“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”–Micah 6:8
Mount Olivet's Commitment to Racial Equality, Reconciliation, and Justice
Rooted in God’s love for the whole world made manifest in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church commits itself to promoting equality among all people, opposing racism in all its forms, working for the healing and health of our community, examining our own practices so they better align with Jesus’ vision for the world, and building relationships of trust and solidarity with people in and beyond our congregation so that we may grow together into the people God desires us to be.
For the complete statement of Mount Olivet’s commitments see here.
Parents – Talking with Children about Race, Skin Color, and Culture
Feeling called to discuss race, skin color and diversity with your children, but not sure where to start or how to proceed? You are not alone. The recent killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests in Minneapolis have overwhelmed hearts and minds (and inboxes) with despair and fright, ideas and urgency. Feeling overwhelmed can turn to paralysis just when we want to speak and take action. But what, and how? Join Parent Educator, Sarah Hardy, in a supportive (virtual) place to gain understanding and skills for parenting this important topic and raising kids who uphold the dignity, equality, and value of all people especially those to whom it is being denied. Class will meet virtually via Zoom on Thursdays, 7/9 through 7/30 at 8 a.m. You can register here.
Adults – 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge ©
Participants are invited to engage in one or more activities daily for three weeks to grow more aware of racial inequality and gain confidence in ways to promote greater equity. Created by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Debby Irving, and Dr. Marguerite Penick-Parks, the Challenge offers numerous resources to heighten your inter-cultural awareness and competence. All of Mount Olivet’s pastors are participating. In addition, the pastors have written daily devotions to encourage you in your walk. Participants can also elect to share and process thoughts, feelings, and experiences through a dedicated online forum, administered by Pastor Ruud. The Challenge begins on August 10 and runs daily through August 30. For more information and to register, click here.
Book Discussion – “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and America’s Original Sin
You are invited to participate in facilitated book discussions (conducted by Zoom during the pandemic). On August 18, Pastor Lose will lead the discussion and the appointed text is “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written fifty years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and still poignantly and painfully relevant today. To register, please click here. On September 22, Pastor Dixon will lead the discussion on the book, America’s Original Sin, by theologian and journalist Jim Wallis. To register, please click here.
Virtual Class – Courageous and Compassionate Conversations for Contentious Times
How can we have meaningful, transformative dialogue across sociopolitical and ideological divides? How can we treat others with respect and uphold their humanity even when we vehemently disagree? How can we persist in advocating for social change especially racial equity and justice in our current context? In this four-part online course, participants will explore these questions and more from the perspective of compassionate (or, nonviolent) communication. This class will meet virtually via Zoom on Thursdays, 9/10 through 10/1 from 7-8pm and is facilitated by Reverend Dr. Theresa Latini, Executive Director of Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center. For more information and to register, click here.
Volunteering and Supporting
Partnership with Urban Ventures
One of our long-time ministry partners, Urban Ventures has worked for more than twenty-five years to prepare and send every youth in our local neighborhoods to college or postsecondary education. More recently, they have been taking an active role in helping to rebuild and support Minneapolis communities. Mount Olivet is committed to two endeavors with our partners at Urban Ventures:
- Supporting the Urban Ventures Crisis Response Fund to support families and help small business owners get back in business and revitalize the local economy through loans and relief. Mount Olivet has committed to donating from our summer offerings to this effort. If you would like to make an additional donation, you can do so here.
- Forming a project team made up of volunteers and staff to rebuild and re-open businesses and support the ongoing needs of local families. If you would like to participate on an action team, please contact Laurie Hancer, Coordinator of Service and Volunteers.
Mount Olivet Grab-and-Go Community Meals, every Tuesday and Thursday
Originally started in cooperation with Loaves and Fishes, our Community meal was designed to combat food scarcity in Southwest Minneapolis and was hosted in our Fellowship Hall each Thursday since April of 2019. When the pandemic began, we transitioned to a grab-and-go event and immediately saw an increase in need due to the economic toll being taken by the coronavirus. The social unrest and disruption of recent days has increased the need even more, so we now offer the meal on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are sharing more than 1000 meals a week. Volunteer opportunities to support this are still quite limited because of the precautions we are taking to protect our guests. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.
Monday Greet-and-Give Donation Drives
Both the pandemic and social unrest in response to racial injustice have greatly deepened the need for food and other essential goods among many families in our communities. Each Monday, from 3-6pm, we are holding donation drives at both the West and Minneapolis Campuses. Specific item needs will be updated in the Friday Together @ Mount Olivet email. Partners we are working with include Community Emergency Services, Bountiful Baskets, Holy Trinity Church (Mpls), VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People), St. Stephen’s Human Services, Simpson Housing and Love, INC.
