Feast of the Ascension
of our Lord Jesus Christ
Thursday, May 21

Reflections and a Blessing from Bishop Lee
Choir and Organ Musical Offerings
Live-Streamed Mass at 6:30 p.m.
Wardens' Ascension Reception after the mass
Look for a special edition
Ascension Day newsletter
with details and links:
Thursday at Noon
"Hey, things are looking up ..."

Ascension image from a 15th c. Italian manuscript
now in the State Library of Victoria (Australia)

Technology: Blessing and Curse

Dear People of Ascension,
     Imagine my delight when I saw that the mass I celebrated on Sunday was being watched by a longtime friend from his home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
     Imagine my dismay when I learned that the mass I celebrated on Sunday was not being viewed could not be viewed by members of Ascension.
    It was a technology problem of sorts. Having missed ONE menu button on my iPhone, the mass was being live-streamed to my mostly defunct personal Facebook page and not to Ascension’s. 
     And then there’s a fan, already burned out, in the new laptop needed for our sanctuary webcam. Shipping and repairs will take weeks. Makes me want to scrap the whole endeavor. Go sit in a cave.
     Then some present and former parishioners come to mind — Marjorie Lofgreen, Sonja Smith, Steve Dionne, Jim Berger — and many non-members, only some known to me. They wouldn’t be with us if things were ‘normal.’ Technology allows them to be ‘here’ in new ways—at least when I hit the right buttons, and the laptop fan works, and and and …
    Technology was just one of many topics covered last Friday at a first meeting of our pandemic recovery task force. (Illustrative, we met successfully via Zoom.) We seemed to agree that whatever lies ahead for Ascension should better incorporate technology, live-streaming, improved social media and more.
I cringe. And then I return my focus to the many for whom all this can be a blessing. 
    Task force members also proposed that the rector should not also be the IT Department. We’ve had great help from some souls but are wondering who else is out there. Please let me or any of our task force members know of your know-how and time you can offer. Thank you.

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.
Ascension Connections
(with your click and God's help)
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 Scripture texts below for May 24
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
Due to our Ascension Day celebration tomorrow and some logistical challenges, there will be no mass this evening, May 20 . See you next Wednesday, May 27!

A special newsletter
Thursday at Noon
will include links to
all features of our
Ascension Day Celebration.
Please plan to join us.

+ The Vestry agenda will be light but will include two significant and meaningful matters ...

+ The Vestry will hear about and respond to progress on our parish pandemic recovery task force and, if/as available, new direction from the bishop expected in coming days.

+ Vestry members will be asked to assist the Rector and Wardens in identifying parishioners who may have needs at this time of which we are unaware. The Rector and Wardens will, in turn, be asking Vestry members to assist with networking and, as appropriate, pastoral care needs.

+ Vestry meetings remain open to all. Join via Zoom.
" What information do you think you will need in order to keep the most people safe ?"
- Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee

Pandemic Recovery Task Force Updates

+ Our task force held a first meeting via Zoom on Friday, May 15, and we will meet again this coming Friday.

+ Our parish task force will be paying close attention to the work and guidance of the bishop through a corresponding diocesan task force. That task force will be issuing a significant report in coming days.

+ Our parish task force members include Mary Beth Hwang, Patrick Johnston, Carol Noren, Br. Nathanael Rahm, BSG, and Benjamin Rivera , also the Wardens and me. We anticipate reaching out to others for counsel and assistance with regard to numerous matters.
Longtime Ascension member Jack Johnston (and father of parishioner and Vestry member Patrick Johnston) died last Friday, May 15, due to longtime health complications. Due to present circumstances, primary rites and burial will be with family only. Patrick asks for prayers and that we look forward to sharing a Requiem Mass at Ascension when feasible.

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Elastic, anyone?
(Looking for mask-makers)

A 155-yard role like the one shown here was delivered to the rectory a few days ago. I ordered it while wondering how many people who sew are out there and if we could together sew enough masks (160 or so) to share one each with our June 6 food pantry guests. I will gladly mail any reasonable length to anyone who will agree to share your skills and share with the pantry at least as many as you keep for your own household.

Makenna 'Clementine' Wehe and Noah Riggenbach recently procured an emergency Cook County Marriage License (due to some family member health matters). We were able to find a safe-social-distancing location nearby for a very brief wedding service this morning, May 20. Clem and Noah also graduated last week from Moody Bible Institute. They plan to remain in Chicago and look forward to returning to Ascension with the rest of us. Please keep them in prayers.
Dear friends,

For the past couple of weeks, choir members, Mary Beth Hwang, and I have been working on putting together an anthem for Ascension Day. With all of us locked in our homes, everything has to be done remotely utilizing technology. Here is a summary of the process:

First, I select the music and mark the score, so everyone can agree on phrasing, breathing, divisi, and so on.

