Weekly Ascension Schedule
for the (stay-at-home) time being

8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer via Zoom
9:00 a.m. Mass via Facebook LIVE
10:15 a.m. Scripture reflection via Zoom
See text below for May 17
11:00 a.m. Virtual Coffee Hour via Zoom
Also: David White Organ Recital (YouTube)

6:10 p.m. Evening Prayer via Zoom

6:30 p.m. Low Mass via Facebook LIVE
Today, 5/13: Wednesday in Week of Easter 5

Planning for Homecoming

We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, as is fitting, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians

Dear People of Ascension,

    During this time of quarantine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the opening salutations of Paul’s letters. He always starts by expressing gratitude for the individual and collective gifts that characterize the communities to which he is writing as well as a deep longing for re-communing with those who are distant. In working with the rector, junior warden, vestry, staff, and members of Ascension to carry on the work of the parish during this time and to plan for the future, I have been constantly amazed and gratified by the spirit of collaboration, and the outpouring of love and concern for one another that is being made manifest. And, like Paul and you, I long to be able to greet you in person again soon.

    To that end, Fr. Raymond and Junior Warden Cheryl Peterson and I have begun to assemble a task force to start planning how we can safely re-open the parish. We’ll rely in part on forthcoming guidance from Bishop Lee to all parishes in our diocese, now expected in late May or early June. We’ll examine protocols for liturgy and social functions and address how we can continue to minister to those still unable to attend church in person. We’ll also explore how we can carry forward some of the exciting online and streamed adaptations we’ve made during this time. These innovations have proven popular and have extended Ascension’s reach far and wide.

    I am grateful to Br. Nathanael, Mary Beth Hwang, Patrick Johnston, and Benjamin Rivera for agreeing to join me, Cheryl and Fr. Raymond on this task force. The group will begin meeting soon (by Zoom, of course). As we get a better handle on the nature and scope of our work, we’ll no doubt be seeking additional regular and ad hoc leadership. Please feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me or any member of the committee. 
Grace and Peace,
Gary Alexander
Senior Warden
Hello friends,

The past week has been eventful for the choral community, nationally. We were presented with, and began to absorb the implications of, several scientific studies and seminars. These were not about ' getting a better sound from your choir ' or ' working with clergy .' The studies and seminars were solely about the dangers of public singing in the age of COVID-19.

As you probably know, I direct choirs in three states: Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Each of these states has its own approach to balancing public health concerns (shut down!) and economic revitalization (open up!). Of the three, Illinois has the most stringent restrictions. Our Diocese of Chicago directives are yet more restrictive.

Why am I sharing this with you? Simply to let you know that I and your parish leadership will be addressing a wide range of questions and options, including matters related to singing, that will help us to determine a safe way forward once external orders are lifted. Any return of singing to the church -- by choir or congregation -- will be thoroughly considered and systematic. Father Raymond has indicated that the same will be true of all ministers, clergy and laypersons, in the sanctuary--not to mention all in the pews and throughout the building.

Now for two notes on our musical happenings:
First: We’re working on a recording for Ascension Day! I won’t ruin the surprise, except to say that it’s an anthem familiar to everyone at Ascension...

Second: for your edification, here is a link to a recording of Javi Busto’s Ave Maria , which we have sung at Ascension at least two or three times during my tenure. A lovely devotion for (if you'll allow me ...) this Mary month of May.

Benjamin Rivera, Choirmaster
With regard to the letters above, from the Senior Warden and Choirmaster ...

... As I'm writing this, I'm also listening in on Bishop Lee's now-weekly diocesan leaders' call via Zoom (Wednesdays at Noon). A significant amount of preliminary information about processes for church re-openings is being shared. The slide shown here, uploaded to the Zoom screen during the call, is an example. Much more information of this kind and quality is now being compiled into a larger document, with guidelines and resources, by Bishop Lee and members of the pandemic safety task force that he's appointed. I will do my best to timely share information that seems most useful for us at Ascension, and I join Senior Warden Gary Alexander in thanking those who have already agreed to serve on our own task force here and in welcoming all queries. Meanwhile, if you're curious about what a diocesan leaders' call during pandemic looks like ...
Sixty or more total clergy and lay leaders joined this week's call. We split into 'break out groups' (yes, that can be done on Zoom), and we were tasked with answering this one question from Bishop Lee:

"What information do you think you will need in order to keep the most people safe?"

With regard to the Bishop's question and the remarks from our Choirmaster, above, a widely circulating article over the past week features the headline below and includes some sobering data and conclusions. You may read that article by clicking here . Anyone familiar with Ascension will recognize how critical it will be for us to be well-informed, thoughtful and innovative in months to come.
Hey! What happened to that beautiful live-stream of the church?
I'm sorry to report that the system has crashed and I've had to send a technical part out for repair ... and we've been notified it may take several weeks.
Also at Ascension now, for the dozen or so of us (combined) mostly staying-at-home in the rectory, convent and coach house here ... we're dealing with insanely loud and persistent jackhammering noise from the renovation of the parking ramp at the 1122 N. Clark St. high rise--Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Parishioner Jim Lenz and his wife Sue live in the 1122 Clark building ... but they are presently staying-at-home in Honolulu. Yesterday I opened a letter from Jim that read, in part: " I wonder if the noises from the garage repairs are driving everyone nuts." I gather Jim will read this, and I want him to know the answer is YES! If you'd like a sample, click here to watch a 12-second video. We can't adjust the volume ... as you'll be able to!

