This Week at Ascension + December 8, 2021

"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." - Psalm 96
Today: Wednesday, December 8
The Conception of Mary

6:00 p.m. Evening Prayer via ZOOM
6:20 p.m. The Rosary
6:30 p.m. Sung Mass: In-person & Live-streamed
Festive reception following the mass

Image: Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, oil on canvas,
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)
Note this evening's festal features & unusual timing:
The rosary will follow Evening Prayer and precede the
Sung Mass. Reception in Wheeler Hall
hosted by George Pineda following the mass.
Please join us!
Sunday, December 12

The Third Sunday
of Advent

8:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer via ZOOM

9:00 a.m. In-person only Sung Mass with Organ and Hymns

11:00 a.m. In-person &
Live-streamed Solemn High Mass
Mass setting: Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) Messe in A, op. 126

Image: John the Baptist Preaching, German, ca. 1430, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Also on Sunday ...

The Young Adults Group will gather this Sunday, Dec. 12th, at 12:45p.m. in Saint Michael Hall. Details to come! If you are not already included in the young adults email list and wish to be, please email Seminarian Bonnie Scott.
From the Rector
On Retreat ...

“The world needs people who retreat from the world in order to see it more clearly.”
- Author and film director Patrick Shen

“Without silence, we can neither know ourselves, another, or the depth of anything beautiful. We learn how to take silence into the noise.”
- Author Donna Goddard

"Last night, someone asked if I liked being alone. 'It depends,' I said. 'Sometimes I’m my best friend. Sometimes I’m my worst enemy. We’ll see who shows up.'
- Author and Retreat Leader Parker Palmer
Dear people of Ascension,

We all know, or think we know, what a retreat is, right? But scratch the surface of our first definitions, or compare your definition or experiences with those of others, and you may need a retreat to sort it all out! A genuine retreat may be 5 minutes on a park bench or a month or more in a monastery or in the wilderness. A retreat may be undertaken alone, or alone with support from a spiritual director, or in a group with a theme. a leader and a set schedule.

These variations in what qualifies as a retreat are all about differing retreat forms. What unifies the diversity of forms, I believe, at least from a Christian perspective, is time + place + an intention to seek God and God's presence, guidance, comfort or wisdom. It's taken me years to learn what forms best serve my own retreat intention. But it's also true that I can almost always benefit from any retreat form if my intention is clear.

These thoughts come to mind in anticipation of Mother Murphy-Gill's 'Advent Quiet Morning' on Saturday. Please join us, whether or not you have past retreat experiences and with or without any intention. You may read Mother Murphy-Gill's preparatory notes and register below. I pray you and others will be blessed by your retreat.

From the Curate

Advent Book Study: Monday nights on Zoom at 7:30 pm

What a lively conversation we had at our first Monday night gathering, two days ago! Light of the World copies are no longer available at the parish but are available on Amazon for about $10; word is, they arrive quickly. Reach out if you need assistance obtaining a copy.

On Monday, December 6, we’ll focus on the story of Mary and why her story matters. All are welcome to join the conversation even if you’re not caught up with the reading.

Advent Quiet Morning: December 11

Come find rest and respite in the midst of the holiday rush. Pray, reflect, and enjoy fellowship with others as we take time to listen and look for signs of Christ’s ever growing presence in our world. 

This in-person retreat will begin at 8:30 with Morning Prayer and end with Mass at 11 am. A light breakfast will be provided. Bring your journal, a sketchbook, some earbuds and your favorite music, as there will be ample time for personal reflection and prayer. 

If you plan to attend, please register using this online form or look for the sign-up sheet that will be circulated during both coffee hours this Sunday. Letting us know that you plan to attend will help us plan for the right amount of food. An opportunity to make a confession will also be available and you can indicate if you’d like to take that opportunity on the registration form.

Mother Meghan Murphy-Gill, Curate
Also from the Rector
My announcement to the Wardens and Vestry last Thursday of my pending resignation and retirement are by now old news to many of you. If you missed the news, I welcome you to read both my letter and the letter from the Wardens here.

Many thanks to all who took part in our Advent Service of Lessons & Carols, including (but not only) our musicians, clergy and lectors, tech ministers, and Patrick Johnston, David Reeves and Jay Jacot, who hosted the lovely reception that followed in St. Michael's Hall.

Please Zelle if you can when making electronic contributions to Ascension ... but I don't believe you can just yet, because I need to find out routing information. Using Zelle (rather than PayPal) will save the Church all transaction fees. With more of us using electronic payment for our gifts to the church, the savings will be appreciated. I'll try to have the routing number for you by next week. If you can't wait, you may send an email inquiry to the treasurer here.
Some of you will remember now-Mother Jihan Murray-Smith, who served as Deacon for a number of Ascension holy day liturgies during her time on the staff at nearby St. Chrysostom's. She's asked me to greet you on her behalf, to let you know of her ordination as priest this past Sunday afternoon (by Bishop Knudsen at Church of the Holy Spirit, Lake Forest) and to invite you to share in her ordination liturgy by way of YouTube here. 
St. James Cathedral is offering Compline on Sunday evenings in Advent, 6:30 p.m. One soul who has taken part said, "It was only about 20 minutes, but the candlelight made for just the right atmosphere and the music was so lovely I wept." Maybe worth the trip December 12 or 19?

