Friends in Christ,
As we’ve focused in on being the blessing in these last weeks, I hope it has opened your eyes, as it has mine, to all the ways we are already living into that, and the many opportunities before us as well.
We all want to “Be the Blessing”, and we all want to serve, right?!
So my question for you to ponder this week is this: What gets in the way of serving for you?
Let’s wrestle this weekend with how to overcome those obstacles and respond to Jesus’ call.
In gratitude for all the ways you are already being the blessing,
One Ascension’s Annual Meeting Lays Out the Road Ahead
Opening with a welcome from One Ascension President Jeannette Ruggiero and a prayer by Ascension School Board President Scott Bean, last Sunday’s Annual Meeting provided a roadmap for the exciting year ahead, gave an update on the congregation’s land sale, and locked in the 2023/24 operating budget.
Following a successful year of Get the Blessing – Ascension’s endeavor to help members and others experience God’s blessings through worship and ministry – Pastor Tim charted a course that will now guide us to Be the Blessing. He reminded the 75 or so meeting attendees that God blesses each of us so that we can, in turn, bless others. While Ascension already does that in a multitude of ways, Be the Blessing opens the doors to growing current ministries and creating new ministries and endeavors that will help more and more members participate in ministries that they feel called to.
Pastor Tim aligned the different Be the Blessing initiatives with Ascension’s motto: Invite, Grow and Serve, as seen in this chart:
Look for more information about Be the Blessing – and how you can participate – in the coming weeks.
Attendees also received an update from Immediate Past President Ed Klodt on the land sale that will pay off the short-term loan to complete the Early Childhood Center. The buyer of this land is building a three-story apartment building with 79 apartments, six of which are designated for low-income housing. It’s a complex project that has been subjected to numerous starts and stops, delaying our sale.
Ed reported that the land sale continues to move slowly through the City of Thousand Oaks, and that a review of the buyer’s plans by the Planning Commission has been moved from its original date in October to next March. He reminded us, however, that this sale and the land’s development are consistent with Ascension’s mission and ministries in that the buyer’s project will provide badly needed housing in the community, especially for those with lower incomes. Plus, it puts 79 families within walking distance to Ascension.
The buyer has committed to continuing to reimburse Ascension for the costs of the loan until the sale is completed so that the delays have little financial impact on Ascension.
Ed thanked Bob Woodward and Creighton Van Horn for their ongoing work in shepherding this multiyear land sale project.
Annual Meeting attendees also approved the One Ascension annual report and ratified the 2023/24 budget. Read and/or download the annual report and budget HERE.
Ascension Foundation member Al Baker led us in the closing prayer. And the meeting was adjourned.
GIFTS OF HOPE, HOPES FULFILLED:
ELCA International Women Leadership Program Scholar Ninelihle Dube spoke at the recent Women of the ELCA Convention about her family’s service and ministry to immigrants. Later she shared about the impact ministries like Gifts of Hope has on the lives of people in the communities served. Nina, as she’s also known, experienced a life-changing education opportunity through a Lutheran funded InfoHut — like the one Ascension’s Gifts of Hope funded in Burure, Zimbabwe. She thanked our congregation, too. Here are photos from Pastor Steve’s visit there nine years ago:
Ascension’s Gifts of Hope Ministry: A Look Back and “Thank You”
In the coming weeks, Ascension’s Gifts of Hope Team will be sharing information about Gifts of Hope 2023 and the many opportunities to bring hope to those in need in our local and global communities. A “look back” is helpful history. A “look back” can inspire the future.
In 2011, Ascension’s Gifts of Hope gifts helped bring electricity to the community of Burure, Zimbabwe. In 2014, Ascension’s Gifts of Hope gifts helped build infohuts in Burure. Infohuts are cargo shipping containers converted to classrooms with about 20 computers. Students use the infohut computers to learn about God and the world around them, to learn traditional school subjects, and to learn about health, safety and peacebuilding. In 2023, Ascension’s VBS wanted to “Shine Jesus’ Light in Burure” with offering gifts to keep infohut computers powered up and connected to the internet. If you were wondering how Gifts of Hope gifts inspire the future, our friend Ninelihle Dube shares her infohut experience. Nina is an ELCA International Womens Leadership Program Scholar, currently a sophomore at California Lutheran University. Many of you may have met Nina when she’s joined us for worship and other events at Ascension.
