Message from the Re-entry Team, 10/8

Re-Entry Team Message, October 8, 2021

Friends, We are not where we thought we would be right now in terms of the pandemic. We had high hopes this summer when Covid infections were heading in a positive direction and people were getting vaccinated. We communicated several things with you in July at the Town Hall on our Covid response, including:

  • This whole thing is hard. We are tired and we wish this was over. This is still true.
  • It is sometimes difficult to know what to do because not everyone approaches the pandemic in the same way, and there is no governing authority telling all PC(USA) congregations what to do.
  • The Delta variant was relatively new and was a concern.

All of the recommendations by the Re-Entry Team, and decisions made by Session have been driven by the latest medical and scientific data available, our values of inclusion and care for one another, and the greatest commandment to love God by loving our neighbor. In the last update in September, we noted it was clear we were in another wave as most of the metrics we monitor were either in “high” or “critical” categories. In addition, we expected with the start of school we would see an increase in those numbers. This has been born out and we continue to see a rise in case numbers and ICU’s in the metro area are almost at capacity. 

A recent post on social media provides a “parable” for our times. “When you’re on a plane for takeoff, the seatbelt sign is on. Once you reach about 10,000 feet the seatbelt sign goes off and the pilot tells you that you may move freely about the cabin until the descent begins. But sometimes you hit turbulence. When that happens, the seatbelt sign goes back on. The pilot did not flip-flop. The pilot did not change her mind. The pilot ran into an unexpected turbulence and recognized that it is no longer safe not to wear a seatbelt. The circumstances have changed, and now the pilot advises everyone to wear their seatbelts for their safety and the safety of others.”

It is clear we are still in a period of turbulence, and we have to continue to wear our seatbelts. We will continue with current practices. We know this is frustrating, but please be patient. Please be generous. Please look out for one another and practice extravagant kindness. We love one another by getting vaccinated if we are able, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and sacrificing some “normal” things as we continue to care for the most vulnerable among us.

It’s time to break out the earmuffs and mittens! Many have commented how wonderful it has been to worship outdoors and we are committed to continue this practice at 9:00 am on Sundays for as long as the weather permits. We will also continue to livestream worship at 10:15 am. We recognize this impacts plans made by the Children’s Ministry team, and they will be working to adapt those plans and provide meaningful formation for our littlest ones.We will arrive at our destination if we remember we belong to God and in belonging to God, we belong to one another. We are in this together, and we will get through these challenging times together.

If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to any member of the Re-Entry Team: Bev Heise, Karen Gerdes, Al Greimel, Anne Klueh, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary or Pastor Bart.

Celebrating Pastor Mary

10th Anniversary Recognition & Celebration for Pastor Mary: Sunday, Sept. 26

How time flies! It’s been 10 years since Pastor Mary Koon arrived at Oak Grove, and we will be recognizing and celebrating her decade of faithful service to the Oak Grove community during both Sunday worship services on September 26, 2021.

Pastor Mary Koon

The Presbytery will lead a special service of thanksgiving, there will be testimonials, a presentation of gifts and there will be a “cupcake” drive-thru in the parking lot immediately following the 9:00 am service.

Please join us for the fun and add your thanks and best wishes to Pastor Mary on this important milestone in her ministry to Oak Grove.

Welcome Kate Lindberg

Oak Grove Welcomes Kate Lindberg, Youth & Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

Hello! My name is Kate Lindberg, and I am so excited to be joining your family at Oak Grove! I have just completed my Clinical Pastoral Education at Mayo Clinic this summer and will be starting my second year at Luther Seminary. I am pursuing my Master of Divinity (M.Div.) with a concentration in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.

I am new to Minnesota, having been born and raised in Massachusetts. I completed my undergraduate degree at a state university where I studied elementary education and psychology. My heart is deeply rooted in youth ministry and empowering the next generation.

