Loaves & Fishes Food Distribution Moves to Oak Grove Presbyterian on Jan. 4

Beginning Monday January 4, 2021, Oak Grove Presbyterian Church Grove, 2200 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington, MN 55431, is taking on food distribution for the Loaves & Fishes program (formerly at Creekside).

Takeaway meals will be served Monday-Friday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Oak Grove Church. See Oak Grove parking lot map for driving route instructions. Food recipients will stay in their cars and let the volunteers know how many meals they would like. There are no eligibility requirements to receive meals.

Oak Grove parking lot route
Enter the parking lot at the north entrance off Penn Avenue

Loaves & Fishes is a community-based volunteer organization serving free, healthy meals to Minnesotans where the need is greatest. Oak Grove is just a half mile away from the former distribution site at Creekside, and takeaway meals will continue to be served Monday-Friday from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

For the past 25 years, Oak Grove has volunteered with Loaves & Fishes by preparing and serving meals twice a month. The pandemic has changed how Loaves & Fishes provides those meals. Since March, Loaves & Fishes has been serving meals prepared by a chef and distributed through a drive-up system. At their current location, Creekside Community Center, Loaves & Fishes has been serving approximately 200 people a night Monday through Friday. Creekside will be closing at the end of 2020.

Through the Mission and Building & Ops Committees and the Session, Oak Grove has said YES to providing a place to feed the hungry. As long as Oak Grove is closed to other meetings, Oak Grove will be the pickup site for Loaves & Fishes from 5:30–6:30 pm, Monday–Friday.

How can you help? As members, we can do more than just provide a building. There are opportunities to volunteer at our site. You can sign up individually on the Loaves & Fishes website or call the church office (952-888-1621) if you are interested in volunteering. We are organizing teams of four.

We can’t think of a more timely way for a church to minister to the community than to provide food to the hungry. Members of the Oak Grove Loaves & Fishes coordinating team are: Bob Heise, Ed & Lari Ann Schmidt, Patty Nail, Nancy Kachel, and Kathy Tominski.

Here’s to a healthy and fruitful new year where the hungry are fed.

Calling All Deacons and Elders!

On Sunday, Jan. 17, we will be Ordaining and Installing our Elders and Deacons. Since we are doing this remotely and cannot lay hands on our new officers, we are asking all current and former elders, deacons, and clergy to send in pictures of your hands by Thursday, January 14, to sgjerset@oakgrv.org.

Thank you as we continue to be a church beyond the walls!

Call for Vaccine Clinical Trial Volunteers

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church has been asked to get the news out on M Health Fairview’s Covid-19 Clinical Trial.

M Health Fairview Vaccine flyer (PDF)

M Health Fairview is looking for adults who:

  • €  Are aged 18 years and older, particularly over 65 years of age
  • €  Represent a racial and ethnic group that has been greatly impacted by the pandemic (such as African American, Latinx, Native American, or Asian American)
  • €  Have an underlying medical condition (such as diabetes or obesity)
  • €  Have a high risk of exposure through work (such as first responder, healthcare professional, or delivery person)
  • €  Live or work in an elder-care facility
  • €  Are retired or active military

If you decide to join a COVID-19 prevention study, you may be compensated for your participation. To learn more, contact:

M Health Fairview Clinical Trials Office

Green Committee AFF Jan. 17

Link to recording of the January 17 Zoom presentation – password !1r1!3B0

The Adult Faith Formation program, “Bringing Renewable Energy and Empowerment to Low Income Communities to End Energy Poverty,” will be presented on Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. by the Green Committee and RREAL, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance of Northern MN.  

