Sub Sandwich Youth Fundraiser Feb 12

Order a Sub Sandwich for the Super Bowl and Support Oak Grove Youth!

The youth are sponsoring a Super Bowl sub-sandwich fundraiser for our trip to Washington DC this summer! You will find order forms in the Sunday bulletins to create your own deluxe sub, to be made fresh on the morning of Sunday, February 12, and picked up after worship in the social hall!

No need to worry about what you’ll eat for the big game (the Super Bowl or the Puppy Bowl), or just an easy lunch that day. Each made-to-order sub is $10 (cash or check).

Simply drop your order form and payment in the collection plate, or hand it to a youth representative at the table in the hallway or call the church office (952-888-4621) by Wednesday, Feb. 8. What a delicious way to support our youth – thanking you in advance! Questions? Call Mary.

Christmas Joy Offering

November 27–December 18, 2022

When we give to the Christmas Joy Offering, we come together to support past present and future leaders embodying God’s perfect gift to us, Jesus Christ.

  • 50% of your gifts make it possible for students to learn and grow in faith at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color.
  • 50% of your gifts provide assistance for current and retired church workers and their families with critical financial needs.

You can donate by using the special envelope in the pew, write a check to Oak Grove with “Christmas Joy” in the memo line or online at  https://onrealm.org/oakgrv/give/xmasjoy.

Thank you for your generosity. If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot!

Dream Day

Dream Day at Oak Grove: Saturday, December 3 (9 am to 12:30 pm)

Join us on Saturday, December 3, at 9:00 a.m. as we begin to answer questions, like: Where is God acting in the community, and where does God wish us to join in that activity? What does it look like for our future if we move toward the reality of where God is leading us? What ministries and mission are we being called to start, expand, or stop? During this phase we will engage in theological and prayerful consideration of what God’s future for Oak Grove as a faith community looks like.

Alternative Christmas Marketplace

Alternative Christmas Marketplace: Sunday, December 4 (9:00–10:30 a.m.)

Photo Gallery

Join us for a small marketplace in Gideon Pond Hall on Sunday morning, December 4, at 9:00 a.m. During this time, there will be coffee, juice, and cinnamon rolls to enjoy. There will also be entertainment from some of our very own Oak Grovers. Additionally, there will be a photo booth, and handcrafted items for sale. Also, we will have those who have shared their talents in the kitchen with items like baked goods, jams, pickles, and other items for sale.

Please note, the decaffeinated Mexican whole bean coffee is NOT available. If you have already returned your order form and purchased the decaffeinated Mexican coffee your money will be refunded. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Alternative Christmas Marketplace-2022

Once again, your Mission Committee is inviting members and friends of Oak Grove to gather as a compassionate community of faith and demonstrate our commitment to “loving all God’s people worldwide” and changing lives wherever we can.

Because many of us are still being very cautious due to Covid, the Mission Committee has planned our Alternative Christmas Marketplace to go forward in much the same way as last year. During the week of Nov. 14, you will find your marketplace booklet delivered to your mailbox. It will include everything you need to select those items you wish to purchase to honor family and friends. What a wonderful way for you to make your choices quietly and prayerfully in the comfort of your own home. However, this year we are offering two ways in which you can return your order form with a check or credit card.

You can simply mail the order form and payment in the return envelope provided in the marketplace packet. If you chose this option, please return to Oak Grove by December 2, or bring it to church on Sunday, December 4, when we will have available a small marketplace in the Gideon Pond social hall. During this time, there will be coffee, juice, and cinnamon rolls to enjoy as well as a little entertainment from our very own Oak Grovers.

While there will not be a silent auction this year, we would like to invite all crafters and those who want to share their talents in the kitchen by donating handmade art, crafts, baked goods, jams or other edibles for sale on December 4, to please contact Sharon Nolte at 952-884-1014 or sharonnolte@yahoo.com.

In 2021 your generous response to the marketplace was overwhelming and we were able to send more than $9,000 to the Presbyterian Mission Agency where small gifts make a big impact. Yet at the same time, we also supported some of Oak Groves own mission non-profits… “Loving God… Changing Lives” locally, nationally and worldwide.

Sept 24 Clearwater Woodcutting

Join us at Clearwater Forest for Oak Grove’s annual woodcutting event. There will be a lot of fun, fresh air, fellowship, and hard work. Families can treat this as an introduction to the property and a full weekend to hike, bike, kayak, swim and fish. We have campsites and some room with beds available if you would like to come up the night before and/or stay Saturday.

If interested in going or knowing more about the event, please contact Carrie Wilkens at carriewilkens@comcast.net or 952-240-5022.

