff of life. We can have all things, all knowledge, all skill, all discipline, all wealth, all power, but without love we are nothing. When people reach their last days of life and look back what do they talk about? Love, merciful, welcoming, peaceful, long-suffering love. Love is what remains. Love is what endures.

What is the heart of Mount Calvary? God’s love. God’s love is a pillar of our community identity. Why? Because God’s love transforms us and gives us new life. As individuals and as a congregation, without God’s love, we cannot live. The love of God, given and received, is our lifeblood, flowing through us into the world.

LitChicks – The Love of Friends

One of the “four loves” we learned about in our January sermon series, is “philia” or “friendship love.” (If you missed it, listen online.) Friends add so much comfort, love, and joy to our lives. But, sometimes, especially as adults, it’s hard to make friends. People move around more and don’t necessarily live in the same place as their childhood friends.

We hope that you see your church home as a great place to make friends. One of the best ways to make friends is to find a group where members share a common interest and Mount Calvary offers small groups for all ages and interests. One such group at Mount Calvary is LitChicks.

As you might conjecture from the name LitChicks, this group is made up of women who love books. It all started about ten years ago when a couple of church friends decided it would be fun to read and discuss books from a Christian women’s perspective. They originally called their
group the Christian Women’s Book Club, but as time went on the group agreed that name was a little stuffy and didn’t represent them well. The name LitChicks better embodies their reason for being, and the fun nature of the club.

This group is open and welcoming to all women who want to read and have respectful, bimonthly, book discussions. Not everyone has been in the group for years, in fact, last month they welcomed three new members. The LitChicks start their meetings at 7:00 and get right down to business, and unlike some book clubs, they discuss the book! Casual socializing and visiting is saved for after the meeting when
some of the members adjourn to Maynard’s for post-discussion
refreshments. According to club member Mary K. Klein, it’s a toss-up as to how many most appreciate the book discussion or the friendly chat afterwards.

One thing people in the group really appreciate, is the “vetting” that goes into selecting each book. They want to inspire good discussion, so the books they read are “more than just murder mysteries.” They look for good reviews, rich subject matter, and before selecting a book, they
read a synopsis to ensure the quality of the writing and the inclusion of interesting, conversation-worthy subject matter.

Not everyone in the club belongs to Mount Calvary; they are open to all women in the community. Many of the gang are empty-nesters who find they have more time for reading, now that they are not driving kids to activities every night. As Mary K. says, “It’s a good, casual group of respectful readers.”

If you think LitChicks might be a good fit for you, check out their next book Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, which will be up for discussion March 14th. If you would like to know more about LitChicks, you can email Mary K. Klein at mkklein@me.com, or take a look at their, and other small group, offerings on our website at http://www.
mountcalvary.org/get-involved/adult/small-groups/.