Chicago Episcopal Michaelmas Celebration

Sunday, Sept. 30, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
See more information below.

Engraving after Maarten de Vos, published by Joan Baptista Vrints, 1585

" War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon ."
Revelation 12:7

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8 a.m. Said Mass (Rite I)
9 a.m. Sung Mass
11 a.m. Procession & Solemn High Mass
Haydn, Missa Sancti Nicolai

This Week at Ascension

September 26, 2018


From the Rector
Tonight at Ascension: Lancelot Andrewes
Ascension Book Group: October
Food Pantry Update
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Angels and Archangels

Therefore with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we laud and magnify thy glorious Name ...
-          Book of Common Prayer, page 334

Dear people of Ascension,
Why is it that Michaelmas so captivates and pleases me?
It's not, after all, of any apparent interest to retailers or politicians. Have you recently seen any aisle at Walgreens devoted to angels and archangels? Have you heard St. Michael invoked by any of the host of pundits who daily further polarize us with pronouncements of ultimate good and evil? Michaelmas is so obscure that my computer's spell-checker flags the word!
I partly so relish Michaelmas precisely because it flies undetected below the cultural radar. Don't get me wrong-I do appreciate and take part in some of the popular, secular aspects of holidays like Christmas, Easter and Halloween. But I particularly relish the major holy days, like Michaelmas, on which our focus, intentions are worship are undiluted. We come to church on Michaelmas with fewer distractions.
And then there's this: angels and archangels represent aspects of God's creation and the nature of being in our universe that are largely unknown, ineffable, peculiar, breathtaking. How often since Michaelmas 2017 have you or I devoted any time or attention to angels and archangels? Michaelmas gives us permission, encourages us and our imaginations, to go there and to wonder about the ways of God and how we fit into and comprehend the bigger scheme of things.
I hope and pray with you that our imaginations, hearts and lives will be opened, broadened and blessed by our numerous opportunities to share in Sunday's celebrations of Michaelmas.
Regarding our afternoon Chicago Episcopal Michaelmas Celebration , we've already been blessed by a number of guest musicians, clergy and lay ministers who have agreed to take part:
  • Guest organists Stephen Buzard of St. James' Cathedral and Charles T. Sega of Church of the Atonement, Chicago, will join Ascension organist David White in presenting the 3:30 p.m. organ recital. I've been told a few sopranos and tenors from the cathedral choir may be joining us as well.
  • The Very Rev. Lister Tonge, Dean of Monmouth in the Church of Wales, will offer an Evensong homily.
  • Mother Erika Takacs, newly installed Rector of Church of the Atonement, Chicago, will preside at the 4:00 p.m. Choral Evensong.
  • Deacon Larry Green of St. Chrysostom's, Chicago, will assist me with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Thanks to the people of St. John's, Old Irving Park, Chicago for sparing two torch bearers and a crucifer to take part in the Evensong and Benediction.
And thanks to the contributions and planning of DiAnne Walsh, Jay Jacot, Brooke Raymond, David White and others, we can look forward to a fine reception to follow, including an opportunity for all to welcome Mother Takacs to our diocese and deanery and to meet and visit with other guest Episcopalians.

New Ascension Website to Launch October 1 - with Excitement and Anxiety. If all goes well, you will be able to view a new Ascension website on Monday morning, October 1! And if all goes well, the URL (web address) will be the same. And if all goes well, all of the old emails will work. If all goes well, you will be as enthusiastic as I am about the new website. BUT not everything always goes well with these website 'conversions.' I am not at all sophisticated enough about technology to explain all that is required and all that may go wrong. One scenario involves an interruption in our emails or loss of some emails in the transition. Thanks in advance for your responses to the new website and for your patience in the event of glitches. And please express your gratitude to Gary Alexander, Scott Knitter, Chris Raymond, Brother Nathanael Rahm, Susan Schlough and others who have helped get us to this launch!

The Long-Awaited and Prayed-for Requiem Mass for Father Dunkerley: Tuesday, October 2, 7:00 p.m., Church of the Atonement, Chicago. You may want to know:
  • Ascension will be hosting the beverages table for the reception to follow the mass. Please contact me if you can make a related financial contribution or help with the bartending.
  • Estimates on attendance are wildly varying. I've heard '125' and '500.' In any case, to hedge your bets you may wish to arrive early. And we'll definitely need help with the bar if there are 500! (See above.)
  • Parking will be available at the Atonement lot, directly across the street from the church and at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, 5649 North Sheridan Road. (If using this lot, a 3-4 minute walk from Atonement, I recommend you exit LSD northbound at Bryn Mawr and turn right/north onto Sheridan.)
  • I've directed that the bunting be left on the doors at Ascension and the 'Father D shrine' left in place in our narthex until after the requiem, and I did so as a pastoral matter after asking the thoughts of a few souls here at Ascension. I hope you've found this meaningful.
Our Annual Blessing of the Animals in honor of St. Francis will take place Saturday, October 6, at the Division Street Farmer's Market. We've found that we get more barks and meows with all the foot traffic (paw traffic?) at the farmers market than by setting up here at Ascension, and we hope it's a small way for Ascension to favorably catch the attention of some of our neighbors. Please see next week's newsletter for details and meanwhile the photo, from last year's blessing, shows the Rev. Dr. Carol Noren, Father Bob Petite and Marlea Edinger.
Tuck pointing began yesterday on the chimney for the church boiler. Also yesterday Sexton George Panice removed all the ivy from the southwest corner of the parish house, revealing some serious deterioration in the mortar, stonework and brickwork there. That tuck pointing project/repair is up next. The buildings and grounds team and Vestry will be deciding about going ahead with a number of capital projects at our October 13 meeting. Look for more information and photos in weeks ahead.

