Sunday, January 27


9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer 
10:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Missa Brevis in Bb , K. 275


This Week at Ascension + January 23, 2019


From the Rector
Also from the Rector
Nathanael Out of the Office
Bishop Anderson House
Kitchen Orphans
Ascension Book Group: January and February
This Sunday at Ascension
Flower Guild News
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Vote for most important headline ...

They called together all the elders of the town,
and all their young men and women ran to the assembly.
-   Judith 6:16a

Dear People of Ascension,

My pastoral letter today could focus on at least four topics significant to all of us at Ascension. I've chosen one for the letter. Three others are featured below. Buckle your seatbelts. (Cinch your cinctures?)

Vestry nomination processes in any parish can feature emotional and political hazards. We've had a few bumps this year, but I'm grateful for the perseverance of Vestry member Ken Kelling as Chair, for the four other Vestry members who played active roles in the nominations process and for what I believe is a strong slate of candidates.

I've heard of some grumbling about the fact that the Vestry is not presenting a competitive ballot. If you're among the grumblers, please make yourself available for election to Vestry next year! In addition to those who have said yes, a number of other well-qualified parishioners declined to run when asked by nominating committee members. We received few or no responses to the several newsletter and Sunday bulletin announcements seeking nominations. And, for reasons of sensitivity, the nominating committee did not want to have only one additional candidate ... if one could have been identified.

Withal, as mentioned, I feel we have a strong slate of candidates. Information about each, along with some personal statements about Vestry service, may be found in the Annual Report, to which you may link here or below.

Please don't underestimate the importance of the Vestry in the overall life of the parish. Please show your support by your presence at our annual meeting on Sunday and by your prayers.


All About the Annual Meeting
In the event that you missed the link above, you may click here to view the 36-page 2018 Annual Report
. It includes the Proposed Agenda for Sunday's meeting at Noon, Nominee Statements, a brief Treasurer's Report, Ministry Reports, Some great pictures and reminders of excellent moments and gatherings in 2018, and more. Please note that only a limited number of black and white copies of the report will be available at Sunday's meeting.

John Rigali (right) and his son Luke, of Departo Rigali Studios, Chicago, we're already on site this morning to evaluate the damage to the top of the altar spire and will be proposing solutions in coming days
High Altar Mishap ...
I'm sorry to have to report a mishap that will no doubt trouble all of you as it has me. In the process of covering the high altar with a large sheet of plastic on Monday evening in anticipation of the tuck pointing project, the tip of the altar spire, about 2 feet in total, tumbled to the ground and shattered. 
I'm grateful to share that no one was injured. Also, as I'm writing this, a master marble sculptor with extensive church altar experience, is on way to Ascension to help us assess the situation.
The four pictures below may help you comprehend what happened. The picture on the left shows the altar whole (i.e. for the 120 years before last night). The pencil tip photo in included because toppled tip of the altar can be envisioned, relative to the whole, as the lead portion of the sharpened tip of a pencil. The third and fourth photos show the altar crown as well as can be viewed with the plastic on it.

Where and How: Worship under Construction
This is both a reminder and a notification. All Sunday and weekday masses will be celebrated in St. Michael's Hall until further notice, probably about four weeks. When last in St. Michael's Hall under similar circumstances, for the slate roof project in the fall of 2017, I felt that I tried to hard to replicate a Solemn High Mass in an environment not well suited to it. On occasion, I felt, the results bordered on travesty more than solemnity. For the coming Sundays, the 11 am celebrant will not wear a cope (partly for the safety of the vestments themselves), and we'll be facing the People at the consecrations for all masses. Regrettably, the fine positiv (chamber organ) that David Schrader kindly lent us in 2017 is now delighting a new audience on the West Coast. We'll be relying solely on the Stoskopf piano. Choir repertoire will mainly be unchanged. I thank you in advance for your patience, presence and participation.
Oh, and the Daily Offices will be said during this time at seating areas in the main hallway of the Parish House. When you join us there, you'll find that the informality is balanced a congenial warmth.  

