The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem,  English illuminated manuscript, 1503-4,
National Library of Wales

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer

8:00 a.m. Low Mass (Rite I)

N ursery available, 8:45 a.m.

9:00 a.m. Sung Mass

11:00 a.m.  Solemn High Mass

This Week at Ascension + November 13, 2019

From the Rector
Also from the Rector
Last Sunday's Sermon
Community Harvest Meal
Upcoming Mass Commemoration
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


The Head Acolyte, the Verger, and You ...
             One thing have I asked of the Lord;
   one thing I seek;
     that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
     all the days of my life;
To behold the fair beauty of the Lord
     and to seek him in his temple.
                            - Psalm 27:5-6

Dear People of Ascension,

     Anyone who knows Ascension knows that parishioner Jim Lo Bello is a good soul, a person of faith and seemingly everywhere. As Head Acolyte for many years, he does more for our worship, in view and behind the scenes, than any of us knows. Jim has also long devoted himself to our good by way of other commitments, seen and unseen, too many to name here.

     For a number of years, Jim has been advised to have surgeries on his feet due to decreasing mobility and increasing discomfort. Now the docs are saying: Now or never. He is awaiting a date in coming weeks for what will likely be the first of two surgeries. Rehab and recovery will take six months or more.

     I've been working with Jim, the Wardens and Vestry since last spring to better understand Jim's ministries here and to prepare for significant changes. With Vestry support I've created a 15-hour-per-week role that, for now, we'll call Verger, on a trial basis through the end of the year. I'm grateful that parishioner Mary Beth Hwang has agreed to serve in this role. She will mainly focus (has already begun focusing) on Jim's many tasks related to worship.

     Here's where YOU come in. As much as Mary Beth's commitment may give me and others cause for hope in smooth(er) transitions ahead, it will 'take a village,' or in this case, a congregation, to find our way, give appropriate support to both Jim and Mary Beth and sustain the ministries and fellowship that we commonly cherish.

     Thanks in advance for your prayerful and active help and care, all along the way.

A few more points about the Head Acolyte, the Verger and You
* Jim and Mary Beth both read and signed off on this information before I shared it with you.
* Regarding Jim and his health, I'll try to walk the line between his confidentiality and appropriate sharing and will look for ways that we may be of help to him after his surgeries.
* Our single most acute area of need in coming weeks and beyond will be all aspects of the coffee hour following the 11am Solemn High Mass. Please look for an opportunity to help.
* Can anyone out there iron? We could use one or two happy, expert ironers. Talk to me.
* Mary Beth is happy to be called MB.
* MB's qualifications include a sincere faith, a reverence for the Liturgy, a year of study at Nashotah House (after which she completed her MDiv at U Chicago Divinity School), and clear, timely communications skills.
* Don't think this is all taken care of. Think of it as a work in progress. Thanks for your patience.
* Imagine that THIS point is about how YOU can make a positive difference.

Young Adults Gathering and Lunch at the Rectory , this coming Sunday, November 17, following the Solemn High Mass. Informal. Guests and newcomers welcome. We'll end by about 2:00 p.m. Contact me with questions.
Newcomers! Longtime members! Friends of Ascension!
Please provide or update your current contact information. Thank you!
   We will use it:
* for our 2020 parish directory.
* to update and improve membership and attendance records for required parochial reports.
* for USPS mailings that we typically send only 5-7 times per year.
* for the clergy or staff to reach you, as needed, by email or phone.
No, we do not share your contact information with others. We welcome newcomers and 'friends of Ascension' to be included in the parish directory, printed annually in January (with your correct information, but only if we have it).

The Vestry's November meeting will take place this coming Saturday , November 16, 1:15 p.m. in the parish library. One main agenda item will be a first look at a 2020 operating budget. We'll also consider the work-to-date of the Nominating Committee. Although we are pleased at the 'yes rate' of those who've been asked to stand for election (at our January 2020 annual meeting) as Warden or Vestry Members, it looks as if the Vestry may present only a single slate - meaning non-competitive elections. It's also true that I'm unaware of any voluntary nominations to date, making the single slate almost inevitable. So here's a last call. See the Vestry leadership information here, and view the Warden and Vestry Nomination Form here.  

'How to Listen to a Sermon,' the Coffee Hour Colloquium this past Sunday led by seminarian David Knox, seemed substantive and lively. David or I welcome your thoughts on how this coffee hour format worked (with the idea that we might do something like it every other month or so). David provided a one-page outline of this thoughts, and you can read it here.

While on the topic of Christian education and spiritual formation ...

A reminder for any men who may be interested ... I will be leading the February 7-8, 2020 Men's Retreat for the Diocese of Chicago. It takes place annually at the DeKoven Center, 90 minutes by car from LaSalle and Elm in good traffic. Ascension parishioner Jim Lenz has participated in these retreats for a number of years and will no doubt be pleased to answer your questions about it. I was recently informed that space for the 2020 retreat is still available but steadily filling. You may view the flyer and registration form here.

Inquirers' Class, Anyone? Maybe-but what is an Inquirers' Class!  I was recently asked about Confirmation in the Episcopal Church - a blessing to be asked! Normal preparation in the Episcopal Church entails an Inquirers' Class, meeting 5-10 times prior to a Bishop's visitation. In our case, Bishop Lee will be at Ascension for the last time prior to his retirement on Ascension Day, May 20, 2020. I would of course love to have enough interest to have a group share the preparation together. We'd need to begin early in the New Year. Please let me or another of our clergy or seminarian David Knox know of your interest.

