Silent Clergy Walks

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.”

VEAP Food Drive in June

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.

Rain Garden Installation

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).

Winners of the 2020 Chili Cook Off

And the winners are …

Lord’s Choice (best chili) – three-way tie to Stephen Jones for his Chicken Chili, Mattie Hawley for her Dad’s Traditional, and Patty Nail for her Meat Chili.

Devil’s Choice (spiciest chili) – Craig Propsom for his Girl Power Chili.

Angel’s Choice (prettiest chili) – Stephen Jones for his Chicken Chili.

Most Creative – Tim Dubis for his Ginger Pineapple Chili.

Greenest (most-ecofriendly) – two-way tie to Mary Hendrickson and Neil Schroeder for their Crumbled Tofu Chili and Katharine Painter for her Mild Vegan Chili.

Best Name – two-way tie to Mattie Hawley for her Dad’s Traditional Chili and Travis Scott for his Meat Fiesta to Cause a Siesta Chili.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Chili Cook-off

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. 

For questions, call Jane Propsom at 612-723-0592.

Alternative Gift Market Dec. 8

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)

·      CLEARWATER FOREST (OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME)

·      PURCHASES FROM THE PRESBYTERIAN GIFT CATALOG

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS WORTHWHILE EFFORT!

Mission Trip to Guatemala

Oak Grove students and chaperones traveled to Guatemala June 26 – July 3, 2019, for the senior high mission trip. Following are comments by four of the senior high students.

The thing that interested me most about going to Guatemala was the food. Food is a cultural common ground, allowing people to directly experience culture through the different feels and flavors of cultural dishes. I like experiencing new flavors and learning the techniques to replicate them and this trip was a complete success in terms of food. The mission served traditional fare of soups and black beans. Owen and I decided to go to the streets lined with vendors and went for churrascos (churrasco is Spanish and Portuguese for beef or grilled meat — a prominent part of the cuisine of Latin America). That meal was the best because it was food made for locals prepared by locals. Just outside the San Toliman park I felt truly connected to Guatemala, its people, and most importantly, its food. -Jack Wenz

This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible congregation here at Oak Grove.  It’s thanks to your support, prayer, and donations that we were able to go on this inspiring trip…to meet new people, to learn new things, to see new sights, to help our neighbors, to grow in faith, and to represent Oak Grove.  So all we have left to say is THANK YOU.  -Morgan Duvall

Guatemala was amazing, the scenery, people and the work, were all new experiences. The work was much different than other mission trips, it was more physical, such as digging dirt and moving concrete. Yet is was some of the most satisfying work that I have ever done. Knowing that you are building houses for those who need them is a great feeling. -William Snyder

Guatemala was such a life-changing experience. It was a whole new environment and I wasn’t prepared for the change. The first thing that I witnessed when we got there was the beautiful nature but also, how there were some similarities to the U.S., the food places. Something I most definitely wasn’t prepared for were the street venders. They were very persistent, but I understood why. They are in need of money to be able to support their families. I never realized how much I took stuff for granted until we started our work. Everyone was always so grateful, even if all we did was a small gesture, and that was heartwarming. I would love to experience this again and go and do more work if I have the chance, and I recommend it to any and everyone. -Tedo Philips

The senior high trip to Guatemala would not have been possible without the leadership of our amazing, kind, compassionate, fun-loving, responsible adults. These fine folks gave a week of their lives to be with our youth. Thanks go to Chad Acker, Greg Johnson, Mary Koon, Rory Scott, Travis Scott, Adam Wilkens, and Amy Zsohar.  Additional thanks go to Sarah Olson for making reservations with Delta and helping navigate the group check-in process, and to Arlene Jullie for Mary’s Spanish lessons!  The trip was filled with meaning and lasting memories.

For more photos, see Oak Grove’s Facebook album, 2019 Guatemala Mission Trip.