Women Clergy at Ascension
A quorum of Wardens and Vestry members at our January meeting last night (rescheduled due to weather from last Saturday) unanimously approved the following resolution:
"Moved, that the Wardens and Vestry encourage the Rector to move ahead with integrating women priests and deacons into the sacramental life and ministry of the Church of the Ascension, and that the Rector timely communicate with the Vestry and parishioners on related steps, and that the Rector and all members of the parish are urged to demonstrate sensitivity and respect in the context of members' continued diversity of theologies, views and experiences of the ministries of ordained women." 
Regarding this matter ...
¬ I admit that I was tempted to NOT include this information in this week's newsletter due to the news about the altar mishap and associations that may result ... oh, well ... The Vestry motion above does direct me to 'timely communicate' and I'm doing so.
¬ I will likely schedule one or more women priests to officiate at weekday masses in the coming weeks, partly because this matter has been hanging in the air too long and if we're going to move ahead we should do so, and partly because I do have open spots in the clergy rota for February.

¬ I imagine I will include women clergy in our Sunday masses sometime before summer. Knowing how women priests have been introduced in many Episcopal parishes over the past 40+ years and some of the related dynamics and practices, I will likely give notice and, for at least six months or a year, publish the Sunday clergy rota in the weekly newsletter along with other Sunday liturgy and music information.

¬ You can find 2018 background material on the 2018 parish conversations about the ordained ministry of women on pages 32-35 of the attached 2018 Annual Report.

¬ I welcome your questions, thoughts and prayers.

Please join me in congratulations and prayers for Ascension parishioner Enrique Vilaseco and his longtime partner Aleksander Balon , a native and citizen of Poland, married this past Friday in a civil ceremony in Berlin.
 My sermon from Sunday, January 20, 2018may be found here.

The Feast of the Presentation will be transferred this year to Sunday, February 3. Blessings of throats, invoking the aid of Blessed Blaise, will be offered after all masses. And plan to join us for a beautiful 4 pm Evensong and reception.

Mt. Alvernia in summer

Br. Nathanael will be away from Church of the Ascension's Office from Monday, January 28 - Sunday, February 3 attending the Brotherhood of St. Gregory Annual Winter Convocation, held in Wappingers Falls, NY at Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center. 

Materials for the Wednesday, January 30 TWAA newsletter or the February 3 bulletins should be received by Thursday morning, 1/24/2019. 

The Rev. Tommy Rogers, Exec. Dir. of Bishop Anderson House, and his Staff enjoyed the comforts of our Ascension Parish Library on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 for their Staff Retreat. A follow-up note is below.
[not actual orphaned apron]

There are orphaned containers, a rolling pin, an apron, etc. that have been left abandoned by their owners in the Ascension kitchen. Thank you for claiming y our orphans and taking them home.

For January and February the Ascension Book Group will read  The Pillars of the Earth   (1989) by Ken Follett (b. 1949).  In January we will read the Prologue, Part I, and Part II. In February we will read Part III - Part VI. 


The  Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Voluntaries for  Sunday, January 27, 2019  may be found by clicking  here The Lector's Pronunciation Guide may be found here .


Did you know that donors for Sunday flowers are needed most Sundays of the year , and that a flower gift may be given as a memorial or thanksgiving? There are four opportunities each Sunday. Flowers may be donated for the High Altar, for the Shrine of The Blessed Virgin Mary, for the Shrine of St. Michael, and for the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Please see the sign up sheets on the bulletin board in the back hallway on the first floor of the parish house.  For more info,  contact Cliff Green .

The Flower Guild is also looking for new members to purchase (reimbursable) and arrange Sunday flowers for the High Altar and three shrines. This is a fun and rewarding ministry. Volunteers will be given training if necessary, and you can even work with a partner if you like. All that is required is that you sign up to do the flowers one time per month. Please help us to beautify God's house. To volunteer, contact Cliff Green or any member of the Flower Guild.

Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Thomas Holden, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Kenvert Samuel,
Regina Krusas, James Krusas, Sr., Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Rachel Barton Pine.
Prayers for the departed
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

The Approved Minutes of Vestry meetings are now available online to parishioners who request the link.  If you would like Internet access to the Approved Vestry Minutes, please email the  Church Office and request the link. 
Once you access the web page, you can read all recent Approved Vestry Minutes.  In addition, if you click on the subscribe button at the top right, you will be given email notice whenever a new set of Approved Minutes is added. 


Moon Rising
, Wassily Kandinsky, 1903,
The Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich

Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001)

I keep my answers small and keep them near;
Big questions bruised my mind but still I let
Small answers be a bulwark to my fear.

The huge abstractions I keep from the light;
Small things I handled and caressed and loved.
I let the stars assume the whole of night.

But the big answers clamoured to be moved
Into my life. Their great audacity
Shouted to be acknowledged and believed.

Even when all small answers build up to
Protection of my spirit, I still hear
Big answers striving for their overthrow

And all the great conclusions coming near.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office