Returning to the Convent of St. Anne ... 80 years later. Read the story below.
  Sunday, September 16
The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

St. Valentine heals an epileptic,
etching by an unknown artist, 19th c.

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

"Immediately the father of the child cried out, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'"  - Mark 9:24

This Week at Ascension

September 12, 2018


From the Rector
Also from the Rector
Last Week's Sermon
Ascension Book Group: September
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Got any new songs?
All in good time
Although most of the time
It's just hard working
The same piece of clay
Day after day
Year after year
Certain melodies tear your heart apart
Reconstruction is a lonesome art
-          Paul Simon, from the title song on the 2016 album Stranger to Stranger
Dear people of Ascension,
   Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon recently shared that he's written his last song. After recording his 2016 album Stranger to Stranger, he said, "a funny thing happened ... I literally felt like a switch clicked and I said, 'I'm finished.'"
   That 'click' apparently arose from both a thoughtful reckoning with his mortality and a courageous intention to shed and move beyond the practice and identity that earned him his fame.
   All of this may seem remote to Ascension, but I wonder what new songs, if any, we may have in us.
   Sometimes churches and other organizations, like singer-songwriters, write a last song. Sometimes they compose the last song knowingly, sometimes not. Sometimes the last song gets repeated over and over and over again, until the burial comes as a relief.
   And sometimes everyone is amazed, thrilled and inspired when an older artist has a renaissance, breaks new ground, finds a new groove.
   Many of you seemed to be clamoring for some new songs when we gathered in June to discuss the future of our parking lot: We can't make a good decision about the parking lot without having a clear overall vision and plan. We need to focus on our identity, vision and mission.
   I'm guessing you'd have skipped this letter altogether if I'd titled it 'Strategic Planning,' which is, in fact, my main focus here. Maybe you'd agree that, in some ways, strategic planning is all about old and new songs. When I met last Thursday for a first strategic planning conversation with three Vestry members and our buildings and grounds chair, we were mostly singing in harmony. And one refrain was this: Any new song must be sung by a chorus. In other words, we'll need participation by members who care and who aspire to sing together.
   Start humming.
The strategic planning conversation that I mentioned above was shared by Junior Warden Cynthia Perrizo, Vestry members Wanda Dole and DiAnne Walsh, Buildings and Grounds Chair Cheryl Peterson and me. Please speak with any of us or any Vestry member to share your tune. You may read my summary of our meeting here.

Paul Simon's songwriting announcement was made in a September 5 interview on National Public Radio that you may read here. Simon's Homeward Bound - the Farewell Tour that begin in May will conclude a week from tonight in Queens, New York, at a venue a few blocks from his childhood home.
Thank you, Kuni and Aiko for walking 5K for our food pantry . I can't yet report on how much money we pledged or gave, but it's not too late to make a gift! Whether you're paying a pledge you've made or making a new gift, please indicate 'Kuni/Pantry' in your check memo. You may also make a payment by way of our website , and if you're willing to add 3% for Ascensions web transaction fee - extra thanks!
A Tale from the Convent ... Helene Reinshuttle, a former guest and beneficiary of the ministry of the Order of St. Anne, recently returned to the convent ... after 80 years! Ms. Reinshuttle came to the convent as an infant, left by her single mother who said she would return in a few days, after finding a job. Helene's mother did return, but not for three years, during which Helene was in the continuous care of the Order. Recent contact by one of Helene's children with Mother Judith Marie culminated in a visit and shared meal by Helene and five of her family members (children and their spouses). Helene now lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
You'll definitely want to be here for the September 30 Michaelmas Celebration! I'm grateful to report a lot of enthusiasm and interest from other parishes in the Chicago North Deanery. Both the St. James Cathedral Organist Stephen Buzard and Atonement Organist Charlie Sega have agreed to share in the 3:30 p.m. Organ recital. My clergy colleagues from a number of parishes are lining up guest acolytes and lectors and help with the reception. Your added help with the reception will make a big difference! Please contact DiAnne Walsh or me if you can step up. And plan to bring friends, using the attached flyer or any means as invitations. I believe this will be a beautiful, meaningful liturgy and a great celebration.

Retractions are in order, it appears , first because in last week's newsletter I put Mucknell Abbey in Yorkshire rather than Worchestershire. (My apologies to the Mucknell Benedictines, to Joshua Heath and to the kindly Welsh cathedral dean and friend who reads our Ascension news and spotted the error.) 

Also, parishioner Jim Wilson intelligently and graciously questioned the ID of the relics in the Ascension altar that I'd described in the Worship Notes in last Sunday's worship leaflet.  You may read both my (untouched) Worship Notes and Jim's follow-up here.