NO! Our Stewardship Appeal is Not Finished , even if we didn't begin this week's newsletter with a related message. Did you know that there are a number of ways you may respond? Click on this link to view, download, fill out and return the 2020 Pledge Card; send a confidential email to the parish Treasurer with your name, contact information and commitment; use the stewardship response page that we'll be including in the bulletin, space permitting, in coming weeks; call the parish office (312) 664-1271 and ask for a stewardship letter and card. Donations to Ascension are always welcome by way of the Donate button on our website, although we don't trumpet this option due to the 3% fee that we're charged.

More Bishop Montgomery Prayer Cards have come our way due to the kindness of Mother Erica Takacs and her staff up at Church of the Atonement and thanks to our Senior-Warden-Turned-Courier Cynthia Perrizo. The cards have been placed on the table in the narthex and at the parish house entry. Please contact the parish office if you'd like a card mailed to you.

An interview with Deacon Jess Elfring at Episcopal Café came to my attention as I was verifying some information for today's Last Word. Deacon Elfring is assigned to Church of Our Saviour, Lincoln Park, but served as Deacon once in our Solemn High Mass in the past year (and wowed a few souls with her fine voice). You may read the interview here if interested.

A Celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception , the most inspired and intentional in recent memory, will take place Saturday evening, December 7, thanks to the leadership of parishioner George Pineda. Times may be found in the 'Upcoming' calendar below. Please contact George to help, learn more about the Society of Mary, or ask questions. 

We regret having to announce the death of parishioner Donnie Richmond
, of a heart attack, yesterday, November 12. Both Jim Lo Bello and I have been in touch with Donnie's family. Funeral arrangements will be shared when known.



Save the date! We are eagerly looking forward to our Community Harvest Meal for our CHA neighbors, to be held in St. Michael's Hall on Sunday, November 24, 2019. We have had an enthusiastic volunteer response, and we are "staffed" for the day. If you wish to contribute financial support for the event, please write a check to the Church and indicate in the memo line "Thanksgiving Dinner Fund." If you are a volunteer already, we will be following up with you weekly regarding schedule and areas of responsibility.  Contact James Baran ( ) or David Robertson ( ) for further information.

Wednesday, November 13th
Commemoration of
Charles Simeon  (Tr.)

6:10 p.m. Evening Prayer
6:30 p.m. Said Mass
Saturday, November 16th
Commemoration of
Margaret, Queen of Scotland

9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. Said Mass

The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, November 17, 2019  may be found by clicking here . More information on the Choral repertoire may be found by clicking here . The Clergy Rota for this week's and upcoming masses may be found here.


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Pablo Illás, Doreen Finn, Monica, Jim Lo Bello, Jack Johnston, Patricia Johnston, Joshua Simpson, Andy, Jim Walsh, Char Yurema, Stewart Marks, Ronn Garton, Vanessa Rogers

Prayers for the departed
Prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of  Donnie Richmond
Prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of  Marie Wolfe

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.


The Approved Minutes of Vestry meetings are now available online to parishioners who request the link. If you would like Internet access to the Approved Vestry Minutes, please email the  Church Office and request the link. 
Once you access the web page, you can read all recent Approved Vestry Minutes. In addition, if you click on the subscribe button at the top right, you will be given email notice whenever a new set of Approved Minutes is added. 

The following excerpt is from an essay by,  a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. See her work online at Everyday Mysteries  With others, she manages a website for the Diocese of Colorado highlighting congregations' creative ministries:  Fresh Expressions Colorado . She is also a regular contributor to the Episcopal Café .
"The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love." -
Ephesians 4:11-16
I have to admit to feeling a surge of disappointment sometimes when some dedicated and faithful lay person discerns that they are called to ordained ministry. Everyone else will be greeting their decision with joy, and I will find myself a little on the edge, unable to fully celebrate with them.
I've done a lot of soul searching about this. Why do I feel as I do? What does it mean? Am I jealous? Full of petty resentment? Maybe I should be thinking of the priesthood myself?
The cause of my letdown, I have realized, is that I don't like the conclusion we all leap to - that because someone is very serious about their spiritual life and desirous of dedicating their days to serving God, they need to become a priest. I wonder if they are not mistaking a call to love God with all their heart, soul and might for a call to become a pastor in a church. I know that often people are genuinely called to that more specific way of being in relationship with Christ and Christ's church. When that is true, it is truly a cause for celebration. But so is any clear discernment of any calling. We ought to be celebrating each with equal verve.
Our job in this era is to redefine for ourselves what it means to be a lay person. The church as we know it may not survive through this century, and if it does, leadership will look different than it does now. And so we common folk need to put our elbows out and bring to words for ourselves and for the Body of Christ what it means to be an on-fire bunch of saints bearing witness and living into our gifts right along with our priests. That means all our gifts, since each one of us is called. We need to make places for ourselves that fit newfound understandings of the need to put God first in our lives. There are no roles, so we need to do the arduous work of creating them.
Reading through this passage from Ephesians I am stirred by the vision of a church in which every member promotes the growth of the Body of Christ, building it up in love. It is a place where each participant in the group has gifts, knows what they are, and uses them to the benefit of all the other members and the world beyond their doors.
I am assuming that each gift is honored to the same degree as all the others. But who really knows. It's a sketchy picture at best. And it's probably also an ideal that was rarely actually realized. Still, it's something to hang on to as we re-imagine what is possible for us in living in Christian community.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office