Dear People of Ascension,

For the next ten days our Bishops, along with most bishops of the Anglican Communion, will be in Canterbury, England for the Lambeth Conference, which happens every 10 years or so. This Lambeth, which was delayed two years because of the pandemic, had been described as a time of prayer, worship, conversation and relationship building among bishops from very different contexts with some sharply divergent views. The lead up to the conference, which included small group meetings online over the last two years, was indeed that- a welcome opportunity to lay aside some of the disagreements and tensions that have marked earlier conferences. This was true even though the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, declined to invite the spouses of married lesbian or gay bishops, citing his desire not to offend those conservative bishops who oppose the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in the church. Many of us found this unjust, painful and enraging; however, strong solidarity with our LGBTQ+ bishops was expressed across the American church and beyond.

Late last week, when many bishops were already on their way to Lambeth, a 34 page document entitled "Lambeth Calls" appeared in their inboxes. It included statements on ten different important issues facing the church worldwide, such as climate change, interfaith relations, and discipleship, and announced that the bishops were to vote on these calls with the possible responses being "yes" or "requires further discernment". In other words "no" was not an option. Somewhat ironically, embedded in the call on human dignity, there was a line reaffirming a statement that was passed by the majority of bishops at Lambeth 1998, which states that marriage is understood to be only between a man and a woman, and blessing same sex unions is not permitted. Lambeth has no legislative power; each province in the Anglican communion (like our Episcopal church) makes its own autonomous policy decisions. The assembled bishops do not always behave as if this is the case.

As one who has watched and participated in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights in the church over many years, I found this disingenuous bait and switch tactic disappointingly familiar. So was the lack of transparency- all the authors listed are men and all but one are English, but who are the drafting committees? Who is issuing these calls to whom, and what is supposed to happen with them?

However, what was new was the swift and substantial response from across the church- especially our Episcopal Church, but also from Canada, Scotland, and even within the Church of England. Bishops from San Diego to Connecticut, from Arizona to Indianapolis denounced both the content and the process of the calls, and affirmed their steadfast commitment to the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ Episcopalians in every aspect of the church's life. Presiding Bishop Curry reaffirmed the journey the Episcopal Church has taken to this point, and said, "we will not compromise who we are". He announced that once gathered in Canterbury the American bishops would meet to discuss their response to the document.

By the next day, the offending section had been changed. It now says that there is disagreement about same gender marriage within the Anglican communion, which is simply a fact. It states that some provinces do not believe same gender marriage is permissible, while others have welcomed and blessed same sex marriages after careful theological reflection and a process of reception. It affirms the dignity of "baptized, believing and faithful persons of all sexual orientations" as full members of the Body of Christ. And it allows for a vote of "no".

This morning Bishop Thomas Brown of the Diocese of Maine posted the following: "Yesterday I had a zoom with Gene Robinson, the former bishop of New Hampshire. 14 years ago he was not allowed to attend this conference. In the midst of the stupid swirl and wrongdoing of this year's Lambeth Conference, I give thanks for Gene who blazed this trail. On his shoulders, and the progress is real."

The vibrant bishops in the photo above are the Rt. Revs. Deon Johnson of Missouri, Thomas Brown of Maine, Bonnie Perry of Michigan, and our own Mary Glasspool, Assisting Bishop of New York, the four gay and lesbian bishops currently serving in the Episcopal Church. Also present at Lambeth are Bishops Kevin Robertson of Toronto and Cherry Vann of Monmouth, Wales, as well as The Rev. Jeffrey Mello, Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Connecticut.

This morning as I was praying for Lambeth and for our gay and lesbian bishops especially, I found myself weeping. I am angry and sad about the injustice, indeed; we still have a long way to go. But my tears were full of gratitude for these bishops- their visibility, their relationships across the communion and their courageous, joyful faith. I am sorry for all that they have to carry, and inexpressibly thankful for their witness, and their episcopacies.

This is a longer letter than I usually write, but I hope that it brings both some hope and some clarity. I will be happy to talk more about Lambeth after church on Sunday with anyone who is interested. Please keep all the bishops gathered there, and especially Mary, Bonnie, Thomas and Deon and their spouses, in your prayers. May God's Beloved Community come!

