Welcome to Mt. Olive's Online Newsletter! This site serves to herald the activities and day-to-day happenings at Mt. Olive, as well as provide resources for continued learning and community awareness. Links on the right point to various groups that operate at Mt. Olive as well as points of interest and additional resources. The space below contains articles and information from the newsletter. A up-to-date church calendar is always at the bottom of the page. Thanks for visiting and please let us know what you think!

For more information on Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church please visit our website.

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Preschool News

Happy Easter! March has been a very busy month here at preschool, we started off with celebrating Lutheran School's Week, by singing at second service on Sunday's March 2nd and March 9th. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and love for the preschool. We hope that you enjoyed our power point presentations provided by the Vicar! Thank you to all of the families that joined us as well. We took a field trip to Dr. Andino's office on March 10th. The children were given a tour of the office and they were able to sit in the big chair! They had a great time learning about visiting the eye doctor. The Chippewa Police Department visited with our students on March 12th and 13th. The children learned about stranger danger and not to be afraid to ask Police Officers for help. We continued learning about God's Word and how much he loves us all through the stories of Jesus in the garden, Peter's denial, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension; as told by Pastor and Vicar Jonathan. We had our Easter Parties, which were handled by the parents! Great good to you all! We will have our Easter break from Thursday, March 20th through Monday, March 24th. We will see our three-year-old student back on Tuesday, March 25th. We hope you all have a safe and happy Easter!
Our service project for the month is Meals-on-Wheels. The students with the help of the teachers and staff decorated bags, made favors and upside down pineapple cakes. Thank you to Jo Martin, who runs the Meals-on-Wheels program, for all her help with this service project.
Our Chapel dates this month are the 26th and 27th, times are as follows; 11:00am, 11:30am, and 2:30pm for Pre-K and 10:30am, 11:00am, and 1:30pm for the 3 year olds. Please join us if you can!
Our preschool students have been preparing for Kindergarten all year and have been visiting the schools where they will be attending Kindergarten in the Fall. This has been a great start to helping in the transition of our students from Preschool into Kindergarten. If you have any questions about transition please give me a call or stop in and see me. Thank you to all the schools for their help and cooperation in this process.
We are still collecting Campbell UPC symbols and Shop-n-Save receipts.....thank you for your continued support of these rewarding programs. If you have any questions about the preschool or any special talents you would like to share with our preschool students, please contact Debbie Levato at 724-847-7291, we are always looking for special and different experiences for the children.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Coal Town Hill

We live in a section of Lawrence County referred to by the “Old Timers” as “Coal town”
One of the roads leading into the area is appropriately called “Coal Town Hill”. This is one of those monster hills that as kids only a few of us could brag about being able to ride our bicycles up ----- there were no gears on bicycles in those days. I believe that this is the highest elevation point in Lawrence County. Our house is inconveniently located in a place that is parallel with the lower section of coal town hill but is inaccessible by road. To walk to our home it is necessary to go north clear to the top of the hill, head west then south to almost the bottom of the hill. The whole time while walking this I am tempted to trespass through private property to easily reach my house.

Last September I didn’t even like driving up this monster let alone walking it. I wouldn’t think of trying. I first had to get off my seat at the computer and start walking on the level. I started using the treadmills in the senior center near our house. My first attempts were not spectacular. I could do a mile in around 22 minutes with zero elevation. I worked at improving this with limited success. Obviously the extra weight I was taking on the trip didn’t help. I had to change my eating behavior to accomplish my climb up this hill. This change was a gift from God and a testimony of His power and not mine. I asked for His help. Now I leave my house in the morning and walk 1.7 miles to have coffee with some friends, walk another 1.1 miles to the senior center where I walk two 16 minute miles using an 8% elevation and then walk the remaining 1.2 miles home by way of coal town hill.

Tithing is the same way. There was a time when I didn’t even think of trying -- too hard, I can’t do it. I had to change my mind set to accomplish this. Like the climb up Coal Town Hill it took training and prayer. Most of us can not go from zero giving to ten percent in a moment’s notice. We have to first get off the chair and start. First we need to have a change in mind set. We need to ask God to help us get rid of the excess weight in our budgets so that we are in a position to give to Him first. Some budget changes are easy, others take a while to implement. Sometimes we are stuck with some past decisions that take time and planning to extricate ourselves from. Tithing is a spiritual exercise -- we feel closer to God when we tithe. There are also temporal benefits. When we watch our expenses close enough to tithe, we always seem to be able to save for emergencies. Our financial and spiritual lives simultaneously improve. Like being able to climb that monster hill we are in better shape because we took those important first steps.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Trustees Meeting

