The Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 30

The offering of Elijah, etching, Marc Chagall, 1956.

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer;  8:00 a.m. Low Mass (Rite I)
8:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Nursery Available; 9:00 a.m. Sung Mass
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass

This Week at Ascension + June 26, 2019

From the Rector
Please call me Claire
Some personal thoughts during Pride Month -- Fr. Bob Petite +
A Pride-themed coffee Hour
Also From the Rector
Ascension Connections
This Sunday at Ascension
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word

The PRIDE issue
"There's more and more rapid change in attitudes towards gay rights in the past 30 years in the United States than there ever has been in recorded attitudes in the United States on any issue."
     - Michael Rosenfeld, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Stanford University
Dear people of Ascension,
 Times are changing. We may welcome the changes or resist them. We may believe that the changes affirm our Christian faith or contradict it. But times are a changing. 
  One sign of change writ large that we can all recognize is the recent election of an 'out' and married lesbian mayor of Chicago. But closer to home are three features below in this parochial newsletter, only one of which (Father Petite's message) I solicited. 
   You may imagine that I've given this newsletter a theme in order to peddle my own views. Maybe. Maybe not. More important than my personal views, I believe, are pastoral and leadership motives.
     More and more of you are clearly less and less comfortable with and willing to take part in the 'Don't ask; don't tell' decorum that long prevailed at Ascension (and, of course, in our wider culture). Even so, any of us would be mistaken to assume that all at Ascension are all of one mind. And let's remember that, while public opinion may be relevant data, it isn't the same thing as good or right theology or a faith-based life. How can we navigate all this with grace, intelligence, sophistication and patience?
     To put in a few words what may be worthy of a lot longer discourse, my hopes and prayers as parish priest, pastor and leader are for us to be faithfully and intentionally engaged with the significant changes in our culture and in our church and to find means of engagement that respect diverse experiences, generations, views and paces of change.
     Imagine with me, if you can, a time in the future when we may look back with appropriate pride on how we cared for one another and grew in faith amidst so many and such significant changes.

Dear fellow parishioners,
     I'm writing this because I feel it is time to come forward with news of a wonderful, exciting event in my life. Some of you may have noticed changes in me, such as letting my hair grow longer. The reason for this is my news. I am transitioning from male to female.
     This is a decision not made lightly. I have in fact contemplated this since my early childhood. Only recently have I both found the courage to go ahead and learned that, even at my age, change is possible!
     I am now in the first stages of this transition, having been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for four months. Changes in my body and emotions are starting, and going forward I will become more feminine in appearance.
     If and when you are able, please call me Claire. I do understand it may take time for you to adjust to this change. For a while, at least, I won't scowl if you accidentally call me Cliff. And I welcome your questions, much preferred to awkward silence.
     So, my friends, I hope and ask for your continuing support, love and prayers as I continue this journey.
God bless you all,
Claire Annette (Cliff) Green
     I "came out' in 1974. I was twenty-seven years old. There were no online gay resources where you could find information and a community. That our Episcopal Church would come to ordain openly gay men and lesbian women and later welcome same-gender marriages was beyond my wildest dreams. During Pride month, I celebrate these and other milestones.
     It's also true that there are still many places in our country where it is not safe for LGBT+ people. The young and not-so-young still ask: "Where can I find support for my sexual identity? Is it safe to share with family, friends or fellow Church members?"
     And of course a chasm continues to divide many in the church. A young lesbian preparing for ordination recently described her experience at the hospital bedside of an older woman, in anguish because "my church is now telling me I have to love homosexuals." The hospitalization was unrelated to the anguish, but the anguish was certainly real and painful - for both the patient and the seminarian.
     Our best-attended Lenten program this year was our last one: Speaking Love's Name: Being Gay and the Anglo-Catholic Christian. Several who were there thoughtfully shared their stories of being gay and Christian. Others there who are straight shared their own struggles and questions. Most who spoke, gay and straight, also recalled the relief of finding greater diversity and acceptance in the Episcopal Church.
     After the Lenten program, a number of individuals asked for more: further conversation, a retreat, a guest speaker. This is a good season to look for opportunities, not only because of Pride month but in terms of planning for the year ahead. I will be happy to serve as a point person for more specific suggestions or further individual conversation.
     Meanwhile I continue to pray, during Pride month and beyond, for even greater safety, change and acceptance for all, at Ascension and beyond.
     Father Robert 'Bob' Petite +
A PRIDE-THEMED COFFEE HOUR is in the works for this Sunday, June 30 , following the 11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass, thanks to the request and willing hospitality of Darryl Grant, a newer member and now regular at the Sunday 8:00 a.m. mass. He is looking for help! If you are able to bring a treat or help with serving or clean-up, you may reach Darryl by email here.
Organ Restoration: Phase II gets underway.
Meet Kelly! He was the first Berghaus Organ employee to show up bright and early Monday morning. By the end of the day yesterday, Tuesday, he and several others (with continuous counsel from and participation by Organist David White) had removed all 480 of the Schlicker - 'Schrader' - instrument's reed pipes. They were packed in cases and lowered to the floor of the nave with a crane and winch! Don't worry, though, there are still plenty of pipes left! And a lot of glorious music to be heard over the summer months.
Many thanks to the 26 households whose gifts or pledges to the capital campaign for the organ restoration have totaled $24,700. It's not too late to pledge and give! Please do so if you haven't already.