“My journey at InfoHut, an initiative of the Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, was an extraordinary experience that left an indelible mark on my life. As a resident of a developing country, I faced numerous challenges in accessing quality education and gaining essential life skills. However, InfoHut provided me with an opportunity to not only learn computer operations but also acquire vital life skills in shaping my future. Beyond my individual growth, InfoHut’s impact on the local community was evident and far-reaching. By providing education and life skills training, the initiative empowered individuals from marginalized groups, such as women and youth.
My experience at InfoHut in Zimbabwe was nothing short of transformative. Under the guidance of the Lutheran Church, I not only acquired computer operation skills but also honed essential life skills that have been crucial to my personal development. The impact of InfoHut extended beyond the individual level, as it empowered marginalized groups and contributed to the progress of the local community.
As I look back on my time at InfoHut, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to a better future for myself and those around me. The experience instilled in me a sense of responsibility to pay it forward by helping others access education and life skills, just as I did. InfoHut’s commitment to education and empowerment continues to inspire me, and I will carry the lessons learned with me throughout my life journey. Thanks to Ascension Church for their work and big contribution.”
We join with Nina in saying “Thank You” Ascension Community for VBS offerings and Gifts of Hope in 2011, 2014 and years past. Gifts of Hope 2023 will touch the lives of many – in Tanzania, Ventura County, the Conejo Valley and the world. We look forward to sharing more news and information with you in the coming weeks.
Let’s Celebrate Fair Trade Month!
Sign Up for Tea ‘n’ Product Tasting Event!
October is Fair Trade Month. We’ve got a great line-up of events and opportunities planned to celebrate Fair Trade Month. We hope you can join us for all of them!
October 12th (2-4 PM). Jack’s Corner @ California Lutheran University. Join us for our road trip to CLU. We’ve been invited to join friends at the Global Café. What a great opportunity to meet, greet, connect, listen, learn & share with students, staff & faculty at CLU. We’ll “pop-up” with some Fair Trade favorites too.
October 22nd — Ascension Fair Trade Double-Header!
Oct 22nd – 10:30 AM. Ascension’s Library. Chef Ben Taylor, Chocolatier with Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates in San Luis Obispo is joining us, via Zoom, for Adult Ed Class to talk chocolate — Fair Trade, Ethically Sourced, Changing Lives & Really Good! We’ll be tasting some of Chef Ben’s chocolate creations at the conclusion of the class.
Oct 22nd – 2-3:30 PM. Founders Hall. Fair Trade Tasting & Tea! Join us for a tasting of Fair Trade products as well as sweet and savory delicious delights made with Fair Trade ingredients, and of course, delicious Fair Trade Tea. This is a great opportunity to invite others who may not be familiar with Fair Trade. What better way to celebrate Fair Trade than with some treat tasting, tea sipping & fun. Everyone is invited! RSVPs by October 8, 2023. Details are in the flier above. Sign up HERE by October 8!
ROSE ON THE ALTAR
Harlow Alexis Minnich
Parents: Brad and Sierra Minnich
Grandparents: Bruce and Laura Minnich
Great-Grandparent: Allen Leland
FLOWERS ON THE ALTAR
The flowers on the altar are in honor of the lives of
Myrna Beyer Aronson,
and her son, Douglas L. Aronson, 1957-2011,
from their family.
Cause for Celebration
Congratulations and blessings to Skip and Helen Craig, celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary on October 10! The Craigs wed in Minneapolis, at Pilgrim Lutheran. “Yeah, I guess it’s going to last,” he deadpans. “She still looks pretty good. I just look old.”
The Craigs, who are both 92, have actually been an item since February 1, 1945, according to Skip. That’s 78 years of togetherness. Happy Anniversary! (Photo: Skip and Helen in 2013)
Fair Trade Chocolates for the Holidays? Yes, Please!
We think every month is a time to celebrate Fair Trade! This year, we have a special way to keep the Fair Trade celebration going! Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates made with Fair Trade, organic and ethically -sourced ingredients are available for ordering! There are 6 boxed sets of chocolates to select from including milk chocolate, dark chocolate and vegan chocolate.
Here’s the order form. Paper copies will be available in the church office and in the special folder at the Information Desk in the Narthex.
Orders can be placed until October 27th. We’ll have your orders ready for pick-up before Thanksgiving. Chocolates make a great gift to share – chocolates that care for people and planet make an extra special gift.