The trustees had a meeting on Sat. March 15Th. We decided to have a spring clean up on April 19Th. Keep that date available. We will need painters and grounds help and we can always use a couple good cleaners.
We also discussed the emergency lights in the old building. They are not working and we are going to check them out and find out what we need to replace or fix them.
The last thing we discussed is that if any member has a complaint or suggestion about anything concerning the cleaning or up keep of the church to PLEASE call me so we can take care of it or investigate your concern.
That's about all for now. Hope you all have a Blessed Easter.
God Bless, Bryan Leslie

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From the Pastor...March 2008

"Maundy" Thursday. Most people don't have a clue to what the term "Maundy" means. The word "Maundy" is derived from the Latin verb "mandare" meaning "to command" or "mandatum" meaning "commandment." The day gained the name "Maundy" NOT because Jesus gave the command to observe the Lord's Supper, but actually from the Gospel reading for the day, John chapter 13, where he says these words: "A new commandment I give you. Love one another." And although most of us associate the day with the institution of Holy Communion, the overarching theme is this other command of Jesus: "Love one another; even as I have loved you, love one another."

Perhaps we need to back up a little bit and set these words in context before we try to elaborate on their meaning and significance in relation to the day. John begins chapter 13 with a somber, reflective comment onn what was the eve of Jesus' crucifixion. "Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love." We are informed that all of the props for the evening's drama were in place. The evening meal had been prepared. The devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus. And suddenly, Jesus--on this, the eve of his crucifixion--springs into action. He rises from the table, takes off his outer clothing, wrapts a towel around his waist, pours water into a basin--and begins to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with a towel.

Several verses are then spent on a little "trist" between Jesus and Peter. Peter tells Jesus: "Heaven forbid, Lord, YOU shall never wash my feet!" And Jesus informs him that it is necessary for him to wash him, and other, to "make them clean."

The story really gets to the point with verse 14, as Jesus says to his disciples:

"Now that I, your teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set before you an example, that you should do as I have done for you...A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE TO YOU--LOVE ONE ANOTHER. AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, SO YOU MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER."

Now, these are awfully interesting words of Jesus, aren't they? Jesus COMMANDS, ORDERS his followers to "love one aother." Ever think about that? Just 'cause I tell you to love someone, doesn't mean you're going to be able to do it--am I right? On one level, love can't be COMMANDED, can it? If by love I mean a warm, gushy feeling toward another.

Even when we think of a man and woman loving each other...think of a time when marriages were arranged, when brides were bought and sold for a dowry price. How awful not to be able to marry for love! LOVE is an emotion, right? A feeling.. not something that can be forced or manufactured or created by an act of will power!

To further confuse issues, the prophet Jeremiahh speaks of day when God would write "the law on his people's hearts." This prophecy presumably fulfilled with the coming of Jesus. In other word, people would love not because the were TOLD to but because they would WANT to. They would love without being threatened or cajoled into doing it.

And yet, Jesus here utters a COMMANDMENT. HE tells them they must now LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Why the need for a commandment?

Could it be that this new, Spirit engendered response of the Christian, of our love to God's love, can be so easily stifled and snuffed out, that a commandment IS necessary? Perhaps we need a command, even as Christians, because, viewing love as we so often do as a mere emotion, we are so unpridictable in our loving. Could it be that the shadow of laziness haunts our love? Could it be that as Christians, perhaps more so as Christians, we need to be reminded that love is hard work, that it has to be more lip service. And that therefore it is more appropriate to speak of love as something which CAN be commanded.

SO, you see, there IS a sense in which love can be commanded. To command love is to realize that our feelings need to be undergirded by determination and effort. If Jesus is telling us anything, he is telling us that love is NOT just a gushy, sentimental feeling. Love is an ACT of caring and sharing. Folk singer Pete Seeger one wrote that, in his opinion, SHARE is actually a better word than love, because it is more descriptive of what loving is all about. "To love is to share our vulnerablity and neediness of one another, giving and receiving help." So don't just talk about love, SHOW it! That's what Jesus is getting at.

Remember that footwashing is not necessarily a pleasurable experience. Feet are often stinky and in Jesus' day were very dirty. Foot washing was normally relegated to a servant, and was not done by the host. But that brings up an important point. Not all loving work which need to be done is enjoyable. We cannot be commanded to LIKE a person, but love goes deeper than liking. God doesn't necessarily expect us to LIKE our neighbor. HE does expect us to LOVE our neighbor. At the very least we can see that person as someone for whom Christ died. The bible calls this kind of love "AGAPE," which is loving, expecting nothing in return. It helps love to stay alive evne when people are not at their best, even at times when they are not particularly lovable.