Some just-for-fun things about me; I love to be outside hiking, running, the beach, anything! When I have a free minute, reading is one of my favorite pastimes. And lastly, I’m a lover of all animals, so have those pet photos ready!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you, Oak Grove.

Dakota Sites Tour, Oct 23

Tour of Important Dakota Sites in the Twin Cities

Registration is full and we are not accepting new attendees at this time. For more information call the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church office (952-888-4621).

Saturday, October 23, 2021 (8:30 am – 3:30 pm)
Meet at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church at 8:30 am
(2200 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington 55431)

Please join us for a tour of important Dakota sites in the Twin Cities area including Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) 9–10:00 am; Coldwater Spring 10:30–11:30 am; Oheyawah (Pilot Knob) 1–2:00 pm; and the Fort Snelling Prison camp, 2:30–3:30 pm, where 1,600 Dakota women, elders, and children were imprisoned and over 130 people died during the winter of 1862–63.

The tour will focus on Bdote, the center of the Dakota homeland, how it was taken over by the United State Government in the 19th century, how Dakota people were exiled from the state, and how they have returned to their homeland. The tour will be guided by Jeff Williamson, John Crampton, Thomas Shaw, Corinne L. Monjeau-Marz, Syd Beane, Bruce Forbes, and others whose descendants, both native and white, were at these sites.

Participants will provide their own transportation, lunches, and admittance to the Fort Snelling State Park (annual state park pass or $7 daily permit per vehicle). Participants will receive maps and relevant historical materials. A free will donation of $10 or more will be accepted. The tour will be outside, so dress for the weather. Participants must follow all Covid safety protocols, including masking and social distancing.

What to Bring
Lawn chair
Bottle of water
Bag lunch (to eat on the run)
Good walking shoes
Warm clothes
Rain jackets if necessary
Suggested free will donation

Pilots Knob
Painting by Seth Eastman of Oheyawah (Pilot Knob) in the background with Bdote, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, in the foreground.

Message from the Re-entry Team 8/27

An Update from the Re-Entry Team (August 27, 2021)

We have continued to monitor the trends, data, and recommendations concerning COVID-19. It is clear that we are in the midst of a 4th wave of increased infections. Most indicators we monitor (case rate per 100k, positivity rate, rolling average of cases, and hospital capacity) are either in high or critical risk categories. This is a significant change from just a month ago. There is uncertainty about when this current wave may peak.

In addition, other areas of the country have seen an increase in infections once children, teachers, and staff return to school. Many schools in the Twin Cities will be returning in early September. It generally takes two to three weeks to begin to see the potential impacts of these types of events. It is also clear with the Delta variant that even persons who are vaccinated can become infected by the virus and transmit it to others. The goal of the vaccines is to prevent serious infection, hospitalization, and death, but not actual infection. We know the vaccines are highly effective and we encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine if you have not already done so. It is the best way to protect yourself and your neighbors and loved ones.

Our primary concern as a re-entry team has been to balance the desire to be together while doing so safely. Knowing that there is still a significant portion of our congregation who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, namely our children, we have done everything we can to mitigate the spread of infection.

Given the above considerations, the Session has approved the following changes recommended by the Re-Entry Team. Beginning in September and continuing through at least October 10:

  • We will place a pause on all indoor in-person gatherings.
    • Worship at 10:15 am will be live streamed from the sanctuary, but only those leading worship will be physically in attendance
    • Funerals already scheduled in September will be limited to family only and live streamed
    • Choir and Bell Choir will pause rehearsals
    • All smaller meetings should be held online or outdoors
  • Outdoor worship will continue at 9 am (weather permitting) and masks will be required to be worn.

This was not an easy decision, but we felt it was a necessary decision to continue to care for one another. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to any member of the Re-Entry Team: Bev Heise, Karen Gerdes, Al Greimel, Anne Klueh, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary or Pastor Bart.

