Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,
I once read the parable of “the 10 bridesmaids” (In Matthew 25: 1-13) to a friend and her response was… “Ouch! That seems like a pretty harsh punishment for forgetting your oil… And why couldn’t the other 5, couldn’t they have lent some of their oil to the others?”
These are fair questions addressing the seeming harshness of this parable, but at the same time we have to remember that it is a parable. It is a story Jesus tells to teach a point and the point isn’t about whether the 5 foolish bridesmaids deserve some leniency for forgetting their oil. It isn’t about whether the 5 wise ones should have shared their oil.
The point that Jesus is trying to make here is about wisdom. We need to possess the wisdom of knowing what is truly important in life and Jesus gives us that wisdom.
Let’s talk more about this at worship this weekend! See you there.
Gifts of Hope 2023 Lifts Up Local Ministries:
Harbor House & Friends of Fieldworkers
About Harbor House
The goal of Harbor House is to help all people in the community find hope, gainful employment, affordable housing, and a sense of personal wellbeing. Denise Cortes, Executive Director of Harbor House, shares: “I believe that homelessness is the human rights issue of our time. I believe our children’s children will read about this issue in their history books, and I want to be able to answer honestly when they ask me, ‘What did you do?’”
Pastor Steve writes about this ministry: “Harbor House is our very trusted partner in caring for those in our community who just want a ‘hand up,’ who struggle to make ends meet in our community, many of them working for minimum wage and worried about affording their rent, gas or groceries. Denise and the staff know these poorest and vulnerable friends, and treat them with dignity and respect. The Harbor House staff are wise and caring stewards of the resources that they share. Each day they meet Christ in our neighbors, and let them know that they are not forgotten but loved and remembered. In Galatians 2:10, Paul wrote: ‘They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.’ Thank you, Ascension, for being eager to remember and help those in our community who need our help, in the name of Jesus.”
Harbor House services include: Pi House, a transitional residence for young men who have aged out of the Foster Care system; Street Outreach to our local unhoused population; providing meals, showers and other basics for those in need.
The needs in the Thousand Oaks community are great. The gap between the comfortable and the working poor has never been so wide. The combination of soaring housing costs and stagnant minimum wage makes living in this area financially difficult. Gifts to Harbor House stay local. Gifts are used to address the needs of the Conejo Valley community.
About Friends of Fieldworkers
Friends of Fieldworkers got its start a decade ago, responding to help dozens of farmworkers and their families who were left to fend for themselves after fire destroyed their homes. The Friends of Fieldworkers mission: to befriend farmworker families in Ventura County by supporting, celebrating and advocating for them. The personal experiences of board members shines bright in the way they lead and the future they see for the organization. One board member was a farmworker from age 6 to 15; she worked after school and summers. Other board members have parents or grandparents who worked in the fields. There are more than 40, 000 farmworkers laboring to produce the County’s agricultural bounty, which has an estimated gross value of $2.1 billion.
Finding housing is always a challenge; it’s even harder when heavy rains mean no work and no money for rent. Children face special challenges: working after school to help their families in the fields instead of joining with classmates in afterschool activities; embarrassment about the lunches they bring from home; embarrassment about visible stains on their hands from picking crops like walnuts. Farmworkers and their families, when victims of crime, fear consequences of reporting.
Farmworkers spend many hours in rigorous labor, usually providing their own clothing and layering up to protect against sun, dust, insects, snakes, pesticides and materials used in the fields. The Laundry Love Program provides funds for detergent and the operation of washers and dryers at designated laundromats. This simple act has the big purpose of giving hard-working families the dignity of clean clothing and to make sure they don’t have to choose between clean clothing or other essentials like housing or food. Friends of Fieldworkers shares that there are many families on the waitlist for Laundry Love. A gift to the Laundry Love program is a gift of hope indeed.
For many of us, a cool, overcast day might be a great day for a brisk walk. For farmworkers and their families, a cool, overcast day is a good day for strawberry picking. You can donate to Gifts of Hope HERE.
This Sunday: Gifts of Hope Adult Ed
This Sunday, Nov. 12, we will hear about Friends of Fieldworkers and Harbor House directly from their leaders, Martita and Denise. They will give very brief introductions of themselves and their ministries at the beginning of the 9 AM worship service, and then provide more insights and answer questions in class in the library at 10:30.
Next week, Nov. 19, special guests from Tanzania and New York will join us via Zoom for the Adult Ed Class at 10:30 AM.
Supporting Families. Growing Futures. Changing Lives.
Imagine this: A coffee farmer meets a Lutheran pastor from Wisconsin on the slopes of Mount Meru in Tanzania. The coffee farmer had a question for the pastor: “We grow coffee. You drink coffee. Would you buy your coffee from us?”
The pastor’s response: “Yes.”
This exchange of just a few words grew into a partnership between the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA, the Diocese of Meru of the ELCT and the Mt. Meru Specialty Coffee Growers Association. More than two decades later, the Mt. Meru Coffee Project, a Fair Trade Federation member, is going strong & growing. And we’re joining the ranks of MMCP Ambassadors.
We drink coffee. We buy coffee. We’re a Fair Trade Congregation. We’re excited to find new ways to support and grow the vision and values of Fair Trade: Justice for People & Planet. And we do so enjoy sharing with others how the powerful combination of faith and fair trade can change the lives of many.
Mt. Meru Coffee Project Coffee will be available for purchase through Ascension’s Gifts of Hope and Fair Trade Ministries. (Ask any Gifts of Hope or Fair Trade Ministry Team member for details.) We’ll be enjoying it on the patio. And we’ll connect with leaders of the Mt Meru Coffee Project in an upcoming Adult Ed Class. MMPC: Supporting Families. Growing Futures. Changing Lives.
