Sunday, January 26
 Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Nursery available 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass

The Annual Meeting in Michael Hall
immediately follows the Solemn High Mass at Noon.

Christ Preaching , etching, Rembrandt, ca. 1652

This Week at Ascension + January 22, 2020

From the Rector
Also from the Rector
Upcoming Mass Commemorations
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word


Trouble ahead - or not
"An Annual Meeting of the Parish shall be held in January
  on a date selected by the Rector, Wardens and Vestry ..."
     - from the Church of the Ascension bylaws
Dear people of Ascension,
     You may have skipped over this letter if, above, I had titled it 'Bylaws Revisions.' But now that you've begun, please do take a moment to get up to speed on the bylaws revisions to be considered at Sunday's annual meeting. 
     Some of you will recall the adoption, in 2017, of Ascension's first-ever bylaws. Our 2019 Vestry felt that we should look them over. Are they relevant? Are they working? Are we adhering to them?
     Good news! We believe that we have excellent bylaws that make sense and work for Ascension. The Vestry also identified two matters, having to do with Vestry membership and election, where Vestry practice has diverged from bylaws direction. The Vestry is asking you to approve related revisions.
     Please know that I don't consider the title I gave to this message, Trouble ahead - or not, to be a ruse. Good bylaws mostly lie dormant and elicit yawns. Every so often, though, by their clear direction, they help us recognize, minimize or bypass trouble.
     You'll have a chance on Sunday to comment on or ask questions about the proposed revisions. But I'm not looking for trouble! The two proposed revisions are relatively minor. With your prior consideration, we may be able to tend to this business in only a few minutes.
     The Wardens and Vestry members join me, I'm confident, in hoping you will join us Sunday for what we trust will be an efficient, positive and faithful annual meeting.


Schedule for Sunday, January 26 - Please heed!      
9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
10:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass
12:00 p.m. Annual Meeting - St. Michael Hall

Annual Meeting Preparations
* Please preview our 2019 Annual Report by clicking here. It includes the meeting agenda, profiles of nominees for elections, Treasurer's Report, 2019 Sunday Worship Attendance Report, Ministry Reports, and more. Paper copies will be provided at the meeting.
* Lunch will be provided as the meeting begins. It won't be lobster thermidor but it won't be bologna on Wonder Bread. We wish to provide good sustenance without bogging down the start of the meeting. Thanks in advance to those who have agreed to help with the meal.
* All are welcome. Voting members are, of course, particularly encouraged to take part. (See the voting member list on page 2 of the 2019 Annual Report.) We also gladly welcome newcomers and guests.
* How would you respond to the following, if asked at Sunday's meeting?
- In one or two sentences, briefly recall a moment as a newcomer when you thought, "Hmmm. I might like taking part here!" OR:
- Name one person who specially welcomed you at Ascension. Briefly share how they made you feel at home.
* New parish directories will be available to all who take part in the annual meeting.

The Society of King Charles the Martyr , an Anglo-Catholic devotional society founded in 1894, will be holding an annual luncheon at the Cathedral of St. Paul the Apostle, Springfield, on Saturday, February 1. The Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield, known to many of us at Ascension and longtime friend of this parish, has asked me to spread the word and invite all who may be interested in taking part. You may read more by clicking here, and please note that prior notice and payment are expected of those who will wish to share in the luncheon.

The Coronavirus and Communion? News of a virulent new virus spreading from China and a winter in which diverse flus, coughs and colds seem widespread may raise questions from some about receiving Communion and other features of church hygiene. Some thoughts and direction:
* Remember what your mom told you. Cover your mouth. Wash your hands. Be thoughtful (cautious) about contact with others, with regard to their maladies or yours.
* You'll see more hand sanitizer around the church. Use it - especially if you are clergy, a lay minister serving at the altar, usher or coffee hour host. You may see me using it before Communion. Tacky? Yes. But also respectful of your health.
* We use fortified wine for Communion - 18% alcohol. It's widely thought to prevent the spread of germs, viruses, etc. Remember: we priests finish what remains in the chalice after all have received and are generally no more or less prone to illnesses.
* Taking by 'intinction' - dipping the host in the cup - is discouraged. If you feel your health is better served by intinction, allow the clergy or Communion minister to dip the Host in the cup and place it on your tongue. (Communicants who self-dip get their fingers in the wine with troubling frequency.) If you wish to receive the Host directly in your mouth or receive the Sacrament in both species by intinction, good hygiene for all will be well served if you extend your tongue at least slightly past your lower lip so that the Host may be placed on it without any other contact.
* If Bishop Lee shares any special instruction, as bishop's sometimes do in the context of emerging health concerns, I will pass them along here in the newsletter and in the Sunday bulletins.

This may be just the right place to mention the Blessing of Throats, offered at all masses in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation, Sunday, February 2. And please allow me to remind you of the Mass for Healing, at which individual anointing and prayers for healing are offered by the priest, every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. (preceded by Morning Prayer at 9:30 a.m.)

John the Baptist, from an altarpiece by Mattias Grunewald c. 1515

My sermon from this past Sunday may be read by clicking here.


January 22, 2020
Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon and Martyr

Evening Prayer, 6:10 p.m.
Said Mass, 6:30 p.m.

January 25, 2020
The Conversion of St. Paul

Morning Prayer, 9:30 a.m.
Mass for Healing, 10:00 a.m.

The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for  Sunday, January 26, 2020  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, Mary Lou Devens, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Jim Lo Bello, Jack Johnston, Patricia Johnston, Stewart Marks, Char Yurema, Bob Sparacio, Jonathan Jacobs, Canon Edgar Wells, Nicholas Carl,  Joshua, Ellie, Catriana Patriarca

Prayers for the departed

Fr. Andrew Harmon Bro , a former parishioner of Fr. Gary Lawler

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul 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. 


Whatever your politics, I trust you are praying for our nation in the context of the present impeachment trial in the US Senate. The Prayers and Thanksgiving section in the Book of Common Prayer includes a number of suitable prayers, including those below.
- Fr. Raymond +

For our Country - p. 820

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority - p. 820
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We
commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided
by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant
to the President of the United States, the Governor of this
State, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength
to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of
truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful
of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the
Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
A Litany for Sound Government - pp. 821-822
O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we
may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to
other nations of the earth.
Lord, keep this nation under your care.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors
of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative
authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.
To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our
laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and
foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to
fulfill our obligations in the community of nations.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding
and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and
justice served.
Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to
accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they
may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for
the well-being of our society; that we may serve you
faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name.
For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as
head above all. Amen.

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office