Learn How to Take Care of Rain Gardens Sept 9

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   jcrampt48@gmail.com

Rev. Denise Dunbar Perkins to preach on Aug. 9

On Sunday, August 9, we welcome Reverend Denise Dunbar Perkins. Join us at 9:30 a.m. for our virtual Worship Service!

The Reverend Denise Dunbar-Perkins is an Honorably Retired Presbyterian Church USA Minister from a Specialized Ministry of Board-Certified Chaplaincy at AbbottNorthwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, where she also served as an adjunct Clinical Pastoral Education Facilitator and chaplain preceptor for CPE students. 

Her work included providing pastoral care to patients and their families through spiritual assessment, sacramental ministry, bereavement assessment and support, bio-ethics or health care decision making support, consultation with staff, End of Life, life transitions with the elderly and connection with the interfaith religious community. Her specialty was in attending to the cultural/emotional/spiritual aspects and challenges with long term and life limiting medical conditions. 

She also served as a public speaker with a focus on the healthcare concerns of the communities of color (HIV, diabetes, cancer, etc.) and the church’s response to them. 

She is one of the original founding members of Kwanzaa (now Liberty) Community Church PC(USA) in North Minneapolis, the only African American Presbyterian Church in Minnesota and is also the first African-American female to be ordained into Presbyterian ministry in the State of Minnesota. In the last 24 years within the church, she has served locally, nationally and internationally as a speaker, teacher, preacher, workshop leader, curriculum writer and worship leader. She also been an adjunct professor at United Theological Seminary, where she received her Master of Divinity, teaching on Black church culture and Womanist Theology. Additionally, she is a former high school history teacher which informs her passion around paying attention to what has gone on before us in society. 

Denise is currently serves on the Called Ministry team for the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area  and she is our Presbytery liaison to the Pastor Nominating Committee. 

Oak Grove Pastors Sign Racial Equity Letter to Bloomington Mayor, City Council, and Police Chief

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.

Solar Production at Oak Grove

We believe that electric bills are faith statements of how much we value the continued livability of God’s Creation for all living species.  In the past month, Oak Grove’s rooftop solar produced 2.90 MWh which represented 62% of our electrical usage.  In addition, our community solar garden, St. Cloud Solar on the outskirts of St. Cloud, produced 6.85 MWh which is 147% more than our electrical consumption.  We sold all our excess production to Xcel in the form either rebates or bill credits. Solar Production Graph

In terms of climate impact, in total we produced 14.4 MWh of clean energy (solar and wind).  That is 14.4 million watt hours of no-emissions electricity.  We avoided putting 10.2 metric tons of CO2 into our atmosphere.  It is the same as if we grew 13.3 acres of forest for 1 year to sequester carbon.   Good job Oak Grove!  Now let’s all do this in our own personal energy consumption by using WindSource or Wellspring or other means to go 100% carbon free for our electricity.

Rain Garden Update

Rain Garden Update by John Crampton, Oak Grove Green Committee

The rain garden in front of Oak Grove is planted and starting to grow.  Don’t just drive by the church and wave.  Get off your duff and out of your car, get off your bike or scooter and check it out!  It’s huge. It’s going to take millions of gallons of dirty storm water runoff off of Old Shakopee Rd and clean it, infiltrate it into the ground water, rather than letting it pollute Nine Mile Creek, Minnesota River, and the Mississippi River, including reducing the major role that these rivers play in producing the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project is being paid for 100% by the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District (WSD) under the leadership of Erica Sniegowski, Program and Project Manager.  The rain garden will be maintained by Nine Mile Creek WSD for the first 2 years and then Oak Grove takes over.  The excavation work was done by SunRun Construction Company out of Rochester.  The planting and maintenance are being provided by Hoffman and McNamara Landscapers from Hastings.  Design and engineering are provided by Barr Engineering.   Five other churches in the Nine Mile Creek Watershed are also constructing rain gardens, including St. Luke’s Lutheran and St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Bloomington.  Look for a future bike trip to each of the five churches.

Family Car Parade

On June 10, Oak Grove hosted a family car parade in the church parking lot. WoW! and Sunday morning leaders were on hand to say hello and offer a faith formation package for families. See below for videos and photos.

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.

Statement from Presbytery

May 21, 2020, Statement from Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area

In the spirit of love, justice, and communal wholeness that grounds our faith, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area reaffirms its strong recommendation to its churches to avoid most or all in-person gatherings in churches or other indoor spaces for the foreseeable future.

There has been much public conversation in the last days in Minnesota and Wisconsin about the viability of in-person gatherings for worship or Bible study. Though it sorrows us, evidence has borne out that gatherings of faith communities remain some of the most risky activities in this time of COVID-19. There is ample evidence that group gatherings indoors for lengthy periods of times (like worship or Bible study), gatherings in larger groups (even outdoors), or public singing (groups or solos), are high-risk practices. More fundamentally, however, there are the values and instructions of our Christian faith which tell us:

– In our choices around community, to center the gifts and needs of the most vulnerable (1 Cor 12:21-22)

– To not mistake what is “permissible” for what is good (1 Cor 8:9)

– To be patient in times of challenge (Romans 12:12)

We urge our congregations to follow the example of Jesus Christ in loving our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and not risk the most vulnerable among us for the sake of “returning to normal.” As a presbytery, we are modeling this by having cancelled all our in-person large group events through the end of 2020, and will continually reevaluate throughout 2021.

We are also designing a discussion guide for congregational leaders and Sessions about the Christian values foundational to our ministries, to help our congregations continue to discern and deepen how they will do ministry together in this time.

There are powerful opportunities to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God in this time, and spending our energy on doing those tasks mindfully and lovingly, rather than a return to the routine, is the core of our calling.

On behalf of your Officers and staff,

Anna Kendig, Moderator
Jean Emmons, Vice Moderator

Rain Garden Progress

May 27 UPDATE: photos showing the complete inlet and outlet plumbing.

May 20: See below for photos of putting in the inlet and outlet for Oak Grove’s new Rain Garden. Sunrun is putting in the inlet on Old Shakopee on May 20, with some very skillful work with bucket and level.  They will put in outlet on May 21.   Planting is scheduled for next week.