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.

Pastor Anne’s Farewell Drive-Thru May 9

UPDATE: Click here to see Facebook photo album of Pastor Anne’s Farewell.

Pastor Anne’s Farewell Drive-Thru May 9. Come celebrate all the color Anne Fisher has brought to our congregation with a special drive-thru on Sunday, May 9, after the 10:45 a.m. service. There will be cake – what else could there be – and a chance to thank Anne for all her leadership through this unique journey. Bring a flower with you to contribute to a bouquet that we will build in celebration for Anne. For questions, call Jane Propsom at 612-723-0592. We hope to see you there!

Oak Grove Welcomes Bart Roush

Oak Grove Presbyterian is pleased to announce the election of Bart Roush as our new Pastor/Head of Staff, starting on Monday, May 17. Welcome Pastor Bart!

Pastor Bart will join us on Zoom at Coffee Hour on Sunday, May 23. Please plan to Zoom in at 12:00 noon to chat with Pastor Bart.

We asked Pastor Bart to tell us about himself and his family, and he sent us the following biography.

I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and grew up as an active youth member of Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church. As a senior in high school, and as the Moderator of my youth group and a youth Elder on Session, I preached for the first time during Youth Sunday, and it started a long tradition of not finishing sermons until late on Saturday night (much to the chagrin of my youth leaders then and my wife now). While in high school, I felt the initial stirrings of a call to ministry but decided to pursue theatre in college.

I attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and graduated with a B.F.A. in Directing and Stage Management for the Theatre. After college, I moved to the Twin Cities to pursue a theatrical career. My work in theatre was primarily behind the scenes as a Stage Manager and Managing Director. While working in theatre at night and on the weekends, I worked at Ameriprise Financial Services by day, and worked there in a variety of positions for almost 10 years. I enjoyed both my day job and work in the theatre, but in my late 20’s began to feel the tug of ordained ministry once again.

While working box office for a theatre, I overheard one of the actresses in the show, Kelly, talking about her church, First Congregational Church of Minnesota. I had begun looking for a church home again, and I asked if I could visit the church with her some time. I went a couple of times, and immediately felt at home. Kelly and I went to lunch one afternoon after worship, and she became very serious. She told me in no uncertain terms that if I was coming to church just as a means to try and date her, that I “should stop now. Church is very important to me,” she said, and I should “not mess with it.” I assured Kelly that I was, indeed, interested in finding a church home. Once that was made clear, I then asked her out on a date. We were married at First Church about two years later in 1999. I proposed to Kelly on a trip to Mexico, and after she had already said “Yes,” later that day I told her I thought I wanted to go to seminary. She looked at me for a moment and then said, “Honestly, I always thought I would marry a pastor.”

I began attending United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Having grown up Presbyterian but coming back as an adult to the United Church of Christ, I was uncertain the denomination in which I should seek ordination. Ultimately, I decided to “come home” to the Presbyterian Church because of several reasons; the connected church polity and belief in the priesthood of all believers, the emphasis on an educated clergy, and the opportunity to work within a system to move it toward a more inclusive posture.

I graduated from United in 2003 and accepted my first call to Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, IL as the Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Mission. I specifically sought a call as an associate pastor to gain experience in a congregation served by several pastors so that I could work with experienced clergy as I formed my pastoral understanding and identity. I served at Fox Valley for 10 years in that capacity. During my time at Fox Valley, I greatly enjoyed the many adult education classes I led, shepherding the Stephen Ministry program, and increasing our mission involvement. Mission giving and mission projects increased, including a monthly community dinner that was free to all, and the establishment of several on-going relationships with churches and community organizations in Guatemala where we helped the community install Living Waters for the World water purification systems. Toward the end of my time at Fox Valley, I helped lead the effort to design and build a new education building to facilitate emerging and future ministry needs and opportunities.

