On September 22, the Session and Deacons passed the following statement of Racial Justice:
We, the Elders and Deacons of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, stand in solidarity with you, our Black, Indigenous, and Brown siblings of color. We acknowledge that our experiences have often blinded us to your cries for help. We affirm your experiences of discrimination and violence as truth. We commit to listen and seek to understand and will not hide behind a right to comfort when the conversations are hard. We commit to holding ourselves and others accountable to become and continue to be anti-racist for “as you use steel to sharpen steel, so one friend sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (The Message by Eugene Peterson).
Nine Mile Creek Watershed District is offering training on how to maintain a rain garden by watering, weeding and selection of replacement plants (if necessary). Oak Grove will be hosting the training in our rain garden on the outside of the Education Wing under the solar panels on Wednesday Night Sept. 9th 6:30 to 8:30 pm. To sign up, please contact John Crampton 612-396-6010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Oak Grove pastors Rev. Dr. Anne E. Fisher and Rev. Mary Koon joined with 21 other Bloomington Faith Leaders to sign a racial equity letter sent to Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse, Bloomington City Council, and Police Chief Jeff Potts. Bloomington Faith Leaders is an inter-faith, ecumenical group of clergy committed to racial equity in schools, government, and policing.
Our pastors have been meeting with Bloomington Faith Leaders via Zoom, and they hope to be part of the group that meets with Chief Potts later this month.
On June 2, 2020, Pastor Mary Koon and Jim Koon participated in silent clergy walks in Minneapolis and St Paul. Black clergy lead the walks, followed by other clergy and people of faith. All faiths were represented!
Mary said, “We prayed and kept silence to bear witness to the pain and injustice endured for too long by people of color in the US. We kept silence knowing that the silence must lead to words and action.”
With the COVID-19 virus and all the additional people who are unemployed because of it, food shelves at VEAP are experiencing a heavier volume of requests. The Mission Committee feels it is important for Oak Grove Church to help out, so we are holding a food drive during the month of June 2020. We will have a marked container outside the front door every Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for you to drop off food for VEAP. Items needed include whole grain products, canned vegetables, and canned fruits.
If you would prefer to write a check, please make it payable to Oak Grove Church and note on the memo line that it is for VEAP Food Drive. Mail it to Anne Swenson at the church (2200 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington 55431). Please contact Sharon Nolte (952-884-1014) with any questions. The Mission Committee thanks you for your support.
Our new rain garden installation began on May 11. The crew dug out the rain garden area at the Education Wing facing Old Shakopee Rd. and Penn. They will complete it in coming weeks with native plantings, and installation of inlets and outlets.
When completed the rain garden will take storm water run-off from Old Shakopee Rd and from our roof and infiltrate it to recharge the groundwater rather than letting it run off and carry sediment and pollution into Nine Mile Creek and the Minnesota River. The rain garden will carry the first flush (approx. first inch of a rainfall), infiltrate and bio-treat it in the garden via hundreds of deep-rooted native plants. Inlet valves and drain tiles help divert storm water amounts greater than 1 inch. This is diverted into the storm sewers to prevent flooding. The soil at the site is all sand, which greatly aids infiltration.
Nine Mile Creek Watershed District is paying for and maintaining the project for the first two years. Future plans include surrounding the rain garden with native plantings that are “gentle to the environment” (don’t require watering or chemicals and that infiltrate water and sequester carbon emissions).
Our solar sources of electricity continue to produce energy at expected rates. Our 55 solar panels on our building produced 2,730 KWH in April and our Community Solar farm membership produced 5,259 KWH in March (Community Solar reporting is always one month delayed).
It’s time to pull out your best and hottest chili recipes. Oak Grove’s Annual Chili Cook-off, is Sunday, February 23, 2020, after the Annual Meeting. If you are bringing chili, please sign up at the church in advance.
Mark your calendars for February 23 to attend, taste, and vote! This is a fundraiser for the Senior High Youth Mission Trip this summer in Texas.
Oak Grove’s annual Alternative Market is Sunday, December 8, 2019. The marketplace will be open between services (9:00 a.m. -10:30 a.m.) and after the second service for about ½ hour.
Donations can be brought to the church on Saturday, December 7, between 8:00 am and 12 noon. Contact Sandy Crum with questions (952-888-2114). To allow time for pricing and set up, it would be helpful for us to have the items (except for the baked goods!) delivered prior to December 7. Things will be stored in Mary Koon’s office until the day of the sale.
This is a MISSION project. Our sole purpose is to raise money to help those in our world who need our assistance. Please keep this in mind when you are bidding in the silent auction. Give and bid generously. As usual, we will have hand-crafted items, pickles, jams, candy, breads, books (somewhat current, please), and the children’s legendary cinnamon rolls. Some items will be sold outside the bidding process.
In addition to the silent auction, the following will be offered for purchase:
· SHE PROJECT (wearable items from Pakistan)
· GUATEMALAN AND MEXICAN FREE TRADE COFFEE
· OLIVE OIL AND ZA’ATAR FROM PALESTINE
· KIVA (MICROLOANS THAT ARE GIVEN AND PAID BACK TO DONOR)