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This Week At Ascension

Called to create opportunities for all people to become devoted followers of Christ

December 3, 2023

First Sunday In Advent

Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,

Reading apocalyptic literature is a common feature of Advent and Mark 13: 24-37, our gospel reading for this weekend, is a good example of it. With its heavy images though, it can be kind of scary and off-putting.

Christians in the past have often either overreacted to it or simply dismissed it. But the important point of apocalyptic literature is that we are being given a picture of the true nature of things. So often, we get caught up in the busyness or the routine of our lives and we forget what is “really real.”

Understanding passages like Mark 13 brings us back to the truth and reminds us who we are and whose we are.

Let’s talk more about this in Church this weekend. See you there!

Blessings,

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE

Dear family in Christ,

 
Earlier this week Pastor Julie shared her intentions to leave Ascension and take some Sabbath time to “dream and pray and listen deeply” to the call of the Holy Spirit in her life.

All of us are grateful to Pastor Julie for her more than five years as a member of our pastoral team, and we are excited about what God may have in store for her and for One Ascension going forward. In the meantime, stay tuned for information on a time in December in which we’ll thank and acknowledge Pastor Julie for her ministry at Ascension.

This news comes as we continue to embrace our emphasis on Get the Blessing / Be the Blessing at Ascension and our commitment to a vibrant Children, Youth and Family program. Ascension’s leadership team will be hard at work to determine how best to fill Pastor Julie’s role, with an eye toward building on our successes at our Church, ECC/Day School and Foundation.

During this reflective Advent season, we ask that you join us in prayer that we would be receptive to the plans God has for One Ascension. As always, we trust that the Holy Spirit is up to something exciting.

Blessed to be on the journey with you,

 Adult Education for December 3:

The History and Origins of Christmas 

Dec. 3, Lisa Buono, Founding Dean of the School for Professional and Continuing Studies at Cal Lutheran, will introduce us to a two-part online lecture series that we will be viewing during the month of December.  Dr. Buono will include information about how to sign up for this lecture as well as other interesting learning opportunities.  After that initial introduction, participants are urged to view the sessions at their convenience from their own home computer. 

Lecture Description:
Ostensibly, Christmas is celebrated annually as the birth of Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus was likely born in the spring, not the winter, considering that the Christian Scriptures describe shepherds pasturing their flocks at the time. So, where, then, does Christmas originate? And how did it come to be connected with Christianity and Jesus? Additionally, from where did so many of these Christmas traditions develop? This two-part lecture will consider the historical basis of the Christmas holiday and how it developed over time.

Taught by Jason Hensley, PhD, through California Lutheran University’s Lifelong Learning Fifty and Better Series.

Register HERE. 

Advent Preaching Series:

The 4 “BEs” of Advent: Be ready. Be baptized. Be still. Behold.

Our Advent preaching series is based on our four gospel readings throughout Advent. The primary theme of the whole series is the hope (active and expectant waiting) in which the church is called to engage in the season of Advent.

If we are going to follow Christ and “seek first His kingdom” at all times, then we are called to carry the light of hope inside us during this particularly distracting time of the year.

Throughout the shopping, the travel, the shorter and darker days, the melancholy that comes to those who grieve, the commercial noise, the temptations to indulge, the busyness, the stress of getting ready, etc., can we keep watch for what God is up to?

As we go so focused on our own lives, can we open our eyes to see the life that Christ is calling us to? Can we: Be ready? Be baptized? Be still? And behold Christ coming into our world? 

Join us for Lefse Making December 1 and 2

Once again we will be making lefse, the much loved traditional Norwegian flatbread, on Friday, December 1 from 5 pm – 8 pm and again on Saturday, December 2 from 10 am – 2 pm, and then selling it on Sunday, December 3 at church and Hanging of the Green. 

All proceeds will go to the high school youth group, and any middle schoolers who help can also earn money to go toward their high school youth accounts. 

If you come on Friday, please bring a potato peeler if you have one. Any help you can provide is much appreciated! Please contact Jenni Klemp at (310) 849-5651 or through email at .

