Inspiring Posts

Labor Day and Sabbath Day

Theresa F. Latini A long-weekend of play before the start of school, one last trip to the Minnesota State Fair, bargain shopping at our favorite retail stores, end-of-summer picnics with friends and family, and watching parades with marching bands blaring and kids freely running and shouting: these are but a few of the ways thatContinue reading “Labor Day and Sabbath Day”

The Paradoxes and Promises of Simplicity

Theresa F. Latini This past week Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center hosted an online workshop, “Simplifying Our Lives and Living Spaces,” led by Pastor Becca Ehrlich. Besides writing and teaching about Christian minimalism, Becca genuinely lives it. Her story of choosing simplicity through a variety of practices—e.g., a one-year fast from shopping, reducing herContinue reading “The Paradoxes and Promises of Simplicity”

A Chorister’s Lament

Don C. Richter Introduction by Theresa F. Latini, Executive Director of Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center Yesterday I read an article titled, “Sing into the Funnel Please,” with a picture of a research physician doing just that. The article laments the loss of choral singing in Britain, citing instances in which the coronavirus spreadContinue reading “A Chorister’s Lament”

Taking out the Trash

Becca Ehrlich “The Human Starter Kit” In an episode of the TV show The Good Place titled “Best Self” (Season Two, Episode 9), the immortal being Michael is named an “honorary human” by his human friends and given a “Human Starter Kit” as a gift. He is thrilled. “Car keys! So I can lose them andContinue reading “Taking out the Trash”

Defining “Success”

Becca Ehrlich A few years ago, a pastor colleague of mine mentioned to me an interesting conversation he had with a church member. This church member asked him if he had any siblings. He responded, briefly describing the birth order of each of his multiple siblings. The church member then asked him: “Which of youContinue reading “Defining “Success””

Preachers of Justice

Theresa F. Latini I was eleven-years-old when I came home from school and declared to my mother, “I am going to be a preacher someday.” I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the visceral sense of a “calling” that I carried with me from that young age. I credit my belief in thatContinue reading “Preachers of Justice”

Rest: What’s Good for God is Good for You

Pastor Charlie Ruud A few years back while serving at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, I together with the ministry staff became increasingly aware of the vast pressures placed upon our youth to “succeed” or “achieve,” especially within the particular context and culture of our community.  Thus, we made the conscious decision to make theContinue reading “Rest: What’s Good for God is Good for You”

Go-tos for Traumatic Times

Pastor Rebecca C. Freeman Editorial note: Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center regularly welcomes groups who care for those who are most vulnerable and advocate for justice in our communities. We are grateful for the presence of these groups that are renewed and restored so that they can continue working for justice, peace, and reconciliation.Continue reading “Go-tos for Traumatic Times”

Mother’s Day Mourning (and, Celebrating)

Theresa F. Latini Today I’m remembering my first day on the job as executive director of Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center. It was Mother’s Day 2019. Three hundred people streamed through our doors, enjoyed a veritable feast while laughing and reminiscing, and relaxed outside amidst beautiful flowers, soaking up the warm sunshine. Over twentyContinue reading “Mother’s Day Mourning (and, Celebrating)”

A Guide to Retreat Where You Are

People go on retreats for many reasons—to rest, to heal, to learn, to grow—individually and communally. We all need the kinds of spiritual renewal, emotional regulation, and quiet intellectual stimulation cultivated by gifted retreat leaders. In the midst of our current pandemic, it is difficult (if not impossible) to participate in facilitated or guided retreatsContinue reading “A Guide to Retreat Where You Are”

Chemical Dependence in the Age of Coronavirus

Thomas Mullens Note: Recovery groups regularly attend Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center. Group members find serenity in this place of natural beauty and special support in taking time away to continue their journey of wholeness and wellbeing. We recognize that this pandemic has created special challenges for persons with addiction and offer this reflectionContinue reading “Chemical Dependence in the Age of Coronavirus”

Waiting for Easter

Kara K. Root I was “off” from work the last couple of days, which is a strange thing in these times, when we are all at home every second, and all the work, play, sleep, meals, fights, entertainment and rest happens right here, in the same space, with the same people. Every. Single. Day.  I joked beforehandContinue reading “Waiting for Easter”

The Gift of Mindfulness

Theresa F. Latini Three weeks ago, I felt my first spike of anxiety about the coronavirus. The retreat center was taking inquiries about cancellations. Pastor friends were deciding whether or not to close their churches. Family members, a number of whom fall into that high-risk category, were postponing previously scheduled, non-essential medical care. And thenContinue reading “The Gift of Mindfulness”

Daring to Pray

Theresa F. Latini “Prayer is a very precious medicine, one that helps and never fails.” Martin Luther penned those words approximately 500 years ago, and they are as true today as they were then. Life has changed drastically for all of us in a very short period of time. Words like disaster and catastrophe andContinue reading “Daring to Pray”


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