The Extraordinarily Sophisticated Imagination Club is the name of the youth drama gathering that took place here at Ascension during a week in August. Director Peter Civetta sent us his thanks in a letter this week that you may read by clicking here.
Sorry to include on a bummer note regarding a 10% swoon in our worship attendance , but I've never been a rector who felt anyone was well served by concealing attendance numbers and trends. My heart sank this past Sunday when I saw that only 43 souls took part in the Solemn High Mass. I decided to compare attendance on the first four Sundays in September 2018 with 2017 and, just for a little bigger perspective, 2008 as well. The chart should be fairly self-explanatory, with our four Sunday services in separate columns and a separate break-out for each of four consecutive Sundays in September of each year. You should know that our attendance includes numerous redundancies. All who take part in Morning Prayer invariably also take part in one or more later masses. Clergy, musicians and other worship ministers who take part in more than one service are counted two, three or four times. I encourage all members to not only reflect on these numbers but also share your related thoughts, hopes, concerns and ideas with me, your wardens and/or your vestry members as appropriate.

On the bright side, special thanks to Cheryl Peterson and DiAnne Walsh for rolling up their sleeves and tackling a huge kitchen purge and clean-up project. They've devoted significant parts of two days to the effort, including today. We'll all be blessed by a kitchen that's not only cleaner but better organized!
Look for next week's newsletter for:
  • Cheryl Peterson's plans to launch in October a once a month mid-day lunch and fellowship group -- probably on a Wednesday beginning with the 12:05 p.m. mass.
  • A report on funds raised as a result of Kuni Sakai's participation in the walk for hunger, and
  • Plans for our annual Community Thanksgiving Meal, Sunday, November 18.
  • A proposal presently under consideration by the City of Chicago to approve a multi-million dollar renovation of the Mark Twain (single-occupancy) hotel near Ascension on Division Street ... 

Wednesday, September 26

Commemoration of Lancelot Andrewes,
Bishop of Winchester

Evening Prayer at 6:10 p.m.
Said Mass at 6:30 p.m.


For October the Ascension Book Group will read War In Heaven (1931) by Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886-1945). Williams takes us on a 20th-century version of the Grail quest, with an Archdeacon, a Duke, an editor, the mysterious "Man in Grey", and a child playing the old Arthurian roles. Throughout, Williams reminds us that these legends ...

Ken Kelling, the Group moderator, reports:
On Sunday, September 23 the Ascension Book met at the Convent of St Anne after the masses. We were hosted to a luncheon by Mother Judith Mandrath after which we repaired to the living roon where we had a fine discussion on William Barrett's "The Lilies of the Field". We then had a viewing of the 1963 film. We had 10 present for the luncheon and discussion. Thanks all for your great input. 


Thank you to everyone who sponsored Kuni on his walk.
Please remember to send in your contribution.

Our food pantry clients can always use heavy re-usable grocery bags (the kind sold by Jewel and Treasure Island). If you have extra bags you don't need, please bring them to the church for us to distribute.

The Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, September 30, 2018 may be found by clicking  here

The Lector's Pronunciation Guide may be found here .


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert White, Charlene MacDougal, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, John Mulcare, Doreen Finn, Ronna Case, Ted Jennings, Michael Milano, Thomas Holden, Kuni Sakai, Bob Scogin, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, Marlea Edinger, David Belding, Jr., August 'Augie' Alonzo, Sal Martinez, Ann Halikas, Betty Smith, Helena Wilson, Josey Mintel, Cliff Green

Prayers for the departed
Prayers are especially requested for the repose of the soul of Ericka Green niece of Cliff Green .
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. 

Sabbaths - 1985, I
By Wendell Berry
Not again in this flesh will I see
the old trees stand here as they did,
weighty creatures made of light, delight
of their making straight in them and well,
whatever blight our blindness was or made,
however thought or act might fail.
The burden of absence grows, and I pay
daily the grief I owe to love
for women and men, days and trees
I will not know again. Pray
for the world's light thus borne away.
Pray for the little songs that wake and move.
For comfort as these lights depart,
recall again the angels of the thicket,
columbine aerial in the whelming tangle,
song drifting down, light rain, day
returning in song, the lordly Art
piecing out its humble way.
Though blindness may yet detonate in light,
ruining all, after all the years, great right
subsumed finally in paltry wrong,
what do we know? Still
the Presence that we come into with song
is here, shaping the seasons of His wild will.
Excerpted from
'The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry,' Counter point Press, 2009.

The Olive Trees, Francis Picabia, 1938

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office