Saturday 6 PM

Sunday 9 and 10:30 AM

This Week At Ascension

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

February 11, 2024

Calling of the Apostles

There will be imposition of Ashes at both our 8:45  AM Chapel and 7 PM evening services Wednesday, February 14.

Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,

I have a friend who always likes to say: “It’s all about Jesus!” The thing is… my friend is right, it really is.

There is no place in the gospels that illustrate this simple point better than his transfiguration that occurs on a mountain top somewhere in the middle of his teaching ministry.

In this epic moment, Moses and Elijah show up, Jesus’ appearance is temporarily and stunningly changed, a smaller group of his disciples cower in fear, and we hear the voice of God say, “This is my beloved son; listen to Him!”

And the implications are nothing less than stunning. It really is all about Jesus.

Let’s talk more about this in worship this weekend!



Pastor Search

This space is dedicated to keep our church community apprised of the transition activities as we seek an Associate Pastor and a Youth Director.

We are guided by Jeremiah 29:11, leaning especially into “…to give you a future with hope…” knowing that God has a plan for One Ascension!

Thank you to all who participated in the Congregational meeting on Sunday. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance we are pleased to announce our Call Committee!

  • Crystal Bryant, mother of two children who are active in our Children’s Ministry program
  • Michael Feltner, former Finance Committee Chairperson for the Ascension congregation, Dean of Academic Initiatives and Professor of Sports Medicine at Pepperdine University
  • Hannah Hurdle, mother of two children at Ascension Early Childhood Center and Ascension Lutheran School, marketing professional
  • Tom Lindros, geologist and long-time worshipper at our 10:30 service
  • Scott Searway, father of two with experience in youth program, has led Men’s Ministry, insurance industry professional, Community Lay Director and Board Member of the Channel Islands Walk to Emmaus
  • Susie Smuck, chief people officer at her company, extensive HR experience, long-time member and leader at Ascension
  • Gwen Thompson, deep experience in worship at Ascension, has been the chair of the board of worship

They will begin work immediately! To recommend candidates, please submit their names to any of these individuals or email .


Be the Blessing is Here!

Last weekend we launched our Be the Blessing emphasis here at Ascension, with Ed Klodt’s message inviting everyone to think about the “Thin Spaces” where Heaven and Earth meet – often right where we lovingly serve God. The BtB initiative includes $60,000 that has been set aside as seed money, either for growing existing ministries or beginning new programs or ministries.

Here’s how it works:

First: identify a need for which you would like to request funds and enlist others in helping you fill that need if appropriate.

Then: fill out and submit the grant request. HERE IS A LINK to the Grant Request Form.

OR, if you would like to find an existing Ascension ministry that could benefit from your special talents or spiritual gifts:

First: To help you identify a ministry you might find rewarding, HERE’S a direct link to the ELCA’s online  spiritual gifts test.

If you prefer to download, print, and score the test yourself, HERE is the link to download and print the test.

Once you know your spiritual gift, CLICK HERE for our online tool for matching your spiritual gifts to existing Ascension ministries.

OR, if you already believe you have a pretty good idea of your spiritual gift and would like to go directly to choosing a ministry, HERE is a downloadable list of Ascension ministries and HERE is an online list with links to each ministry’s web page.

All of these elements and more details can be found at HERE at our BtB online headquarters.

Coming next week: Meet the members of the Be the Blessing Team. 


Midweek Lenten Services – 2024
The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is the most familiar of all the prayers we pray. It is part of virtually every gathering for worship, and when the service includes Holy Communion, it serves as a table prayer. Outside of the church setting, it is used in the meetings of virtually all recovery groups and in many other gatherings.

For this very reason, it is likely that we sometimes shift into rote mode, and the words cross our lips without our brains really being engaged. When this happens, we devalue this gift given to us by our Lord Jesus.

To help us toward a deeper understanding of this wonderful prayer, we will make it the basis for the sermons at our midweek Lenten services. These Wednesday evening services will begin at 7 PM on February 14 (Ash Wednesday), and they will continue each Wednesday through March 20. The order of service will be the beloved “Holden Evening Prayer.”

Please join us to sing God’s praises and to explore and to pray this foundational prayer of the Christian church.

Ash Wednesday Services

8:45 AM Chapel — 7 PM Evening Service

This coming Wednesday, February 14, Lent begins with a call to fasting and repentance as we begin our journey to Easter.  The sign of ashes placed on our foreheads suggests our human mortality and frailty.  What seems like an ending is really an invitation to make each day a new beginning, in which we are washed in God’s mercy and forgiveness.  Please join us for an Ash Wednesday service.

40 Days with Jesus

We are planning for a meeting and discussion forum with Ruth Rarick during Lent. The Chosen Companion Book, “40 Days with Jesus,” will be provided to people interested in this Lenten Study.  Please sign up HERE to get one.  

The Chosen Season 4, Episodes 4,5 & 6 will be at the Regal theater, Janss Marketplace, February 18th, at 2:45. If you are interested in going, please use this SignUp Genius.

All of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synods in Region 2 are challenging one another to raise money for ELCA World Hunger in honor of their 50th anniversary! The Synod with the most participants wins!

