Garden Tomb , J. Kirk Richards, 2011

A reminder regarding our new newsletter format:
If you're viewing this on your smartphone, you'll be much happier
viewing it in landscape ('sideways') view.
Holy Week & Easter 2020
A Holy Week Like None Other

This … Holy Week is going to be like none other we’ve experienced. We’re going to be praying in ways that will stretch us, will be strange to us. And yet, we’ll pray. We will follow the Lord’s path from that triumphal entry into Jerusalem and straight to the cross, and beyond .”
  - Bishop Jeffrey Lee, Homily for Palm Sunday 2020

Dear people of Ascension,
    This would normally be the newsletter in which I’d do my best to compel your in-person participation in our Holy Week and Easter worship and fellowship. I’d encourage you to show up, sign up, help out, take great music to heart, marvel at the flowers, and deepen your faith and devotion.
I would also take for granted, as would you, that the schedules of liturgies would be consistent, reliable and published well in advance. Not so, this year ...
It may help to view what follows as a coach’s playbook. All may go according to plan! OR changes and challenges we couldn't have imagined may require us to re-write it on the fly.
     Please regularly visit our website homepage in days to come to learn if the playbook I’m sharing below has changed, or if we've revised information about how, where or when to find what and connect. 
    Thank you for being ‘present’ as you are able, for overlooking liturgical anomalies, for giving thanks when you can for moments that may unexpectedly bless you, and for keeping the faith.
Holy Week & Easter 2020
Notes from the Rector
Our Liturgy for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday was pre-recorded (in the Ascension rectory) with excellent remote help from a dozen or more souls. I heard particularly grateful comments about the lectors' readings, especially Gary Alexander's solo reading of the Passion, the choir member's chant, and the homily. You may view the Palm Sunday Liturgy on YouTube by clicking here or by clicking here for the video library on Ascension's Facebook page.

+ Yes! But why are these masses being pre-recorded? Any of us may get a sense of artifice from what already seems an oxymoron: pre-recorded worship. We'll no doubt have many thoughts and questions to compare when we're back together again. In the meantime, I've found it challenging enough to live-stream a relatively uncomplicated mass. Holy Week liturgies involve ritual that's hard to pull off alone (or only with my wife Brooke serving) in 50 or so square feet with no interruption for moving things around.

Maundy Thursday ...
A pre-recorded Liturgy of Maundy Thursday including chant from Ascension choir members and parishioner lectors will be uploaded first to Ascension's YouTube channel and then to the video library on our Facebook page by 6 pm on Thursday , and may be viewed at these locations anytime thereafter .

+ An Altar of Repose in the Ascension rectory ( design still in the works) will be live-streamed by way of Facebook Live on Thursday evening from 8:45 p.m. - 11 p.m.

+ Compline will be shared at 11 p.m. via Zoom.

Good Friday ... (Noon to 3pm)
A traditional Three Hours Devotion is not recently familiar at Ascension but will be known to some members. These three hours will begin and end with elements of our Ascension Good Friday Liturgy--including a chanted Passion Gospel from St. John and the chanted Solemn Collects. In between we will hear the seven homilies preached by the Rev. Fleming Rutledge at St. Thomas' Church, New York City, on Good Friday 2018 (and subsequently published by Eerdmans , in 2019).

This pre-recorded Good Friday Liturgy will be uploaded first to Ascension's YouTube channel and then to the video library on our Facebook page by 11:30 a.m. on Friday , and may be viewed at these locations anytime thereafter .

Check in, visit and/or reflect together at 3:00 p.m. Friday (see below)

No Holy Saturday Liturgy or Vigil ...
Regrettably, we had to prioritize what could and could not be done in present circumstances. I've learned that our cathedral, St. James', is also not offering anything Saturday. But two parishes in New York City with which Ascension has long had affinity will have worship offerings Saturday. Fr. Adam Spencer (pictured) was sponsored for ordination by Atonement, Chicago, and now serves as Associate for Pastoral Care at St. Thomas' Church, Fifth Avenue. He will preach for St. Thomas' (prerecorded) Vigil' . And the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York, announces that all of the Daily Masses and the liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve, and Easter Day will be " live-streamed on our Facebook page ." Time permitting, I or others may post some additional resources on our Ascension website homepage .

