Feb 1 Caucus for Climate

Thank you to the Green Committee for giving an informative Adult Faith Formation (AFF) program on Sunday, January 23, 2022. Their non-partisan presentation, Caucusing for Climate on Tuesday, February 1,  focused on the upcoming party caucuses. The parties are making it easier this year to take part in the caucus process including the DFL’s contactless caucus that you can do at home. 

See the list below for links to the Green Committee’s presentation and key links for finding your caucus, becoming a delegate to the endorsing conventionsoffering resolutions, and more. For further information, contact John Crampton, Chair-Green Committee, 612-396-6010 jcrampt48@gmail.com

Link to the Green Committee’s Caucus for Climate presentation PDF

Minnesota Secretary of State- Caucus Finder (for all parties)

DFL (Democratic) Caucus Finder

GOP (Republican Party) Caucus Info

Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party

Legalize Marijuana Now Party 

DFL (Democratic) Non-Attendee Form PDF (to volunteer to be delegate to nominating convention)

DFL (Democratic) Resolutions Form PDF

GOP (Republican) Resolutions Form PDF

HUB for Climate Resolutions- MN Environmental Partnership 

Afghan Family Update

UPDATE February 7, 2022

It’s been two weeks since our Afghan family moved into their apartment and all is well! Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Oak Grove congregation, the family is now enjoying a well-stocked kitchen, a comfortably-furnished living area, and plenty of household supplies. Oak Grovers also helped with shopping, educational opportunities, and scheduling and transportation for appointments and classes. And more good news: the head of household applied for and landed a job!

Who would’ve imagined this one month ago when they first set foot in Minnesota? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

At this time, we have no identified needs from Oak Grove other than cash donations and prayers for this young family (and so many others) undertaking this most major transition. Donations will go to priority items such as fabric/sewing supplies and transportation needs. Donations are also accepted via credit card/ACH (click on the button below and select Afghan Family Support using the drop-down menu).

Donate by credit card or ACH (Checking)

Thanks for all you’ve done so far to be a partner in welcoming this family, Oak Grove. Those who attended yesterday’s Faith Formation conversation no doubt agree: we all are enriched by this chance to journey together and to learn along with our newest neighbors! 

Update on our Afghan Family, January 20:

Not all ordered items have quite arrived, but an empty apartment has been turned into a space ready for a family’s landing! Thank you, thank you worker bee organizers and movers and the many, MANY Oak Grovers and friends who have donated time, talents, and treasure! 

volunteer workers

Update on our Afghan Family, January 18: Wow!! Our congregation is amazing. All items on the donation list have been purchased and donated! We are still accepting gift cards or cash donations to pay for food and other needs.

An apartment in Minneapolis has been found, and move-in day is this Thursday, January 20! Our plan is to clean and move everything on Wednesday, January 19. We’d love to have donations ordered or brought to church by Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Please contact Sue Greimel (sue.greimel@gmail.com, 612 805-2896) with questions or if you are willing to volunteer to help with cleaning, moving, and welcoming on Wednesday/Thursday.

Jan 26 ReEntry Team Update

Re-Entry Team Update, January 26, 2022

While there are some indications that the Omicron wave is showing signs of waning in the Twin Cities, we are still in a time of high transmission. We will continue with our current recommendations through the month of February.

As a reminder, we encourage all groups to meet virtually if possible. In-person worship will still be limited to 20 vaccinated persons (not including worship leadership and support). We will, however, be removing the need to register beforehand for worship. We ask those that plan to attend in-person sign-in when you arrive, wear a well-fitted mask (N95 or KN95 preferred), and stay home if you are sick.

Re-Entry Team Update, January 6, 2022

The January surge of Covid cases, due to the omicron variant and anticipated by medical experts, is now apparent. Cases in Hennepin county have  almost doubled in the last week, and are at the highest rate ever seen in the last 2 years. This pattern is reflective of the rest of the country. While the rate of infection is alarming, and additional protocols (outlined below) are necessary, there is also some good news as experts are learning more about the omicron variant. First and foremost, vaccines are still effective against serious illness and death. It is highly recommended, if eligible, to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. The FDA & CDC on Wednesday night just approved boosters for anyone 12 years old and above and most estimates are that vaccines for those under 5 will be available by summer. Second, omicron, while extremely contagious does not appear to be as severe as previous variants. Third, while there is currently a short supply in antigen test availability, more supply will be coming soon. In addition, new antiviral pills to reduce severity of symptoms for those with Covid have been approved and are being produced at a rapid rate. Finally, there seems to be evidence that the omicron wave will not be lengthy, and many experts are hoping it peaks in 4 to 6 weeks.