EV EXPO 2021

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington is hosting our 3rd Annual Electric Vehicle (EV) Expo on Saturday, October 9, 2021, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m

2021 EV Expo photos

Over 20 EVs will be on display, and their owners will share their driving experiences. The American Lung Association will host dealer test drives of some of the latest EV models. 

Talks by experts will include:

  • What EV is Right for You?
  • Utility Rates and Rebates for EVs
  • Let’s Go to Electric School Buses Now!
  • Charging Networks for Road Tripping
  • Climate and Health Benefits of EVs
  • Women’s Panel: Why We Love EVs 

Electric bikes, e-scooters, e-mowers, and e-snowblowers will be on display, along with an EV transit van.

The events and test drives follow Covid protocols and are free and open to the general public.  The event will be outdoors at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, 2200 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington 55431 952-888-4621

For more information, contact John Crampton 612-396-6010, Pdon Pinkham 608-397-3081, or the church office 952-888-4621.

Link to EV Expo 2021 flyer

Link to Facebook Event

Items Available

The following items are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free-will donations accepted. Please contact the church office or Bob Heise if you would like to claim any items.

Firewood – available for pick up in north parking lot.

In-Person Worship at Oak Grove

UPDATE AUGUST 27: A Message from the Re-Entry Team re: pausing indoor gatherings, Sept – Oct 10

See also: Re-Entry Team Updates web page

Indoor in-person worship and other indoor gatherings are temporarily paused, September 1 – October 10, 2021. We will update this page as further decisions are made.

Re-Entry Team Town Hall on July 21

[Re-Entry Open Forum Presentation]

The Re-Entry team held a town hall forum on Wednesday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m. both live in the sanctuary and livestreamed to Facebook and the OGPC website.

This was an opportunity for the team to share information with the congregation about where we are in our re-entry plans, the various considerations that go into decision making, and answer some frequently asked questions. There was an open time for any questions from the congregation.

If you are not able to view the archived video above, try this direct link:

Urban Homeworks

Many thanks to AsaleSol Young, Emily and Azad Lassiter for sharing about the work and ministry of Urban Homeworks at Oak Grove’s Adult Faith Formation on May 9, 2021.  As a follow-up to their presentation, they have provided the following information for anyone who would like to participate in or learn more about their organization.

Follow-up Information from Urban Homeworks

The Housing Justice Forum will be educating the community on Rent Stabilization policy VIRTUALLY on May 20 from 6-7:30. Registration is pay-what-you-can, and Zoom information is provided after registration. Click here to register.

Individual volunteers can sign up to volunteer (at no cost) at this link. Our first individual volunteer day is June 5 and there are shifts available in the morning and afternoon to help with various landscaping and/or painting projects. Click here to sign up for June 5 dates.

Take Action emails. We send out periodic emails on anti-racist actions to take in our lives. To sign up to be added to that list, click here to fill out this form

Group Volunteering. Urban Homeworks charges a fee of $1,000/day for nonprofits and churches and $1,500/day for corporations who want to volunteer. The fee is there for a couple of reasons. 1) It helps us cover the cost of staffing, insurance, materials, and supplies. 2) It exists to support a community-centered approach to volunteerism and fundraising. When we recognize that charity and volunteering equally benefits donors/volunteers as much as the communities served, it redefines the relationship built among supporters and community in a healthier way. Our fees affirm that we all benefit from this work and no one should be exploited or pitied when we decide to give of our time or resources. Please contact us if Oak Grove is interested in getting a group together to volunteer. We have an exciting opportunity of community gardening happening Juneteenth weekend if Oak Grove isn’t already working on something for that weekend.

Perpetuate the Hope Annual Event. We will be hosting our 2nd annual VIRTUAL Perpetuate the Hope Symposium where we share about Urban Homeworks, equity and engagement, and other topics related to affordable, equitable housing. This will be held September 8, 9, 10 during the noon lunch hour. If Oak Grove is interested in sponsoring, we could provide access for the church to that event.