You Responded in a BIG WAY!

Greetings Mount Olivet Community,

Just a few short months ago, our community decided to cast a vision just as the founders of our church took a bold step to build the first Mount Olivet church building in 1880.  We asked you to contribute your time and money in support of the Open Tables phase of the BE OPEN vision.  

You responded in a big way.   

We could not have imagined such a response to God’s call.  Our youth raised money for their future, our families boldly responded to grow into a vision that responds to our community needs and our elders contributed to a legacy that will be cherished for many years.  To date, a total of 252 families have contributed to the Be Open vision.  

The initial goal of $500,000 for the Open Tables was met and significantly exceeded with a pledged total of $624,400!

In worship this past Sunday, we read from John 21, where the disciples were hesitant to cast out their nets after fishing without success. Yet Jesus still called them to act and to trust in God’s abundant presence. We, too, may have been hesitant to approach such a bold goal; yet with the Holy Spirit and a vision that emerged from deep listening, the catch in our nets has exceeded our expectations.”

Now that the resources available for the Open Tables phase are known, we have the flexibility to accomplish a larger part of the Be Open vision while providing a solid base from which to continue with the Open Doors phase in the future.  The Building and Design team has finalized options and plans with the  architect on the renovations to the kitchen and the north entry.  Request-For-Proposal documents have been created and distributed for review by potential contractors.   Bids will be received in the next month and construction is expected to begin in June with a grand opening later this fall.

We aim to start the community meal through Loaves and Fishes in the late fall as well; a team of Mount Olivet members is already making preparations.

We will provide you with updates by email as the work progresses and there will be MO Talks throughout the summer that provides a showing of the construction as it progresses.

We are excited to launch what we have envisioned, and we are equally excited to see where God leads us as we continue to listen and discern God’s call by being open.

Mark Schmidt, Church Council President                       Ron Frehner, BE OPEN Leader

The Strength of Loaves and Fishes in the Community


On Sunday, February 24, Loaves and Fishes Director Cathy Maes spoke during our MOtalk about Loaves and Fishes and the changes that have been made since we first began in partnership together.  “What started as food service for mentally disabled people forced onto the streets as a result of MN state hospital closures, has now become the largest public free meal service in Minnesota, serving eight counties. In 2018, Loaves and Fishes dished up more than 1 million meals.”

 The meals offer a chance to gather, serve and be in fellowship with community. “When we reached 1 million meals last year, we really struggled to say is that a good thing or a bad thing?” said Maes.  The truth is in the community of Plymouth alone 1 in 4 kids qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Many families in Plymouth and surrounding areas are struggling to make ends meet. “And it’s not just families who are hungry” added Maes. “In recent years we have seen a huge uptick in elderly coming to our meals.”

 “The real strength of the meals is the community that is created” added Maes. “For some of the people, particularly our elderly who are still living in their homes, this may be the only meal they eat with someone all week.” “For families forced to choose between rent and eating, a meal provides much needed respite and comfort.”

Maes shared an area map indicating food deserts and area of need. “We have a definite need in to extend service in this community.” she said “We are excited about the potential to partner with Mount Olivet for a meal site.”

Mount Olivet’s Loaves and Fishes liaison, Deb McDonald, has invited the congregation to get involved and come to an upcoming dinner. The only qualification is for serving, which requires individuals to be at least 8 years of age and up, and accompanied with a parent or guardian until the age of 15.

Community Meals:

  Wednesday, March 6: Holy Rosary Catholic Church // 5 PM // Serve and share dinner

 Thursday, March 7: Brunswick United Methodist Church // 5:30 PM // Share dinner

    *RSVP to Deb McDonald by March 1 (

 Wednesday, March 13: Oak Grove Church // Golden Valley // 5:30 PM // Share dinner

     *RSVP to Deb McDonald by March 6 (

Neighborhood Gatherings Bring Life to Mount Olivet’s BE OPEN Vision 


“What I love most about this experience is the people I’m meeting” said Ron Frehner. Chair of Mount Olivet’s Open Tables, phase I of the Be Open Vision.  “I opened up my neighborhood list and found someone two doors down that also goes to Mount Olivet!”

Mount Olivet leaders are inviting the congregation to homes and special events throughout February and March to share more about the Be Open Vision. This Vision is a comprehensive plan to continue to step out in faith and form community. 

“We are called to be together in community and that’s exactly what we are doing,” said Lead Pastor Beth Horsch “The Be Open Vision is pivotal moment in our history as we look at what’s possible because of who we are, called together as the community of Mount Olivet.”

Over the course of the next 8 weeks, there will be opportunities to gather with neighbors, small groups and friends as we share information about the Be Open Vision. There are no financial commitments being made at events, rather, they are a time to gather in fellowship and ask more about the Be Open Vision. Member of the church council and Be Open leadership team look forward to seeing you. 

“As a member of Mount Olivet, we share responsibility as a care taker of our church,” said Council President Mark Schmidt.  “We are doing what the leaders of our congregation did in those early years, listening to our community and discerning where God is leading us. When we think about Mount Olivet in 50 years, there will be a group of Mount Olivet members who will likely look back at our history and no doubt think about what we did.”

For a schedule of upcoming Be Open Events, click here

To read Pastor Beth’s letter to the congregation about Be Open, click here

To see a video from Be Open Leadership team, click here.

For more information about the Be Open Campaign, or to volunteer to help get the word out, click here.

Our Story - A Message from the BE OPEN LEADERS

ron and mark.2.jpg

During the past 18 months, this community has spent time thinking about our future here at Mount Olivet. We have listened to each other, our partners, and our neighbors in the community, as we have discerned what God is telling us. We have considered how we can improve and better utilize our buildings and grounds for our members and community both for today and for tomorrow. Our collective conversations have led us to creation of the BE OPEN vision. This vision is made up of four different segments, all of which will be accomplished over the course of time as our resources and energy allows.

We would like to focus on the Open Tables segment. Early on in the process, our congregation identified a need to have a shared meal in our church building. Further discernment and discussion highlighted a desire to work with our partner, Loaves and Fishes, to host a regular community meal. Unfortunately, our kitchen is no longer equipped to effectively provide for these needs. Built in 1968, it is outdated and not up to code. It is clear that it needs to be renovated if our vision is to be achieved.

A designated Building and Design committee, appointed by the church council and made up of Mount Olivet members, has been working with an architect to design renovations to the kitchen and the north entry. Specifically, the plan will expand the kitchen eastward into the current lobby and bring it up to code with new kitchen appliances, food preparation areas and a dish washing station. The north entrance will also be updated as part of this phase in order to provide a secure and inviting entrance. As part of that work, the architect has also looked at how to renovate the fellowship hall — the segment of the BE OPEN vision that we are calling Open Doors — so that what we do in 2019 fits with what may be done in the future. Now it is our time to BE OPEN and your help is needed to make this happen.

In February and March, members will be inviting you to have a conversation about what it means to BE OPEN and to learn more about the specific plans for 2019. In March, pledge cards will be sent to document your commitment to this effort. We will ask you to contribute your time and money in support of the Open Tables phase of the BE OPEN vision.

Over a century ago, the founders of our church took the bold step to build the first Mount Olivet church building.

Today, that church is still serving the needs of our community as the Mount Olivet Chapel. Please join us in taking the next step in our church’s history as we continue our legacy of service and building community.


Mark Schmidt.  Council President

Ron Frehner BE OPEN Leader