Plan to share in thanksgiving and celebration:
Feast of Michaelmas
Sunday, September 29
Organ Recital by David Schrader
Visitation by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee, Bishop of Chicago
Choral Evensong, Organ Re-Dedication &
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
with the Ascension Choir
The Fourth of July Week ahead - please take note
+ The mass for Independence Day will be celebrated Wednesday evening, July 3, 6:30 p.m.
+ Br. Nathanael Rahm, BSG will be away the entire week for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Brotherhood of St. Gregory.
The quote at the top of this newsletter and the statistics represented in the chart that accompanied my introductory remarks were taken from a panel discussion and feature titled America's Changing Attitudes Toward Gay People that aired on NPR's Morning Edition in April 2019, part of a regular series called 'Hidden Brain.' You may read a transcript or listen to the full feature here.
Thanks to all who have been praying and expressing concern for my mother, Loisjean Raymond Simmons, following health troubles that led her to begin hospice care this past Saturday. I am on my way today to see her at her home in an assisted living facility in Santa Rosa, California. The photo here from October 2018 shows my mom with all five of her children-youngest to oldest left to right.

Grant Park Music Festival
On Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29, the Grant Park Music Festival is featuring Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. The Friday performance will be presented at Pritzker Pavillion. On Saturday, the performance will be at Harris Theater.
We understood that tickets for the Saturday performance were free, but had to be procured in advance. When I tried to order group tickets, however, I was told the tickets were $20 each. So, I didn't pursue it. Yes, it is a bit disappointing, but it was a fun idea. A picnic at Millennium Park is in the planning stage. -- Cynthia Perrizo

The schedule of Sunday Readings, Celebrants, Preachers, Lectors, Acolytes, Ushers, Hymnody, Choral and Organ Repertoire for Sunday, June 30, 2019 may be found by clicking here. More information on the Choral repertoire may be found by clicking here.


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Dean Pineda, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Pablo Illás, Doreen Finn, Donald Schmidt, Marlea Edinger, Ted Saunders, Ann Halikas, Loisjean Raymond Simmons, Don Wilber, Jacob Potter

In thanksgiving for the upcoming Diaconal Ordinations of Rose Cicero and Debra Lang on July 6, 2019 in Chicago. In thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee year of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, founded on Holy Cross Day, 1969, and for the Brothers as they gather for their Annual Summer Convocation in Wappingers Falls, NY.

Prayers for the departed

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. 

To end, an excerpt from a 2011 sermon by the Very Rev. Peter Elliott, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Sunday of that city's annual Pride Parade Day. The full sermon may be read or heard by the link here.Fr. Raymond +
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, 'Let me go, for the day is breaking.' But Jacob said, 'I will not let you go, unless you bless me.' So he said to him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Jacob.' Then the man said, 'You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, *  and have prevailed.'    Genesis 32:22-28
"Today's story of wrestling with an unknown stranger and being wounded has found particular resonance amongst homosexual people for somehow it captures a particular aspect of what's it's like to come out, to be open about our sexual identity. Maybe, as this society grows in tolerance and respect for gay people this may not be the story of the next generation, but those of us of a certain age can identify with the dynamics of the story of Jacob's wrestling with the stranger and his wound and say, authentically, I know what that's like.
"Because for many GLBT people the first awareness of our sexual orientation comes as a wound, a deep and unexpected aspect of our identity with which we silently wrestle year after year. Unbidden and unwanted, we agonize, trying to figure out how we can be in the world and whether we will ever find someone to love. Those of us of a certain age-the older ones of us-were not helped by how homosexuals were depicted in literature and film: gay characters in works by Tennessee Williams and others were always tragic figures, obsessed by their sexual desires but unable to adjust to the straight society around them. Alcoholic or suicidal or both these characters mirrored the dominant attitudes so prevalent in the North American culture of the 40s, 50s, even through to the 60s and early70s. Being gay was not an option when I was growing up in those years. The only option was to be straight, if popular images in cinema were to be trusted, and to grow up to be just like Doris Day and, um, Rock Hudson. So we buried our feelings, took on relationships that didn't give us the expression we needed and lived a secret life. The wounding of women and men in those years, and sadly, still today, is deep and like Jacob, we walked through life, metaphorically speaking, with a limp ....
"And so we wrestled and experienced a wounding and have emerged, like Jacob, with a transformed understanding of who we are and what we can offer the world. I believe the journey of coming out is a spiritual journey, and thank God that so many Christians are now able to witness, receive, affirm and bless the gifts of lesbian and gay disciples of Jesus Christ."
Lutte de Jacob avec l'ange  ( Jacob Wrestling with the Angel),
Marc Chagall, c. 1931

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office