Lent is 40 days to reflect, remember our dependence on God and one another, and  look forward to the ways God calls us to be. When you sign up, select three practices you’ll be observing in Lent. A light-hearted challenge like this helps our synods be the Church together, and to see God’s vision & invitation for us to be a church for the world & share the good news of Jesus!

Let’s go Southwest California Synod ELCA (that’s us, Ascension!), Pacifica Synod ELCA, Grand Canyon Synod (ELCA), & Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCA! It’s on! 🎉
Sign up here.

Adult Ed

Join us in Adult Education for a series of thoughtful study and lively discussions devoted to CIVIC LIFE AND FAITH.  All Classes are held in the library, beginning at 10:30 AM 

Feb. 11 Session 3: Rev. Paul Gravrock,  “What Are Lutheran Views on Civic Life?”

Since our founding, Lutherans have sought to be both active followers of Christ and engaged members of the social and political communities in which we find ourselves. What does this mean for the challenges we face today in our search for the “common good?”

Feb. 18 Session 4: Rev. Ron Cox, “What Are the Objectives of Democracy in the United States?”

Feb.25 Session 5: Mr. Karsten Lundring, “What’s Faith-based Living Got to Do With Civic Life?”

March 3 Session 6: Rev. Steve Herder, “How Do We Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord in Civic Life?”

The curriculum for Jan. 28-March 3 can be downloaded HERE.

Printed copies will also be available for each session.

Thank You to Get the Blessing. Be the Blessing!

Ascension’s Fair Trade Ministry shares this note of thanks and gratitude for the grant of funds through Ascension’s Be The Blessing opportunity.  

With this gift, we connected with the Mt Meru Coffee Project (MMCP), an amazing partnership of Faith and Fair Trade with coffee farmers in Tanzania, the Meru Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and the ELCA’s Greater Milwaukee Synod. 

With the funds granted, we purchased Mt Meru Coffee Project Fair Trade Coffee for the Ascension Community to enjoy during hospitality time and a scholarship for training for a Fair Trade coffee farmer in the Meru Region of Tanzania.  

The grant enabled our Ascension Community to begin a relationship with everyone involved in the Mt Meru Coffee Project. MMCP leaders shared with the Ascension Community their wonderful story in a very special Adult Ed class on January 21.   For those who missed the class, the MMCP presentation can be found on Ascension’s Fair Trade webpage, alcto.org/fair-trade .  

We learned about the big impact this special faith-based Fair Trade partnership has on the lives of the farming families and their communities. We look forward to connecting with others and learning more as an MMCP Ambassador. We’ve added Mt Meru Coffee to Fair Trade Lane and it is available for ordering, purchase and enjoying now.  (Fair Trade Lane is open Sunday, February 11, 8-9 AM and 10-10:30 AM.) Join us in growing this special relationship and sharing updates along the way. Even if you don’t enjoy coffee, maybe you would like to help us in our participation as an MMCP Ambassador? 

Asante Sana

(“Thank You Very Much” in Swahili)

Find Your Favorites on Fair Trade Lane! 

Fair Trade Lane will be open Sunday, February 11th (8-9 AM) & (10-10:30 AM). (Fair Trade Lane is closed during 9 AM worship and Adult Ed Class).  We’ll have Valentine stickers to add to Fair Trade treats and Valentine paper cut-outs to make Valentine cards – everyone is invited to make a Valentine we can display on Fair Trade Lane.   

In addition to our regular line-up of your Fair Trade favorites, we have Red Barn Family Farms Fair Trade Cheddar Cheese from Wisconsin and Mt Meru Coffee Project Fair Trade Coffee from Tanzania available for purchase. 

We Look Forward to Meeting & Greeting You on Fair Trade Lane!

Wenneses Honored

Last week, the ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering in Houston honored Mary Wennes, remembered Howie, and thanked Tim and Stefanie Wennes for the endowment fund that Tim and Stefanie started to help fund this every-18-month event for hunger leaders from across the 65 synods of our ELCA. Blessed to be a blessing! (From Pastor Steve)

Watch the video HERE.

World Hunger Gathering 2024 Attendees
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World Hunger Leaders Meet

Mary Wennes, Pastor Steve, Cal Lutheran students Angela and Freya, and Cal Lutheran staff member Dulce were attendees from Thousand Oaks at last week’s ELCA World Hunger Leaders Gathering in Houston. Pastor Steve reports:

“It was an excellent time of learning, worship, and fellowship with 150 leaders from fifty of our sixty-five ELCA synods. We were happy to represent our Southwest California Synod. We were impressed with the leadership of our ELCA staff. Our group will be presenting our experiences at the Global Ministries Team meeting in March. You are welcome! More details to come.”

Offerings & Attendance

Coming February 18

Manuel Rosales, organ builder, will give us the details on the build-out, sourcing and installation of the Disney Concert Hall Organ, after which a short film will be viewed.

Christoph Bull will share his firsthand impression of performing on this remarkable organ. Jennifer Zobelein was the executive producer of Christoph’s album, “First & Grand.” It is the very first album recorded on this instrument. He will honor Jennifer’s memory with a short program on Ascension’s organ.