For more than a half-century, Pastor Linton Scott has led Mount Olivet’s efforts to support families in Minneapolis who are in need. He and his army of volunteers faithfully receive donations of household goods and deliver them to families throughout the metro area. Committed to serving persons of all races, national origins, and religions, Pastor Scott is always eager for contributions and additional volunteers. Currently on hold because of the COVID-19 crisis, we hope to resume formal reception of donations soon.
Any monetary donations can be mailed to:
5025 Knox Ave S
Mpls, MN 55419
*checks made out to Mount Olivet – community concern
Developing Cultural Competence
Recognizing that each of us has much to learn about cultural differences, racial bias, and systemic and institutional patterns of racism, we are taking the following steps:
- Staff of Mount Olivet Church and the Mount Olivet Conference and Retreat Center will be participating in training in order to enhance our cultural competency, diversify its work of hospitality and accompaniment, and expand our educational offerings both to our members and the larger community.
- Leaders at both Mount Olivet Church and its Affiliated Ministries will be working with an external consultant and receive training to heighten intercultural competence with regard to creating a welcoming workplace that encourages racial diversity, equity, and reconciliation.
Hospitality and Accompaniment
Mount Olivet is blessed to have a variety of spaces in which to gather for education and support. One of those is the Mount Olivet Conference and Retreat Center. We intend to make those beautiful grounds available in the following ways:
- Provide a complimentary 24-hour retreat package for persons actively leading communities of faith and non-profit organizations whose mission focuses on dismantling racism and other forms of systemic injustice. These retreats can be scheduled on designated private retreat dates as well as midweek dates with available accommodations between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
- Offer free meeting space and use of all amenities for daytime retreats for churches that identify as black, brown, indigenous, or immigrant and for other communities of faith and non-profit organizations whose mission centers on racial equity, justice, and reconciliation. These day retreats can be scheduled on available midweek days between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
- Sponsor a series of online retreats and, when possible, in-person events, aimed at increasing diversity and cultural competency in organizations, dismantling racism in church and society, and fostering the health and healing of persons and communities impacted by systemic injustice. Full scholarships and/or discounted rates will be available for all of these events.
We are providing links to various sites that we have found helpful in providing resources to deepen our awareness and understanding of how to advocate for greater racial equity, combat racism, and live more fully into God’s dream for the world. They are grouped by age below:
Mount Olivet Conference and Retreat Center: The new “Retreat Where You Are” website is filled with inspirational posts and a toolkit for you and your family – prayers, meditations, and activities – to explore and help you through this time. Life may look and feel different right now. You may be anxious about your new daily routine and the uncertainty of the future. No matter how you are feeling, now is the perfect time to retreat. Pause. Take a breath. Center yourself. Click here to visit
Books: The University of Minnesota press has made the following books under the heading “Reading for Racial Justice” available free to read online through August. Click here to view
Film: for the entire month of June the recent film, “Just Mercy”, has been made available to stream for free across digital streaming mediums. Click here for more information
Children and Families
One of the challenges and opportunities of recent days is how to explain to our children what is happening in our community with regard to the deep and painful social unrest stemming from long-standing racial inequalities. The challenge comes from wanting to meet our kids where they are with answers that are age-appropriate and helpful during a turbulent and unsettling time. The opportunity is to awaken them to an appreciation for the wonderful diversity of people in our communities, all of whom we believe are God’s beloved children. To help you navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities with confidence, we’re placing below several links to resources we feel are both helpful and wise.
- Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners: books for children and young adults
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
- Parenting Forward podcast episode ‘Five Pandemic Parenting Lessons with Cindy Wang Brandt’
- Fare of the Free Child podcast
- Integrated Schools podcast episode “Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey”
- PBS’s Teaching Your Child About Black History Month
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup from Pretty Good
- The Conscious Kid: follow them on Instagram and consider signing up for their Patreon
- From the National Museum of African American History and Culture: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race
June 3 –
What Can I Do?
“Few of us can do great things. But all of us can do small things with great love.” – Mother Theresa.
In this week’s Unplugged, Pastor Lose shares an update of Mount Olivet’s efforts to be a place of help, hope, and change and tries to answer the question he’s heard from members who want to help, but wonder if their efforts are too small to make a difference.
May 30 – Part of our life and responsibility as Christians involves, as we say during every baptism, “to proclaim Christ though word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace.” Because we take these promises seriously, Pastor Lose has recorded a pastoral message for the congregation of Mount Olivet in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing unrest.