Liz

Photo credit: Bishop Deon K. Johnson
Click here to read the full text of the Lambeth Calls.
Summer Schedule!
Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
From Now Through Labor Day, September 4, Ascension will have only one Sunday morning service which will be at 10 am in the church. We will not move into the parish hall this year. This is so we can still include those who worship with us via livestream and be at least a little cooler in the hot months. We also look forward to the opportunity to bring folks who worship at 11 together with those who normally attend the 9 am, as well as continuing our outdoor coffee hours in our summer garden.

The Sunday evening service will continue as usual at 6 pm every week.
How to Watch Our Live Stream Services
How to Watch Our On Line Services
From your computer, laptop, pad, smart phone, or other device, click this link:

How to Add Prayer Requests Online for Sunday Service - Go to Ascensionnyc.org/Prayers and type in your prayer request. Be sure to add them before the end of the sermon.
Join us for Coffee Hour
in the front garden after the 10:00 a.m. service.


A Prayer for Spiritual Communion

If you are attending any of our services online, we invite you to use this prayer at communion.

In union, O Lord, with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving. I remember your death, Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. Since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen.
Regular Service Schedule

Sunday
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist w/ Music
(Church & Livestream)
6:00 p.m. Meditation & Sacrament (Church)

Wednesday
6:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist (Church)
Evening Prayer Every Weekday Evening
via Zoom

Join us each weeknight at 5:30
for Evening Prayer & discussion.

Click this link to join: ascensionnyc.org/eveningprayer.
To call in (voice, no camera), dial 929-205-6099; the meeting ID is 770 597 201.
Open Church Schedule
Open Church - Mondays through Fridays, Noon to 3pm. If you would like to volunteer for this ministry, please contact Gretchen Dumler or contact the church office (info@ascensionnyc.org or 212-254-8620
Safety Protocols for indoor services & events:
Masks must be worn at all times while indoors
Vaccination is strongly encouraged.
Everyone serving at the altar, choir members, and all volunteers are required to be vaccinated.
Announcements
Diocesan Prayer for the Bishop Search -The Search Committee for a Bishop Coadjutor asks for your prayers. You can read their request here. And here is a prayer you might use:

Loving God, giver of every good gift, Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds and hearts of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor who will care for your people and your world, preach good news and witness to the resurrection. We pray in the name of Jesus, our true Shepherd. Amen.

Click here to read the full article.
Seeking Peace, an article by Stanley Weinberg -- We commend to you this article by our own Stanley Weinberg, which was written for the Conflict issue of the Episcopal New Yorker. It was not able to be included, and we want to share it with the parish here. Click here to read Stanley's article.
Anglicanism and Social Justice - EDS at Union is accepting applications for the Anglicanism and Social Justice program. Over the course of two semesters, this non-degree, virtual program designed for lay and ordained Christian leaders examines issues of justice from a theological perspective. Learn more and apply by Sunday, July 31. Click here to via the online flyer and to register.
Update on the Haiti Project - St. Luke's Episcopal School in Martel, Haiti is on summer break after a very successful school year. What an example of tenacity and fortitude that these children and their teachers can concentrate on their studies in the midst of food insecurity, gas shortages and kidnappings. It also shows how much they value education. Click here to read the full article. Fr. Sam also sends his thanks for our donation of $3,200 towards the music at the school. Read his letter here.
The Parish Office Summer Fridays! All summer through September 2, the office will close on Fridays at 1:00 p.m.
Memorial Service for Erika Engels-Petersen - Save the Date! A memorial service for Erika will be held Saturday, September 10, at 3:00 p.m. in the church.
Volunteer!
HELP! Desperately seeking summer replacements for Door Sitting/Visitor Greeting - Please consider volunteering for this important and delightful ministry. You'll be surprised and rewarded by fascinating visitors, and the missions they may be on. Please contact Gretchen Dumler (egondumler@aol.com) as soon as you can. The harvest is great, but the workers are few. We need YOU!
Our Pantry Needs Volunteers -
Our pantry program has enjoyed the robust participation of highly committed volunteers. We anticipate this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Could you spare a couple of hours the mornings of the first and third Saturdays of the month? We begin at 8am and work until around 9:45am. Please consider joining us. It’s a very enjoyable and fulfilling time of service and fellowship. If you are feeling moved to join us, or have any questions, please let Fr. Ed know. Many thanks!
Helping Ukraine - Here are two ways you can help with the crisis in Ukraine:

and
Support the Parish! Please check us out at ascensionnyc.org/give to find out how easy and secure it is to give, whether to the offering plate, in honor or memoriam of a loved one, or for paying your pledge to support Ascension.

