Sunday, December 2
The First Sunday of Advent

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer  
8:00 a.m. Said Mass (Rite I)
9:00 a.m. Sung Mass 
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass 

William Byrd (c. 1540-1623)
Mass for Three Voices

3:30 p.m. Organ Recital
See the repertoire below
4:00 p.m. Evensong and Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament

"Jesus told them a parable: 'Look at the fig tree and all the trees;
as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.'"  - Luke 21:29-31

This Week at Ascension + November 28 , 2018


From the Rector
Also from the Rector
From the Organist
Benjamin Rivera Conducts Ferris Chorale
Stewardship Reminder
Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings
Last Sunday's Sermon
Ascension Book Group, Dec. 2
The Rosary
Today at Ascension
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word



" I was naked and you clothed me ."   - Matthew 25:36
Dear people of Ascension,
     Drawing attention to underwear in conjunction with the start of Advent hardly seems timely or in good taste. One might in fact question the decorum of ever headlining underwear in a church newsletter.
     But for the second year in a row now parishioner Jim Lenz has organized a holiday outreach ministry featuring underwear. Tee shirts, boxer shorts and socks will be given at Christmas, in the name of Christ and Ascension, to men who are served by St. Leonard's Ministries , one of our Episcopal Charities in the Diocese of Chicago.
     Now comes your opportunity to help out. Yes, your financial gift toward the $400+ in expenses will be appreciated. If you're unable to make a contribution, maybe you can help with the big wrapping job. Below I'll list three opportunities for you to help wrap, including one this evening.
     Whether or not you can give or wrap, please join me for a moment in considering that underwear may, after all, be a fitting theme to try on for Advent. Consider the counsel of Baruch that we'll hear on the second Sunday of Advent: put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God. But prior to what we are invited to put on, Baruch advises this: Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction ... (5:1-2a)
     Perhaps our modest (or immodest) ministry of underwear may lead some of us us to wonder what sorrow - or longstanding shame or resentment or illusion - we need to take off at this time.

Opportunities to help with the holiday outreach to St. Leonard's Ministries
  • Your financial contributions may be made anytime by way of a check to the church with "St. Leonard's" in the memo or here on the donation page of our website.
  • Wednesday evening: Join Brooke and me immediately after this evening's 6:30 p.m. mass to begin wrapping gifts. If at least three others show up, we'll order pizza.
  • Thursday morning, 10 a.m. Parishioners James Baran and David Robertson will continue wrapping, in St. Michael's Hall and will, I gather, welcome help.
  • Sunday, December 2. We'll set up a station in Wheeler Hall or the Parish House hallway to finish the job.
  • And beyond ... there may be opportunities to label the gifts and to transport them to St. Leonard's, on the near west side near the United Center.

Meet the St. Leonard's leadership - I've been told one of the staff members may join us at Ascension on Sunday.
News of the death of parishioner and Vestry member Wanda Dole this past Friday, November 23, was shared in a special email that day. The requiem mass has been set for Friday, December 7, at Noon, here at Ascension. Some details are awaiting direction from Father Rodger Broadley, a longtime friend of Wanda's who serves as Rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Luke & The Epiphany, Philadelphia. I believe an obituary has yet to be published, and we will share it next week if available. One parishioner has mentioned to me that much of Wanda's impressive career as an academic librarian and consultant may be learned from her Linkedin account which is still live online. If you're able to help with the ministry of the requiem or the reception to follow, please be in touch as appropriate with Jim Lo Bello or me.

Guest readers for our December 9 Advent Lessons & Carols will include the Rev. Dr. Micah Jackson, recently called to serve as President of Bexley-Seabury Seminary . I'm still in the process of finalizing my 'asks' to guest readers and will share more information next week. Please mark the event on your calendars and plan to bring guests for this beautiful annual celebration. 

If you'd like to bake cookies for the Lessons & Carols reception (in the rectory), feel free to join Brooke and me following the 6:30 p.m. mass next Wednesday, December 5. Let me or Brooke know if you plan to bring your own recipe, dough, ingredients, blender, etc. Results may or may not approximate those shown here!