Easter Day
A pre-recorded mass featuring chant by our Ascension choir members and parishioner-lectors will be uploaded first to Ascension's YouTube channel and then to the video library on our Facebook page by 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning , and may be viewed at these locations anytime thereafter .

 Opportunities to Connect via Zoom
J oin us for Evening Prayer at 6:10 p.m. Monday through Thursday this week (including this evening), and Morning Prayer on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

Also, join me (Fr. Raymond) and others
for Holy Week and Easter conversations ...
Good Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Easter Eve, 10:30 p.m.
Easter Day, 11:00 a.m.

For any event described above, click on this link to meet with us on Zoom , or enter the following Meeting ID and Password in your Zoom app: Meeting ID: 792 031 7452 Password: 1133

And if you'd like to 'Zoom' but don't know how , or if you're having trouble with other social media connections-to-Ascension (including YouTube, Facebook or Instagram), Kelly Colomberti has offered to help! You'll need to know, however, how to send an email and be able to do so. You may reach Kelly by email if you click here. Mary Beth Hwang is presently navigating changes in Zoom protocols (twice this week) and may be another good resource.

Please give generously as you are able.
Treasurer Susan Schlough has asked me to remind you of Ascension's ongoing expenses at this time. To the extent that you are able, payment on your pledges or the offering of Holy Day or other special gifts will be greatly appreciated. You may still write a check and mail it to the church, or online payment is possible through the buttons at various places on our website. Thank you!
Many of us are no doubt disappointed that we won't be able to gawk at and appreciate the flowers that are intrinsic to our devotion at the Maundy Thursday Altar of Repose and our Easter Day worship. Due to the concerns about virus transmission, my wife Brooke and I will create modest arrangements suitable to the confines of the 'rectory chapel' and the view field of my iPhone. Anyone who may wish to make a gift may still do so. At this point, doing so by way of our website would be the best option. I'll do my best to mention any related memorials or thanksgivings in a future newsletter.
A modest food pantry ministry took place this past Saturday due to the hard work, resourcefulness and willingness of Deacon Charles Farrell and volunteer Dan Pillar. Jewel gift cards were handed through the garden gate! We will be in ongoing conversation about how to keep this ministry at least minimally going in months to come. If you are not on Deacon Charles' pantry mailing list and want to make contact with him, click here.
Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Jack Johnston, Patricia Johnston, Stewart Marks, Char Yurema, Canon Edgar Wells, Nicholas Carl, Joshua, Ellie, Carmen Castro, Mary Drell, Jim Lo Bello, Judy Cook, Steve Waltz, Lillian Alexander, Mary Lou Devens, Marty Stenson, Donna Neglia, David Jones

April Birthdays
Jay Peterson, 4/1; Victor Lofgreen, 4/4; Grace Raymond, 4/7; John Smolinski, 4/8; Caroline Feuer, 4/12; Shellayne Hedley, 4/17; DiAnne Walsh, 4/20; Joshua Heath, 4/20; David White, 4/21; Gary Alexander, 4/23; Jim Felton, 4/23; Gordon Stanley BSG, 4/24; George Panice, 4/24; Charley Taylor, 4/25; Amber Zelazny, 4/26

During this time of transition , the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Chicago asks for prayers for the church, our diocese, our clergy and lay leaders, our retiring bishop, and those who may be discerning a call to become the Thirteenth Bishop of Chicago.

P rayers for the departed
Denise Gordon, wife of Mary Jane Kowalski's cousin.
John Mulcare, longtime Ascension member, died March 17.
Ted Jennings, godfather of Kuni Sakai, died March 25.

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.
Without wanting to minimize the sorrow and loss being experienced by so many at this time, I'm also a believer that a sense of humor can be good medicine, and I appreciated the following, sent by a retired colleague in California whose single-mom daughter and her two 7-year-old daughters live with him and his wife. - Fr. Raymond +
I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I'm cracking a safe.
I need to practice social-distancing ... from the refrigerator.
Still haven't decided where to go for Easter -- The Living Room or The Bedroom
PSA: every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
Home-schooling is going well. 2 students suspended for fighting and 1 teacher fired for drinking on the job.
I don't think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we'd go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone.
This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog..... we laughed a lot.
Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.
(My favorite) My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.
I'm so excited --- it's time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?.
Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.
Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said "I hope I don't have the same teacher next year".... I'm offended.
Better 6 feet apart than 6 feet under….

The Very Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office