THIS WEEK AT ASCENSION + Feast of the Epiphany + January 6, 2021
"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." - Psalm 96
Wednesday, January 6th
The Epiphany of
Our Lord Jesus Christ

6:00 p.m. Evening Prayer
6:30 p.m. Live-Streamed Mass
with carol(s), organ, choir motet

Click to take part VIA ZOOM or VIA FACEBOOK LIVE

Image: The Adoration of the Kings, Jan Gossaert, ca. 1510-1515

Sunday, January 10
The First Sunday after
The Epiphany:
The Baptism of Our Lord

9:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. - Live-Streamed Mass with hymn(s), organ, and choir motet
11:05 a.m. - Virtual Coffee Hour

Click to take part VIA ZOOM

Image: Baptism of Christ, ca. 1470-1475, Andrea del Verrocchio (Florence 1435- Venice 1488) Leonardo da Vinci 
Masses,  Daily Offices & Fellowship remain online/virtual only, until further notice. Connection information and links are below.

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with changes that may arise and that will be shared through our parish newsletter and website.
Dear Friends,

Many of you, I know, regardless of your politics or party affiliation, join me in alarm and sorrow with regard to the increasingly virulent and distrustful atmosphere in Washington DC and beyond. Today's Electoral College matter before a joint session of Congress will just be getting underway as you receive this newsletter. Please pause to pray for the wisdom, integrity and safety of all involved. If you can't find the words for an edifying prayer of your own, no problem! Here are two Collects from the Book of Common Prayer:

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect For the Human Family, BCP p. 815

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect For our Enemies, BCP p. 816
From the Rector
Words to the Wise

“The fool doth think he is wise,
but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
- William Shakespeare, As you like it
Dear people of Ascension,

     If I have any wise words about the wise men who followed a star to the place of Christ’s birth, I’ll save them for this evening’s Epiphany mass. I do hope you will join me and others there. 

     For now, instead: words to the wise with regard to our upcoming annual meeting. Unlike the cartoon shown here, I don't want to leave you guessing. I do want to give you opportunities to prepare. For starters:

  • The annual meeting will take place Sunday, January 31, following the 10:00 a.m. mass. The Zoom webinar format that we now plan to use will require you to register for the meeting in advance. (Details to follow.)

  • Our Annual Meeting combines a review of the past year, including a year-end financial report and a look ahead, including elections for one new warden and three Vestry members.

  • Eligibility to vote at the Annual Meeting requires financial giving in 2020 and a financial pledge commitment for 2021. If you intend to pledge for 2021 but have not yet done so, please respond this week, using this link if need be, so that we may finalize the Voting Member list for Vestry approval. Anyone wishing to have these voting requirements waived, as allowed in the bylaws, should timely contact one of the wardens or me.
  • The Nominating Committee is finalizing its work this week and hopes to complete a slate of candidates in time to share in next week's newsletter.

  • Anyone may participate in Ascension's Annual Meeting, limited only by our bylaws' voting requirements, described above.

  • Fr. Patrick Raymond+, Rector
Also from the Rector
Other than the first item below, my added features this week are not all that weighty or essential. Feel free to scan and scroll so as to not miss other information to follow.
Praying for a Happy New Year ...
and Preparing for another tough one
We've all breathed and heard many sighs of relief that 2020 is behind us. With many of those sighs I've heard prophecies that all will be better soon. With regard to the pandemic, at least, I'm not so sure. The chart shown here from today's New York Times shows the recent explosive increase in new COVID-19 cases in the UK -- compared with other countries in Europe -- since a new virus strain was recently detected there (in the UK, and more recently elsewhere, including here in the US). Add to this a vaccine distribution that is proceeding slower than was first forecast, and ... well, draw your own conclusions. I don't include this here to be a doomsayer. Part of serving and leading a parish, however, does involve managing expectations. With regard to safety matters here at Ascension, we will continue to follow governmental and ecclesiastical guidance. Meanwhile, please review your personal and household safety measures, and let's pace ourselves for a longer time of trial, if need be, and continue our prayers for more timely relief for all.

