This Week at Ascension + February 24, 2021

"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." - Psalm 96
Of special note in this (packed) Ascension newsletter:
  • Conversations that Matter, our six-part Lenten program begins on Sunday. See the information in the section titled 'Also from the Rector.'
  • A choir member reflects with gratitude on her sense of welcome at Ascension.
  • Ordinations! George Arceneaux and Meghan Murphy-Gill.
  • Please see the Connections Updates in between the following mass postings.
  • Choosing our 2021 Organ repertoire, by Organist David White.
Wednesday, February 24
Saint Matthias the Apostle

7:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer
6:30 p.m. Live-Streamed Mass

Click to take part VIA ZOOM or VIA FACEBOOK LIVE

Image: St. Matthias the Apostle, Peter Paul Rubens,
c. 1611, Museo del Prado, Madrid
Your attention, please, for connections updates . . .

Be prepared for technology curve balls and pleasant surprises! Beginning with the mass this evening we will begin a transition from Zoom to a live-stream to be accessed on our website homepage. As many of you are well aware, we have already encountered some inevitable delays and snafus. The good news: preliminarily, we believe the new system will be exceptional! You will likely receive another brief newsletter on Friday or Saturday with updates for Sunday. Thank you again for your patience.
Sunday, February 28
The Second Sunday in Lent

9:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. - In-Person &
Live-Streamed Mass with organ,
hymn improvisation and choir motet

11:15 a.m. - Virtual Coffee Hour

Click to take part VIA ZOOM

Image: Jesus takes up his cross, the ninth of the fifteen rosary windows at Church of the Ascension

Note: After clicking on the link, you will be able to see how many spots, if any, are still available for a particular mass.

When you register online, you will be sent an email confirming your online registration. This same link will also have a
Please note: if you have not yet taken part in an in-person mass, please click here to see some basic information that you will want to know before registering, upon arrival and during and after the mass.

Lenten Liturgies & Links ...

I. Rite I will be used for Sunday masses during Lent.

II. The orders of worship or bulletins for which links are provided in this newsletter may be updated after the newsletter is sent but, with God's help. are in final form by the end of the day on Thursdays at the latest.
III. The Stations of the Cross rite with mezzo-soprano Cassidy Smith and Organist David White that was recorded in Lent 2020 may be viewed and prayed here. Regrettably, for a number of reasons, we cannot presently share the traditional Lenten Friday evening Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament here at the church in person. We hope to be able to do so in coming weeks.
"Present the church with a spot or wrinkle" (Ephesians 5:27):
That Scripture is the ministry of the pre-mass cleaning crew. We help make Ascension as spotless and germ-free as possible for everyone coming to worship. Do you have an extra 25 minutes on Sunday morning? Then join our band of volunteers and help prepare the building for mass. It is not a major commitment; you would be asked to serve perhaps one Sunday every other month. All supplies and a checklist of duties are in the ushers' closet, and training/orientation is available. If interested, please email Carol Noren at
From Choir of the Ascension Soprano Tiana Sorenson
Note from the Rector: Soon after opening and reading the following unsolicited letter from a member of our choir, I recognized that it had more heart, care and relevance than anything I may have offered today. Some of the 'relevance' will be explained in my notes that follow later in the newsletter. My thanks to Tiana and to all at Ascension who, in particular over the past year, have been seeking to better understand and align our faith, relationships and actions with regard to matters of race, culture and more.
- Fr. Raymond +
Hello all,

I’m Tiana Sorenson, one of the sopranos in the Choir of the Ascension (since 2018), and I’m here to invite you in on my thoughts.

As Black History Month comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on the entire year behind it. 2020 was an extremely rough year for me as a Black woman. So much loss: in addition to job and financial loss, the loss of people that look like me that didn’t deserve to die. And what hit me the hardest was the loss of people in my life who actively refuse to acknowledge racism: a lot of these people were those I grew up with in my hometown church.

It was confusing, hurtful, devastating. I had to reevaluate how I went about my spirituality, and rebuild my foundations. I had to recognize and remove the people in my life that did not foster a safe space. With that came more loss, which wasn’t easy, but I see now that it merely made space for even greater blessings: new and strengthened friendships, moments with those that finally felt like the way I imagined church to be: loving and welcoming.

Throughout this time, I am beyond grateful that the Church of the Ascension has always been a safe space and sanctuary for me to worship. You may not have heard from me much outside of my singing, but know that I’m quietly admiring and basking in the haven I’ve always longed for in a church. Thank you all, and continue to be the salt and light.

+ Anyone interested in thanking Tiana for her epistle or otherwise responding to her may click on her name, immediately above, for email contact.

From the Rector
To begin, some notes directly and indirectly related to the substance and intentions of Tiana Sorenson's letter, above ...
The 'retreat' portion of the Vestry's meeting this past Saturday, February 20, began with self-introductions. Vestry member Enrique Vilaseco used the exercise to illustrate how both the questions we ask and what we share about ourselves or others in the context of 'meeting' new people can and often does reveal some of our racial and cultural values and perceptions. Plans for a second 'Racial Equity and Reconciliation Roundtable' are in the works and will be shared when available. Enrique will be pleased to hear of your interest or respond to your related questions. (Enrique is pictured here with his goddaughter Zulika on the day of her baptism in 2018. Clearly I need a new photo--Zulika is now playing the violin!)
'What kind of Asian are you?' a short video, was also viewed by the Vestry on Saturday. (Enrique had also shared it during a recent topical coffee hour.) In just 2&1/2 minutes, the video illustrates the phenomenon of micro-aggressions in cross-cultural and cross-racial meetings, conversation and relationships. Click here to view the video.