The Church of the Atonement, Chicago, was filled to capacity and with goodwill and good faith for last night's Celebration of New Ministry and Institution of Mother Erika Takacs as 11th Rector. The layered photo here shows (from top to bottom) clergy mingling and receiving instruction prior to the procession, Bishop Lee, Mother Takacs and other ministers at the altar, and some from Ascension who were present (from left to right): Scott Knitter, me, Senior Warden Cynthia Perrizo, Organist David White, the Rev. Dr. Carol Noren, Jay Jacot, DiAnne Walsh, Cathedral Curate Deacon Anna Broadbent and Wanda Dole. A meaningful moment of the liturgy for me was the concluding Pontifical Blessing offered by Bishop James W. Montgomery, Ninth Bishop of Chicago (1962-1987). You may view the complete service leaflet from the celebration here.

Hail to the new drinking fountain! The old one was slowly failing. The new one has the added features of a filter and water bottle filler! Special thanks to Sexton George Panice, who ran into and overcame some humdinger older-building troubles with the installation. If you are unaware, the water fountain is located in the parish house hallway, outside the kitchen and adjacent to the steps into the sacristy hallway.

From the Parish Archives - A 'Cruiser Deluxe' walker! No one knows it's origin, but it's new in the box and has apparently been stowed for at least several years in a former archive storage area. Please contact Br. Nathanael in the parish office if you know someone who could use it. Help with assembly can be arranged ...
Please join me in welcoming Jonathan Grant , aspirant for holy orders from the Diocese of Northern Indiana. Jonathan and his bishop, the Rt. Rev. Douglas Sparks, and I have had some promising initial conversations about Jonathan serving at Ascension during the coming academic year as a ministry intern. Jonathan has eclectic gifts and interests, having served for a number of years as Artist in Residence at the American Church in Paris and more recently in a similar role at the Urban Village Church here in Chicago's Hyde Park. Jonathan's personal-professional website (not completely current) may be found here. He hopes to begin seminary studies in the fall of 2019. 

Please take a moment to join all who are now anticipating and praying in advance of the landfall of Hurricane Florence.

God of the heavens: nature and all that You have created are truly awesome. Often, we; take these wonders for granted. Teach us to cherish all of your gifts.
Try as we might, we know that we cannot control the oceans, the mountains, the weather. We also firmly believe that ever since the time of Noah, You do not send floods, make the earth shake, or dispatch weather formations, such as hurricanes, as warnings or punishments.

So we ask, as this hurricane approaches land and approaching our brothers and sisters, that You shelter all who will be in its path. Watch over everyone, their loved ones, friends, and fellow people, many of whom are preparing to evacuate. Guard them as they prepare, perhaps to leave their homes again. Give them strength, courage, and resolve to ride out this storm; answer their prayers and ours that they be blessed with goodness and be spared from harm.

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohanu Melech Haolam she kocho u-gevurato maleh olam.

Blessed are You, Source of Life and Nature, whose awesome power and strength fill our world and inspire us to be strong in the face of all of life's difficulties.

   - Rabbi Fred Guttman of Temple Emanuel, Greensboro, North Carolina, since 1995

Regarding a Requiem for Father Dunkerley, I regret that the uncertainty I shared two weeks ago still pertains. Please join me in prayers for resolution soon. And for those who are interested, I believe the current sentiment is to retain the narthex memorial and bunting over the outside doors at least until a date for a requiem is settled.


Father Robert Petite's sermon from Sunday September 9, 2018 may be read here.
For September the Ascension Book Group will be reading  The Lilies of the Field (1962) by William E. Barrett (1900-1986). This book is based on a true story. Homer Smith, an itinerant handyman, is driving through the Arizona desert when he meets five impoverished nuns. Stopping to fix their leaky farmhouse roof, Homer discovers that not only will the Mother Superior not pay him for the job, but she also wants him to build their chapel - for free! Hesitant at first, Homer soon finds himself single-handedly raising the chapel and the financing. But although he will not receive a monetary reward, Homer knows that when his work is done, he'll leave that dusty desert town a much better place than when he found it. The Ascension Book Group will discuss
The Lilies of the Field on  Sunday afternoon, September 23 following coffee hour.  In addition to discussion they will be watching the film, so bring on the popcorn! A light luncheon will be served . For questions please contact Ken Kelling at (773) 853-2337 or The Lilies of the Field  ISBN 978-0446315005.

The Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, September 16, 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, Jane McCamant, 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

Prayers for the departed
Prayers are especially requested for the repose of the soul of Robert Matey .
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. 


A quote from the September 5 NPR Paul Simon interview seems a good way to end this one ...

" We don't have the capacity to understand
the great mysteries of life and God or no God or infinity,
we just can't get it. It's beyond us, but that's fine.
We're not meant to get that. But the pursuit is so
interesting that, I think, it's life-sustaining, and I think
when you lose the interest in that pursuit you're finished ."

Detail from  The Garden of Earthly Delights , Hieronymus Bosch, ca. 1500,
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office