The December 30 Healing Mass had no sermon per se, but a number of you have expressed appreciation for the poems and reflection that were shared. The order of worship, with the poems and reflection included, may be viewed here.

Annunciations to Joseph
The focus on St. Joseph in my sermon for the Second Sunday after Christmas led me to wonder about related artworks -- those with titles like The Annunciation to Joseph or, more commonly, Joseph's Dream. Some artworks feature the dream in which an angel tells Joseph, "... do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife ..." Others, such as the magnificent Rembrandt below, feature the later dream in which, also by an angel in a dream, Joseph is told, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt ..." Artwork information is found below the images.

What about poinsettias?
Our family was given The Legend of the Poinsettia, a children's book by Tomie dePaola, in 2000. We continue to read it together every year sometime during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Familiar as it is, we're often surprised when we come, at the end of the book, to a one-page history of how poinsettias first came to the United States. I thought some of you poinsettia-lovers may appreciate knowing, if you don't already, especially as we'll be seeing them for the last time at the Epiphany mass this evening. The donor list for this year's poinsettias was included in last week's newsletter and is also included below. - Fr. Raymond +
Christmas Poinsettia Contributions

Anonymous gifts
In thanksgiving for the blessings of family and friends by Jay and Cheryl Peterson
In memory of my parents by Jim Lenz
In memory of Robert White, Louise Kellogg White, Joseph R. DuciBella, The Rev. Gary P. Fertig, The Rev. Kurt Olson, The Rev. James H. Dunkerley by David White and John West
In thanksgiving for our family members living still and in memory of those in heaven by Ted and LaVerne Saunders
In memory of Helen M. & James L. Cook, Jr., Constance C. & Roger Wilder by Judith Cook
In memory of Kathy Rzany, Marianne Boe, Stephen, Bernard & Mary Schram,
and Thaddeus & Cecelia Kowalski by Timothy and Mary Jane Kowalski
In memory of Mary Lou Devens, Maria Devens by Robert Devens
In thanksgiving for Eliot, Owen and Grace, and for the people of Church of the Ascension by Father Patrick and Mrs. Brooke Raymond
In memory of Leroy & Argusta Woods, Doris & Curly, Louise & Teresa, Nelson & Babby, James & Rabert, my parents and siblings by Ruby Woods
In memory of Susanne Poilevey, Jean-Claude Poilevey, Laurie Harris by Henri Poilevey
In thanksgiving by Father Robert Petite
In memory of C. Jeriel Howard, Boley & Frances Tracz by Richard Francis Tracz
In honor of the parish geek squad by Edward Minieka
In memory of Harry and Lucille Berger; John Mulcare; Charles and Marian Oldham; Mother Mary Margaret,OSA, and Sr. Barbara, OSA; and Robina Johnson by James Berger
In memory of M. E. and Anna Mae Drury; Jane Drury; John Mulcare;
Bishop James W. Montgomery; Rev. Edwin A. Norris, Jr.; Rev. James Dunkerley; Donald Schmidt; and Professor William Porter by James Drury
In memory of Everett Weber, Lena Weber by Elizabeth Weber
In thanksgiving for and in memory of The Rev. John Henry and Mrs. Gertrude FitzGerald by Braham Bassford
Organ Repertoire for Wednesday, Jan. 6th
Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
BWV 764
(fragment left by Bach,
completed, 2010, by Thos. Schneider)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Hymn at the Offertory

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern BuxWV 223
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Organ Repertoire for Sunday, Jan. 10
Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam
BWV 684
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Hymn at the Offertory
Cortège à Msr. Th. Dubois [1894]
Cécile Louise Chaminade (1857-1944)

Choir of the Ascension:
Now on Soundcloud!
Please visit our Ascension SoundCloud! There you will find recordings made by our choir, including one motet for every Sunday and all three choral works included in our Advent Lessons & Carols service. We hope that these offerings minister to you during this time of the choir’s—and currently the parishioners’—physical absence from the church.
Benjamin Rivera, Choirmaster
Reminder: All In-Person Worship and Gatherings at Ascension (and at all parishes in the Diocese of Chicago) were suspended again as of Monday, November 16.