"Love one another." So many times, loving one another is seemingly impossible. SO many times we are tempted to give up. But even in his command, Jesus supplies our needs, empowers us to love! The very sight of the soon to be crucified Jesus, who, thought king of the universe, condescends to take a towel and wash feet, on the eve of his death, compels us to hear, and obey. His words are true. And example is, after all, the best teacher.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


It may seem a little early to be talking about Christmas but it does sneak up on us each year. There are concepts presented here that we may want to pray about for awhile. Ron

It irritates me when I see Christ being taken out of Christmas. That is not limited to only non-Christians--even Christians have adjusted to the commercialism of the holiday season. Obviously, not all of it is bad--in fact the holiday season provides the opportunity for families to reunite and also provides a pleasant break from our routines. I personally look forward to these days as an opportunity to visit with friends who are much too busy at other times in the year to just stop and relax.

But we have become terribly imbalanced. We give a myriad of useless gifts at Christmas because it's expected of us and we feel guilty if we don't. The commercialized world now makes a $100.00 toy seem perfectly normal. It's easy to observe the stress that our imbalanced society places on family members. Christian parents who cannot provide the latest indulgences to their children are often depressed and distraught. Obviously, no one purposely makes them feel unworthy or insignificant, but the overwhelming emphasis we place on giving at Christmas certainly does.

So great is this social pressure that the closer we get toward Christmas Day, the more depressed and unworthy those who can't indulge feel. Unfortunately the pressures don't end once Christmas is past either. Those who can't afford to compete in their gift-giving often dread congregating with their friends immediately after the holidays, because at "show and tell" time they don't have much to show. It is not a conscious act on the part of most people to openly display their pride. Rather, because we are in a competitive society we often determine a person's worth by his ability to buy things. "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).


One extreme is not balanced by going to the opposite extreme. The distortion of Christmas won't be corrected by eliminating all gift-giving and observing Christmas as a "religious" holiday. The fact is, we do live in this world, and our families are greatly influenced by others. What we need to do is swing back toward the middle and eliminate the need to compete with others. Then we will have the freedom to develop God's plan for our families without the pressure from the commercial world.

In order to do so, I believe that as Christians, we must first believe that God's plan is different from the world's, and is more--not less--fulfilling. It is a deception to think that by adopting a more disciplined lifestyle we are somehow denied the "good life." It's like saying that by avoiding drugs, we deny our children the euphoria that would make them feel "good." But to decide that any and all are evil and absolutely refuse to use them makes for a painful experience if you have to have a broken leg set. The key, as always in God's plan, is balance. That always comes from following God's wisdom.


Gift-giving at Christmas is a relatively new idea. Until a couple of centuries ago, Christmas was reserved as a religious holiday on a noncommercial basis. Many of our forefathers would have believed that trading presents on the day set aside to observe Christ's birthday was near blasphemy. However, gift giving became a generally accepted practice and was used primarily to show appreciation to loved ones. Gifts were usually simple, regardless of the means of the giver so as to not embarrass those who couldn't afford to give very much. For a long while in most countries, gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day (not a bad idea today--think of the great buys you could get!). Christmas gifts were limited to food for the poor or special gifts to pastors and missionaries.

As with most things that start out right, somewhere along the way the direction shifted. By the early twentieth century, families were exchanging simple gifts, usually handmade, on Christmas Day. Certainly there was really nothing wrong with that, except that under the growing influence of secularism it was a golden opportunity for Satan to divert our attention from Christ to Santa Claus. By post-World War II, Santa was the dominant figure at Christmas and December was the calendar month for retail sales of all kinds.

How did it happen? It would seem apparent that Christians aren't as wise in the things of the Lord as non-Christians are in the things of the world. The secular world is always looking for ways to shift attention from God to material things, and we're naive enough to go along. By the time we realize that our whole direction has been diverted, as it has been at Christmas, we believe it's too late to change, so we give up. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world" (1 John 2:16).


By anyone's standard, the way Christmas is celebrated today is a gross commercialism of the most important birth in history. But we don't need to preach to the unsaved world to put Christ back into Christmas. They shouldn't; we should. One thing I learned a long time ago in counseling is not to try to overcorrect too quickly. Not only are past habits, such as overindulging at Christmas, difficult to change, but quite often others around us don't see things just the way we do. If you attempt to stamp out all Christmas gifts suddenly, you'll end up with a revolt on your hands. The correct way to is make some positive steps to establish a better balance.