In 2007, I enrolled in the Congregational Mission and Leadership Doctor of Ministry program at Luther Seminary, and I completed my degree in 2012. My thesis focused on ways to incorporate adults into congregational membership with a missional understanding. In 2013, feeling the nudge of the Spirit, I accepted the call as Pastor and Head of Staff at Madison Square Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas, a progressive, More Light Congregation. While at Madison Square, we entered a season of discernment which led to focusing our efforts over the last several years on small group ministry and beginning the work of becoming an anti-racist congregation.

In addition to serving these two congregations, I have served the wider Presbyterian church in several capacities, including as chair of the Personnel Committee for Blackhawk Presbytery, serving as a member on a Synod Permanent Judicial Commission, as chair of the Board of Trustees for Mission Presbytery, as a member on the Examination Committee for Mission Presbytery, and as a member of the Network for Dismantling Racism of the Synod of the Sun. I have also been involved in the local community serving as a board member for Classic Theatre of San Antonio (where, eventually Kelly served as Executive and Artistic Director), and as a member of the Interfaith Community Action Network of San Antonio.

Kelly and I have two teenage children, Hera (she/her/hers and who prefers to be called “H”) who is 16, and Olivia (she/her or they/them) who is 13. They love reading, nature, and both have curious minds and kind hearts. We all love to travel and look forward to the day when that is possible again. I enjoy attending theatre and have led several “Theatre and Theology” trips to the Stratford Theatre Festival in Canada. I also enjoy riding my bike and look forward to the trails in Minnesota. I was named after Bart Starr and, while I am a little afraid to tell you this before the congregational vote, I am a diehard Green Bay Packers fan.

I love being a pastor and can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. In fact, I was given the same advice when going to college for theatre, and when going to seminary to become a pastor – “If you can do anything else; do that!” I’ve never regretted heeding the call to ordained ministry. I am excited about the future of ministry together with the people at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. I am energized by Oak Grove’s commitment to inclusion, social justice, and mission. Kelly and I, in particular, are excited to return to the Twin Cities, and the entire family is looking forward to living in a place where you can experience all four seasons, even winter.

Green Committee AFF

Oak Grove’s Green Committee is hosting three Adult Faith Formation (AFF) sessions in April and May 2021. Also, on April 8, the Green Committee hosted a Conversation with District 50 Representatives and Senator.

Thursday, April 8, 6:00-7:30 p.m., Faith Communities Talk With Legislators. You are invited to question-and-answer state legislative forum for faith communities in District 50 on Thursday night April 8th from 6:00-7:30 pm via Zoom.   The forum will feature Senator Melissa Wiklund, Rep. Andrew Carlson (50B) and Rep. Michael Howard (50A).  The forum is being organized by Isaiah https://isaiahmn.org/  and will include members of faith communities in District 50 including Oak Grove Presbyterian, Christ the King Lutheran, Dar Al-Farooq Muslim Center, and St. Richards Catholic Church and other groups.  The forum will focus on pending bills for: Revenue-making everyone pay their fair share, Democracy– expanding/protecting voting rights, Paid Family Leave– caring for our families, Climate Justice– plans that meet the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. For more info, contact John Crampton 612-396-6010  jcrampt48@gmail.com To register:  https://secure.everyaction.com/G_DuKjcYOU62gxI7vz_2tQ2

Clockwise from top left: Rep. Michael Howard (50A), Senator Melissa Wiklund, Rep. Andrew Carlson (50B)

Sunday, April 11, 9:30 a.m., “Climate Reality and Our Future” a sobering overview of the impact on climate change on different earth systems and projections of species survival under different scenarios of global warming.  Developed by Former Vice President Al Gore and  Alliance for Climate Protection and The Climate Project.  Presented by Bill Middlecamp, a commissioned Earthkeeper in the United Methodist Church and a well-known climate activist in our area. See also En-ROADS Brings Climate Science to the Masses.