While there is much good news and hope for optimism, it is also true that there are other signs to proceed with caution and to work to flatten the curve of the current spike as much as possible. As children (many of whom are not yet eligible to be vaccinated or have not yet received a vaccination) return to school there has been an increase in pediatric cases and hospitalizations. Hospitals are under immense stress and ICU’s in the area are almost full. While omicron is less severe, because many more people are getting infected, there are high numbers of hospitalizations and there is still a risk of hospitals not being able to handle the spike. In addition, there are more breakthrough infections (those fully vaccinated and/or boosted getting infected) with the omicron variant. Because of these breakthrough infections of hospital staff, the capacity for hospitals to respond to the current situation is diminished. We have also begun to see disruptions in air travel, first responders, food supply, and education because of staff shortages due to illness. 

With all of this in mind, we are implementing the following changes for the month of January:

  • In-person worship will now be limited to 20 people (not including leadership and tech support)
    • Only vaccinated individuals may attend, and it is strongly recommended that people be boosted as well
    • It is important that you reserve a spot by using the link on the website or by calling the church office
    • Masks are required, and KN95, N95, or both a surgical mask under a cloth mask are highly recommended
    • We encourage anyone who may be immune compromised or who lives with someone who is, not to attend in-person for now
  • No small group meetings should meet in person and should meet virtually
  • If it is not possible to meet virtually, we strongly recommend you postpone your meeting for the month of January.

As before, this has not been an easy choice and we are disappointed that we must continue to adapt and that the pandemic is still disrupting our lives. We believe this is the best way for us to be good neighbors and to not contribute to the spike as we seek to love one another and to support our educators, first responders, hospital and emergency workers, and the most vulnerable among us. We will reassess where we are toward the end of January and continue to keep the congregation informed of plans. Feel free to contact any member of the re-entry team if you have any questions or need further clarification. Anne Klueh, Al Greimel, Bev Heise, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary, and Pastor Bart.

Laura Nemcek Joins Oak Grove Staff

Please welcome Laura Nemcek, Oak Grove’s new accountant!

Laura writes: It is with great joy that God has led me to use my financial skills at Oak Grove as your new accountant. Although raised in Illinois, I stayed in Minnesota after graduating from St. Olaf in Northfield, at which time I began my career as a small business banker. I had the privilege of staying home to raise our children (now grown) and re-entered the workforce doing graphic design marketing for a national wholesale company in Eden Prairie.

God then called me to do non-profit accounting for His kingdom work and I am still accepting His call to join your team. I enjoy time with family, travelling, sewing, scrapbooking, reading, and playing piano. As a longtime resident of Bloomington for over 30 years, I look forward to meeting you. 

Welcome to Oak Grove, Laura!

Restorative Actions

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church’s role in the Restorative Actions project is highlighted this month in a two-part series on Healing Minnesota Stories (see links to articles below). The series features comments from Oak Grove members Jim Koon and Milissa Carter, as well as our former Pastor Jermaine (Rev. Anthony Jermaine Ross-Allam).

Part 1: Moral reckoning: A Presbyterian Church tests model to surrender wealth to Afro American, Indigenous communities

Part 2: Restorative Actions and the power of a single conversation

Rev. Anthony Jermaine Ross-Allam
Jim Koon
Milissa Carter

Love Is Still The Answer

Dear Oak Grove Family,

During November 2021, we are compiling a booklet as an opportunity for connecting with each other, and we would like you to be a part of it! Think of it as a greeting card to our whole community. We’re calling the project “Love is Still the Answer,” and we look forward to hearing from you. We invite you to submit a photo and a short paragraph (or more) that might help us catch up a bit after so much time apart! This is just an informal entry that can be as detailed or general as you wish. Since we have new members and babies who’ve grown so much, it would be really helpful if you would include a photo and identify each person by name. We encourage you to be completely casual, selfies would be fine! 

We ask you to complete and turn in your entry by Friday, December 3, so that we can gather all the entries together. The plan is to e-mail a booklet to each Oak Grove home by late December; paper copies will be available to Oak Grove households by request. This booklet will not be shared elsewhere, such as church website or Facebook.

There are three ways to participate:

Electronically:

Send an email to ogpc2@oakgrv.org In your email, please catch us up a bit on what’s happened (or didn’t get to happen!) for you in the last two-ish years! You are also invited to share reflection(s) on the theme: “Love Is Still the Answer.” Attach a photo and identify each person.

If you have a Gmail/Google account, submit everything via this online form: https://forms.gle/i8UG8YvbXmcuP2Md7

By Hand: Print out this form (Word doc), fill in your information, include a photo, and either mail it (2200 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington MN 55431) to church or drop it off.

Partner by phone: Call the church, (952-888-4621), we have volunteers who will happily take your photo and/or help write your story!

We really hope you will take a few moments to submit as much as you are able; we celebrate this opportunity to catch up with you! Thank you in advance for your participation! Please enjoy the gift of inspiration for this project: “Love Is Still The Answer” via YouTube (a Jason Mraz video). In this upcoming season of Advent and in the difficulties our times have imposed, we remember and we believe: love is still the answer!