Fr. Raymond +

PS Feel free to send me an email to share your thoughts, ask a question or check in. I’ll do my best to get back to you timely … and with gratitude. Share a best number if you’d prefer a phone conversation to email.
Sunday, May 17
+ A live-streamed mass at 9:00 a.m . that may be viewed at our Facebook page will be the norm for at least the next few weeks.

+ Scripture Reflection via Zoom at 10:15 a.m. From the lectionary:

+ The Virtual Coffee Hour at 11:00 a.m . could be described as an Online Wheeler Hall. Just as we have differing motives for going to coffee hour at the church, and just as we may mostly observe or actively participate there, so it has been with our virtual coffee hour the past two weeks. It’s a free-for-all, but I do moderate and do my best to give everyone who shows up a chance to speak if they wish.

+ A musical offering by Organist David White will be posted to Ascension's YouTube Channel by Sunday morning. We are seeking to keep an archive of masses, mini-recitals there. Click here to be taken to the YouTube channel.
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Mondays-Fridays, 6:10 p.m.
Please note the addition of
Evening Prayer on Fridays!
Wednesday Evening Mass

+ A live-streamed mass at 6:30 p.m . that may be viewed at our Facebook page .

Pruning the vineyard in February, oil on canvas, Jill Steenhuis, 2008

New & Improved
Feel free to Zoom right past what's below
if you're already informed or not interesting in Zooming.
This just in from Verger and Tech Maestra Mary Beth Hwang. It's a lot of detail, so slow down if you wish to better connect to others at Ascension via Zoom, or speed up if you don't want all of the detail now.

Now that we have upgraded to a paid Zoom account, anyone with a telephone can participate in Zoom meetings -- no Internet access needed!
There are two main ways a phone can help. First, if you have a phone but no Internet access, you can dial in to the meeting to participate via audio, much as you would for a traditional conference call. You won't be able to see video, of course, but you'll be able to hear people speak and be heard when you speak. Here's how:
1. Dial (312)626-6799 on your phone.
2. You will be prompted to input the meeting number and press # when done: 7920317452#
3. The system will ask for a participant ID: just ignore this, but press #. 
4. Finally, you will be asked for the meeting password: 1133#.
A phone can also help if you have a computer with Internet access but no microphone. If you are able to connect to Zoom on your computer, even if you don't have video, you can go ahead and do so to enjoy the functionality of Zoom's computer-based app. Once you have connected on the computer, you can choose "Join with Phone Audio" when prompted for audio (or click the headset/microphone icon) to use your phone as your microphone. The Zoom app will tell you what to dial: it should be very similar to the above, except that you'll input a Participant ID so that Zoom knows it's the same person on the app and on the phone.   For a detailed explanation, see this page.
Phone access to Zoom can also be helpful when you are traveling or when you do not have network access on your mobile device. There are local numbers for various locations in the United States, and even some toll numbers for those who might wish to connect while traveling abroad.
Here is the most commonly used information for connecting to our Ascension Zoom meetings:
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 792 031 7452
Password: 1133
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,7920317452#,,1#,1133# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
       +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
       +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
       +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
       +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
       +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
       +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
       +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 792 031 7452
Password: 1133
Find your local number:  https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdrnl1LGzg
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!
For our prayers: Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Jack Johnston, Patricia Johnston, Stewart Marks, Char Yurema, Joshua, Ellie, Mary Drell, Jim Lo Bello, Steve Waltz, Mary Lou Devens, Marty Stenson, Donna Neglia, John Brower, Choy Jimenez, Steve, Peter Bergman, Catriana Patriarca, Noah and Clem, Ricardo Carillo.
Recent/Upcoming Birthdays/Anniversaries : Burton Nelson, 5/1; Maggie Zellers, 5/1; Anabel Finch, 5/2/2014, Robert Browning, 5/3; James Caldwell, 5/3; Claudia Vargas, 5/9; Jenna Jones 5/10; Luiza Kallembach, 5/11; Janis Anfosi, 5/13; Elma Ling Hoffman, 5/14; Robert Sheridan, 5/16; Essie Echols, 5/16; Michael Clark Sr. 5/18; Carter Luery, 5/19; Dana Luery, 5/19; Kimberly Milano, 5/27; Katherine Beeken, 5/28; Jennifer Lord, 5/28; LaVerne Rollé Saunders, 5/30
Prayers for the departed :
All who have died due to complications of COVID-19, including
Herman Carrillo (and his bereaved husband Denis vanEngelsdorp)
Herman Rivera (uncle of Benjamin Rivera)
Emily Hoffman (grandmother of Elma Ling Hoffman)
Phyllis Bergman (friend of Louise Gram)
Maat Brower (and family)
Terra (cousin of James Robinson)
Rajeev Rao
Helena Wilson (mother of Jim Wilson)
Curley (brother of Ruby Woods)

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.

Forward Day by Day

The May-June-July 2020 edition of Forward Day by Day has been delivered to the church. If you'd like to receive a copy at home, please send an email to Br. Nathanael Rahm (working remotely from his home) and we will figure out how to get it to you.
The untitled poem below is by Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM, from her book Praying Our Goodbyes , Ave Maria Press, 1988, and below the poem, as promised, Chicago tulips from the streets around Ascension as seen over the past week.

Somewhere within
the seed has sprouted.
I can feel its movement;
I can sense its energy.

Somewhere within
the rainfall has reached.
My desert is gone,
my dryness has disappeared.

Somewhere within
I've been given life again.
I can say goodbye to emptiness;
I can say hello to fullness.

Somewhere within
my yearning has been met.
The God of graciousness has graced,
the God of tenderness has blessed.

Somewhere within
I feel at home again.
I have enthusiasm;
I want to dream.

And so
the circle of my life-journey
has once more
Come into its season of spring.
The Very Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office