About Mount Olive
Mount Olive is a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod(LCMS), which was formed in 1847. Mount Olive, the first LCMS church in the state of South Carolina, celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2008.
Mount Olive is a confessional Lutheran church that affirms the BOOK OF CONCORD (1580) to be faithful and true interpretations of the Holy Scriptures, the sole source and norm of all Christian teaching.
Our church is as committed to Christian education, outreach and evangelism, as it is to worshiping the Triune God with the traditional liturgy of the Church. We hold true and respond to the love of the Triune God:
- The Father, creator of all that exists
- Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan
- The Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God’s Word and Sacraments
These Three Distinct Persons of the Holy Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, yet only one God.
GRACE, FAITH, AND SCRIPTURE
We affirm the threefold emphasis of the Lutheran Reformation: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone:
Grace alone: God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly.
Faith alone: By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him.
Scripture alone: The Bible is the inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16), in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.
ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER
Martin Luther lived in the 1500’s and is known as the “Father of the Reformation.” He was a pastor who helped change to the Church to focus its attention on Jesus and His saving grace and love for us. During Luther’s time, the Bible and worship were conducted in Latin, but he wanted all people to have these in their own languages so they could read God’s Word for themselves. He was not trying to create a new church, but to reform the existing Church into what Christ envisioned it to be. The reforms of Martin Luther helped shape today’s Church.
ABOUT THE CHURCH YEAR
The church year, also called liturgical year, is the annual cycle of seasons and days observed in Christian churches in commemoration of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The liturgical calendar helps us celebrate and understand more fully the entire mystery of Jesus Christ, from his Incarnation and birth until his Ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of His return in glory.
The Church year begins in late November or early December with Advent, the season of awaiting Christ’s coming. The second church season is Christmas where Jesus’ birth is celebrated. Third is the season of Epiphany, Christ’s revelation to the Gentiles. Fourth is Lent, the 40-day penitential season that serves as a vivid reminder of the contempt and scorn Jesus endured, and the subsequent sacrifice He made for our eternal salvation. In contrast to Lent comes the Easter Season where Christ’s triumph from the grave on Resurrection day is the cause for our rejoicing. This season lasts 50 days until the Day of Pentecost. The last and longest church season is the Season after Pentecost or “the time of the church.” These Sundays emphasize the subject of growth and encourage all worshipers to maintain their faith through the constant use of God’s means of grace. The Season after Pentecost begins around the first of June until the beginning of Advent.
To learn more about the church year and its colors, here are two links:
An LCMS blog, Breaking Down the Church Year.
About Pastor Walter J. Harper
Pastor Walter J. Harper was installed at Mount Olive on October 27, 2019, Reformation Sunday. He is a second career pastor, having previously worked as an investigator in the U.S. Department of Defense.
After joining an LCMS parish in Alexandria, VA, Walt began reading and studying the Lutheran doctrines and liturgy. Soon his friends and wife, prompted by The Holy Spirit, encouraged him to go to seminary. He finally listened and enrolled in Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Upon his graduation in 2010, Pr. Walt began serving at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School in Danbury, CT where he served until being called to Mount Olive.
Both Walt and his wife, Renee, are excited to begin a new ministry among the people of God at Mount Olive, and look forward to joining with the congregation to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
The Harpers are the parents of two grown sons and are grandparents to three precious boys.
About Associate Pastor Colin Ford
Pr. Colin Ford, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, was installed as Associate Pastor at Mount Olive on November 5, 2023. Colin’s journey led him to pursue his undergraduate studies in Theology at Concordia University Wisconsin. His passion for deepening his understanding of the divine led him to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he earned a Masters of Divinity Degree in 2019. He completed his vicarage at Ascension Lutheran Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Afterward, Colin journeyed through the Holy Lands, gaining a deeper connection to the roots of his faith. For over three years, Colin dedicated his ministry to two congregations in Northeast South Dakota.
Beyond the realm of theology, Pr. Colin is a man of diverse interests: history, music, reading, physical well-being through regular workouts, and tabletop wargames all contribute to a well-rounded individual who seeks to connect with his congregation on various levels.
With a heart devoted to both the spiritual and earthly aspects of life, Pr. Colin is excited to embark on this chapter at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, where he hopes to inspire, guide, and nurture the spiritual growth of the people and the community.