Brenda Johnson and Courageous Conversations on August 16

On Sunday, August 16, we welcome Brenda Johnson, for “Courageous Conversations” with Mary Koon. Brenda was ordained in 2017 as a local elder/clergy in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her life verse is Hebrews 1:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Nehemiah 8:10, “…for the joy of the Lord is my strength.”    

Ms. Johnson is a Transitional Specialist with Stadium View School — part of the Minneapolis School District housed in the Hennepin County Detention Center — where she works with youth and families. Johnson is passionate about youth, families, and those incarcerated and is devoted to interrupting the “cradle-to-prison” pipeline. She is actively involved in the National Education Association. Her work is recognized internationally. We are excited to hear from you, Brenda! Welcome!

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. 

Pride Sunday

Join us online at 9:30 a.m. on June 14, 2020, for Pride Sunday. The Worship Service will feature meditations from Oak Grove’s Rainbow Fellowship.

2020 Pentecost Slideshow

Slideshow Video, Oak Grove Pentecost 2020

“Bonus Reel” of deleted scenes not included in the final slideshow

Previous Post:

Send us your photos for a Pentecost slideshow! 

Celebrating Pentecost (May 31) involves a lot of movement and action. Acts Chapter 2 talks about tongues of fire and rushing winds. To help celebrate Pentecost this year, we’d like your pictures and action shots. Take photos of things flying, or blowing, or with a lot of RED in them. Let your imaginations take off!

Note: Please send only photos that you have taken yourself or that you have permission to share. Emailing us your photos indicates your permission for Oak Grove to use them in the slideshow we are posting on our Facebook page and website.

Email your photos to ruth.dukelow@gmail.com by 12:00 noon on Friday, May 29. Thanks!

Holy Week Online Worship

Holy Week Devotionals. Pastor Anne and Pastor Mary have prepared daily devotions for Holy Week. We will post each day’s devotions on Facebook. Click here for the full list of devotionals.

Maundy ThursdayApril 9. See video below for Oak Grove’s Maundy Thursday Worship Service  (OneLicense.net Streaming License # A-712207).

Good FridayApril 10. See video below for Oak Grove’s Good Friday Service  (OneLicense.net Streaming License # A-712207).

Good Friday, April 10, 2020 Bulletin

Join us by live-stream at 10:45 am on Easter Sunday, available on Facebook and the website.

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 Bulletin

Holy Week Devotionals

Holy Week Devotionals (PDF)

Palm Sunday April 5

Matthew 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Jesus wasn’t the only one parading into Jerusalem that day. On the other side of town, Herod rode in on a gleaming stallion, surrounded by his military, the very symbol of power and might. The two could not be more different. Jesus shows us the power of love. Love never manipulates, marginalizes, and does not destroy. Love builds up. It is what is real. Power and control are illusions.

Prayer: By your grace, O God, let your love fill me; and let my gratitude spill out to others in acts of kindness. AMEN

Do something kind for someone today – write a note, send a text, make a call, put a flower on a neighbor’s porch, say a prayer, etc.

Holy Monday April 6

John 12:3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard and anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.

This is the same Mary who saw her brother, Lazarus, raised from the dead. Mary’s gratitude to Jesus knows no bounds. Judas objects to the expensive oil used in this way, but Jesus allows it. He knows what is behind this action and what is coming. Mary has the conviction of how she wants to express to Jesus, her adoration and gratitude. She withstands Judas’ criticism of being wasteful. Mary’s faith tells her she is doing the right thing at this moment and time.

Prayer: Teach me to act, Lord with the confidence and faith of your presence. Let my actions follow my convictions. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Think back to times in your life when your faith has been strong. Share a part of your faith journey with someone else today.

Holy Tuesday April 7

John 12:24 Jesus says, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Jesus continues to teach his listeners in his last hours. During his three years of ministry Jesus sows the seeds of God’s kingdom on earth. Now the time has come to allow God’s message to germinate, take root and grow. At this time of staying home, we need to discover ways of how we grow the seeds of God’s message to the world. It is a challenge to love our neighbor when they are at least six feet from us. In this time of containment, our actions and those of others reflect Christ’s message in ways we would have not thought possible.  

Prayer: I pray for clear sight and an open heart so that I can hear your voice in my life and see what I can do to serve you. Help me not to miss your presence by my own fears and insecurities. Amen.

Spend some time in prayer asking God what God’s intention is for your life.

Holy Wednesday April 8

John 13:21, 27-28 “Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.” Jesus said to Judas, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” No one around the table knew why Jesus said this to Judas.

They were having a meal together. Only Jesus and Judas knew what was going to happen. Jesus shows his authority as he tells Judas that he knows of the conspiracy against him and does nothing to stop Judas. The show of strength is not always through force. Jesus allows things take their course. What would have happened if Jesus’ disciples were clued into Judas’ plan to arrest Jesus? It would not have been hard physically to stop Judas; then the plot against Jesus would have failed. We are confounded when God’s ways are not our ways. 

Prayer: Help me God to step back and rely on your ways. Help me trust that your care for me is greater than I can comprehend. Amen.

Find ways to connect with others through a phone call or email or letter. Try to see how God is working in your life today.

Maundy Thursday April 9

John 13:34 “I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

The word Maundy means mandate. It comes from this passage in John when Jesus says “Truly I tell you to love one another.” I remember a psychology professor saying that the last words in a conversation are often the most important. As Jesus’ time draws to a close, he tells his disciples to love one another — maybe one of the most important teachings that we have. But it continues to be an elusive lesson for so many of us. Love rather than hate; love rather than excluding or seeking vengeance. Love one another as Jesus has loved us.

