Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
July 21
Christ in the home of Martha and Mary,
Iberian, 19th c.

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer

8:00 a.m. Low Mass (Rite I)

Nursery available, 8:45 a.m.

9:00 a.m. Sung Mass

11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass

This Week at Ascension + July 17, 2019

From the Rector
Also From the Rector
Patronal Feast for the Order of St. Anne
Your Ascension Connections
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word
Got religion?
Celebrant :        Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People :            I will, with God's help.
                        - From the Baptismal Covenant, BCP, page 304

Dear people of Ascension,
     At a funeral I recently attended at Church of our Saviour, Chicago, Father Brian Hastings told a story about the author Phyllis Tickle, whom he'd known personally and who died in 2015. Brian said that when Tickle was asked to serve as Religion Editor for Publishers Weekly, she quipped, "But I don't know anything about religion-I'm Episcopalian."
     Tickle accepted the position and through it demonstrated both knowledge of and keen insight into religion. Years later, a fellow writer opined, "Over the past generation, no one has written more deeply and spoken more widely about the contours of American faith and spirituality than Phyllis Tickle."
Nicodemus and Christ, 1764,
attributed to
Charles François Hutin,
the British Museum.
    So why did Father Hasting's anecdote elicit robust laughter? I suppose it was because Tickle's response to a job inquiry captured a common impression: Episcopalians tend to be 'cultural Christians' more than deeply committed and actively engaged persons of faith.
    I'm grateful to say I know many of you at Ascension who know a great deal about religion. Your breadth and depth of reading in church history, theology, liturgy and more often astounds me. You seem, as well, engaged by your faith.
   It's also true that I'm routinely discouraged about our adult Christian education and spiritual formation endeavors - or near lack thereof. I'd be grateful to God if we were offering more and if there was more interest in and enthusiasm for what we were offering.  I'd be grateful to God if what we were offering increased not only our knowledge of religion but the liveliness of our faith and the genuineness of our fellowship. 
     I'll be grateful to God and to any of you who know anything about religion and want to share it or learn more or discuss it with others - and who can help make it happen.

Regarding Adult Education and Spiritual Formation ...
- I'm hoping to plan at least a few opportunities this fall - after Labor Day and before Advent. Many programs can be done with no cost, but we do have available funds that can be used for a guest speaker, books, retreats or other appropriately related expenses. Let me know if you have specific thoughts or questions.
- An Evening with our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, is being hosted by St. James' Cathedral, July 31. Due to limited seating, this is a ticket-only event, and I learned by phone call this morning that few or no tickets are left at this time. If you're interested, however, let me know. I'll ask about a waiting list or any tickets that may have been held in reserve.
- I'm grateful to have been asked to lead the 2020 Men's PreLenten Retreat for our diocese, annually held in February at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin. I'll probably share more about this in coming months,  but you can view the related flyer here.
Father Bob Petite has been asked to serve as Chaplain to the Diocese of Chicago Bishop's Search and Nomination Committee. A great deal of progress has been made in organizing and planning for the search (and what follows). I'll share some additional Ascension connections in weeks to come. Please keep all who are taking part in this important and demanding process -- including Fr. Petite -- in prayer.
A third-Saturday-of-the-month rosary was started in June , thanks to the devotional leadership of Marlea Edinger, who is determined to make it a discipline and a tradition. The rosary will be shared immediately following the 10:00 a.m. Mass for Healing this Saturday, July 20.


The Patronal Festival of the Order of St. Anne will be observed on Sunday, July 28, 2019 .

The mass will be here at Church of the Ascension at 11:00  a.m., followed by a luncheon next door at the Convent, 1125 N. LaSalle. The Sisters of the Order of St. Anne invite you to join them in the celebration of their Patronal Festival with joy and thanksgiving.
Ascension Connections is happy to announce the first picnic (with concert) of the year. Based on your responses, the picnic will be on Friday, July 26, 2019 on the lawn at Millennium Park. Bring whatever food and drink you like, either just for yourself or to share.  The concert starts at 6:30. The featured work is the Dvořák  7 th Symphony.   For a complete listing of the program, please consult the Grant Park Music Festival website .

I will arrive at Millennium Park at 5:30 to scope out a place on the lawn somewhere in the middle. I have a sign that says Church of the Ascension. Not only will it help in finding our spot, but passersby will see our name. Please come as soon as you can to help hold the space.  It fills up fast.

The second picnic of the season will be on Saturday, August 17. That concert starts at 7:30. More on that will be forthcoming.

If you could, please let me know if you plan to join us on July 26 or just come!
Senior Warden and 
Chair of Ascension Connections


The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, July 21, 2019  may be found by clicking here . More information on the Choral repertoire may be found by clicking here .


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Dean Pineda, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Pablo Illás, Doreen Finn, Donald Schmidt, Ted Saunders, Ann Halikas, Loisjean Raymond Simmons, Don Wilber, Jacob Potter, Nathan, Jim, Enrique, Monica, Aleksander, Josephine Boitse, Sue Smedley

Prayers for the departed
Prayers are requested for the repose of the souls of Carol Nolan,  James Flannery, Jr .,  Cynthia Bunch,  Jay H. Price, Jr . and Cole.

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.

A link to the St. Peter's website for more information regarding Jay Price may be found here.

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. 