Last week I mentioned the provocative keynote address by journalist Ray Suarez at the recent Diocese of Chicago Convention. You may view the address in its entirety here. Having viewed it live and never wavered in my attention, I was surprised to learn that the address was over 45 minutes. Below is a provocative sampling of some of the ground that Suarez addressed. Any thoughtful Christian from any tradition who hopes that the Church will have a robust and faithful future should take note.

"In 'unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity,' by David Kinneman, The Barna Group looked at polling among 16- to 29-year-olds and found three main attributes that people that age associate, say back to you, when you say to them the word 'Christian.' Number one, at 91%, 'anti-gay.' Number two at 87%, 'judgmental.' And number three, at 85%, 'hypocritical.' I don't think a marketing company would have a lot of joy for you if you went in with those numbers and said, 'OK! Let's do some brand expansion here!'"              

                                                                                                                - Ray Suarez

Sunday, December 9
An Advent Service
of Lessons & Carols 4:00 p.m.
Followed by a festive reception in the Ascension Rectory


The situation at the console is now free from worry and from extraneous growls and thumps - thanks to our wonderfully refurbished sliders, cleaned pipes and toe-boards, and new slider-motors!  As long as the craftsmen from  Berghaus Organ were here, we were able to accomplish several other small but important repairs (dead notes, etc.) that had been needed for a long while.   
All is in fine working order now with  Phase I  of the  Schrader Organ Project complete!    
Please allow me, once again, to express my gratitude to our Rector and Vestry for their leadership in and approval of this project, as well as to all of you in the parish for your support.

Phase II (Reeds! Reeds! Reeds!) to begin after  Corpus Christi  next summer!     Watch this space!

- David White, Organist

Sunday, Evensong Recital at 3:30 p,m.

HUGO DISTLER   (1908-1942)
Partita: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland , op. 8, no. 1 [1932]
             (Composer's preferred original version)
              Chorale mit Variationen
DAVID WHITE    (b. 1959)
Symphony for Organ:   Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland ,   [1999] 
I.  Introduction and Variations
      II.   Fantasia: Aria
     III.  Scherzo
     IV.  Toccata and Fugue          


This Saturday!  
Ascension Choirmaster Benjamin Rivera leads the William Ferris Chorale in a program titled Christmas Wonder, exploring sacred Advent and Christmas music from the last 100 years. Featured works include Poulenc's Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël , several pieces by Herbert Howells, and a concert setting of the Great O Antiphons by Bob Chilcott. The concert takes place December 1st at 7:30 at St. Benedict Church, 2215 W Irving Park Rd in Chicago. Tickets are available here:


If you have responded to the 2019 stewardship appeal, thank you.


Do you have a meaningful Advent or Christmas tradition that you would like to share? Then you need to join our Wednesday lunch group after the 12 noon mass on  Wednesday, December 12th. We will be treated to a traditional Swedish feast of meatballs, scalloped potatoes, salad, and lingonberries prepared by Carol Noren in honor of Sankta Lucia (St. Lucy). Carol will provide some background on Sankta Lucia celebrations (held on December 13th) in Sweden. All participants are welcome to share the blessings of other celebrations that are important to them during this season of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Feel free to bring a poem, a hymn setting, or a scripture that inspires you. Or just tell about an experience of this season that you cherish. Contact Cheryl Peterson at 773-322-7995 if you have questions. 

Fr. Lawler's sermon from Sunday, November 25, 2018 may be read here.

The Ascension Book Group will meet this  Sunday, Dec. 2 , following the 11:00 a.m. Coffee Hour. The Group will gather in St. Michael Hall for a light lunch and a discussion of their current book,  George MacDonald's Thomas Wingfold, Curate . To learn more, contact  Ken Kelling.


