The Miraculous Draught  of Fish , 'cartoon' by Raphael, ca. 1516 (Victoria & Albert Museum, London) for tapestries made for the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican

Sunday, February 10
The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer 
8 a.m. Said Mass  (Rite I)
9 a.m. Sung Mass 
11 a.m. Choral Mass 
Gillian Whitehead (b. 1941)
Missa Brevis (1963)


This Week at Ascension + February 6, 2019


From the Senior Warden
From the Rector
Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings: Feb. 13th
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Connecting in 2019
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
   Ascension Connections started 2019 with an early January visit to Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). The 13 Attendees were treated to a talk by artist David Lee Csicsko as he walked us through an exhibit of his works.
   More activities are planned, including another picnic in Millennium Park (but not in winter!) and another trip to LUMA to be organized by Marlea Edinger, a LUMA docent.
   Your thoughts and suggestions are now sought as we add additional Connections for 2019. Ascension newcomer Kelly Columberti and I recently generated two pages of ideas. We will be circulating at the coffee hours after both the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. masses this coming Sunday, February 10, sharing those ideas and welcoming your feedback.
   As Senior Warden for 2019, I plan to continue my Ascension Connections leadership. I believe in the importance of the primary Ascension Connection goals: strengthening our relationships with each other and with our neighbors in the surrounding community.    
   What would you like to do with each other? How can Ascension serve the community? Please take some time to think about your own answers, and talk with Kelly or me this coming Sunday. Or send me an email:

Cynthia Perrizo, Senior Warden


Our Senior Warden's invitation to take part in Ascension Connections leads me to think beyond the valuable activities being proposed per se, to quality of relationships that can make any commitment in the church more intentional and meaningful - or sometimes more difficult. Along these lines:
+ Quality of relationships has recently been a focal point of Vestry conversation and will continue to be throughout 2019. I trust your Vestry members and Wardens will welcome any of your own related thoughts and questions.
+ The Black History Month invitations from our neighbors at St. Chrysostom's that are described below may or may not be on the clipboard lists that you will be invited to view on Sunday, but the events do seem to be instances of good opportunities to meaningfully connect with those beyond our parish.
+ My own reflection on connections , and particularly genuine connections in faith, reminded me of the 2009 Parker Palmer essay, The Broken-Open Heart, an excerpt of which is featured in today's Last Word.
Sanctuary Arch (and Sanctuary Lamp) Renovation Notes

+ We're on schedule! If all continues to go well, we should be back in the church, as planned, by the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, March 3.
+ Mortaring of the brick has begun. Matching the prior mortar color turned out to be impossible. It was originally a nearly-white mortar that had been painted and then, uh, shall we say antiqued by generations of incense smoke. The new mortar color matches the brick color but in a slightly lighter tone. Prior to this project we were largely unable to see the interesting patterning of the brickwork on the walls flanking the arch - take a look at every sixth course of bricks. The brick and mortar photo here is a work-in-progress shot only. We'll know the final effect only after the brickwork is entirely cleaned and usual lighting conditions restored.
+ Our sanctuary lamp is also being restored at the urging of a number of parishioners most familiar with it and whose judgment I value. The work is being done by Baroque Silversmith, Skokie, and a new, brighter lamp should be in place when we return to the church.
+ A decision about repair to the damaged top of the high altar is being made as I'm writing this. I believe the momentum is toward going ahead with the work. I'll provide an update next week.
+ Please be prepared for the possibility that the paint color on the wall over the sanctuary arch may not be the same chocolate brown when the project is completed. I believe that we've finalized an agreement to receive a consultation on the color for the wall from the same firm with which we are principally dealing with regard to the altar repair. As you can learn from the  Deprato Rigali Studios website, their work is nationally recognized, and their impressive local portfolio includes work at, for example, nearby St. John Cantius, St. Clement's in Lincoln Park, and St. Edmund Parish, Oak Park.
+ Please refrain from going into the church. For a variety of reasons, including slippery sheets of plastic on the tile floors, the environment isn't safe for tourism. The dust is not as significant a problem as with our 2017 slate roof replacement but is clearly enough to have vindicated our decision to move to St. Michael's Hall during this important renovation.
Our Neighbors at St. Chrysostom's Invite Us to take part in Black History Month
The Rev. Deacon Jihan Murray-Smith, above, and artwork featuring Blessed Absalom Jones
+ Sunday, Feb. 10th  - at St. Chrysotom's. During our 10 o'clock Adult Forum hour, Darryl Grant [a member at Church of the Atonement, Chicago, who occasionally joins us at Ascension], will educate us on the history of Black Episcopalians. He will cover everything from the Rev. Absalom Jones, first African American priest ordained in the Episcopal Church to our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael Curry and everything in between.  
+ Sunday, February 17th , please join us at St. Chrysostom's for a riveting panel discussion named: Twoness: Being Black and Episcopalian. African American Episcopalians from our diocese will share their experiences of being Black in a predominately white denomination. 4:00 p.m. in the Guild Room at St. Chrysostom's, followed by Dinner. Please bring a dessert and/or beverage to share. 
+ Sunday, Feb. 24th  at 1PM Please join members from Messiah St. Bartholomew and St. Chrysostom's on a Field Trip to the DuSable Museum of African American History followed by lunch at Cedars Mediterranean in Hyde Park.  Entrance to the museum is complimentary. Please cover the cost of your lunch. BYOB.