I regret I haven't heretofore thanked those who represented Ascension at the November 20 (virtual) diocesan convention: lay delegates Sean Hansen, Ken Kelling and Bonnie Scott, and clergy delegates Father Petite, Deacon Farrell and me. The convention included a meditation during Morning Prayer by Bishop Knudsen, and was otherwise moderated by the Rev. Anne Jolly, Rector of St. Gregory's Church, Deerfield and President of the Standing Committee. The convention was largely uneventful, although the deteriorating financial condition of the diocese due to spending down of endowments and reserve funds is of concern and was emphasized in conjunction with the presentation of the 2022 budget.

Fr. Raymond +
Notes from the Verger, MB Hwang
1) We need your help as acolytes, lectors, ushers, coffee hosts, and more this month for regular and special services, including the newly added 9 AM Mass and our Christmas events. We have openings as early as this Sunday. Please take a look at the December Schedule and see if you can help! You can sign yourself up or, if you're new to serving in a role, contact Verger MB Hwang ( Training is available, and we'll work to respect your availability and broad preferences.

2) Ministry Scheduler Pro 'MSP' Scheduling Tool Office Hours: Our online scheduling system, MSP, may be new to some of us, and experienced users may have questions, too. Thank you for your willingness to get familiar with this tool! MB Hwang will be hosting drop-in sessions for both users and admins in the regular Ascension Zoom room at these times in December
  • Thursday, December 9: 11:00-11:45 a.m.
  • Monday, December 13: 3:30-4:15 p.m.

If you can't make these times or can't get on Zoom, you're welcome to contact MB ( to arrange one-on-one assistance by appointment, too.

Also from the Curate
Speaking of Calendars ...

One opportunity we have as a parish to prepare for the birth of Jesus is simple yet edifying. I am collecting 2022 calendars for newly arriving refugees in Chicago. They'll be shared for us by RefugeeOne, an organization with past Ascension connections and one I hope we can continue to explore in the coming year. 
Refugee One specifically asks for donations of those calendars you may receive from businesses and nonprofits to assist refugees with the management of their new schedules.
I’ve received several calendars already.
Thank you if you’ve already donated!

You may bring them to any mass and leave them in the designated basket in the narthex or drop them off during the week at the church during office hours. I'll deliver them them to RefugeeOne’s offices on December 29. Please reach me by email or by a call to the church with questions.
As a parish this year, we have already donated four large bags of winter coats to Refugee One and heard from Sara Spoonheim about the state of refugees in the world at one of our We Should Talk conversations this fall. I am hopeful that our relationship with the agency will continue. 

If you have not yet seen it, please ...

(And don't miss the photos!)
Organ Repertoire for December 12, 2021
Preludio [1888]
Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)
At the Entrance Procession
At the Offertory
At the Communion
At the Retiring Procession
Passacaglia [1890]
Josef Rheinberger
About our 2021 Repertoire
As I develop a long-range plan for repertoire each year, I choose a theme or area of emphasis, often complete works or a complete large-scale work by one composer. During 2021, organ music by women composers and African-American composers is being and will be featured in voluntaries and recitals throughout the year. There are some little-known gems waiting to be discovered, as well as music by major composers, with whom works for the organ are not generally associated. Enjoy!

Between Masses, please don’t forget that The Choir of the Ascension has recorded upwards of 60 tracks that you can listen to anywhere you have an internet connection. They can be found here:
Ascension Connections
(with your click and God's help)
Participate in Ascension masses at our YouTube Channel. (Look for other connections options soon.)
Meeting ID:
792 031 7452
Password: 1133
Join-by-Phone Option: (312) 626-6799

Weekly Ascension Schedule

For connections:
via Zoom (click here)

8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer via Zoom
9:00 a.m. In-person Sung Mass
11:00 a.m. In-person and Live-Streamed Solemn High Mass

6:00 p.m. Evening Prayer via Zoom

6:30 p.m. Said Mass
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: The Rev. Canon Paula Clark, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Jim Berger,
Sarah Ponder, Taffy Wehe, Beth Hall, Sue Lenz, Ben, David D. Jones, Carys and Joshua Benjamin, Gina, Tom Baer, Mary Stetson, Lillian Alexander, Patricia Grisham.
Birthdays: Thom Ehlen, 12/6; David E. Reeves, 12/6; Marlea Edinger, 12/6; Joan Hedley, 12/10;
Lynn Belding, 12/11
Requiescat in pace: Andrew McLean, 11/22/2021; Vincent Hector, 12/7/2017;
Frances Joseph, 12/9/2015, Steven Upmeyer, Glenn Turquend

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them;
May their souls and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

The Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

The Rev. Meghan Murphy-Gill, Curate

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office
Vestry of Church of the Ascension
Cheryl Peterson, Sr. Warden; Kenneth Kelling, Jr. Warden; Kelly Colomberti, Marilyn Evans, Lynette Hector, Jim Lo Bello, George Pineda, David Reeves, Samuel Sommers, Enrique Vilaseco, Amber Zelazny

Approved minutes of Vestry meetings are always available online to parishioners who request the link. If you would like Internet access to these Vestry Minutes, please email the Parish Office and request the link. Once you access the web page, you can read all recent Vestry meeting minutes.
The link remains live indefinitely. Any parishioner who has the link will not need to request a new link from month to month.