Second, I create some kind of a guide track. This guide track can contain video of conducting, a click track, counting of beats, or someone singing.

These two items are then sent to the choir members so they can prepare.

Third, the singers, having learned their music, gather their recording equipment. This can be an iPhone, USB microphone, or some other recording device, a pair of headphones, a playback device, and a score. They ensure that their settings are correct and that they are a certain distance rom the microphone, so the files they create will work well with the others.

Fourth, they play the guide track through their headphones while recording themselves singing along into their microphone. They repeat this step until they feel satisfied that it is a very good take, to give the engineer the best starting point possible.
Fifth, all of their tracks are uploaded to a digital file folder, allowing for project management and mixing. It is then in the hands of the engineer—for this project, it’s MB.

Sixth , MB downloads all tracks into sound editing software, which allows her to manipulate the files, as necessary. She deals with latency, slight mistiming, balance (within sections, within choirs, and between choirs), and sound. During this step, there can be several drafts, as I send her feedback and any edits.

Seventh, after all edits are completed, MB uploads a final version for official use.
As you can see, this process is quite lengthy, and more complicated than simply getting the group together and working things out in rehearsal. (How I long for the day when we are reunited!) I am extremely grateful for the commitment of our singers, MB, and Father, and for being able to produce this short but meaningful video for our Feast of Title.

Sunday, May 24
+ 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.
Get ready to join our
Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings
Zoom meeting on
 Wednesday, May 27th!!

 Our first meeting in April was quite successful, and the 10 of us who attended had fun sharing stories and munching our sandwiches.  

Because we all like to eat, I thought we might talk about the ways we have adjusted our confinement at home to include an interesting new recipe or snack or to indulge often in our favorite comfort foods. Dark chocolate bars just keep disappearing at my house! Other topics--an interesting book, poem, prayer, or project--are always welcome for discussion. Humor is appreciated, too. Everyone gets to participate!!

We will use the Ascension Zoom connection as listed above, on our website or by clicking here . DON'T LET A COMPUTER DIFFICULTY STOP YOU FROM JOINING US! Our Zoom format now includes a way to connect with your PHONE ... see below.
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Mondays-Fridays, 6:10 p.m.
Please note the addition of
Evening Prayer on Fridays!
for Zoom Veterans
and Zoom Novices
For those already Zooming: please heed the repeated Zoom requests to UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT. Due to important security upgrades, Zoom will begin requiring everyone to connect using the latest version of the Zoom client app after May 30. If you're not already using the latest version (5.0), you will eventually be prompted to upgrade when you connect.  If you'd like to ensure a smoother transition, you can also update ahead of time by clicking here to to download the latest version.

For the Novice, Newbie, or tech-challenged : It may be easier than you know . We've simplified instructions on the sheet that you can view by clicking here. Please know that you can block your camera (and don't need one to start with), and you could join our Scripture study or Virtual Coffee Hour, for instance, without having to say a word. Give it a try.
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, Patricia Johnston, Stewart Marks, Char Yurema, 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, Jessica, Jim Wilson, Ricardo Carillo, Maxim, Ken Kelling, George Pineda.
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; Jolene Walsh Juskiewicz, 5/8; 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; 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; and Br. Michael-Francis Smith on the one-year anniversary of his Benedictine vows.
Prayers for the departed:
All who have died due to complications of COVID-19, including
Diane and John
Herman Carrillo (and his bereaved husband Denis vanEngelsdorp)
Emily Hoffman (grandmother of Elma Ling Hoffman)
Phyllis Bergman (friend of Louise Gram)
Maat Brower (and family)

Rajeev Rao 
Ricardo Rivera (uncle of Benjamin Rivera)
Helena Wilson (mother of Jim Wilson)
Curley (brother of Ruby Woods)
Jack Johnston (5/15)

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.

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.
Below, a poem about technology, not necessarily spiritually edifying and in fact a bit profane, but perhaps timely. Below the poem, a small collection of cartoons related to church and technology. - Fr. Raymond

A Poem About Technology

A computer was something on TV
From a sci fi show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean
And ram was the cousin of goat.

Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes.

An application was for employment.
A program was a TV show.
A curser used profanity.
A keyboard was a piano.

Memory was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 1/2″ floppy
You hoped nobody found out.

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file.
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for a while.

Log on was adding wood to the fire.
Hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived.
And a backup happened to your commode.

Cut you did with a pocket knife.
Paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider’s home.
And a virus was the flu.

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head.
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash,
But when it happens they wish they were dead.

Author unknown
The Very Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office