2014: Saturday Worship Service
“Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29b
In 2014 Pastor Sizemore saw the need for adding additional options for members to come to the House of the Lord to worship His splendor and holiness. As such, we added a Saturday evening worship service which provided an alternate time for those whose work or health prevented them from worshiping on Sunday mornings.
The first Saturday service was held on January 18, 2014. Mrs. Lisa Sizemore learned the Virtual Organ iPad program that provided the Saturday hymns and responses. There is a core group who has made Saturday “their service.” There are folks who attend when they must be elsewhere on Sunday. There are others whose work schedules prevent them from worshiping on Sunday mornings. There are visitors who are passing through or are new to the area. The record distance a worshiper has traveled was from The United Kingdom, a first-time visitor to the U.S. on a business trip! He was used to Saturday evening worship, and by Googling “churches with Saturday services,” he found us! Since the Sizemores have moved on, the Elders have learned the Virtual Organ and take turns providing the service music on Saturdays.
Beginning in March 2021, since the COVID-19 pandemic has lingered, the Saturday service has become “face coverings required” so that those who are more vulnerable can worship on a weekly basis.
2016: Celebrating Pastor Ludwig
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God.
Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” – Hebrews 13:7 ESV
At Mount Olive we have been blessed by our Lord and Savior for His gift of multiple pastors who preached His Word and shared His sacraments. Our former Interim, Pastor Paul Ludwig, continued as a faithful member of Mount Olive and always preached on Christmas Day as a gift to Pastor Sizemore. Pastor Ludwig rested with the Lord in February 2016, and his final sermon was read at his funeral on February 19th. The following Sunday, Pastor Jeff Wilson was installed as Assistant Pastor and served for a brief period.
2016: The Sanctuary Floor Replacement
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1 ESV
Caring for God’s House is a labor of love, not a labor done in vain, and it was one that our Board of Trustees took seriously when we noticed structural issues with the sanctuary floor. In the spring of 2016, a portion of the sanctuary floor near the pulpit/altar felt like it was sagging. After further evaluation, it was determined that there was old termite damage. Since a significant portion of the floor was compromised and requiring replacement, the voters decided to refinish the entire sanctuary floor. Replacement began in October 2016 and was completed on November 10th. Several men joined together to remove and reinstall the pews.
The church worshiped in the fellowship hall for a number of weeks and even held a reception to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Pastor Sizemore’s Ordination on October 23rd. The congregation was excited to return to the sanctuary in mid-November!
2017: Our Preschool Gets a New Director
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Galatians 3:26 NIV
Mount Olive said goodbye to Director Krista Bernthal at the end of the 2017 school term. Director Anna Brent, a former kindergarten teacher, began in the summer of 2017. She continues to work diligently with the church, Preschool Board, teachers, and volunteers to fulfill its mission, “Growing in faith and love by spreading the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by providing a Christ-centered experience for young children.” When Pastor Walt began in November 2019, he took an active role in getting to know the preschool families so that they would consider him their Preschool Pastor.
2017: The Reformation Walk: Celebrating 500 Years
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 ESV
Here at Mount Olive, there are many fellowship opportunities where we take refuge and find strength in our Lord and Savior. Thus, in October 2017, we held a very special event to serve not only Mount Olive but to include the community at large. We celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation by hosting a Reformation Walk.
There were fifteen stations, manned by our talented cast of volunteers, that represented the major events of the Reformation that included role-plays of significant events, singing, and German food. This was a major undertaking in which the congregation pulled together to honor our Lutheran heritage focusing on our Lord and Savior. The Five Solas have guided Mount Olive in the past, the present, and into the future: Scripture alone. Faith alone. Grace alone. Christ alone. Glory to God alone!
The first photograph shows Mike Knowles as Martin Luther, hammer in hand, telling about his 95 Theses. The second photograph shows three of the nuns (Pat LaGrange, Johnna Duncan, and Kathie Bost) that escaped from the convent in the fish monger’s wagon.
2017-2019: The Church Year Project
“Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving! Let us shout out to him in celebration!”
The Board of Public Relations took on a project in 2017 centered on the congregation’s having a better understanding of the church year. Charlene Meetze, board chair, worked with board members, the church staff, and Signarama to make a set of signs that include the church seasons and festival days from Advent to Christ the King Sunday. The last of the signs were completed in the fall of 2019. They are displayed in the “pit” at the main entrance to the church. Charlene provided a beautiful tree and landscaping stones to make the entrance more welcoming.
2018: Pastor Sizemore Accepts Call to Florida
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 ESV
Change comes to all of God’s faithful people, and while change may be difficult, we recognize that with Our Lord Jesus Christ’s help we can persevere and grow even in the midst of change. One such change occurred in August 2018, when we learned that Pastor Sizemore, our longest serving pastor, had accepted a call to his home church near Daytona Beach, Florida. We remember Pastor Paul and his wife, Lisa, for their faithful service at Mount Olive. Pastor Paul instituted the Holy Supper each Sunday and mightily preached the true Word of God from the pulpit. He supported his lay people in the use of their gifts and was a model of humility for them. He advocated for the Men’s Prayer Breakfast and our youth’s participation in the LCMS National Youth Gatherings. He saw the need for extending worship to Saturday evenings.
We remember Mrs. Lisa’s dedication to the Christian education of our children. She willingly served as Sunday School Superintendent and teacher, VBS teacher and leader, and in many other ways to bring the Word of God to our children. In 2017, Mrs. Lisa saw the need for a special needs class so that families could peacefully attend Sunday School and Worship. She researched and founded The Circle of Friends class, and recruited volunteers from the congregation who continue to serve with Katie Tyczynski who is a certified special education teacher.
2018: Our Faithful Interim Pastors
“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will feed youwith knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15
During our Call Process, led by our Circuit Visitor, Pastor David Panning, we were blessed with two of God’s shepherds – two pastors who served us faithfully to preach His Word and provide His Sacraments, Pastor Gary C. Williams and Pastor Carl A. Voges, pictured. In the fall of 2018 Pastor Williams stepped down due to family medical issues, and Pastor Voges, who had been the assistant vacancy pastor, became the primary interim for 2019. He has God’s calling to serve congregations who are in transition. He called all of us by name, and spent countless hours visiting and providing pastoral care.