Message from the Re-entry Team, 10/8

Re-Entry Team Message, October 8, 2021

Friends, We are not where we thought we would be right now in terms of the pandemic. We had high hopes this summer when Covid infections were heading in a positive direction and people were getting vaccinated. We communicated several things with you in July at the Town Hall on our Covid response, including:

  • This whole thing is hard. We are tired and we wish this was over. This is still true.
  • It is sometimes difficult to know what to do because not everyone approaches the pandemic in the same way, and there is no governing authority telling all PC(USA) congregations what to do.
  • The Delta variant was relatively new and was a concern.

All of the recommendations by the Re-Entry Team, and decisions made by Session have been driven by the latest medical and scientific data available, our values of inclusion and care for one another, and the greatest commandment to love God by loving our neighbor. In the last update in September, we noted it was clear we were in another wave as most of the metrics we monitor were either in “high” or “critical” categories. In addition, we expected with the start of school we would see an increase in those numbers. This has been born out and we continue to see a rise in case numbers and ICU’s in the metro area are almost at capacity. 

A recent post on social media provides a “parable” for our times. “When you’re on a plane for takeoff, the seatbelt sign is on. Once you reach about 10,000 feet the seatbelt sign goes off and the pilot tells you that you may move freely about the cabin until the descent begins. But sometimes you hit turbulence. When that happens, the seatbelt sign goes back on. The pilot did not flip-flop. The pilot did not change her mind. The pilot ran into an unexpected turbulence and recognized that it is no longer safe not to wear a seatbelt. The circumstances have changed, and now the pilot advises everyone to wear their seatbelts for their safety and the safety of others.”

It is clear we are still in a period of turbulence, and we have to continue to wear our seatbelts. We will continue with current practices. We know this is frustrating, but please be patient. Please be generous. Please look out for one another and practice extravagant kindness. We love one another by getting vaccinated if we are able, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and sacrificing some “normal” things as we continue to care for the most vulnerable among us.

It’s time to break out the earmuffs and mittens! Many have commented how wonderful it has been to worship outdoors and we are committed to continue this practice at 9:00 am on Sundays for as long as the weather permits. We will also continue to livestream worship at 10:15 am. We recognize this impacts plans made by the Children’s Ministry team, and they will be working to adapt those plans and provide meaningful formation for our littlest ones.We will arrive at our destination if we remember we belong to God and in belonging to God, we belong to one another. We are in this together, and we will get through these challenging times together.

If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to any member of the Re-Entry Team: Bev Heise, Karen Gerdes, Al Greimel, Anne Klueh, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary or Pastor Bart.

Message from the Re-entry Team 8/27

An Update from the Re-Entry Team (August 27, 2021)

We have continued to monitor the trends, data, and recommendations concerning COVID-19. It is clear that we are in the midst of a 4th wave of increased infections. Most indicators we monitor (case rate per 100k, positivity rate, rolling average of cases, and hospital capacity) are either in high or critical risk categories. This is a significant change from just a month ago. There is uncertainty about when this current wave may peak.

In addition, other areas of the country have seen an increase in infections once children, teachers, and staff return to school. Many schools in the Twin Cities will be returning in early September. It generally takes two to three weeks to begin to see the potential impacts of these types of events. It is also clear with the Delta variant that even persons who are vaccinated can become infected by the virus and transmit it to others. The goal of the vaccines is to prevent serious infection, hospitalization, and death, but not actual infection. We know the vaccines are highly effective and we encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine if you have not already done so. It is the best way to protect yourself and your neighbors and loved ones.

Our primary concern as a re-entry team has been to balance the desire to be together while doing so safely. Knowing that there is still a significant portion of our congregation who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, namely our children, we have done everything we can to mitigate the spread of infection.

Given the above considerations, the Session has approved the following changes recommended by the Re-Entry Team. Beginning in September and continuing through at least October 10:

  • We will place a pause on all indoor in-person gatherings.
    • Worship at 10:15 am will be live streamed from the sanctuary, but only those leading worship will be physically in attendance
    • Funerals already scheduled in September will be limited to family only and live streamed
    • Choir and Bell Choir will pause rehearsals
    • All smaller meetings should be held online or outdoors
  • Outdoor worship will continue at 9 am (weather permitting) and masks will be required to be worn.

This was not an easy decision, but we felt it was a necessary decision to continue to care for one another. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to any member of the Re-Entry Team: Bev Heise, Karen Gerdes, Al Greimel, Anne Klueh, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary or Pastor Bart.

In-Person Worship at Oak Grove

UPDATE AUGUST 27: A Message from the Re-Entry Team re: pausing indoor gatherings, Sept – Oct 10

See also: Re-Entry Team Updates web page

Indoor in-person worship and other indoor gatherings are temporarily paused, September 1 – October 10, 2021. We will update this page as further decisions are made.

Re-Entry Team Town Hall on July 21

[Re-Entry Open Forum Presentation]

The Re-Entry team held a town hall forum on Wednesday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m. both live in the sanctuary and livestreamed to Facebook and the OGPC website.

This was an opportunity for the team to share information with the congregation about where we are in our re-entry plans, the various considerations that go into decision making, and answer some frequently asked questions. There was an open time for any questions from the congregation.

If you are not able to view the archived video above, try this direct link:

Car Rally Sunday Sept 13

UPDATE! Car Rally Sunday video

UPDATE: Car Rally Photos

This year we will celebrate Rally Day in a whole new way! We will offer virtual worship from 9:30 – 10 am, and then invite you to hop into your car and drive over to Oak Grove for a drive-through party between 10:15 – 11:30 am. This is our way to say hello and to thank you for “Living Church Beyond Walls!”

The Mardi Gras Jazz combo, a 5 piece band, will play music, we’ll enjoy Morris Dancing and collect Noisy Offering for supporting children in Minneapolis. Committee representatives, including Youth and Children’s leaders, will be on hand to give a friendly wave and connect in person! We can’t wait to see you on the 13th

Please follow the arrows through the parking lot from Penn Ave!

Brenda Johnson and Courageous Conversations on August 16

UPDATE: Here are links to the two books mentioned by Brenda Johnson in our August 16 Worship Service: The Romance of African Methodism: a Study of the African Methodist Episcopalian Church by George A. Singleton and Before the Mayflower: a History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962 by Lerone Bennet.

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 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  ( Streaming License # A-712207).

Good FridayApril 10. See video below for Oak Grove’s Good Friday Service  ( 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