2022 EV Expo Sept. 17

2022 Electric Vehicle Expo, Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, Saturday, September 17, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

2022 EV Expo photos (Facebook album)

2022 EV Expo Aerial View

Learn how you can reduce your carbon emissions, save money, stop feeding the oil-gas monster and clean up air pollution.  Come see:

  • Dealer test drives/test rides of the latest EV models including the Ford F-150 Lightning
  • 25 EVs on display with their owners telling about their driving experiences. 
  • Electric bikes, e-mowers and e-snow blowers 
  • Electric School Bus from Eastern Carver County District
  • Talks about picking the right EV, rates for charging, electric school buses, climate benefits, cost savings and a women’s panel “Why We Love Our EVs

Event is free and open to the public in the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church parking lot.  Visitor parking will be available at nearby sites and on-street locations. Shuttle service will be available from Creekside Center parking lot (98th and Penn) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Oak Grove Presbyterian, 2200 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington 55431 952-888-4621

ev expo

2021 EV Expo photos

2021 EV Expo news article

EV Expo Slideshow (PDF)

Fourth of July VEAP Fundraiser

The annual Pancake Breakfast for VEAP will be held on Monday, July 4, 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., at Bob and Karen Gerdes’ house (10741 Sheridan Ave.).

Please bring a non-perishable food item or cash to donate. Tables will be separated, and masks can be worn. Let’s enjoy being together!

VEAP fundraiser

Restorative Actions Update

Restorative Actions (Giving1) at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, May 2022

Restorative Actions introductory video

The conversation around the racial wealth gap started at Oak Grove with a car ride discussion between Jim Koon and Pastor Jermaine, who served at Oak Grove, back in 2017. From that discussion, and many more with many others seeking to do something about the racial wealth gap, the economic justice initiative Restorative Actions was born.

Restorative Actions (https://restorativeactions.org/) is an economic equity initiative born from the intersection of theology, justice, and economics. It allows U.S. Americans who benefit from institutional racism, to provide credible witness for justice by surrendering ill-gotten gains toward the establishment of just relationships with our Afro-American & Indigenous communities.2

The term surrender is foundational to this initiative. It describes the act of transferring wealth and control of that wealth to those that should have been in possession of it had these racial inequities been resolved generations ago. With this surrender, individuals from the respective communities will serve as trustees and make all distribution decisions.

More formal conversations began at Oak Grove in the early part of 2020 during an in person adult faith formation class prior to COVID. Since that first adult faith formation (AFF) class, Restorative Actions has been shared and discussed in a number of forums during the 12+ month discernment process and after the commitment of surrender was made by the session. These forums included:

  • Adult Faith Formation Sessions (multiple sessions)
  • Social Justice Committee Meetings (multiple sessions)
  • Surrender recommendation was sent to Session from Social Justice
  • Finance Committee Meetings (multiple meetings)
  • Session Meetings (multiple meetings)
  • Print Announcements (multiple occasions)
  • Invitation via announcements and during AFF for 1:1 meetings with for Jim Koon and Milissa Carter
  • Invitation to ask questions through an anonymous survey prior to the last two AFF
  • Announcements at beginning of worship (multiple Sundays)
  • Mentioned in Multiple Sermons

Oak Grove is the inaugural congregation to make this commitment of surrender. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies and individuals have also made commitments of surrender. In total, over $900,000 has been committed to this economic justice initiative and the Restorative Actions Core Team continues to engage with congregations and mid-councils that are interested in learning more about what a surrender could mean for them. Oak Grove members Jim Koon and Milissa Carter are part of this Restorative Actions Core Team (https://restorativeactions.org/about-restorative-actions/).

Restorative Actions Updates

Advisory conversations recently finished up for the Afro-American Trusts and the legal documents are in progress. Development of the Indigenous Trusts are in the learning and relationship building stage. The curriculum The Time for Repair was developed in response to Pastors asking, “How can I have a conversation with my parishioners about the theological questions around Reparations?” Oak Grove recently concluded a pilot version of this curriculum.

In February, PC(USA) announced that Restorative Actions will be the GA Opening Worship Offering recipient this year.

https://www.pcusa.org/news/2022/2/15/restorative-actions-recipient-offering-GA225/ https://ga-pcusa.org/offering/

Is Restorative Action the same as Reparations?3

No, they are not the same. The difference between the two is very important. Restorative action is a moral reckoning while reparations is more like a balance sheet of accounts.

Restoration is an effort to bring something closer to what it should have been by rebalancing misalignments, replenishing resources spent, and re-establishing trust. Restorative action is a relatively small and voluntary act by an individual, a family, a congregation, an organization, or an institution to acknowledge white complicity in the extreme wealth disparity that has existed since before this country’s founding under the dubious pretext of establishing what has become the United States as a “New Israel”. 4 Restorative action, therefore, is an unprecedented effort to achieve balance where true equity was never intended.

Reparations, however, is a much larger, systemic act of Congress that involves the whole of the United States aimed at making material amends to Afro-American and Indigenous people as well as legal changes to dismantle laws and policies that continue to sustain institutional racism and oppression.