Prayer: Help me to love, Lord, because when I follow love, hope comes alive. Help me to take on your mandate. Amen.

Watch the Maundy Thursday Service online (oakgrv.org) any time after Noon. Think about how God shows love to the world.

Good Friday April 10

John 19:33-34 When they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear.

A great deal happened between the time Jesus shared his last meals with his disciples and he died on the cross. To a disciple’s eye, things have gone terribly wrong. The teachings, the miracles and cheering crowds do not seem to matter. Jesus was tried, convicted and is now dead. How could any good come of this? I give thanks to God that because we know the rest of the story, we never have a day as hopeless as this was for all who followed Jesus.

Prayer: God the unspeakable happens to those who know and love Jesus. Thank you that we can speak of it and know that not even death can hold back your love. Amen.

Tune in to the live-stream of the Good Friday Service at Noon on Facebook or our website (oakgrv.org), or watch it sometime during the day.

Holy Saturday April 11

Sabbath John 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because the Sabbath was a day of great solemnity.

On Friday, they buried Jesus before sundown so as not to break the Sabbath rules. Even after they falsely accused, tried and executed the Son of God, they conscientiously followed God’s law. Such is the irony of religion. More wars and atrocities are committed in the name of God/Allah, including the Crusades and the terrorist attacks. The Pharisees must have observed that Sabbath in good conscience, as being good Jews. How can we become so misguided? Like the first break with God in the Garden of Eden, we fail when we are convinced that we know what God wants. 

Prayer: God, forgive us when we start to believe we know better than you. Give us humble and open hearts to hear your Word and not our own. Amen.

Spend some quiet moments and listen to the sounds outside. Notice the signs of new life among us.

Easter Sunday/Resurrection of the Lord April 12

John 20:15-16 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 

Confusion, sadness, despair – Jesus’ tomb is empty and there is no body. Mary weeps. Jesus calls Mary by name, a moment of intimate affirmation. Is there a moment in scripture more tender than this? New life is for all humanity, all nature, the cosmos, and God of the universe calls us each by name. LOVE WINS.

Prayer: When the night is dark, and fear sets in, call my name, O God. When death seems to be winning, still my heart with the good news of the resurrection – love wins.

Shout “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” out your window!

Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020 Bulletin

Palm branches will be available for pickup outside the church on Saturday, April 4, after 9:00 a.m.

Please tune into Facebook or the web page early on Sunday morning to watch a video of our Oak Grove children in a virtual Palm Sunday processional (see below). Shout Hosanna or sing your favorite Palm Sunday hymn while you watch from home!

Our livestreamed Palm Sunday Worship Service on Facebook and the website will begin at 10:45 a.m.

March 24 Session Decisions

UPDATE: the church building will be closed March 28-May 4, but we will continue our online presence during the Stay Home period.

Session met Tuesday, March 24, 2020 via Zoom and decided the following:

Sunday Worship Services

Oak Grove will suspend all on-site worship through the end of April. All Sunday morning worship services will be online and livestreamed on Facebook and the website at 10:45 a.m., with archived videos available for later viewing.

Holy Week Services

Palm Sunday, April 5, and Easter Sunday, April 12, will be online and livestreamed on Facebook and the website at 10:45 a.m. There will be no 6:30 a.m. Easter Sunrise service.

Maundy Thursday, April 9, will be online in some form. Details to be announced later.

Good Friday Service, April 10, will be an online worship service at 12:00 noon.

Updates will be posted on Facebook Events and on the website.

Office Hours

Church office hours will be irregular for awhile, so please call first before coming to the Church. The Church office will close at noon on Fridays. UPDATE: the church building will be closed March 28-May 4 during the Stay Home period.

Confirmation Classes

Confirmation will continue virtually, with the students presenting their Statements of Faith and being confirmed on schedule. The recognition of their becoming members will be celebrated at a later time.

Pastoral Nominating Committee

The Session is ready to present the nine-member slate for the Pastoral Nominating Committee to the Congregation.  Due to our current situation that prohibits gathering, the Congregational vote on the Pastoral Nominating Committee will be conducted by irregular means. A letter will be sent to all members either by email or regular mail. Members will have ten days to respond with a yea or nay, either by email to bangerhofer@oakgrv.org , phone 952-888-4621, or mail. This will allow the provisional Pastoral Nominating Committee to begin their work. When we can gather again, there will be a congregational meeting to affirm the slate.

March 29 Worship Service

March 29, 2020, Bulletin

On Sunday, March 29, 2020, Oak Grove will have a single ONLINE-ONLY Worship service at 10:45 a.m. Last Sunday, we had 562 views of our online service on Facebook and the web page!

You can watch the livestream of the service on Oak Grove’s Facebook page or on the Oak Grove home page. The archived videos will also be available for later viewing on the Facebook page and on Oak Grove’s Sermons web page.

A message from Pastor Anne 3/26

A message from Pastor Anne 3/25

A message from Pastor Mary 3/24

Sunday Worship Service messages from Oak Grove

Starting on Sunday, March 22, 2020, Oak Grove will switch to a single ONLINE-ONLY Worship service at 10:45 a.m.

You can watch the livestream of the service on Oak Grove’s Facebook page or on the Oak Grove home page. The archived videos will also be available for later viewing on the Facebook page and on Oak Grove’s Sermons web page.

March 22, 2020 Bulletin

A message from Pastor Anne

A message from Pastor Mary

A message from Britta