A HAPPY HOMECOMING
This past weekend Ascension Lutheran School celebrated its 60th Anniversary with a Homecoming Harvest Festival. Fun times were had by all this past Sunday at our school’s birthday celebration. Congratulations, Ascension!
Baptism this Weekend
Isabelle Chloe Attkisson
Ascension Members Experience ‘Walk’
to Raise Awareness of Child Refugees
Twelve feet tall, “Little Amal” is actually pretty big. She is the centerpiece puppet of an international, multi-city event who has traveled to 14 countries so far. She has become a symbol of human rights, raising awareness of the plight of children fleeing war, violence and persecution as she goes. A group of Ascension members were on hand for Amal’s recent L.A. visit. They went to the Kia Forum in Inglewood and watched as 200 dancers from Debbie Allen’s dance school and a drum corps walked with and performed for Amal. Here are some photos from their Walk experience, and HERE is the Walk With Amal website.
Save the date: Dec. 9
That’s when the Hawaiian dance group, Ka Mele Wai ‘O Ke Anuenue, returns to add a beautiful dimension to Saturday night worship. (Nancy Lee is a member, you may recall.)
After the Dec. 9 service, there will be a special dance in Founders Hall, complete with “Aloha Santa.”
We happen to know that Pastor Tim has spent some time of late in…hula class.
Are these things connected? You’ll have to see for yourself.
On a ‘Musical’ Note to Ascension:
Please go and see Journey to Bethlehem. It opens in theaters this Friday, Nov. 10th. Our wonderful friends made this film (Adam Anders wrote, directed & produced this film and he and his wife, Nikki, co-wrote the music and songs). It is a wonderful musical telling of the birth of Christ.
Sara & Will Wallace
Let Us Help You Stock Your Pantry for Holiday Celebrations
Ascension Fair Trade looks forward to helping you fill your pantry with Fair Trade goodness for holiday celebrations. You can order in advance until Wednesday, November 15. Here is the November 2023 Order Form. The Form is also available in the Narthex and the Church Office. A note to us at with the items you wish to order will work just fine too. If you prefer to browse the shelves for your favorites, or maybe something new, Fair Trade Lane will be open on Thursday, Nov 16 from 2:30-4 PM and Saturday Nov 18th from 4-6 PM.
The shelves are filled with wonderful things for baking & cooking (baking cocoa, chocolate chips, olive oil & more), tasty treats for snacking (dried mango, nuts & chocolates), and of course coffee, tea & hot cocoa to enjoy in your favorite holiday mug. If your favorite holiday treats include pecans, we’ve got them! After two very challenging seasons, we share the happy words from our friends at Equal Exchange & Cypress Pond: Pecans Are Back! The packages are $7 each. You can hand-write a note on the order form or stop by Fair Trade Lane.
If you ordered boxed sets of Chef Ben’s delectable Mama Ganache chocolate delights, your orders will be ready for pick-up as follows: Fair Trade Lane on Thursday, Nov 16th from 2:30-4 PM & Saturday Nov 18th from 4-6 PM; Information Desk/West Narthex, Sunday, November 19 from 10-10:30 AM. Those who ordered chocolates will be notified by email.
Justice Never Tasted So Good!
Join Us As We Hit the Road!
No need to pack a bag – Just join us!
We’re hitting the road to support Fair Trade artisans around the globe by way of Pasadena. We’re planning a little trip to the Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Store & the John August Swanson Studio in Pasadena on December 1. We’ll learn about Fair Trade artisans & their wonderful Fair Trade handcrafts at Ten Thousand Villages. Of course, we’ll do some Fair Trade shopping too! We’ll also pay a visit to the John August Swanson Studio in Pasadena. As both locations are small, space is limited to 12. Sign-ups on a first -response basis. Send an email to us at if you are interested in joining us on this road trip and/or if you have questions. There will be a $10-15 per person charge to help cover transportation costs as our other funding opportunity didn’t work out.
The decision to proceed or cancel will be made on November 20 based on the number of sign-ups received by that date.
SWAVELY MEALS: An account has been set up on behalf of Peter Swavely (recently in a car accident) at takethemameal.com so people can sign up to bring him meals. His code is 6540.
TIME TO WRITE: Advent Devotion writers – if you have not already turned in your devotions, here is a gentle reminder that they are due by Friday, November 10.
A HELPING PLACE FOR THOSE MOURNING: Our GriefShare group meets from 1 – 2:30 PM Thursdays, except for holy days and holidays. It is a good resource for those who are grieving, and people are welcome to start it any Thursday. Find out more HERE
Offerings & Attendance
Support Ascension Lutheran School
For 60 years, we have been dedicated to providing academic excellence through our Christ-centered teachings. Donate today and help support expenses for our continued success with our TK-8 program.
Visit our Annual Fund page or contact Principal Rich Gregory at or 805.496.2419 for more info.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11], 12
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Upcoming Memorial Service
November 11, 11 AM
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.
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” Advent Retreat
Saturday, December 2, 8:30 to 11:30 AM @ North Hollywood First United Methodist Church — Led by Pastor Chamie
The theme for this mini retreat is “Keep It Simple.” This is a perfect way to center yourself early in the season. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can too often get overwhelmed. So on this mini retreat, you will find time to breathe deep and find some quiet space. We will explore practices that help us simplify life, simplify the season, simplify our minds, and simplify our expectations. When we keep it simple, we find that we can make more room for Jesus.
Note that this is the next mini retreat offered at NoHo First UMC with Pastor Chamie. Several others are coming in 2024.
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