Following are the opening remarks only of a lengthy discourse, Today's Church in America, presented by Phillis Tickle over two Sundays in 2003 at Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, Tennessee. In these opening remarks she notes the emerging impact of television and film in the realm of religion. The reader in 2019 will consider as well the overwhelming impact on religion of the Internet, social media and related ever-proliferating technologies. - Fr. Raymond +

Phillis Tickle
I have floated around Publishers Weekly for over ten years now. Publishers Weekly is the trade journal for the book industry. I do a lot of talking and working with booksellers, librarians, publishers, editors and publicity people all within the book industry, which is essentially my purview. As I have become more and more concerned with my own writing, my job description has shifted, so, consequently, I also do a good deal of interfacing with the media. But basically my job as contributing editor in religion to Publishers Weekly is to interpret, to study American religion and to some extent, Euro-American-because you can't really separate them right now-and try to analyze where it [religion] is and where it's going to go.
There is about a three-year lag between the idea and the book in your hand. It's my job to look at what we're doing, try to project where it's going to go and to take that message to publishers and say, "This is probably where the pew [parishioner] is. This is where the laity is. This is where the thinking is outside of the nave, but within this larger domain of religion in a secularized society. This is what you ought to be looking at."
It took me about three or four years at this job to figure out that that street works both ways. I can also say to clergy, "This is what's coming out of the publishing industry over the next couple of years. This is what's going to be read by the clergy. This is what's going to be read in the coffee shops in the field of religion. This is what you need to prepare your people to hear, receive and to incorporate into their own lives."
Then it spread from there to talking also to laity. For many, many years, in God-talk, books held primacy of place. That is to say, most of our God-talk in this country and in this culture was done by reading books and then talking to each other about them. That's a little less true since 1999 when we got a shift, and primacy of place probably went over to television and movies. I date it in 1999, because that's the year the movie The Matrix came out. While it had many precursors in the movie business, The Matrix is the first movie where you could clearly say, "There is serious God-talk going on in this movie. This movie is wall-to-wall God-talk." It has an immediacy that the pulpit will never have, and an immediacy probably that a book will never have. Some of the same thing is also happening in television. A lot of it is happening in music. The book is clearly not the leader in what informs our popular thinking anymore.

Whatever else you want to say about Western Christianity or Western religion, you have to say that something is happening and already happened in the 20th century that made a major pivotal change in who and what it is. At least twice before has there been a time when a culture so dramatically shifted that religion was dramatically changed also. The first time was the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. A bunch of irregular Jews who were followers of an irregular rabbi discovered that they could no longer function as Jews, that they were instead Christian. Absent the temple and absent a rabbinical system that was not yet developed, they became Christian.
The second time we conveniently date as October 31, 1517, when a totally annoyed, totally irascible guy named Martin Luther tacked some thoughts on a door in Wittenberg. There had been prior to both those events a clear century in which all of the changes that those events conveniently date had come into place. If you had had my job in 1450, you could have been paid to look and say, "Oops, that's going to happen in 1517 or thereabouts."
I am paid to look at religion from a secular point of view. What I am as a Christian is a case study in organized schizophrenia-on Sundays and on my own time, I am the world's worst, most devout evangelical Episcopalian. I will persuade an apple tree why it ought to read The Book of Common Prayer. But during the week and when I'm working, I am paid to look at religion as it is commercially applied. That is a fairly interesting job description, it did not exist a hundred years ago. There aren't even many people who do what I do right now.
Much of what I'm going to say to you .... is seen through the lens of the commercial application of religion. It does not necessarily take an Episcopal point of view. It asks that you look at the world of religion the way the media and especially the book industry in this country look at it, and that industry is both proactive and reactive. You need to remember that. No publisher that I know of is going to publish a book that he or she doesn't think is going to make money. It is to that extent reactive. It has to be. It has to react to what I think is going to happen in three years in the nave. But at the same time, who and what we are as religious people is framed by what we read, which is where the book industry is very active. It is proactive.
Most of the houses that are publishing religion today-commercial ones as well as religious ones: Doubleday, Simon and Schuster, and Putnam-most of those people have religion programs that are headed up by senior editors or junior publishers who are some of the most devout people I know. This is certainly true in the religion houses. But even in the commercial publishing houses there are men and women who say, "The pulpit isn't large enough. Only the bookstore is going to carry my message where I want it to go." They see it as a sacred vocation, minus ordination. So that's what the book industry is made up of and what we're about.
From the point of view of a commercially applied religion, religion is not exactly what you and I think of it when we're sitting in the nave. We in the office like to think of religion as a rope. It is a rope or a strand or a cable of meaning that has always stretched from the beginning of time. From the earliest known civilization, there has always been this need to arrive at the meaning of life. Life is essentially unsustainable if it's pointless. Without meaning, we cannot tolerate or sustain it. And so we look for meaning.
That cable of meaning-like every good cable-is composed of three strands that are woven together in order to give it its strength. One of those strands is spirituality. One of those strands is corporeality, by which we mean all the stuff of religion once it becomes religion-the building, clergy, canons, real estate, and budgets-all of that stuff that is the physical and organized presence of the religious practice. The third strand is morality. You can take any particular religion and see that it is a pursuit of meaning that can be broken down into those three categories.
This cable of meaning, like every good cable woven together of three strands, has a loosely knit sleeve that lines the casing of the cable and holds the three strands together. This sleeve is the 'common imagination.' The outer casing of the cable that holds everything together is called 'story.' As long as the story holds, the inner workings of the rope of meaning will bob along and anchor the boat, and everything will be fine.
When story gets pushed back-when story for some weird reason gets pulled away-then that loosely knit sleeve of imagination is exposed. We humans have a tendency to put our little fingers through the little holes and worry it to death. Then we stick that strand back in, pull out another one and worry it to death. Eventually we get the third one out and play with it, and then stick it back inside. In time we paste the [sleeve] common imagination back, smooth the story on and we go back to being happy for a long time.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office