Eloise Cohen Memorial
Ascension, if you are able to come to the Gathering to remember Eloise, we invite you to wear your Ascension name tag.
Sunday, October 1st
Civic Arts Plaza Fred Kavli theater
A reception there will follow in the lobby and on the patio.
Eloise was a dear friend to many of us and we will miss her partnership in ministries. In the last years she was leading our Global Ministries Team, our Matthew 25:35 Outreach Ministry Team (helping refugees and immigrants, with local, regional, and global groups), and our advocacy work with Bread for the World.
Pastors Tim and Steve will be leading this community gathering, with many family and friends participating.
Thank you for your prayers for Chuck and their family.
Pastor Steve represented Ascension at our synod’s Welcoming Congregations event in Bell last weekend. Many others shared what they are doing in ministries with those who are refugees and immigrants in our communities. Our synod is a Companion Synod with the Lutheran Church in El Salvador and we were blessed by the presence of artist and pastor, Christian Chavarría Ayala.
If you’d like to learn more, come to our Global Ministries Team meeting on October 4, at 4:00pm in the Bethlehem Room.
In the photos above, some of you might recognize the posters from John August Swanson that Pastor Steve brought and gave away!
Attention Woofers and Tweeters and Meowers and Hissers and People:
Blessing of Our Pets is Coming!
Sunday, October 1, 6 PM-6:30 PM
In the upper barking lot!
Here are some of Pastor Steve’s photos from past Blessings of Our Pets:
New Time and New Location for Adult Education Classes
We will kick off our new program of stimulating and informative Adult Education classes October 8. The classes will be held beginning at 10:30 on Sundays in the Library. The theme for October is: Vocation: Living a Purposeful Life.
Presenter: Rev. Paul Gravrock
Topic: Vocation and the Christian Life
Presenter: Colleen Windham-Hughes, PhD, MDiv, Associate Vice President for Mission and Identity, California Lutheran University
Topic: Discerning Vocation at Cal Lutheran
Presenter: Carol Bjelland and Fair Trade Chocolatier, Chef Ben Taylor
Topic: Service through Fair Trade
Presenter: Rev. Paul Gravrock
Topic: Martin Luther’s Understanding of Vocation
SIGN UP HERE
In Case You Missed It…
Full Moon Hike
Thursday, September 28, 6:30 PM
Led by Pastor Chamie, Devin Milligan, and Ms. Charlotte
Come watch the sun set and the “Harvest Moon” rise on Thursday, September 28 at the cross at California Lutheran University.
We will meet at the end of Mount Clef Blvd where it dead ends. We will begin the short hike up the cross at 6:30 PM.
The hike is brief, but a little steep near the cross. We will have a time of singing and prayer at the cross.
We will then hike back down around 7:30 PM. Sign up HERE
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.
Oct 19 “The Great Alone” by Kristen Hannah
Nov 16 “A City of Promise” by Beverly Swerling
Dec 15. “Christmas by the Book” by Anne Marie Ryan
In November we will choose books for the next few months. We are open to suggestions. Books should be available by Libby, local library, Amazon or thriftbooks.
‘Come to the Waters’ Mini Retreats With Pastor Chamie
This September, Pastor Chamie is launching a new weekly podcast called “Come to the Waters” that will have a new episode posted each Monday about a spiritual practice for the week.
In addition, there are several “Come to the Waters” half-day mini retreats on the beautiful campus of North Hollywood First United Methodist Church, where she is senior pastor.
Come to one or come to them all. The first “Come to the Waters” mini retreat is Saturday, October 14, 8:30 to 11:45 AM. The theme is: “First… Quiet.”
In a world that is so loud and so busy, we will explore practices that might help us to turn down all the external and internal noise so that we can discover a holy stillness and draw strength from that well. Fee is $40; scholarships available. Sign up here.
Anxiety Workshop for Congregational Leaders
Do you know how to help folks work well together? Want to have some tools? This workshop is for you!
This workshop will be offered twice:
From 9 to noon on October 7 at Holy Trinity, Thousand Oaks
And 9 to noon on October 14 at First Lutheran in Torrance.
Pick one, bring some friends and learn!
This free workshop is brought to you through a partnership between California Lutheran Homes and Living the Resurrection.
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, Julie McCain, and Steve Herder