Our parish can only continue its mission and ministry because of the generosity of parishioners, visitors, and friends of the parish and we are working hard to make our online giving as easy and seamless as possible. (If you experience any issues with giving online, please email websexton@ascensionnyc.org)

You can pledge online at ascensionnyc.org/give or by downloading the Abundant app for iOS or Android. When donating, please choose whichever purpose you intend for your contribution. These categories change as we update them during the year:
  • Offering Plate
  • Stewardship Pledge
  • Altar Flowers
  • Rector's Fund
  • Memorial Gift
  • Haiti Project
Electronic Credit Card Receipts - Do you pay your pledge with your credit card? If so, you will now be receiving a receipt from the bookkeeper via email or text message on your phone. This is not spam or phishing. If you have any questions, please call the church office at 212-254-8620
Cyber Attack Alerts!

The news has reported heightened security alerts for possible computer hacks from Russia. For your personal systems and accounts, the absolute best protection falls to you. Here are some excellent ways you can secure your systems:

  • Create strong passwords (10 to 15 characters, containing upper & lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.)
  • Use separate passwords for each account.
  • Use two-factor authentification on all your accounts.

Please know, the parish leadership will never ask you to send money or purchase gift cards to help out in a need.

If you received a phishing message, do not reply, just delete it or move it to your spam folder.

How to recognize Phishing –The first thing you’ll notice is that it doesn’t “sound” like the person you know. Their phrasing and choice of words are just a little “off”. Second, if you look closely at the sender’s actual email address or phone number it will be something strange and will not be any contact information you know for this person. What to do? The most important thing is do not reply. The best thing to do is to delete it or move it to your junk/spam folder. If you receive a Phishing text or email feel free to let the parish administrator know (212-254-8620 or apjones@ascensionnyc.org). Check out bit.ly/2TJwAYx for more tips.
This Week at Ascension
Anyone entering the church must wear a mask. Please utilize the hand sanitizer stations.
Sunday – July 31; 10:00 a.m. - Summer schedule
Holy Eucharist w/ Music; (Church & Live Stream) 10:00 a.m.
In person and online (Ascensionnyc.org/Sunday) 
Join us for Coffee Hour following the Service
Meditation & Sacrament (Church) 6:00 p.m.

Monday – August 1
Church open for prayer & meditation; Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday – August 2
Church open for prayer & meditation; Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday – August 3
Church open for prayer & meditation; Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.
Holy Eucharist (Church) 6:00 p.m.
Building & Grounds (Zoom) 6:45 p.m.

Thursday – August 4
Church open for prayer & meditation; Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.

Friday – August 5
The Parish Office will be closed at 1 p.m. for Summer Fridays
Church open for prayer & meditation; Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer (Zoom) 5:30 p.m.

Saturday – August 6
Food Pantry (12 West 11th Street) 8:30 a.m.
The Food Pantry meets the 1st & 3rd Saturdays of the month. For assistance or to volunteer, please contact Fr. Ed at (fatherchinery@ascensionnyc.org)

Sunday – August 7; 10:00 a.m. - Summer schedule
Holy Eucharist w/ Music; (Church & Live Stream) 10:00 a.m.
In person and online (Ascensionnyc.org/Sunday) 
Join us for Coffee Hour following the Service
Meditation & Sacrament (Church) 6:00 p.m.

If you need information to connect to one of our Zoom events please call the church office at 212-254-8620 or email us at info@ascensionnyc.org
Contact us
The Church of the Ascension -- Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street
212-254-8620 | info@ascensionnyc.org | www.ascensionnyc.org