Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,
This weekend we will be studying the story of Jesus’ baptism. It is a big story. And there are many ways we could go with it.
But there is one way that stands out a bit.
Maybe it is because it is a new year. Maybe because this story in Mark 1:1-11 is paired with Genesis 1: 1-5 which is where God speaks and light comes out of the darkness. Life comes out of the void. Order comes out of the Chaos.
God does this at the beginning of creation. Then He does it at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
Then he does it again: At your baptism.
Let’s talk more about this this weekend.
Epiphany: To See the Light
Epiphany is both a day and a season in the Church Year. What is the nature and focus of each? How does each of these enable us to see Jesus more clearly and to follow him more nearly as we begin the Year of Our Lord 2024?
I invite you to join me for the Adult Sunday School class on January 7, 10:30 AM, when we will explore the intent and the traditions of Epiphany.
— Pastor Paul
New Member Class
Would you like to take another step in your spiritual journey with God and our church? If so, we would like to invite you to be a part of our next New Member class, Sunday, January 14, from 12-2:30 PM in the church Library.
Lunch will be provided. The class focuses on the basics of the Christian faith and on the ministry of Ascension. There will be an opportunity to ask any questions that you might have and to get to know others.
Adult Ed for Jan. 14 at 10:30
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, January 15, 2024, the nation honors the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1983, this national holiday honors the legacy of Dr King, focuses on the issue of civil rights, highlights the use of nonviolence to promote change and calls people into public service.
Dr King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA. He was an American Baptist minister and one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
Come to learn, remember, and appreciate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, January 14, 2024 in the library at 10:30 AM. Dr. Louise Evenson will present some highlights in the life of Dr. King as we remember his contribution to civil rights.
This class will focus on four key locations of the civil rights movement including Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, AL and Memphis, TN. In each of these locations, there were significant events in the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and1960’s. Dr. King played a key role as the leader in this non-violent and faith-based movement and at these locations.
“Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Baptisms This Weekend
Finn Gene Rarick
Jack Marlin Rarick
Damaris Xiomara Duarte
Delia Linda Allison Duarte
Gabriel Santos Duarte
Dallas Sengel Salisbury
Flowers on the Altar
The flowers on the altar are in honor of the life of
John Karl Beyer,
charter member of Ascension,
from his family
Thank you, Lauren Godfrey, for leading our group to Irwindale to participate in petaling Rose Parade floats again this year. Great video — and lots of fun to know Ascension’s part in the Rose Parade festivities! CLICK HERE to see video on YouTube. (video courtesy Lauren Godfrey)
We had 21 volunteers this year; 10 of whom were first-timers. Our largest turnout was about 40 volunteers about five years ago and Lauren and the Petal Pushers would love to see more folks join next year. The date is easy to remember since it’s the same every year – Dec. 30, the last shift of the day (4PM). The event is supported financially via a Thrivent Action Team, where the $250 in activity support funding is used to pay for gas for the church bus. This year Ascension volunteers worked on the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Cowboy Channel floats.
WELCOMING ACROSS GENERATIONS
Carol Bartell took her three granddaughters shopping for welcome baskets for refugees. After hearing Pastor Susan Brecht from the Conejo Interfaith Refugee Team at November’s Global Ministries Team meeting, Carol immediately thought shopping for welcome basket items would be a good activity to do with her granddaughters when they were here visiting between Christmas and New Years. It is easy to imagine how thrilled the late Ted Bartell would be knowing that his granddaughters are learning about refugees and how they can help them feel welcome in their new country. Ted’s involvement with the Aqa family was significant, and we are grateful for the Bartell family who carries this forward!
Here is a recent picture of the Aqa family with Pastor Susan Brecht at a Simi Valley park, celebrating the children’s birthdays.
“Thank You” Ascension’s Confirmation Class
We extend a big, heartfelt “Thank You” to Ascension’s Confirmation Class students, their families and leaders for sharing Christmas gifts of joy and friendship with our friend Karen and her young son Isaac. We at Ascension have been blessed to be part of Karen and Isaac’s circle of friends since late 2019. We thank the Holy Spirit for our friend Mary, a member at St. Luke Lutheran in Woodland Hills, who welcomed Karen and Isaac into her Thousand Oaks home. Karen and Isaac have grown and flourished. Karen has been busy caring for Isaac (now 4 years old), working, making friends, improving her English language skills, and enjoying the independence of driving her own car. Isaac has made many friends at Temple Etz Chaim’s early childhood center. Mary’s congregation at St Luke has welcomed and embraced Karen and Isaac. Isaac was baptized at St. Luke a while back. He joyfully puts on his “Sunday” clothes –he enjoys going to church.
Ascension’s Confirmation students, their families and leaders, have partnered with us for these past years in giving Christmas gifts to our young friends from Honduras. They thank you for your generosity. We thank you for your generosity and for being our partners in ministry.
Thank you for your support of LWR!
Save the Date
Choir of the West, February 2 at 7 PM
Pacific Lutheran University’s award-winning Choir of the West is coming to Ascension as part of its upcoming tour. Choir of the West has performed extensively throughout Europe, China and Japan, earning kudos all along the way. You can sample their marvelous sound HERE.
January 6 – Epiphany:
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
January 7 – Baptism of Our Lord:
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
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.
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