Community Solar for Community Action

RREAL is a leader in helping Native American Nations construct community solar gardens, solar for Habitat for Humanity houses, and solar assistance for low income people through community action programs. RREAL also develops community-based solar projects in Uganda and Liberia. RREAL is a leader in installing solar on schools and has developed renewable energy curricula for grades K-8 which is being used in schools throughout Minnesota. https://www.rreal.org/

Our goal is to begin a discussion of how Oak Grove can marry our church’s efforts and expertise in social justice, mission, supportive housing, education, and environmental stewardship to serve the wider community of low income people in our communities.  For more information, contact John Crampton 612-396-6010   

Advent & Christmas Activities 2020

Christmas Eve Service, December 24

Bulletin for Christmas Eve Service

Oak Grove’s Christmas Eve Service is archived on the Sermons web page .


First Sunday in Advent, the Candle of Hope, lit by the Oslund family.

Second Sunday in Advent, the Candle of Peace, lit by the Egan family.

Third Sunday in Advent, the Candle of Love, lit by Kylie Borchardt.

Fourth Sunday in Advent, the Candle of Joy, lit by the Ervin family


Light a Candle

Send us a picture of you and your household holding lit candles to sgjerset@oakgrv.org by December 21 for it to be in the Christmas Eve montage.

Pop-Up Christmas Pageant: December 9

Anne and Cece Klueh at Pop-up Zoom Christmas Pageant

You are invited to join in our first ever (and only!) Oak Grove Intergenerational Zoom Christmas Pageant!

ALL AGES are invited to Zoom in on Wednesday, December 9 at 6:30 pm as we tell the story of Jesus’ birth. The pageant will have music, some basic reading, given ahead of time to those who are interested, and some improv.

You are invited to wear a “head” costume if you wish to be an angel, shepherd, star, Mary, Joseph or a sheep! You are also invited to have the characters from a home nativity close by to “act out” the parts of the story. We hope this experience will be a multi-generational way to share the miracle of God’s presence among us this season.

Caroling: December 13

Do you, like me, have the urge to go caroling? Let’s try it – Covid style. Sunday, December 13 after church we’ll do a parking lot Carol Sing. You’ll need to stay in your cars (with windows down) and wear your mask. Leaders will start each song and we’ll do the best we can!

Singing will start around 12:30 pm. If weather is extremely cold or snowy, we’ll cancel and hopefully reschedule. Questions? Contact Judy Cooper (jcooper835@gmail.com).

Starlight Drive-Thru: December 16

Oak Grove parking lot route
Map showing Drive-Thru route

Join us for an ALL AGES “Starlight Drive-Thru” in our parking lot on Wednesday, December 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. We will have luminaria, snacks, caroling and a prayer. This will be a wonderful way to say hello and share a little holiday cheer.

We will also be collecting toilet paper donations for VEAP at the “Starlight Drive-Thru.”

Pastor Anne holding toilet paper donation for VEAP
VEAP Donations Accepted!

Chancel Flowers Sign-up 2021

chancel flowers

We will continue to have colorful arrangements for our Sunday worship services, virtual or in-person. Select a date in memory of or in honor of a loved one, group or event. The cost is $30 due at sign-up. Contact Sharon Fields at 952-831-0504 (a landline) or urbanfields2.1@q.com to sign up and reserve your special date.

Tackling Climate Change During a Pandemic

A message from the Green Committee of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church

Though travel-related green house gas emissions have been reduced during the pandemic, little progress toward reducing green house gas emissions has actually been made at the national level in the past four years.  Churches can help educate, motivate, and lead by example.

In 1990, the 202nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice, which calls our denomination to engage in the tasks of restoring creation.

Oak Grove Green Committee submitted goals to Session in 2013, that can be viewed on our web page.  The Green Committee has influenced our congregation to address climate change in many ways including:

  • 220% of our electricity comes from solar and wind to avoid millions of tons of CO2 emissions;
  • Working to reduce/eliminate natural gas use through conservation and replacement of natural gas equipment, thus avoiding CO2 emissions;
  • All lights inside and outside are LEDs, reducing power usage by 35%.
  • Two rain gardens capture, clean and infiltrate millions of gallons of stormwater runoff per year while providing pollinator habitat and soil health.
  • Complete recycling, composting with a dramatic reduction in trash.
  • EV Expos to teach the public about Electric Vehicles, e-bikes, e-lawn care and e-mobility.
  • Our church has installed two level 2 EV chargers for the congregation and the community.
  • Nuts and bolts education sessions about how to get clean energy, electric vehicles, recycling/composting, rain gardens and sustainable diets.