In a way, you might consider restorative action as the church’s internal yet public witness demonstrating the necessity, feasibility, and righteousness of reparations from the United States for the appropriation of Indigenous lands and subjecting Africans and their U.S. American descendants to chattel slavery, Jim Crow policies, and ongoing institutional racism.

This is just one of a number of theological questions addressed on the Restorative Actions (https://restorativeactions.org/theology/) website plus so much more.

We invite you to explore more about Restorative Actions and Reparations, engage in conversation, and consider how you can personally surrender ill-gotten wealth.

In Gratitude, Social Justice Committee

For more information about:

The racial wealth gap and Reparations, check out the recommended reading from Restorative Actions at: https://restorativeactions.org/learn-more/books-video/

General anti-racism topics, check out the book, podcast, video, and more recommendations at: https://www.oakgrv.org/antiracism-resources/

How to surrender your ill-gotten wealth, go to: https://restorativeactions.org/make-the- commitment/surrender/

1 While Restorative Giving was being discussed at Oak Grove, it was also being discussed with theology and thought leaders in the arena of economic justice. One of the many pieces of feedback received was that the term ‘giving’ is not appropriate when it comes to paying a debt or returning something that shouldn’t have been ours to begin with, and so the new name Restorative Actions was identified.

2 Source: https://restorativeactions.org/

3Source: https://restorativeactions.org/theology/

4 In the essay “The Idea of the Wilderness of the New World in Cotton Mather’s ‘Magnalia Christi Americana,’ George H. Williams provides an informative analysis of Mather’s concept of America as a New Israel. Williams offers that Mather held that “God in His providence was so to arrange human affairs that the Europeans prepared by Him to fill the waste places with would enter the devilish American desert only after literature had been reborn, the art of printing had been acquired, and the religion to be transplanted have been restored to the perfection of its apostolic ‘golden age.’” For Williams, Mather’s interpretation of the American wilderness is “no mere chronicle but a theodicy of the New English Israel renewed, regenerated, and ever ready to face ‘wilderness temptations,’ moving confidently toward a cosmic vindication of the faith.” from Cotton Mather: Magnalia Christi Americana, 49-53., ed. Kenneth B. Murdock.

Afghan Partner Family Update and Other Resettling Families

April brought the holy time of Ramadan for Haroon and Sakina and the girls. This has meant fasting from food and water during the day for grown-ups and extra prayer times. This presents an extra challenge when the dad works 12 hours overnight! The ten or so resettling-from-Afghanistan families at the apartment complex were recipients of wonderful trays of prepared rice and meat and other gifts from sponsoring agencies and from the Muslim community. Oak Grove shared Cub Food gift cards in honor of our Holy Week and Easter celebrations in April!

Of the ten or so Afghanistan families in the apartment complex, only one other family has a co-sponsor. So, as you can imagine, we have had the wonderful opportunity to interact with folks from other apartments. On most Saturdays, Karen and Fred Alonzi take a group to Cub and a halal store for weekly groceries. Transportation is an ongoing need. While they are near light rail and bus stops, there are limits to where they can go and the time it takes can be prohibitive. So, rides to stores or appointments are really helpful. Whenever there’s a chance for a community outing (Hello, Como Zoo!) it is so gratefully received! In addition to our family of Mom, Dad and girls (4 and 2), we’ve become close to five other families at the complex.

All families have 6-month leases set to expire in July, so there is some stress now about where they are next going to find affordable housing. This apartment complex is too expensive for most families to stay. Having other resettling families in the complex has been a real support so there is sadness that another separation is likely at hand. Our partner family is working through their budget and deciding where they will move next.

Having arrived here in early January, our family is finally experiencing Minnesota as a good-weather state! Perhaps there are ways Oak Grovers might consider other sharing with our newest neighbors? Karen and Fred Alonzi, Sue Greimel, Kathy Howell and Anne and Larry Klueh have been directly interacting with these friends, on behalf of all of us at Oak Grove, and any of them would be happy to visit with you about ways you might like to become involved. Please feel free to start a conversation! 

Some wish list items (new or gently used) include:

  • Sandals (children’s size 8 or 9 & 11 or 12)
  • Lightweight socks
  • Outdoor toys (that aren’t TOO big)
  • Men’s bicycles, helmets, locks, lights*
  • Children’s summer clothing (Size 2/3 and 4/5)
  • Area Rug (7–8’ x 10’—or chance to pick out at Menard’s?)
  • Vacuum (for a family without a co-sponsor and awaiting paperwork to start working a $20/hour job that is waiting for him)

*We have someone willing to provide tune-ups/maintenance, if you have the bikes! Please contact Cathy Colborn (952-237-6012) for details! 

Money and gift cards are a way to give the power of choice to families if this is something you’re able to consider. Currently, Target and Burlington Coat Factory are a short distance away. Any donations can be brought or mailed to the church office with the notation “Afghan Partners” and the group listed above will distribute them. Any items that are not able to be used by our partner family will be shared with other families who will gratefully make good use of them. 

Thank you, Oak Grove, for your steadfastness in this partnership!