Jesus Heals a Man Possessed by a Demon in the Synagogue, by James Jacques Tissot 1896
Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,
In worship this weekend I want to transport you to a little town in the Galilee area called Capernaum. People stopped living in this town in the 14th century but prior to that it was a fishing village that Jesus visited very early on in his ministry.
It was in this town, in its synagogue, that He put people on notice that creation is about to be re-created and restored through His work. He showed this by restoring a poor man who was suffering from a demon.
People were astounded when they saw it. It is a beautiful story of Jesus’ power and mercy. And it is a reminder that Jesus is still on the move, recreating and restoring people—even if it is one person at a time.
I am excited to talk more about this in worship this weekend! See you there!
This space is dedicated to keep our church community apprised of the transition activities as we seek an Associate Pastor and a Youth Director.
We are guided by Jeremiah 29:11, leaning especially into “…to give you a future with hope…” knowing that God has a plan for One Ascension!
- Operational transition of pastoral duties during this period
- Job Descriptions finalized
- Youth Director position is posted and being circulated across our vast and national network
- Congregational meeting (for the purpose of electing a Call Committee) is scheduled for noon on February 4th.
- Initiating call process with the Synod
- Beginning the Ministry Site Profile
- Praying over selection of the Call Committee
- Establishing a search committee for the Youth Director position
If you are wondering what you can do?
Attend the Congregational Meeting on February 4th!
Pray that the Holy Spirit be on our congregation, our leaders, and this process!
Join us in Adult Education for a series of thoughtful study and lively discussions devoted to CIVIC LIFE AND FAITH. All Classes are held in the library, beginning at 10:30 AM
Jan. 28 Session 1: Dr. Carol Bartell, “How Is God’s Invitation to Discipleship Lived Out in a Democracy?”
ELCA social statements are teaching and policy documents that provide broad frameworks to assist us in thinking about and discussing social issues in the context of faith and life. We come together as people of grace to discuss the newest statement under development.
Feb. 4 Session 2: Rev. Paul Evenson, “How Do Christians Address Controversial Civic Issues?”
In this session, we explore elements for constructive engagement when addressing controversial issues as a community of moral discernment. Looking at the history of the church and examining contemporary examples, we can learn from the successes and mistakes of the church’s more-than-2,000-year history of engagement with critical issues.
Feb. 11 Session 3: Rev. Paul Gravrock, “What Are Lutheran Views on Civic Life?”
Feb. 18 Session 4: Rev. Ron Cox, “What Are the Objectives of Democracy in the United States?”
Feb.25 Session 5: Mr. Karsten Lundring, “What’s Faith-based Living Got to Do With Civic Life?”
March 3 Session 6: Rev. Steve Herder, “How Do We Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord in Civic Life?”
The curriculum for Jan. 28-March 3 can be downloaded HERE.
Printed copies will also be available for each session.
Preparing for the Season of Lent:
Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!
As a way to look at Christ’s Passion, let’s take a look at His chosen disciples in the release of the fourth season of “The Chosen.” It may be an opportunity to see ourselves as disciples.
This is an invitation to watch episodes 1-3 on Feb. 4, beginning at 3 PM, at the Regal Theater in the Janss Mall. There are intermissions because the film runs three hours and 27 minutes.
The Chosen Devotional Book, “40 Days with Jesus” will be provided to people interested in this Lenten Study. We are planning for a meeting and discussion forum with Ruth Rarick in February.
Happy New Year!
The Board of Trustees of Ascension Lutheran Church Foundation is motivated and thankful to be starting 2024 with members of Ascension Lutheran Church, School and Early Childhood Center.
Thanks to the generosity of our members and community, the Foundation has grown steadily over the years. As of December 31, 2023, total assets managed by the Foundation were $1.6 million. Our five-year average rate of return as of the end of 2023 was 7%. The earnings generated from the principal assets are used to provide scholarships, endowments and grants to members of Ascension and our local community. In 2023, the Foundation received nearly 60 gifts totaling approximately $60,000.
The Foundation awarded 20 scholarships and 20 grants last year. More than $22,000 in scholarships were awarded, and nearly $40,000 in grants were given.
The Ascension Lutheran Church Foundation was established in 1980 with a gift of approximately $200,000 from church member Peder “Pete” Pederson. The Foundation is a nonprofit corporation governed by a Board of Trustees, all of which are volunteer members of Ascension Lutheran Church. The Foundation’s purpose is to receive gifts, hold the principal of such gifts in perpetuity, and distribute the income growth generated by these gifts.
Interested in becoming a donor? The Foundation accepts cash, stocks, bonds, bequests, gifts-in-kind, and memorial donations. All gifts are tax-deductible.