climate reality

Sunday April 18, 9:30 a.m., “Policy Solutions to Climate Change.”   Participants are able to simulate possible large scale solutions to dramatic climate change through the use of the online En-ROADS policy simulation model developed by MIT.   See what possible solutions are and discuss the implications.  https://www.planet.veolia.com/en/climate-change-climate-simulator-En-ROADS Presented by Bill Middlecamp, a commissioned Earthkeeper in the United Methodist Church and a well-known climate activist in our area. See also En-ROADS Brings Climate Science to the Masses.

enroads chart

Sunday, May 2, 9:30 a.m., Socially-Just Climate Solutions 

Cooperative Energy Futures equips members across the state to build socially-just climate solutions that grow community wealth and power. CEF has financed and developed 6.9MW (~$16M) of low-income-accessible community solar arrays that are cooperatively-owned-and-operated across urban, suburban, and rural Minnesota—including: Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis, Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie, and Edina Public Works Building.  Find out how Oak Grove and our members can potentially get involved as host site(s), investors, subscribers and supporters.  https://www.cooperativeenergyfutures.com/ Presented by: Timothy Den Herder, General Manager of CEF 

Healing Our City

UPDATE, April 20. A message from Pastor Anne:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1-3

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

In these hours following the verdict, may we recommit ourselves to do the difficult work to end systemic racism in our neighborhood, our cities, and our country. May we grow in understanding, patience, and compassion, treating each other with respect, and regarding each other as children of the living God.We pray for people whose hearts are broken in grief and whose lives have been forever changed by violent acts. -Pastor Anne April 20, 2021

Candles and Prayers

March 8 marked the beginning of the trial in Minneapolis for justice for George Floyd. We encourage you to light a candle and join in prayer and silence every day of this trial. Please pray in your own way for peace, hope, and justice.  Please send us your photos of candles so that we can post one each weekday on this page and on Facebook.

riverside candle

Tuesday, April 20. “Without the light that shines out of the darkness of the past, we cannot chart a new path into the future.” -Joan Chittister, Monasteries of the Heart

youth committee zoom

Monday, April 19. “This light represents the finest of all of us: Our art, poetry and songs, discoveries, creations, and science. Our ability to pick ourselves up from a broken, mad, fractured life and feel part of another, and be part of whatever this universe is. To have a little bit of hope in spite of the madly ruthless, even horrific, drumbeat of history. In the midst of ruin, to discover some sort of unimaginable grace. To hide from death for yet one more day. On this, the darkest day, people will light a candle for all of that.” – from Zin by Ruth Ann Oskolkoff

Friday, April 16. “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.” – Dwight L. Moody

lighted candle

Thursday, April 15. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:12-13

youth zoom candles

Wednesday, April 14.  “If I burn the candles, it means not only giving you light. It means to show you the fire which I have inside.” – Gaurav GRV Sharma

Matthew candle

Tuesday, April 13. “I am praying for justice.  I am praying I won’t be next.” -Matthew, 14

candle by matisse

Monday, April 12. “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.“ Psalm 36:9

harper candle

Friday, April 9. The Krentz family is saying prayers during the Derek Chauvin trial. Praying for peace, fairness, honesty, and love for all.

Anne with candle

Thursday, April 8. “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3

owl and candle

Wednesday, April 7. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

tulips and candle

Tuesday, April 6. “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” – Psalm 17:6

easter lily candle

Monday, April 5. “We proclaim the resurrection of Christ when his light illuminates the dark moments of our existence, and we are able share it with others.” –Pope Francis

candle lit in darkness

Friday, April 2. “Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts”. – Leo Tolstoy

britta with candle

Thursday, April 1.“This is the message we have heard and declare to you: God is light; in God there is no darkness at all.”  1 John 1:5

Vaughn with candle

Wednesday, March 31. “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

Milissa candle

Tuesday, March 30. “For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm 18:28

Mary with candle

Monday, March 29. “[T]he night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;” Romans 3:12 RSV

stained glass angel and candle

Friday, March 26. “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” – St. Francis of Assisi

lit candle by frame

Thursday, March 25. “There is a crack, a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen, Anthem

courage candle

Wednesday, March 24.