Pursuant to information in other recent newsletters, the Vestry's recent motion encouraging me to welcome women clergy into our ministry at Ascension inclines me to start with weekday masses for the next few months. For reasons many of you will readily understand, I've asked cathedral Curate Mother Anna Broadbent to say the Wednesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. mass for the commemoration of Absalom Jones. I believe we may have some guests that evening, from St. James' and elsewhere. If I can get a little help I'd be pleased to offer a simple meal afterward. Let me know if you may be willing and able to help, and please keep in prayers Mother Broadbent and our whole parish family in conjunction with what for some will be a momentous change. With regard to Mother Broadbent or other women  or men  who may say weekday masses here, I'm confident that all will comply with the Eucharistic rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer. Some will, however, not be accustomed to all Ascension-specific customs. (Examples may be saying ' The Lord be with you'  before introducing the Gospel lesson or using  both  Fraction Anthem options -- as is customary here, rather than one or the other as is the norm at most altars these days.) My preferred aim will always be to welcome those whose altar manner will (with or without some training) best comport with Ascension norms, AND I ask your patience, and your attention to what is most essential, as we move ahead.

YES! This IS Father Lawler. And YES he is on a Camel! And YES those are Egyptian Pyramids! He is wrapping up a tour that began with a flight from O'Hare on the Sunday of our Annual Meeting (hmmm), and he sends us all greetings and wants all who are interested to know that he has a nifty online travel-blog with quite a few also-wonderful pictures and reflections on this and some past travels , going back several years.

My family is this week sorrowing over the loss of our 14-year-old dog, Oreo. Her heart disease unexpectedly and rapidly accelerated over the past few months. I wouldn't normally include the personal loss in parish news, but many of you know how Oreo loved to sit in the front window of the rectory, keeping watch over all passers-by.
What to do with empty churches  is the title of a January 31 opinion feature from the Wall Street Journal, part of which was recently shared with me by parishioner Charlene MacDougal. The full article can only be read with a WSJ subscription, but I note with interest a number of similar articles in secular publications. Although every congregation's circumstances are unique, declining church attendance is nearly pandemic, and I wonder what we at Ascension might glean of value from some of this current secular focus relative to our own strategies for renewal and remaining as vital as possible. Two other recent feature stories without subscription restrictions are: What should we do with all of those empty churches, Derek Beres, December 2018 Big Think online business newsletter; and from the November 2018 issue of The Atlantic, America's Epidemic of Empty Churches, by Jonathan Merritt

Long-abandoned St. Boniface Church, in Chicago's nearby Noble Square, is now approved for a development to include condominiums and space for neighborhood-focused non-profit organizations.

My sermon from this past Sunday , on which we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation, may be viewed here .

You are invited to join our next adventure in hearty and tasty eating on  Wednesday, February 13 (2nd Wednesday)   following the noontime Mass.  The menu features a St. Valentine's, early Mardi Gras theme which includes jambalaya with rice, jazzy vegetable salad, soft rolls and butter, heart-shaped sugar cookies, and chocolate!  DiAnne Walsh and Cheryl Peterson will be doing the cooking, and they promise that everything will be flavorful but not overly spicy or salty.  Desserts, on the other hand, will be full sweetness (in case you are thinking of giving up sugar for Lent)!

As everyone thinks about sharing blessings for our group discussion in February, I would like to suggest the theme: "Words and Events of Inspiration." During the cold and sometimes dreary months of winter, we often hibernate--hunkering down in our cozy living spaces, venturing out only as necessary.  So what keeps you growing, dreaming, discovering new joys, thinking about the future, especially your spiritual future?  Is there a particular proverb, quote, poem, prayer, or scripture passage that serves to inspire you?  Is there a memorable event in your spiritual formation that you count on to keep you moving forward?  Is there a noteworthy discipline/routine that helps you stay focused and centered?  Come join the Sharing Blessings group for some mid-winter inspiration and a warming lunch.  And invite a friend to join us and enjoy this social time together!  

Any questions can be directed to Cheryl Peterson, 773-322-7995.  

The  Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, February 10, 2019  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, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Thomas Holden, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Regina Krusas, James Krusas, Sr., Kenvert Samuel, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Rachel Barton Pine, Demos Kukeas, Norb Bragiel, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Fred Malek, Chris Marston
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. 

Parker J. Palmer
Transforming heartbreak into new life is the aim of every religious tradition at its best, as witness this Hasidic tale. A disciple asks the rebbe, "Why does Torah tell us to 'place these words upon your hearts'? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?" The rebbe answers, "It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in." The same point is made by the Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan: "God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open."
In Christian tradition, the broken-open heart is virtually indistinguishable from the image of the cross. It was on the cross that God's heart was broken for the sake of humankind, broken open into a love that Christ's followers are called to emulate. In its simple physical form, the cross embodies the notion that tension can pull the heart open. Its cross-beams stretch out four ways, pulling against each other left and right, up and down. But those arms converge in a center, a heart, that can be pulled open by that stretching, by the tensions of life-a heart that can be opened so fully it can hold every- thing from despair to ecstasy. And that, of course, is how Jesus held his excruciating experience, as an opening into the heart of God.
At times, sadly, the cross has drawn believers toward the spiritual shadows of both masochism and sadism. Some Christians believe that if they are not suffering they cannot possibly be doing God's will. They have every right to hold this belief, though I can't imagine that it pleases a God who laughs as well as weeps. Some Christians believe that they have the right to inflict suffering on people who do not share their version of God's will. That is a belief that no one has the right to hold, one that I have to believe runs counter to the will of a life- giving God.
If we Christians want to contribute to the healing of the world's wounds rather than to the next round of wounding- and we have a long history of doing both-much depends on how we understand and inhabit the cruciform way of life that is at the heart of our tradition.
Etching from  Weavings for the essay above

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office