Step 1: Stamp out Santa Claus. Christian parents should let their children know that Santa is a fraud. Santa's harmless you say? Not so, when parents knowingly deceive their children about an apparently omnipotent being who travels the world in the wink of an eye and disburses presents on the basis of good or bad. It may be a small matter, but it is a place to start.

Step 2: Husband and wife should pray together and agree on a reasonable amount of gift-giving. Once you have reached a decision that you feel is God's plan for your family, don't get caught by Satan's condemnation as Christmas approaches. The pressure to buy when everybody else is buying will be difficult to resist unless you absolutely agree. And again, I repeat, don't overcorrect. Develop a balanced attitude that will accomplish your goals over the next few years.

One method that has proved successful to many families is to commit an equal amount spent on gifts to feeding the truly needy. In many areas of the world, an amount equal to most of our gift purchases would feed and clothe a family for several months. By giving to a specific family through a Christian organization, your children can see the purpose and value of your sacrifice and theirs. "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).

Step 3: Stamp out credit. As bad as commercialized Christmas is, commercialized Christmas on credit cards is even worse. Many families literally indenture themselves to creditors for a whole year just to buy some useless junk at Christmas. As Christians, we need to decide if we really serve the God of the universe. If so, then He knows our needs and will meet them through His people without indebtedness.

I know that some of the people reading this have desperate needs. I also know that others sincerely want to help but don't know who has needs. The use of credit allows those who have needs to temporarily buffer themselves from God's real source. "As it is written, 'He who gathered much did not have too much and he who gathered little had no lack'" (2 Corinthians 8:15). I believe Satan has used credit cards to cheat God's people out of blessings and to keep them in bondage.


With all the other important issues to deal with, such as crime, abortion, and drugs, a logical question would be, "Why bother with such a minor issue as gifts at Christmas?" Because gift-giving is one area totally under our control, and like the Easter bunny, it is leaven that Satan sprinkles in the church. The practice of giving gifts is not the problem, just as the use of credit is not the problem. It is the misuse of these things that entangles us and diverts attention from Jesus Christ to material things.

We have enlisted in God's army and now find we can't identify the real enemy
"No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier" (2 Timothy 2:4).

Our problem is that we keep trying to negotiate a compromise with an enemy who is totally dedicated to destroying us. It's time that, as Christians, we decide to draw a battle line again. When it comes to commercializing Christ's birth or resurrection, we need to establish a balance.

"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17).

Economic Stimulus Package

I received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service yesterday telling me that a tax rebate check will be sent later this year. The concept is total anathema to me but I will swallow my ideology and accept the check. The president and congress want me and 116 million others to spend this money with abandon in the hope that it will stimulate the economy and ward off a recession.

I learned about an interesting concept from my two grandfathers when I was a child, they were both astute money managers, the concept is called saving. When I studied Economics in College, I learned a fancy term for saving. The term is called “Marginal propensity to Save”. This term simply defined by the science of economics says that for each extra dollar of income received a portion goes into savings. This concept has a companion term Called “Marginal Propensity to Consume“, for each extra dollar of income received a portion will be spent on goods and services. The two numbers will always add up to one. As far as I know there is no provision in their theory for giving. I have not heard of a marginal propensity to give except in God‘s word. God asks that we give ten percent of our income to him through his body the church. This automatically gives every Christian a marginal propensity to give of 0.1. Hence, 10% of this rebate should go to God through His Church.

Some might say that this is not helping the economy -- “you are supposed to buy worthless junk with that rebate“. Imagine this money going into the mortgage fund at Mt Olive. From there it goes to the Lutheran Church Extension Fund to help pay off our loan. The extension fund then lends this money to other congregations to build. These congregations then hire contractors, buy materials and employ people to build church facilities so that more people will be drawn into the Kingdom of God. What a triple win situation! People are employed building useful buildings, the economy is still helped and God‘s work is facilitated. Depending on your situation the check can be split into giving, saving, and spending. Paying down debt, a form of saving is another option. Think about it between now and when the check arrives, we are even free to give it all to God’s work.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Preview of May 11, 2008 Testimony

Truthfully -- I really do not want to give this talk today. I hastily agreed to be here when I was caught in the emotion, and manipulation, of a meeting discussing our deepening financial situation. I am here because I committed to be here. I am at odds with my commitment. My intellect says this is not the way to solve this problem. Many of you are strongly committed to this congregation and the work of the Lord. Why do you need to sit through weekly presentations designed to prod, or shame, you into additional giving when you are already sacrificing? Why are we subjecting everyone to these talks? It is my contention that those of you who are committed will rise to the challenges presented if you are simply asked one time privately -- by letter, personal contact or a posting on the blogspot..