Fun In The Snow!

Carols and Hanging Of The Green!

And So Much More! CLICK HERE FOR THE

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. To RSVP or with questions, please call the church office at (805) 495-0406 or email .

 

A Dozen Years of Online Goodness

November 25th marked the 12-year anniversary of the Ascension Lutheran Church Facebook page’s launch.  Since then, it has grown to include 2,200 followers. We use the social media platform as an outreach ministry to share:

Daily Bible passages and prayers;

Weekly livestreamed worship services;

Encouragement to build faith in our Triune God (thinking of Deut. 6:4-9, Matthew 28:16-20 and Acts 1:8);

Opportunities for ministry, service, and advocacy;

Celebrating and remembering milestones in people’s lives;

Good faith stories from others, including many from our ELCA and our LWF;

Monday devotions, Wednesday wisdom, and Throwback Thursday;

Ways to be the voice, hands and feet of Jesus in our community and in our world. (Thinking of Isaiah 49:6, Matthew 5:16, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 4:18-19, First Cor. 12-13, and Galatians 2:10.)

Just as Martin Luther used the media of his day to spread the word, so we do today. 

You too can spread the word (and bring encouragement) as you like, share, or comment on our posts or other Christian ministry posts. 

What comments or suggestions do you have as we continue to pray and grow this ministry for the next 12 years?

Simple Greetings Offer Hope

Ascension, with congregations near Chicago and in Baltimore, will serve as Regional Partner Hubs with LIRS for the ministry “Hope for the Holidays,” one that we participated in last year with letter-writing and Christmas greetings to children and families in immigrant detention centers.

Our job as a Hub is to do four things: Receive the cards; Screen the cards (no envelopes, check messages); Repackage the cards (in packs of 50); Send the cards (to one of the area immigration detention centers).

Last year Ascension processed about 3,000 cards.

The deadline for us to send the cards to the centers is Dec. 12.

If you’d like to help sort and send the cards, we are meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, from 6:00 to 8:00pm in Founders Hall!

If you’d like to write some cards, instructions are given at Hope for the Holidays .

Simply drop them off at the church office, without envelopes, by Dec. 10. Use only your first name and no address.

Thank you for helping us spread the good word about this outstanding ministry to bring hope and joy, in Jesus’ name, to the children and families in our country’s immigrant detention centers.

And Thank You for your prayers and participation. — Pastor Steve and your Global Ministries Team

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service 

Online giving page.

 

Compassionate Friends 2023 Service

Ascension will once again host the Ventura County chapter of Compassionate Friends  candlelight memorial event this year, December 10 at 7 PM. This interfaith service coincides with the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting, an event that “unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and grandchildren who left too soon,” as it’s stated in the Compassionate Friends’ announcement.

Please pray for all those involved in this deeply meaningful service – and all those grieving the deaths of children.

Climate Justice Class

Do you feel a call of the Spirit to do something about climate justice? The Center for Climate Justice and Faith at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) is offering an interactive online course, Community Organizing and Climate Justice, February 7- May 9. Applications are due by December 15. Taught by a team of three seasoned community organizers, the class offers practical tools to implement team-based climate resiliency projects in communities. According to organizers, it’s “a good fit for community leaders who wish to equip themselves better for climate justice work, staff, leaders, or board members from faith-based organizations, recent seminary graduates, and faith leaders/representatives of congregations.” Find out more/apply CLICK HERE.

Fair Trade Your Holidays!

We’ve got lots of opportunities to help everyone celebrate the holidays the Fair Trade way…

If shopping from the comfort of home (while enjoying a cup of Fair Trade hot cocoa or tea), you can order your favorite Fair Trade coffee, tea, snacks and chocolate in its many wonderful forms from us until Wednesday December 6.

The December Order Form will be posted to our Fair Trade webpage. You can also find it by clicking on this link. Paper copies are available in the Church Office & in the folder at the Information Desk In the Narthex.   We invite you to check out the beautiful Fair Trade handcrafts available from our friends at SERRV and Ten Thousand Villages.