Our Interim Sunday and Weekday Worship Schedule and Connections are as follows:

All masses live-streamed from the church.

9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer—Zoom
10:00 a.m. Mass—Zoom & Facebook Live
11:00 a.m. Coffee Hour—Zoom
Weekday Mass: Wednesday Evenings
6:30 p.m.—Zoom & Facebook Live

Daily Offices continue as before:

Morning Prayer
8:00 a.m. Monday-Saturday—Facebook Live
9:30 a.m. Sunday—Zoom
Evening Prayer
6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday—Zoom

Christmas Eve, December 24

Christmas Day, December 25

Feast of Epiphany, January 6

More information will be provided as these dates and opportunities near.
Other than for urgent or essential matters or for brief personal devotion in the church, visits to Ascension are presently to be avoided. Any (other) visit should be arranged in advance with Br. Nathanael Rahm. Thank you for your understanding.
Due to COVID-19, Church of the Ascension’s Treasurer and Bookkeeper are limiting the amount of time they spend working in the parish offices. All checks received at Ascension via the United States Postal Service, not always a reliable service in our area, will be bank deposited approximately every 4-6 weeks. You may contact the Treasurer by email anytime at 
Ascension Connections
(with your click and God's help)
Meeting ID:
792 031 7452
Password: 1133
Join-by-Phone Option: (312) 626-6799

Weekly Ascension Schedule

For connections:
via Zoom (click here)
except for Morning Prayer,
via Facebook (click here).

9:30 a.m. Virtual Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. Live-Streamed Mass
11:00 a.m. Virtual Coffee Hour

6:00 p.m. Evening Prayer via Zoom

6:30 p.m. Low Mass
Yes, but I still haven't Zoomed ...
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: August 'Augie' Alonzo, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Dean Pineda, Charlene MacDougal, David Byerly, Bonnie Joseph, Diane Burnett, Steven Wallis, Sarah Ponder, Paula Budzban, Taffy Wehe, Bruce Jordan, Neil

Micah Meadowcroft, 1/5; Elaine Wilson, 1/6; Rod Luery, 1/7; Sonja Smith, 1/7;
Elizabeth Weber, 1/8
Requiescat in pace:
Audrey Upmeyer, sister of Jim Lenz, 12/22/2020
Nancy Hyer, 1/3/2018
Charles Borin, 1/5/2000
Robert Richard Bolt, 1/5/2018
Robert T. Brotherton, 1/6/2000
Betty Reeves, 1/8/2007

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 Last Word
The Brodsky poem below speaks for itself, I believe. A word of advice to the reader, though: if you find it dragging you down, wait for it! -- the epiphany at the end.
- Fr. Raymond +

1 January 1965
by Joseph Brodsky
Translated by George L. Kline

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.
Above your head no star will flame.
One weary sound will be the same—
the hoarse roar of the gale.
The shadows fall from your tired eyes
as your lone bedside candle dies,
for here the calendar breeds nights
till stores of candles fail.

What prompts this melancholy key?
A long familiar melody.
It sounds again. So let it be.
Let it sound from this night.
Let it sound in my hour of death—
as gratefulness of eyes and lips
for that which sometimes makes us lift
our gaze to the far sky.

You glare in silence at the wall.
Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.
It's clear that you are now too old
to trust in good Saint Nick;
that it's too late for miracles.
—But suddenly, lifting your eyes
to heaven's light, you realize:
your life is a sheer gift. 

From Nativity Poems, 2001

Image: Three men on a bench, Berlin, 1972, Heinrich Klaffs
The Very Rev. Patrick Raymond, Rector

Susan Schlough, Treasurer

Br. Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG, Parish Office