The fact remains that we have a large portion of our membership that does not support the work of this congregation with any financial contribution. There is another segment that offers minimal support. I personally call those who support this congregation with time talents and treasures partners. Others might use the term disciples. Partners understand their responsibilities and are motivated to honor their duties and commitments. (Philippians 1:3-6)

Those who give little or nothing, excepting those in legitimate financial need, I refer to as customers. Customers have not taken ownership of the ministry. Customers are not givers -- they are takers. Customers will not commit and will be gone if the situation causes them affliction or there is a better deal down the street. Nothing I can say will change this. This change from customer to partner can come only through the Holy Spirit. I will pray for God’s will concerning finances to be discerned by all of us and I will pray for us to respond in obedience. I will pray for our customers to become partners -- the door is wide open.

The immediate problem is the monthly mortgage payment for the new addition. We committed to build this edifice and it is now time to pay for it. Up to this point the monthly payment, in the neighborhood of $7,000, has been augmented by money left in the building fund. These residual funds will soon be depleted. It is my understanding that the building fund will be replaced by the mortgage fund. We need to give to this fund separately once a month. I personally have decided to give $100.00 a month to this need in addition to our regular weekly contribution. I am able to do this by taking my afternoon break at the “Senior Center” where coffee and the newspaper is free in lieu of my regular hangout and I am also in recovery from my "Snickers addiction".

I invite your comments on my thoughts.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Eric Knight Bake Sale

Bake Sale for Eric Knight

When: Friday, March 14, 2008
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
What: Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Candy, etc.
Where: Mt. Olive Lutheran Church

If you would like to make bake goods please contact Heather Greco or Kelsey Pagani

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gospel Gang News - March 2008

The Lenten Season is upon us once again. During the month of March, the children will be learning about Lent and preparing to celebrate Easter during their weekly Bible Lessons and class time.
The children will be making Lenten pretzels from scratch. Back by popular demand, this is always a fun hands-on craft and snack.
Our Easter Celebration will be held on March 12. All children Pre-K 4 year olds through grade 5 are welcome to join us.
There will be NO Gospel Gang during Holy Week (March 19th).
A special thank you to Cheryl and Lynnsey Winkle for the delicious homemade pizza that they provided for our Gospel Gang snack.
Anyone wishing to share a craft or talent with our Gospel Gang children may do so by contacting Bonnie Hazelwood @ 724-847-0876.
March Schedule
March 5 - Regular Format 6:00-7:30
March 12 - Easter Celebration 6:00-7:30
March 26 - Regular Format 6:00-7:30

Saturday, March 1, 2008

From the President....

Church council met on February 17. I'm proud to report that the number of activities and ministries continues to grow. The e-newsletter contains many interesting articles. I especially enjoyed reading about the visit with Pastor Tom King. Thanks to Ron and Doreen Hietsch for the update and insight. What a great way to communicate to all of us back here at MT. Olive from Florida.

We have now seen some of the talents of Vicar Jonathon and Lisa Moyer. Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ is a fantastic ministry and was a great opportunity for so many to be a part of. I know the residents and employees at Franciscan Manor truly enjoyed the time spent there. Thank You to all who helped make the weekend possible.

The Parish fellowship committee tells us to mark April 26 on our calendars for the annual wine tasting. Also, congratulations to Kelsey (I stole my husbands recipe) Pagani on the great chili. On August 10, 2008 we will celebrate the 25 year anniversary of Pastor Pingel's installation at Mount Olive.

Knowledge exists in many places…
During World War II, it was determined that people had a lot of knowledge that could be used against the U.S. by axis powers. It was information gained from conversations with service men or from their letters.
In response, the slogan "Loose Lips Sink Ships!" was tacked on bulletin boards. And the slogan was spread across the country. Today, we have something like that problem in reverse. Instead of people talking too much when it comes to what they know, many people in our congregation are talking too little. We are blessed to have so many people with talent and experience, some who share it and some who have not yet. Many resist sharing simply because they are shy, others because they don't think anyone needs them to. Well, we do need you to. Every contribution could help make MT. Olive stronger. I am asking that you consider your area of expertise and to let us know. If there is a way you can contribute, please speak up.
In this case "Loose Lips Save Ships" - and Churches.