O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others
Open my ears that I may hear their cries;
Open my heart so that they need not be without succor;
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
That I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.

Alan Paton, “For Courage to Do Justice

Tuesday, March 23. “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” Psalm 43:3

catherine candle

Monday, March 22. “You are the light of the world!” – Godspell (from Matthew 5:14)

Friday, March 19. “Without the light that shines out of the darkness of the past, we cannot chart a new path into the future.” -Joan Chittister, Monasteries of the Heart

Thursday, March 18. “I learned without her saying a word that there are truly many ways to pray, and lighting a candle is one of them.” -Pat Schneider, How the Light Gets in: Writing as a Spiritual Practice

love one another as I have loved you candle

Tuesday, March 17. “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34

Tuesday, March 16. “Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:8b

Monday, March 15. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, March 12. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Thursday, March 11. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:5

Wednesday, March 10. “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” Anne Frank

Tuesday, March 9. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

Monday, March 8. “We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof, For it is in loss that we truly learn to love. In this chaos, we will discover clarity. In suffering, we must find solidarity. For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude, Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it. So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain: Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.” -Amanda Gorman, The Miracle of Morning

Links to Websites

Healing Our City: A virtual prayer tent for Minneapolis. Join us at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, March 9 as we launch the Healing Our City Virtual Prayer Tent. This daily 20-minute experience will begin with a timely reflection by a different religious/spiritual leader each day. Following the reflection, participants will be invited into a period of 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silent prayer/meditation.This virtual prayer tent will continue daily throughout the course of the trial. You may access this prayer experience via Zoom or as a livestream on our Healing Our City Facebook page. It will also be available as a recording on our Facebook page.

March 8 Global Day of Prayer for Justice for George Floyd and Black Liberation.

Holy Week 2021

April 4, Easter Sunday. Outdoor Sunrise Service at 6:45 a.m (reservations requested – see below), followed by live-streamed Easter Sunday Worship Service at 10:45 am.

Note: the Sunrise Service will take place on the church grounds on Easter Sunday, April 4, at 6:45 am. It will be a time of prayer, scripture and poetry. Masks and social distancing will be required. If you would like to attend, we kindly ask that you RSVP so that we know how to set up the space. The service will happen rain (or snow!) or shine. Please call the church office (952-888-4621) or email Mary to let us know that you are coming.

easter sunrise

April 3, Family Easter Egg Hunt (3–4:00 pm) outside at Oak Grove Church.

easter eggs

April 2, Good Friday. Live-streamed service at noon on Facebook and the website.

Good Friday, April 2, 2021 Bulletin

Direct link to Good Friday service on Facebook

April 1, Maundy Thursday. Pre-recorded service available online on Facebook and the website (see links below).

Maundy Thursday Service – click here to view the video on Oak Grove’s web page

Maundy Thursday Service – click here to view the video on Facebook

March 28, Palm Sunday. Palms & Pancakes Drive-Thru (9–10:00 am) at the church, followed by live-streamed Palm Sunday Worship Service at 10:45 am.

palm sunday

One Great Hour of Sharing. Remember in this Lenten and Easter Season to include One Great Hour of Sharing in your giving. It is the gift that goes around the world! We will dedicate our One Great Hour of Sharing Offering during worship on Palm Sunday, March 28.

2021 Per Capita Challenge

Update: YOU did it!

Oak Grove surpassed our February per capita goal of $7000. The Gifts & Gratitude Committee would like to thank all of you who faithfully paid your per capita. Our governing bodies have never worked harder to support our faith than in this past year and because of your participation, we say ‘thank you’ to our Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church with our per capita payments.

Note: Oak Grove’s total per capita payment is $17,850. Every member who pays their $36.50 separately helps strengthen our annual budget during an uncertain time.