Ash Wednesday March 2

Oak Grove will have two services on Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022. [Bulletin]

12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m., in-person in the Sanctuary

6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., livestreamed on the web/Facebook and in-person in the Sanctuary

Please wear a mask if you attend either service in person. Thank you!

Direct link to Ash Wednesday service on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OakGrovePresbyterian/videos/286395176965066

Direct link to Ash Wednesday service on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv3s5aUrabQ

Feb 23 Reentry Team Update

As was the hope expressed in January, there has been a marked decline in infections, and the Omicron wave is subsiding. With the improvement in infection rates, the capacity for hospitals to care for people with serious illness, the efficacy of vaccinations, and the percentage of people who have been vaccinated, the following changes will be made effective immediately.

Worship:

  • In-person worship will no longer be limited based on vaccination status; anyone is welcome to worship in person.
  • There is no limit to the number of people for in-person worship, and no reservation is required.
  • Masking is required, and a KN95, N95, or both a surgical mask under a cloth mask is still highly recommended.
  • Distancing as much as possible is encouraged. Seating will be available in the hallway outside of the sanctuary and in the fellowship hall.

Small Group Gatherings:

  • Small groups gatherings may be in person.
  • Masks are required
  • No food or drink for the present time

A special note to anyone leading a group: Please remember not all members of your group may be comfortable or ready to meet in person. Before you schedule an in-person meeting, please check with your participants individually about their comfort level. If there is someone who is not yet comfortable meeting in person, please consider holding your meeting virtually or in a hybrid format (some in-person and some online). There is technology available at the church to allow for hybrid meetings. Please contact Pastor Bart or Sue Gjerset if you plan to meet in a hybrid meeting so we can make sure the equipment is available.

We anticipate that we will continue to open more broadly and with fuller participation and worship practices in April. Details are still being worked out and prepared and will be shared more broadly at the annual meeting this Sunday following worship, and in the Oak Leaves newsletter. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to anyone on the Re-Entry Team. Anne Klueh, Al Greimel, Bev Heise, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary, and/or Pastor Bart.

Nadia Bolz-Weber event

An Evening with Nadia Bolz-Weber: Monday, May 2 (7:00 pm)

Best-selling author and preacher, Nadia Bolz-Weber, is coming to the Twin Cities and what better reason to get out with your Oak Grove family? The event is at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If we can get a group of at least 10, we could get a discount on the $30 tickets, but if we get more than 25, the discount is even better. If you are interested in attending, please contact the church office (952-888-4621)and add your name to the list. No money needs to be collected at this time, but we ask that you call no later than Monday, February 28, so we can order our block of tickets. Once we know the ticket amount, we will be in touch.

Note: for those interested, but unable to attend, there are also virtual tickets ($30) available at https://churchanew.org/events/an-evening-with-nadia-bolz-weber.

Feb 1 Caucus for Climate

Thank you to the Green Committee for giving an informative Adult Faith Formation (AFF) program on Sunday, January 23, 2022. Their non-partisan presentation, Caucusing for Climate on Tuesday, February 1,  focused on the upcoming party caucuses. The parties are making it easier this year to take part in the caucus process including the DFL’s contactless caucus that you can do at home. 

See the list below for links to the Green Committee’s presentation and key links for finding your caucus, becoming a delegate to the endorsing conventionsoffering resolutions, and more. For further information, contact John Crampton, Chair-Green Committee, 612-396-6010 jcrampt48@gmail.com

Link to the Green Committee’s Caucus for Climate presentation PDF

Minnesota Secretary of State- Caucus Finder (for all parties)

DFL (Democratic) Caucus Finder

GOP (Republican Party) Caucus Info

Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party

Legalize Marijuana Now Party 

DFL (Democratic) Non-Attendee Form PDF (to volunteer to be delegate to nominating convention)

DFL (Democratic) Resolutions Form PDF

GOP (Republican) Resolutions Form PDF

HUB for Climate Resolutions- MN Environmental Partnership 

Afghan Family Update

UPDATE February 7, 2022

It’s been two weeks since our Afghan family moved into their apartment and all is well! Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Oak Grove congregation, the family is now enjoying a well-stocked kitchen, a comfortably-furnished living area, and plenty of household supplies. Oak Grovers also helped with shopping, educational opportunities, and scheduling and transportation for appointments and classes. And more good news: the head of household applied for and landed a job!

Who would’ve imagined this one month ago when they first set foot in Minnesota? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

At this time, we have no identified needs from Oak Grove other than cash donations and prayers for this young family (and so many others) undertaking this most major transition. Donations will go to priority items such as fabric/sewing supplies and transportation needs. Donations are also accepted via credit card/ACH (click on the button below and select Afghan Family Support using the drop-down menu).

Donate by credit card or ACH (Checking)

Thanks for all you’ve done so far to be a partner in welcoming this family, Oak Grove. Those who attended yesterday’s Faith Formation conversation no doubt agree: we all are enriched by this chance to journey together and to learn along with our newest neighbors! 

Update on our Afghan Family, January 20:

Not all ordered items have quite arrived, but an empty apartment has been turned into a space ready for a family’s landing! Thank you, thank you worker bee organizers and movers and the many, MANY Oak Grovers and friends who have donated time, talents, and treasure! 

volunteer workers

Update on our Afghan Family, January 18: Wow!! Our congregation is amazing. All items on the donation list have been purchased and donated! We are still accepting gift cards or cash donations to pay for food and other needs.

An apartment in Minneapolis has been found, and move-in day is this Thursday, January 20! Our plan is to clean and move everything on Wednesday, January 19. We’d love to have donations ordered or brought to church by Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Please contact Sue Greimel (sue.greimel@gmail.com, 612 805-2896) with questions or if you are willing to volunteer to help with cleaning, moving, and welcoming on Wednesday/Thursday.