Please visit the Foundation website at ascensionfoundation.org for more information, and we hope you will join us for Adult Education on March 10, 2024, to hear more about planned giving.
We prayerfully invite you to remember the Foundation in your estate planning.
Ascension Lutheran Church Foundation
Board of Trustees
Stefano Borzone, President
Sandra Howe, Immediate Past President
Doug Morrow, Secretary
Roy Sanchez, Treasurer
Pastor Tim Delkeskamp
Gifts of Hope 2023 Final Totals – What a Great Year!
Thank you to everyone who helped make our latest Gifts of Hope into a powerful testament. This is Ascension’s way of sharing God’s love through action and generosity. Our final tally for GOH 2023 is $91,746! (Full report HERE)
Thanks to our friend Naomi Mbise and her mother, Blessed, for bringing the world of Tanzanian widows into focus for us. And we are grateful also to have gained insights about Friends of Fieldworkers and Harbor House directly from their leaders, Martita and Denise.
A large portion of these monies has already been distributed. As you can see from this letter, ELCA World Hunger is already putting our God’s Global Barnyard gift to good use! Soon, the GOH team will be presenting Friends of Fieldworkers with their check. We have heard that the Lutheran diocese in Meru, Tanzania has received our gift and they are so thankful. We will hear updates from them as the homes for the widows and children are built.
We join Pastor Steve in saying thanks to this year’s Gifts of Hope planning team: Tamara Nowlin, Mary Wennes, Carol Bjelland, Stacy Bosco, and Dave Harkins (also our Church treasurer, who kept great records of gifts received and sent). We thank Mike Marvin, Camryn Force, Diane Kusnierek for their finance work, as well as our School, ECC, and our Foundation for their participation in Gifts of Hope. Be the blessing! (If you’d like to be on the next GOH planning team, let us know.)
Tie Quilts for Lutheran World Relief
Our first quilt tying session for 2024 will be
Tuesday, January 30 between 9 AM – Noon in Founders Hall
Join us as we start our year of tying quilts for Lutheran World Relief.
All are welcome!
Youth Director Wanted
Ascension is now accepting applications for a new Youth Director. If you or someone you know has the heart for this ministry, please check out the details. And everyone, please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us. Here is more information on this career opportunity.
Fair Trade For February
While February may be small in terms of calendar days, it is big when it comes to opportunities to enjoy and share Fair Trade sweet & savory treats. After all, Fair Trade is always a gift from the heart. Fair Trade Lane will be open Thursday, February 8 (2:30-4 PM) and Sunday, February 11 (8-9 AM) & (10-10:30 AM). (Fair Trade Lane is closed during 9 AM worship and Adult Ed Class).
We’ll have Valentine stickers to add to Fair Trade treats and Valentine paper cut-outs to make Valentine cards – everyone is invited to make a Valentine we can display on Fair Trade Lane.
If ordering works better for you, you can order your Fair Trade favorites until Wednesday, February 7 – the order form is available in the Narthex, the Church Office, on our Fair Trade webpage
We’ve added Mt Meru Coffee Project coffee from Tanzania to the ordering process and we’ll have some on Fair Trade Lane too. We look forward to meeting & greeting you in February on Fair Trade Lane – Everyone is always invited & always welcome.
Let’s Be The Change We Wish to See!
Ascension’s Fair Trade Ministry welcomes the new members and we look forward to meeting them and greeting them on Fair Trade Lane.
Calling All Quilters!
Are you someone with the beautiful gift of sewing and quilting? If so, we would love to have you help with our High School Faith Quilt Milestone.
Each year we celebrate our high school seniors with the gift of a Faith Quilt. They are such a cherished and beautiful keepsake to carry with them as they move on to new schools, new jobs, and new places. They receive these quilts in June, but the process of creating them begins in the next month. If you’d like to help, please contact Dianne Beck at .
High School Seniors – Call for Faith Quilts!
The Faith Quilt Milestone comes in June, and we need to prepare soon!
Each year we celebrate high school seniors the first Sunday in June with the gift of a faith quilt. Because these take time to prepare and create, we need to know soon if you’re interested. Please email Dianne Beck ASAP if you’re interested in receiving a quilt so we can make sure to have this beautiful and meaningful milestone ready for you.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the caring, understanding and fellowship of our GriefShare support group, please consider joining, Thursdays at 1 PM. Here you will find complete information.
Don’t have a New Year’s Resolution but Want to Follow God’s Will this Year?