The Rosary will be said this Sunday following the 11 a.m. Solemn High Mass. All are welcome to join us at the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Wednesday, November 28
Commemoration of 
Kamehameha and Emma of Hawaii

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


The  Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, December 2, 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, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Thomas Holden, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, Marlea Edinger, David Belding, Jr., August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ann Halikas, Emily Cole, Fr. Richard Daly, Kenvert Samuel, Carnola Malone, David Reeves

Prayers for the departed
Prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Ascension parishioner  Wanda Dole.

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. 


The Redeeming Darkness of Advent

By Barbara Brown Taylor

Originally published in the Christian Century, November, 2011

As I write this, the end of daylight saving time is right around the corner. A week from now the sun will come up at 7 a.m. and set before 6 p.m., so that the day is more dark than light. Darkness is complete where I live, way out in the country at the end of a dirt road. When city people come to visit, they get jumpy after dark. Christian people do too, leading me to wonder where we got the idea that darkness exists chiefly to be vanquished.

Biblically speaking, darkness is the pits. In the first testament, light stands for life and darkness for death. Sheol is dark as hell. When God is angry with people, they are plunged into darkness. Locusts darken the land. People grope in the dark without light, for the day of the Lord is darkness and not light.

In the second testament, light stands for knowledge and darkness for ignorance. When the true light comes into the world, the world does not know him. He has come so that everyone who believes in him should not remain in the darkness, but they love darkness more than light. On the day he dies, darkness descends on the land from noon until three. First John sums it up: "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all."

Or, in the vernacular of the Chattahoochee Baptist Church sign near my house, "If you cut God's light off, you'll be sitting in the dark with the devil."

This strikes me as a problematic teaching on the verge of Advent, the church season of deepening darkness, when Christians are asked to remember that we measure time differently from the dominant culture in which we live. We begin our year when the days are getting darker, not lighter. We count sunset as the beginning of a new day. However things appear to our naked eyes, we trust that the seeds of light are planted in darkness, where they sprout and grow we know not how. This darkness is necessary to new life, even when it is uncomfortable and goes on too long.

Ask any expectant mother if she wants her baby to come early and she will say no, she does not. As badly as her back hurts, as long as it has been since she has seen her toes, she is willing to wait because the baby is not ready yet. The eyelashes are ready, but not the fingernails. The kidneys are ready, but not the lungs. Those wing-shaped sacks are still preparing to make the leap from fluid to air. There is still more time to do in the dusky womb, where the baby is growing like a seed in the dark.

The child's parents may never be ready, especially if this is their first. They want this; they are terrified of this. They planned for this; they cannot imagine how this happened. Meanwhile, they have a few baby-less weeks to go, which they can put to good use. They can make sure the nursery is ready. They can learn to sing some lullabies. They can think about what it means to bring a human being into the world, and what it will take to raise this child up into his or her full humanity. All they cannot do is hold a baby in the light, because the baby is still in the dark.

The church waits like this during Advent-mulishly refusing to sing the songs pouring from loudspeakers at every shopping mall, stubbornly counting the days, puritanically declining to open any presents-because the baby is not ready yet, which means that we are not ready either. We have some time in the dark left to go.

There is one word for darkness in the Bible that stands out from the rest. It shows up in the book of Exodus, at the foot of Mount Sinai, right after God has delivered Torah to the people: "Then the people stood at a distance, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was" (20:21).

This is araphel, my concordance says, the thick darkness that indicates God's presence as surely as the brightness of God's glory-something God later clarifies through the prophet Isaiah, in case anyone missed it earlier. "I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things" (Isa. 45:6-7).

Here is a helpful reminder to all who fear the dark. Darkness does not come from a different place than light; it is not presided over by a different God. The long nights of Advent and the early mornings of Easter both point us toward the God for whom darkness and light are alike. Both are fertile seasons for those who walk by faith and not by sight.

Even in the dark, the seed sprouts and grows-we know not how-while God goes on giving birth to the truly human in Christ and in us.

Creation of the World and Expulsion from Paradise,
tempera and gold on wood, Giovanni di Paolo, 1445.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office