Jan 26 ReEntry Team Update

Re-Entry Team Update, January 26, 2022

While there are some indications that the Omicron wave is showing signs of waning in the Twin Cities, we are still in a time of high transmission. We will continue with our current recommendations through the month of February.

As a reminder, we encourage all groups to meet virtually if possible. In-person worship will still be limited to 20 vaccinated persons (not including worship leadership and support). We will, however, be removing the need to register beforehand for worship. We ask those that plan to attend in-person sign-in when you arrive, wear a well-fitted mask (N95 or KN95 preferred), and stay home if you are sick.

Re-Entry Team Update, January 6, 2022

The January surge of Covid cases, due to the omicron variant and anticipated by medical experts, is now apparent. Cases in Hennepin county have  almost doubled in the last week, and are at the highest rate ever seen in the last 2 years. This pattern is reflective of the rest of the country. While the rate of infection is alarming, and additional protocols (outlined below) are necessary, there is also some good news as experts are learning more about the omicron variant. First and foremost, vaccines are still effective against serious illness and death. It is highly recommended, if eligible, to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. The FDA & CDC on Wednesday night just approved boosters for anyone 12 years old and above and most estimates are that vaccines for those under 5 will be available by summer. Second, omicron, while extremely contagious does not appear to be as severe as previous variants. Third, while there is currently a short supply in antigen test availability, more supply will be coming soon. In addition, new antiviral pills to reduce severity of symptoms for those with Covid have been approved and are being produced at a rapid rate. Finally, there seems to be evidence that the omicron wave will not be lengthy, and many experts are hoping it peaks in 4 to 6 weeks.

While there is much good news and hope for optimism, it is also true that there are other signs to proceed with caution and to work to flatten the curve of the current spike as much as possible. As children (many of whom are not yet eligible to be vaccinated or have not yet received a vaccination) return to school there has been an increase in pediatric cases and hospitalizations. Hospitals are under immense stress and ICU’s in the area are almost full. While omicron is less severe, because many more people are getting infected, there are high numbers of hospitalizations and there is still a risk of hospitals not being able to handle the spike. In addition, there are more breakthrough infections (those fully vaccinated and/or boosted getting infected) with the omicron variant. Because of these breakthrough infections of hospital staff, the capacity for hospitals to respond to the current situation is diminished. We have also begun to see disruptions in air travel, first responders, food supply, and education because of staff shortages due to illness. 

With all of this in mind, we are implementing the following changes for the month of January:

  • In-person worship will now be limited to 20 people (not including leadership and tech support)
    • Only vaccinated individuals may attend, and it is strongly recommended that people be boosted as well
    • It is important that you reserve a spot by using the link on the website or by calling the church office
    • Masks are required, and KN95, N95, or both a surgical mask under a cloth mask are highly recommended
    • We encourage anyone who may be immune compromised or who lives with someone who is, not to attend in-person for now
  • No small group meetings should meet in person and should meet virtually
  • If it is not possible to meet virtually, we strongly recommend you postpone your meeting for the month of January.

As before, this has not been an easy choice and we are disappointed that we must continue to adapt and that the pandemic is still disrupting our lives. We believe this is the best way for us to be good neighbors and to not contribute to the spike as we seek to love one another and to support our educators, first responders, hospital and emergency workers, and the most vulnerable among us. We will reassess where we are toward the end of January and continue to keep the congregation informed of plans. Feel free to contact any member of the re-entry team if you have any questions or need further clarification. Anne Klueh, Al Greimel, Bev Heise, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary, and Pastor Bart.

Laura Nemcek Joins Oak Grove Staff

Please welcome Laura Nemcek, Oak Grove’s new accountant!

Laura writes: It is with great joy that God has led me to use my financial skills at Oak Grove as your new accountant. Although raised in Illinois, I stayed in Minnesota after graduating from St. Olaf in Northfield, at which time I began my career as a small business banker. I had the privilege of staying home to raise our children (now grown) and re-entered the workforce doing graphic design marketing for a national wholesale company in Eden Prairie.

God then called me to do non-profit accounting for His kingdom work and I am still accepting His call to join your team. I enjoy time with family, travelling, sewing, scrapbooking, reading, and playing piano. As a longtime resident of Bloomington for over 30 years, I look forward to meeting you. 

Welcome to Oak Grove, Laura!

Restorative Actions

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church’s role in the Restorative Actions project is highlighted this month in a two-part series on Healing Minnesota Stories (see links to articles below). The series features comments from Oak Grove members Jim Koon and Milissa Carter, as well as our former Pastor Jermaine (Rev. Anthony Jermaine Ross-Allam).

Part 1: Moral reckoning: A Presbyterian Church tests model to surrender wealth to Afro American, Indigenous communities

Part 2: Restorative Actions and the power of a single conversation

Rev. Anthony Jermaine Ross-Allam
Jim Koon
Milissa Carter

CANCELLED 2022 Women’s Retreat

UPDATE: the 2022 Women’s Retreat has been cancelled due to COVID levels.

Please join us for the Oak Grove Presbyterian Women’s Retreat, “Relax, Refresh, Recharge,” with special guest speaker Jacque Fletcher, Clearwater Forest, January 14-16, 2022. Pre-registration and full vaccination + booster required.

Link to online Registration Form (please complete registration form by January 1, 2022)

women's retreat

Accommodations. Leaning Tree with two to a room and semi-private baths, bedding and towels included. Cost is $120, but some scholarship funds are available. Please indicate if your attendance depends on this assistance (or contact Sue Greimel 612 805-2896, sue.greimel@gmail.com).

2022 Oak Grove Women’s Retreat Flyer (pdf)