Dear Members & Friends –

Lent comes early this year. Ash Wednesday is February 10! But this does not catch the pastors and staff at Mount Olivet by surprise. Our creative staff has set the theme for our Wednesday Lenten services: “The Way of the Cross: Traveling the Via Dolorosa.” Artwork will focus our attention on the traditional Stations of the Cross. Join us for midweek services – and on Sunday, so that when Easter arrives we will be prepared to shout “Alleluia!” and know the deep significance of the most momentous event in history.

Please note: There are revisions to the times for services on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Budget: We now have a more complete picture of the gifts received in 2015 and we are pleased to report that we had an excellent response to our “Pleas with Please” letter. Envelope offerings for Christmas Eve / Day were up 27%. We also did our promised belt tightening and under spent our budget! Final results will be reported to the congregation on February 21 at the annual meeting. In preparation for 2017’s budget, our Chief Operating Officer, Tom McNally, and I will soon start doing departmental evaluations to determine where we might further trim expenses to be in alignment with anticipated income. We will work with program directors and pastors to make sure departments are adequately staffed and identify where volunteers may be efficiently used to the benefit of the volunteer and the church. And, we all know the way forward for a great church is not all about cuts, so attention to our Stewardship program will remain a high priority. Tell the inspiring story of Mount Olivet and its mission and ministry and ask the people. That is the simple formula.

Task Forces: During this interim time, some have noticed my love of utilizing task forces. In addition to the Transitional Planning Task Force and the Building Expansion Task Forces for West Campus and for the James Avenue project at Minneapolis, I have asked Business Administrator, Nancy Nash, to draw key people together to look at our needs surrounding our Minneapolis sound system, opportunities for streaming worship services and special concerts, and evaluating our radio and possible television presence. We will have a report and a proposal by the spring.

Thank You: I close with a note that accompanied a year-end gift. It was addressed to the pastoral staff: “Please accept this gift as a small measure of our gratitude for the way our souls are fed at Mount Olivet. You inspire, challenge, and deepen our faith without fail – every week. We are grateful.” May I respond on behalf of the staff and say that we are inspired, challenged, and motivated to excellence in ministry by the faithful and good people of Mount Olivet. Believing, Belonging, Becoming ... For the sake of Christ, His Church and the world.

-Pastor Johnson

Save the Date THE ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING of Evangelical Mount Olivet Lutheran Church
Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 1pm (following the 12noon worship service) in the main sanctuary at the Mpls Campus.