Blessings from your friends at Oak Grove.

Dakota Sites Tour

Oak Grove Presbyterian’s Anti-Racism Committee held a daylong tour of important Dakota sites in Twin Cities area on Saturday October 23, 2021.  Forty-one people went on the tour by car caravan.  

We visited Bde Maka Ska, village site of Cloudman (Marpiya Wicasta) and heard talks by Dakota descendent Syd Beane and Pond and Williamson descendent Jeff Williamson, along with talks by religious scholar Bruce Forbes and historian Thomas Shaw to learn about the Dakota agricultural community and the beginning of the Pond brothers’ mission work there in the 1830s.

Dakota sites tour 10/23/21
Bde Maka Ska
Syd Beane, descendant of Chief Cloudman, and Jeff Williamson, descendant of Gideon Pond talk about the Dakota agricultural village at Bde Maka Ska, 1829-39.

Next we visited Pilot Knob  (Oheyawaha) “hill that is much visited” to learn about how it is a sacred site to the Dakotas, is the site of the 1851 Treaty of Mendota by which the Dakotas were forced to give up their land in south and western Minnesota, along with efforts by whites to appropriate, capitalize on and desecrate the site and its burials, along with current efforts to protect and restore it.

Dakota sites tour 10/23/21
John Crampton talks about Pilot Knob- a Dakota burial site and the scene of the 1851 Treaty of Mendota which forced the Dakota people to give up much of their land in southern Minnesota

Finally we visited the Fort Snelling Prison Camp (under the Mendota Bridge) where 1600 Dakota women, children and elders were held in a concentration camp and over 125 died during the winter of 1862-63.  This was a result of the US-Dakota War in which many of the prisoners had protected whites during the fighting.  The interpretation at Fort Snelling Prison Camp was given by historian Corrine L. Monjeau-Marz, a descendent of the Dakota Chief Wabasha and by Jeff Williamson. 

Dakota site tour
Corrine Monjeau-Marz, historian and Chief Wabasha descendant tells about the Fort Snelling Prison Camp 1862-63 in which 1,600 Dakota women, children and elders were captives. 

Thanks to all the presenters, and to Jeff Williamson, John Crampton  and Mary Koon who organized the tour.   Kudos to Ruth Dukelow, Sue Gjerstad and Karen Alonzi who setup the web site and online registration. 

More tours are being planned for the spring/summer of 2022. 

Re-Entry Team Town Hall Nov. 14

Phased Re-Opening Plan, 11/14/21

UPDATE December 15: Beginning December 19, Oak Grove will have a single Sunday Worship Service at 10:15 a.m. livestreamed with limited in-person attendance. Click here for pre-registration form. We are currently in Phase 1 of our Re-Entry plan.

Oak Grove held a Town Hall Forum hosted by the Re-Entry Team on November 14 to hear from the team about where we are and where we are going. We encourage you to ask questions and share your thoughts.

Slideshow of November 14 ReEntry Team Town Hall (PDF)

Slideshow of November 14 ReEntry Team Town Hall (PPTX)

Hennepin County info page

2021 Alternative Christmas Market

COMING SOON TO YOUR MAILBOX! The booklet for the 2021 Alternative Christmas Marketplace should arrive at your home during the week of November 15th. There will be many opportunities to support the work of the Presbyterian USA Mission Agency and Oak Grove’s special mission projects. Hope you and your family will enjoy this early gift giving opportunity. Thank you for your support.

2021 Alternative Christmas Market booklet (pdf)

2021 Order Form (pdf)

Presbyterian News article

Presbyterian Mission article

2021 Xmas booklet

Job Opening Accountant

Oak Grove is seeking a part-time, 12-16 hours per week accountant who will have responsibility for management of Oak Grove’s financial affairs, including the preparation and maintenance of all financial records. The position is responsible for accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll preparation, accounting records, and all financial reporting. The position may also provide occasional coverage of the Office Administrator’s duties when the Office Administrator is absent. The position pays up to $32/hr, depending on qualifications and experience. Starting date will be the end of November or beginning of December.

Application deadline is close-of-business Friday, November 12, 2021.

The Accountant works in collaboration with staff and volunteers, reporting to the senior Pastor. The Accountant receives oversight from the church’s Treasurer and takes direction from the Treasurer. The Accountant meets one evening a month with the Church Budget & Finance Committee. The Accountant will direct volunteers who assist with scanning and other non-financial expertise functions. When acting as the Office Administrator, the Accountant works in collaboration with staff and volunteers.

Applications may be sent via Indeed or by email to Financesearch@oakgrv.org. For detailed information on qualifications and job duties, see:

Part-time Accountant Job Description (pdf)

Link to posting on Indeed

Link to posting on Craigslist