Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,
Merry Christmas. The day that we have been preparing for is almost here. I pray that this season has not tired you out so much that you are too tired to experience the full joy of Christmas. Either way, it’s ok, the joy will come. The reason it will is because it is based not on something that you need to do, it’s all about God coming to you. Pure grace. No matter how far away you are—even in a manger in an obscure little town called Bethlehem.
So come and hear the good news at 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11pm on Christmas eve and/or come to our Christmas day service at 9:30 am. The “good news of great joy” will be proclaimed. See you there!
‘Tis the Season
Advent — a contemplative time as we await the birth of the Christ Child; a time of excitement for children of all ages; a time of sharing warm feelings and special times with friends and family. And, of course, with our church family. Here are some scenes from the season, with special thanks to Pastor Steve Herder for his photography.
Pastor Paul Gravrock led Taize services, bringing those in attendance into the silent and majestic, Spirit-filled feeling of this season. Ascension Lutheran School presented “Ring in the King,” a memorable Christmas program. Compassionate Friends held its candle-lighting ceremony at Ascension again, providing comfort for grieving parents.
Pastor Steve and a merry band of carolers including Big White-Ascension-Bus-Driver Jeff Hengst, brought holiday cheer to some friends who aren’t able to make it out much this season.
Eleven o’clock service-goers and the other members of Praise Alive experienced a bittersweet farewell for Cody Knapp on his last Sunday of leading worship here before heading to Colorado and his new home with his fiancee. Nancy Lee and Country Spirit led another terrific Cowboy Christmas service, including an appearance by the Holy Family and angels. Wyant Morton led our Chancel Choir in glorious special music of the season with a cantata that was part of our Sunday worship.
Kudos to Lan Merrill and the tech team for the great production values all the way through, and to Pastor Tim and Pastor Julie for bringing their best again and again, even with all the demands of the season and the challenges of the “tri-demic.”
Merry Christmas, and may God’s peace and the joy of Jesus’ birth fill your heart and home.
Setting 2023 to Life-Giving Rhythms
Saturday, January 7, 2023, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
$50, Lunch Provided
Poet Mary Oliver wrote, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” As we begin a new year, you are invited to bring your calendar and join Pastor Chamie for a half-day retreat where we will explore Christian rhythms of work and rest, of prayer and service. You will have time to ponder where and to what and to who God might be calling you in this next year.
Do you long to live a less busy and more full life? Do you want to intentionally make time for certain endeavors? How might organizing your calendar bring you closer to God? On retreat, you will have time for individual reflection as well as community time around the table.
Ascension’s New Member Class
Would you like to take another step in your spiritual journey with God and Ascension Lutheran Church? If so, we would like to invite you to be a part of our next New Member class on Sunday, January 22 from 12-2pm. This meeting will focus on the basics of the Christian faith and on the ministry of Ascension. Childcare is available and lunch will be provided.
Green Faith Creation Care Tip
Reducing your Carbon footprint
1. Try to use real dishes and utensils on your Christmas Table.
2. Remember, keep your Carbon Footprint to a minimum by shopping local, when you can, for locally sourced food. Consider buying extra for those in need.
3. After the party, proper disposal is a critical part of keeping your holiday festivities green. Even if you’ve kept waste to a minimum, you’ll still have stuff you need to get rid of. Before throwing everything in the trash, sort through what you have to reduce, reuse, recycle.
4.Save or freeze leftovers for future meals.
5. If you can, compost unwanted food in a backyard setting . In addition, you can send extra food home with guests or donate it to charitable organizations and food banks.
Support Ascension Lutheran School
We are dedicated to providing academic excellence through our Christ-centered teachings. Donate today and help support expenses for our continued success with our TK-6 program. Visit www.alschool.org/annualfund/ or contact Principal Rich Gregory at or 805.496.2419 for more info.
Thank you to those who contributed to our Blood Drive earlier this month. Some 30 pints of blood were collected – that will go to help up to 74 patients. Wonderful.
The holidays can be especially tough for those who grieve. Share with others who understand. GriefShare is meeting at 1 PM Thursdays in the chapel. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Brenda Heinrich at (805) 279-4235.
Thrivent Choice Dollars
Thrivent Members, remember: You can direct Choice Dollars to Ascension! If you have any questions about directing Choice Dollars or making a personal donation, contact the Thrivent call center at 1-800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” at the prompt.
Merry Christmas Ascension Community!
Thank You Ascension Community for another great year celebrating Fair Trade, its values and its mission promoting justice for people and our planet. We’ll be back in January with an opportunity to order delicious Fair Trade chocolate, coffee, tea and snacks – a great way to kick-off 2023! Until then, we wish everyone a very blessed and Merry Christmas. And Let’s Be Fair Out There!
Gifts of Hope
Thank You For Another Great Year!
Thank you to the 78 people/families who have contributed a total of $57,795.99 to this year’s Gifts of Hope projects (as of Dec. 8th). Gifts are welcome through the end of December. What’s important is not only total amount of gifts but also the total amount of people/families who contribute anything to one of our four projects:
(1) The StARS Refugee work in Cairo, Egypt, led by our ELCA missionaries. Here’s the annual StARS newsletter.
(2) Friends of Fieldworkers of Ventura County. We think the leader will be with us in the new year to give us an update on their ministries.
(3) Harbor House. We love their work and Denise’s leadership.
(4) ELCA World Hunger Appeal, God’s Global Barnyard. It’s under this last one that we’d like to see every family make a gift to help fight hunger, whether you can give $5 or $500. Every gift matters.
We’d love to see the number of Ascension contributors go from 78 people to 500 people!
Thanks for bringing hope this holy season to so many people in need in our community and around the world, in Jesus’ name!
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, Steve Herder, & Julie McCain