You’re invited to:
Praying through the Psalms 2024
Weekly Study and Prayer Meetups (led by Dianne Beck)
What this is: A way to surrender our year to God and his will by reading, meditating on, and lifting our prayers to Him as we read and pray the Psalms, also known as Jesus’s prayer book. We essentially will be following what Paul tells us to do in Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How we will do this: Each week will have a suggested list of Psalms to read, based on a schedule found in Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. While it may be helpful to have a copy of this book, it isn’t necessary, as I will guide us through how to follow the schedule and pray through the Psalms on the first week we meet. I will have a written summary of how to do this available as well for those who can’t make it in person.
Wednesday, January 24 – 5:15-6:15 – Intro on how to pray through the Psalms and reading schedule we will follow.
Wednesday, January 31– 5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray
Wednesday, February 7 (NO MEETING) Read suggested Psalms from schedule, record thoughts to pray on own and next time we meet.
Wednesday, February 14 -5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray
Wednesday, February 21- 5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray
Wednesday, February 28 – 5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray
If there’s enough interest, we can continue through future weeks as well.
Materials Needed: A Bible and a journal/notebook to record your thoughts and prayers each week.
Learn about LWR Activities in Current Global Crisis Spots
You are Invited to Lunch and a Presentation by Pastor Lisa Kipp of Lutheran World Relief in the Bethlehem Room, Friday, January 26, noon-1:30.
If you are a quilter or kit maker, or a compassionate person about humanitarian challenges around the world, this is for you!
Pastor Kipp will share updates about what LWR is doing in Gaza, Ukraine and other areas around the world.
About Rev. Lisa Kipp
Rev. Lisa Kipp serves as the Director of Congregational Engagement at Lutheran World Relief. In her role, she leads a team that connects congregations across the United States with LWR’s work of bringing lifesaving aid and long-term hope to our most vulnerable neighbors around the world. As part of this work, she also oversees Lutheran World Relief’s Quilt and Kit Ministry, a program that has been a part of the fabric of thousands of Lutheran congregations for over 75 years. Prior to this role, Rev. Kipp served an ELCA congregation in Rochester, MN, for nearly twenty years. She continues to live in Rochester with her husband and three sons.
About Lutheran World Relief
Affirming God’s love for all people, Lutheran World Relief works with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice and human suffering. Founded by Lutherans in the United States at the end of World War II, LWR tackles global poverty by helping people adapt to the challenges that threaten their livelihoods and well-being. They provide aid in emergencies and help families restore their lives. They partner with local leaders to grow rural economies and build healthy communities, breaking the cycle of poverty so our neighbors all around the world can thrive.
Choir of the West Heading to Ascension on February 2
Pacific Lutheran University’s Choir of the West is including Ascension in its current tour. The acclaimed group will be here February 2 at 7 PM.
The Choir of the West was established in 1926 and has a long history of excellence. The choir was one of the first Lutheran college choirs to tour regionally, nationally and internationally, and has appeared at numerous prestigious choir conferences. The 2024 tour marks the first major tour in four years, and is the first under the leadership of Brian Galante, Director of Choral Studies and Associate Dean for the newly established School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The program is titled “The Gift to Sing”, taken from Damien Geter’s evocative setting of the James Weldon Johnson poem. Centered on themes of resilience, comfort, hope, renewal, and reimagining, the choir also features works by Felix Mendelssohn, William Byrd, Roderick Williams, Saunder Choi, Marques L.A. Garrett, Kestutis Daugirdas, Brian Galante, Caroline Shaw, Craig Hella Johnson, Nilo Alcala, and Juris Karlsons.
To learn more about the Choir of the West or the PLU School of Music, Theatre & Dance, CLICK HERE.
In Case You Missed It…
Offerings & Attendance
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Did you know the number one reason people go to a particular church is because of friendships? Wearing your name tag is one of the easiest ways to make a guest feel welcomed and help new and existing members become better acquainted with one another.
Wearing a name tag is an effortless way to reach out to people to just start a conversation. You never know if God puts you in a place to make a positive impact on someone. It’s a good thing to remember.
Name tags are on the magnetic white boards at one of the two church entrances. If you cannot find your name tag, please tell the church office and they will order you a new one.
Book Club Notes
The Ascension Book Club meets the 3rd Thursday of the month at 1:30 in the Bethlehem Room, in the office building. The group chooses books based on members’ interest and discussion is led by one of the members. Books vary from popular novels to nonfiction. Please feel free to join us–we are a friendly group.
Jan 18 Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
Feb 15 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Books should be available by Libby, local library, Amazon or thriftbooks.
Mini Retreat to Start the Year
We pray that you may once again meet the Risen Christ through the Word and Sacrament ministry, and through the fellowship of this family of faith.
If you do not have a church home, we would like to invite you to worship with our Ascension family again.
All people who are baptized and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are welcome to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
May God bless you in your worship!
Pastors Tim Delkeskamp and Steve Herder