Earth Care Pledge Signed by Session in December of 2017.

  • Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation.
  • Our education will encourage and support each other in keeping and healing the creation.
  • Our facilities will be managed, maintained, and upgraded to respect and cherish all creation.
  • Our outreach will encourage community involvement and public policy to protect and restore the earth.

Congregations across our nation are taking action.  We became a PC (USA) Earth Care Congregation in 2018, joining hundreds of Presbyterian Congregations dedicated to actions to address global warming.  Some of their stories are available on the PC (USA) website see (Climate Change).  The Green Committee has taken many actions to address climate change and as explained in previous articles of the Oak Leaves.  We are now looking at what to tackle next and in the process, encourage new members with new ideas to join our committee.  We are currently meeting monthly on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 PM, via Zoom, until we can gather again to meet at church.  Below is a list of what other churches have done to address climate change.  Additional ideas are available on the website noted above.  We invite suggestions and volunteers to help us work to address climate change.

  • Devote a Sunday Service to earth care
  • Engage youth in earth care awareness worship programs
  • Create earth care themed banners or other art to display in church
  • Use locally grown, pesticide free flowers in the sanctuary
  • Minute for Mission on earth care issues
  • Communion by intinction
  • Creation care songs, sermon, or prayer?
  • Children’s/youth Sunday school courses (series of classes) on earth care
  • Adult courses (series of classes) with an earth care focus
  • Vacation Bible School series with an earth care theme
  • Guest earth care speakers or programs
  • Youth projects related to earth care conducted
  • Articles/announcements about earth care in the bulletin/newsletter
  • Bulletin board on earth care display
  • Pages on the church’s website devoted to earth care
  • Books, games, videos, or other materials with an earth care focus in church library
  • Educational events focused on sustainable lifestyle choices for members
  • Email group of members interested in earth care
  • Earth care fairs or educational events
  • Art displays or exhibits focused on earth care held at church
  • An earth care component included in confirmation classes
  • An earth care component included in new member classes?
  • Sponsor a scholarship or send a member to attend the Presbyterians for Earth Care biennial conference
  • Offer, or attend a mission trip focused on an earth care issue
  • Sponsor a community garden
  • Support programs like Second Harvest
  • Support training for disaster response volunteers
  • Support youth and young adults to enter into creation stewardship as a vocation
  • Host a farmers market
  • Host a vegetable sharing table for gardeners to share produce with members after services

If you see an idea above that you like, or have an idea of your own, please contact the Green Committee via the church office, or by emailing one of us.  Our contact information is available in the Church directory.  Our current members are:  John Crampton, chair, Pastor Anne Fisher, Bob Gerdes, Pdon Pinkham, Erin Anderson Wenz, Allen Greimel, Frank Bliss, Randy Dop, and Allen Frechette.

Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving

Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving by Milissa Carter

In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue nursery rhyme isn’t the only fairytale that has been perpetuated in our history books, especially when it comes to people that have been marginalized. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the story of Thanksgiving after the Mayflower arrives in 1620 has been romanticized as well. It is important that we are able to revisit our history, even the shameful history, and stop the cycle of marginalizing others by repeating a false narrative because it feels good for us. It was my goal to start to decolonize Thanksgiving for my family and wanted to share these thoughts with you.


Let’s start with the language used is to describe the characters in the Thanksgiving narrative.