If you enjoy finding your favorites on the shelves yourself, join us on Fair Trade Lane. We’re happy to help you fill your pantry for holiday baking, celebrating & gift-giving. Fair Trade Lane will be open Thursday, December 7 (2:30 -4 PM) and Sunday, December 11 (10-11:30AM). The shelves are filled with delicious Fair Trade products to enjoy with family and friends.  Something new this year – some gift baskets all wrapped & ready to give to family and friends. The gift baskets include an assortment of Fair Trade products and a special little surprise. 

Supporting Families. Growing Futures. Changing Lives.

“We grow coffee. You drink coffee.”

Imagine this: A coffee farmer meets a Lutheran pastor from Wisconsin on the slopes of Mount Meru in Tanzania. The coffee farmer has 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 is available for purchase through Ascension’s Gifts of Hope and Fair Trade Ministries.  We’ll be tasting it on the patio. And we’ll connect with leaders of the Mt Meru Coffee Project in an Adult Ed Class in January.   

Gifts of Hope Continues

Thank you, Ascension! We are close to $50,000 for this year’s Gifts of Hope so far! This is a lot of help for Friends of Fieldworkers, Harbor House, the widows of Meru, Tanzania, and God’s Global Barnyard (ELCA World Hunger).

There will be a Gifts of Hope table in the west narthex where donations will be received on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 10-10:30 AM. On Dec. 10, Gifts of Hope donations may be dropped off at Fair Trade Lane after the 9 AM worship service. Dec. 17, the GOH table will again be available, accepting donations in the west narthex. 
 

A Note to Gifts of Hope Future Online Contributors

 
If you have a list of itemized gifts you plan to give: first, THANK YOU!

There is room to make a short notation on the Gifts of Hope giving page to write in where you would like your donations to go (e.g. 4 Bibles, 1 Piglet, etc.). You do have to write it in, though.

Another option would be to pay online (total amount due) and then fill out one of the forms we have available (in the office, in the narthex or as a downloadable form ), and turn it in. We have had plenty of people do this. Some have paid via stock and turned the form in.

Another option would be to send an email (to Diane at ) as to where your donation should go and she will clip it to your offering when it comes in.

Hooray for our Middle School!

Offerings & Attendance

Pericopes

This Week:

Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

 

Next Week:

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

Click Links for information:

Substitute Teacher Position Available

Instructional Assistant Position Available

 Part-time Extended Care Aide – Contact School Office

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.

Upcoming books
Dec 14 Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan
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.

Our Prayer

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

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Ascension Lutheran’s 2023

Let’s Celebrate Christ’s Birth Together

Ascension will have five services on Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24, beginning at 3 PM and continuing every two hours through 11 PM. (Please note: there is no regular morning service this day.) Special family services will be held at 3 and 5 PM. 

Traditional services are scheduled for 7 and 9 PM, while a candlelight communion service will be held at 11 PM.

 On Christmas Day, come join us for Christmas Morning Worship with Holy Communion at 9:30 AM.

Family Snow Fun & Hanging of the Green

    Don’t miss out on one of our most cherished new and old traditions! On Sunday, Dec. 3, there’ll be snow play fun in our parking lot from 4-5 PM. We’ll be having s’mores by the fire pits, food truck fare, and our youth will be serving lefse, hot off the grill, with a selection of toppings! 

     At 5 PM, we’ll head into the sanctuary for lighting of the Christmas Tree and carols. Families with kids who might wish to head home after the first 15 minutes are welcome to do so, while the rest of us enjoy beloved Christmas music together until 6 PM. 

     All are welcome! Bring your friends for the fun!

Carolers, Let’s Bring Cheer!