Corresponding observations and questions about sexual orientation and identity also arose from the Vestry's conversation about race and culture. Junior Warden Ken Kelling challenged the Vestry to welcome interested Ascension members to consider more intentional responses to and participation in 2021 PRIDE Month (June). The topic is not new to the Ascension Vestry. What's new is not waiting until June to raise it. Interested members may contact Ken. In addition to other contacts provided here, thoughts, responses and questions to any of the above may also be shared with Senior Warden Cheryl Peterson or me.
Our Six-Part Lenten Program!
Below you'll find basic information on all six of our Lenten programs. Although we'll be unable to gather in a traditional manner at the church, the diverse topics are more or less traditional in their themes and robust in content. My thanks to all who have enthusiastically stepped up to share in leadership. Please note ...

  • All programs will be via the Ascension meeting place on Zoom.
  • Four programs will be 'coffee hour conversations' on the four Sundays in March.
  • One program will take place on a Wednesday evening (March 10).
  • One program will take place on a Wednesday at Noon (March 17).
  • Keep an eye on the newsletter for any changes.

A description of the program for this coming Sunday, March 28, is included below, as are the titles and presenters' names for all other programs. To view a one-page document with descriptions of all programs, click here.
Sunday, February 28, 11:30 a.m.
Perspectives on Death and Dying
Seminarian Bonnie Scott will share insights and questions arising for her in the context of a current seminary course and will invite our reflections on our faith, expectations and questions about death and dying. Time permitting, we will also explore changing practices and norms, in part due to technology, mobility, increasingly sophisticated medical care, and the pandemic. 

Sunday, March 7, 11:30 a.m.
Paths to Ordination
Father George Arceneaux
Deacon Meghan Murphy-Gill
Father Patrick Raymond
Wednesday, March 10, 7:15 p.m.
Father Sam Portaro
Father Patrick Raymond
Sunday, March 14, 11:30 a.m.
Transforming Bread and Wine
Deacon Meghan Murphy-Gill
Wednesday, March 17, Noon
How do YOU create? And why? 
Beth Hall and Father Patrick Raymond
(Image to the right Beth with husband Samuel Sommers.)

Sunday, March 21, 11:30 a.m.
Noah Riggenbach
Ordinations! Saturday, February 27
Next time you see him, he will be Father George Arceneaux! George learned only a few weeks ago of an opportunity to be ordained this coming Saturday, February 27, at St. Mark's Church, Glen Ellyn, by Provisional Bishop Douglas Sparks of Northwest Indiana. (Our diocese is being served by two Hoosier bishops during these months without a diocesan bishop of our own.) Regrettably, attendance at the ordination is limited to a very few invited guests per ordinand -- I will be serving as one of George's 'presenters' -- but you may click here to view a recent e-dition of the Diocese of Chicago Leadership News that includes a link to view the ordinations on Saturday as well as an impressive list of resources for Lent and other features. Father Arceneaux's first mass will be offered with us at Ascension this coming Second Sunday in Lent, February 28.
At the same liturgy on Saturday, Meghan Murphy-Gill will be ordained (transitional) Deacon. She will begin a ministry as Deacon here at Ascension on March 1. (She is unable to be with us at Ascension and to serve as Deacon on Sunday the 28th because of a prior commitment to serve at Church of the Atonement.) Meghan was raised and her faith formed as a Roman Catholic. She has extensive experience in student ministry, community missions and theological/religious writing. (The theme for her March 14 Lenten program arises from a long-term reflection that has recently evolved into a book proposal.) She has been sponsored for ordination by St. Augustine's Church, Wilmette, and lives in Chicago's Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhood with her husband Andrew and son Alby ('Albert'). You may view Meghan's ministry-related resume here.
Organ Repertoire for Sunday, February 28
Prelude and Fugue on
O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid
Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)
At the Communion
Partita: Jesu, meine Freude LV 49
Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712)

There is no organ postlude.

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!


A small set of keys was turned over to the church office on Ash Wednesday.
If you think that these keys might be yours, please contact the church office.
Choir of the Ascension:
Now on Soundcloud!
Please visit SoundCloud and listen to our playlist! There are currently 40 tracks, and several more will be added each month.

Benjamin Rivera, Choirmaster
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, David Byerly, Bonnie Joseph, Diane Burnett, Steven Wallis, Sarah Ponder, Paula Budzban, Taffy Wehe, Neil, Canola Malone, Br. Jonathan Wheat, Rocky Ermilio, Catriana Patriarcha, Charley Taylor, Richard Laibly, Standish Henning
Birthdays: Courtney Walsh, 2/22; Joseph Basil Gauss BSG, 2/25
Requiescat in pace:
Deacon Tim Sullivan, 2/21/2021
Larry Gordon, cousin of Mary Jane Kowalski
Clark Allan Montgomery, 2/22/2003
Geraldine Wilbur Ruhling, 2/22/2005
Laurence (Larry) P. Myers, 2/22/2018
Rosario Vargas, 2/24/2012
Nancy Alice Holub, 2/25/1994
James C. Krulish, 2/27/2008

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

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