  • A pilgrim is defined as a person who travels to a holy place for religious reasons.1
  • A savage is defined as aggressive and violent; causing great harm.2

History books tend to use pilgrim and savage which automatically creates a sense of calm and peace about the Europeans and a sense of fear of the Indigenous people even before we can get to any of the content of the story. What if instead we started by switching out the terms for more accurate reflections of the characters in this story.

  • A colonizer is a person who helps take control of an area or a country that is not their own, especially using force, and sends people from their own country to live there.3
  • A native is defined as connected with the place where you were born and lived for the first years of your life.4


At the time when the European colonizers sailed to the new land, the black plague was ravaging the people of the Old World and ultimately killed one out of every three Europeans over a three-year period. When Europeans brought the black plague to the New World in the early 1600s, it is estimated that it killed 90-96% of people living there, which were Indigenous people.5 This mass extermination was sold as a blessing from God to the Europeans in this New and Old World: ‘According to the English authors of Plimoth and Massachusetts Bay Colony, it was God’s judgment of the “heathen” and “infidels” that caused him to inflict sundry diseases amongst the Wampanoag and neighboring tribal populations as to allow for the growth of the heavily Christian population in coastal Massachusetts.’6


The most common date recited for the first thanksgiving is 1621 and recants a rather idyllic remembrance. There other dates are quoted as being the source of this holiday. One such date is in 1637, ‘on that day the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a “Thanksgiving” to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily armed hunters, all colonial volunteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut where they massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians – men, women and children – all murdered.’7 Kevin McBride, an anthropology professor at the University of Connecticut and director of research at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center said of this attack, “The massacre had some important implications. What the English did sent a very important message to Indian country: We have the political will and military means to exact our will upon you.”8

Thanksgiving has been celebrated on different days and months throughout our United States history. The first proclamation was for a day of thanksgiving and prayer from President Washington on November 26, 1789. In 1863, President Lincoln announces that the country will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, 1863 in ‘gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg’.10 In 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November to extend the Christmas shopping season in order to help businesses still suffering from the lingering effects of the Great Depression.11 Thanksgiving received a permanent date in 1941.


Another common theme of the Thanksgiving holiday is around the food. In “Why I’m Not Thankful for Thanksgiving,” Michael Dorris describes a memory with his son:

“A year ago my older son brought home a program printed by his school; on the second page was an illustration of the “First Thanksgiving,” with a caption which read in part: “They served pumpkins and turkeys and corn and squash. The Indians had never seen such a feast!” On the contrary! The Pilgrims had literally never seen “such a feast,” since all foods mentioned are exclusively indigenous to the Americas and had been provided, or so legend has it, by the local tribe.”9

Each of these themes, plus different cultural values between the European and Indigenous communities, adds a layer of complexity, solidifying the romanticized narrative of Thanksgiving that has been told for 400 years. While we may not know the exact the day-by-day history, we can see clear themes that the Europeans were aggressors and that the Indigenous people of this New World were demonized from the start. We can also see that the holiday has been used to promote political and economic agendas, not ones of peace and communal experiences with those not like us. So, while we eat our meal and give thanks on Thursday, our family will continue our conversation about the European and Indigenous joint history, how much of history is written by the winner, and that we must seek the truth, even when it is painful.

Other Interesting Reads & Podcasts

Teaching Thanksgiving from a Native American Perspective https://www.bigpicture.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=579050&type=u&pREC_ID=1079634

*Note: The link to Why I’m Not Thankful for Thanksgiving by Michael Dorris is broken in this reference. All other links work. Please go to: http://gayleturner.net/Micheal_Dorris_Thanks_Notsomuch.pdf

First Name Basis – The Untold Story of Thanksgiving


Native Intelligence


The Truth About The First Thanksgiving


The Mashantucket Pequot Museum


We Are Grateful







5 https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4555884/plague-thanksgiving



8 https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/native-history-it-s-memorial-day-in-1637-the-pequot-massacre-happened-CPEC3BR9hkm5SoXp3X9uFg


10 https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-proclaims-official-thanksgiving-holiday