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ISSUE 117 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/26/2003

Satisfying a sweet tooth; All Saints Church kicks off its year

By Brenna Bray
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 26, 2003

The smell of warm chocolate welcomed two busloads of St. Olaf students as they entered the red doors of the All Saints Episcopal Church on Sept. 18th. Upon entering the church, students followed their noses to the church basement where two tables overloaded with homemade chocolate goods awaited them. The students made nametags and piled their plates with chocolate chip cookies; chocolate-dipped biscotti; mint-frosted brownies; caramel-swirl brownies; chocolate peanut butter bars; mocha-frosted cupcakes; varieties of fudge squares; chocolate, chocolate mousse, Oreo and raspberry tortes; cheesecakes; pound cakes; and of course, complimentary milk, coffee, or lemonade. After satisfying their appetites, students retired to tables littered with chocolate candies (Tootsie Rolls, fun-sized Snickers bars, Hershey’s assortments, peanut M&M’s, and Milk Duds) to satisfy their stomachs while socializing with Oles and Carls alike.

As the "chocolatries" and conversation began to dwindle, Father Bill Von Otto welcomed everyone to the All Saints Episcopal Church and to the annual September kick-off event of the Canterbury Fellow-ship, a student organization which aims to compliment preexisting campus ministry programs at both St. Olaf and Carleton.

Heavily involved in All Saints’ campus ministry, Von Otto founded Chocolate Fest in 2000 as a way to introduce students to the church and to the Canterbury Fellowship. He wanted to create an event that would sound enticing on posters and thereby attract students of both campuses to participate. While brainstorming ideas, Von Otto’s wife suggested that he "tempt them with chocolate."

Before the first Festival, he appealed to the parishioners to provide homemade goods for the event and 15 students showed up for the first attempt. Now, four years later, the festival’s size has increased both in product and participation. Even with this year’s 40-student attendance, chocolate goods were so abundant that students were given plates and tinfoil after the event and encouraged to take goodies back with them to share.

Beyond the leftover chocolate desserts, attendants received binders containing notebooks, pens, candies, and informational pamphlets about the church. Furthermore, students were encouraged to share their newly acquired knowledge of the church and fellowship with their peers.

The church’s Canterbury Fellowship serves to supplement campus ministry programs and provide the benefits of the Episcopal Church, which the fellowship defines as "meaningful worship, openness to diversity, a spirit of asking questions, and affirmation of the gifts and talents of all the baptized, especially young adults."

Besides Chocolate Fest, the fellowship hosts an "8 p.m. Prayer & Popcorn" service at Hilleboe Chapel, delivers student care packages during finals, and conducts prayer services on both campuses during finals week. The fellowship also plans to orchestrate subsequent social events for college students like t-shirt tie-dying, hayrides, and cookouts.

The All Saints Episcopal Church welcomes all who seek a place to worship. The church holds a service on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m., with transportation available to St. Olaf students outside Buntrock Commons at 10:15 a.m. Any students interested in singing are encouraged to join the gospel choir, which meets an hour prior to Sunday services with transportation available to St. Olaf students at 9:15 a.m. Once a month, Sunday services are followed by free Sunday morning brunches at 11:30 a.m. October’s brunch will follow the service on Oct. 12th.

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