Bring some joy to those unable to come to worship this season! Meet at the bus in the big parking lot.  3-5, Dec. 17

Carry the Light of Hope this Advent

THOUSAND OAKS — How are you preparing for the coming of the Holy Child this year? Pastor Tim Delkeskamp will be preaching on the 4 “BEs” of Advent: Be Ready, Be Baptized. Be Still. Behold. Find out more about being called to carry the light of hope! And please join us as often as you can for a wide range of events this Advent season, each honoring the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

December 1 & 2 – (5-8 PM Friday and 10 AM-2 PM Saturday) Lefse making

December 2 & 3 – (9-11 AM Saturday, 10:30 AM Sunday until completion) Hanging of the Green Prep

December 3 (Sunday)Advent begins; 4-5 PM Family Fun Snow Time; 5-5:15 PM, Lighting of the Tree and Carols; 5:15-6 PM Hanging of the Green 

December 6 (Wednesday) – 7 PM Taize Advent service

December 9 (Saturday) – 6 PM Worship Service with Ka Mele Wai ‘O Ke Anuenue dancers, and afterwards, a special dance in Founders Hall, with “Aloha Santa”

December 10 (Sunday) – 7 PM Compassionate Friends memorial service

December 13 (Wednesday) – 7 PM Taize Advent service

December 15 (Friday) – 6 PM School Christmas Program, “Glorious Night”

December 16 (Saturday) – 6 PM Cowboy Christmas Worship Service 

December 17 (Sunday) 3-5 PM Caroling (Meet at the bus in the big parking lot!)

December 18 (Monday) – 9 AM Bumblebees Christmas Program

December 19 (Tuesday) – 9 AM Honeybees & Ladybugs Program

December 20 (Wednesday) – 9:30 AM Threes & Fours Program; Early dismissal, school Christmas break begins; Taize Advent service, 7 PM

December 24 (Sunday, Christmas Eve) – Christmas Eve services, 3 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM, 9 PM, 11 PM with Holy Communion

December 25 (Monday, Christmas Day) – Christmas morning service with Holy Communion 9:30 AM

Don’t Miss Our School Christmas Program!

Dec. 15 at 6 PM

SPECIAL SATURDAY NIGHT SERVICES:

Hawaiian Dance 

The Ka Mele Wai ‘O Ke Anuenue dance group returns to add a beautiful dimension to Saturday night worship. (Nancy Lee is a member.)  After the service, there will be a special dance in Founders Hall, complete with “Aloha Santa.” Dec. 9 at 6 PM

 

Cowboy Christmas

If you’ve been to one of these services before, you know how special cowboy Christmas worship can be. There’s music and surprises from Country Spirit & friends that’ll make you feel like you’re out under a blanket of stars by a campfire, feeling mighty close to God. Wear your Western clothes if you like. Afterward, enjoy Nancy Lee’s legendary Dutch oven cobbler.  Use this QR code or visit our ALCTO.org signups page to sign up for cobbler. Dec. 16 at 6 PM

TAIZÉ ADVENT SERVICES

WEDNESDAY EVENING TAIZE SERVICES

A time to refocus on the real reason for the season, Wednesday Evening Taize services are being held at Ascension through Advent. 

Taize services center on distinctive and repeated prayer chants, usually lines from the Psalms or other pieces of scripture, repeated or sung in canon. The repetition is designed to help meditation and prayer.   

Dec. 6, 13 and 20, in the Sanctuary – all at 7:00 PM

Poinsettia Dedications

Would you like to dedicate a poinsettia plant for the sanctuary in honor of, or in memory of family members or other loved ones? Please use a flower envelope from the pew rack and write what you want to say. Place in offering box or return to office by Dec. 17.

Dedications will be published online and in print. Donations are $10 this year.

Get Inspired with Our Advent Devotional

Thank you, Dan Lareva, for 20 years this year of shepherding the creation of our annual Ascension Advent Devotional! 

Each year, members and the pastors of our congregation volunteer to write a devotional for the Advent season, and students from our school provide artwork. The booklet, which is a project of our Library Committee under Dan’s direction, is a wonderful vehicle for spending a little time each day thinking about Jesus and what His birth means. There will be printed copies available soon in the Narthex. You’ll also be able to find the writings on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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