Update From Our Missionary in Zambia, Rev. Kristin Engstrom

It is rainy season here in Zambia.  Even though the rains came a month late and seem to have paused for a couple weeks, it is still green or emerald season, as it is called here in Zambia.  We hope that the rains will start again and continue for at least another month, so that the farmer’s crops will keep growing and we will all have food to eat.

I am happy to share with you my February 2024 Newsletter attached to this email.  You’ll find news about a Reformation visit and celebration in the Copperbelt District of north-central Zambia as well as a young adult climate advocacy and education project (the first young adult project of its kind in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia!).

Finally, please keep the people of Zambia and especially here in the capital of Lusaka in your prayers.  We are in the midst of a cholera outbreak.  This can happen easily during rainy season, when the sewers overflow and drains are clogged, but it is especially bad this year.  The practices put in place during COVID are helping us as well, as we wash our hands whenever we move into a new space or greet people.  Churches are also doing deep cleaning before worship and limiting worship time.

May you all know and trust that God is with you, and with all our siblings around the world. Mulungu, a ku daliseni. 

Rev. Kristin Engstrom

























Events This Weekend:




How do Christians Address Controversial Civic Issues? – Pastor Paul Gravrock leads this Adult Ed. class beginning at 10:30 AM Sunday in the Library.

Ascension Goes to the Movies for ‘The Chosen’ Lenten Study – Regal Theater at Janss Marketplace, for episodes 1,2 and 3 of the new fourth season. 3 PM movie start. Free ticket opportunity.

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New Pantry Shelves Await Filling

From Community Concerns Chief Chris Daleiden:

The ALCTO Food Pantry received a beautiful gift … more shelves! We are so grateful. Now with a few blessings we will fill them up. Thank you Bob Tokin for all that you do every week for the pantry! Also thank you Jeff and Cam for these wonderful additions to the food pantry!

Don’t forget our Food Drive is coming up Feb. 25! (See flyer this page.)

Bring Cookies for Lenten Fellowship

As hard as it is to believe, the season of Lent is almost here. We need people to donate cookies for our fellowship time after 7 PM Wednesday Evening services. The dates are Feb. 14 (Ash Wednesday), Feb. 21, Feb. 28, March 6, March 13, March 20. Call Dolores Ledbetter if you can donate cookies for one of the dates: (805) 716-3045 or (805) 750-7646.

Thank you!

February is Black History Month

Do You Know About Voter Suppression?

From Louise Evenson: At the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL, there was a small room that had several jars of jelly beans on a counter.  In front of the jars of jelly beans were tablets of Voter Registration Questionnaires that were used in Alabama to determine if a person could vote.  I’ve attached a sample questionnaire, HERE. 

The 1901 Alabama State Constitution included a literacy test, a poll tax and other barriers that disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites.  More than 180,000 black Alabamians were eligible to vote in 1900. After ratification of the new state constitution, only 2980 were able to become registered voters.

In this clip, Eyewitness News’ David Ono looks at some of the ways minority votes have been suppressed in the U.S.

Youth Director Wanted

Ascension is now accepting applications for a new Youth Director. If you or someone you know has the heart for this ministry, please check out the details. And everyone, please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us. Here is more information on this career opportunity.


Our local chapter of the African Descent Lutheran Association (ADLA) is co-hosting its second Black History Celebration with Cal Lutheran — with special worship services and lectures throughout February. You can see the full schedule of events by clicking HERE.

Image of baby blankets and baby. Text Knitters and crocheters step up. we need baby blankets. Contact the office

Career Opportunity

Ascension’s Early Childhood Center is looking for substitutes to join our amazing team. A minimum of 12 Early Childhood Education units are required. Interested? Please contact ECC Director Jenni McCoy at

Communion Assistants

Would you like to help distribute communion during worship services? You could be of great help volunteering on Sundays. If you already know how to do this, great. If you don’t, our worship coordinator, Jenelle Smith (), can teach you. 


If you or someone you know could benefit from the caring, understanding and fellowship of our GriefShare support group, please consider joining, Thursdays at 1 PM. Here you will find complete information.

Don’t have a New Year’s Resolution but Want to Follow God’s Will this Year?

You’re invited to:

Praying through the Psalms 2024

Weekly Study and Prayer Meetups (led by Dianne Beck)

What this is:  A way to surrender our year to God and His will by reading, meditating on, and lifting our prayers to Him as we read and pray the Psalms, also known as Jesus’s prayer book. We essentially will be following what Paul tells us to do in Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

How we will do this:  Each week will have a suggested list of Psalms to read, based on a schedule found in Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. While it may be helpful to have a copy of this book, it isn’t necessary, as I will guide us through how to follow the schedule and pray through the Psalms on the first week we meet. I will have a written summary of how to do this available as well for those who can’t make it in person.


Wednesday, February 14 -5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray

Wednesday, February 21- 5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray

Wednesday, February 28 – 5:15-6:15 Meet and Pray

If there’s enough interest, we can continue through future weeks as well. 

Materials Needed:  A Bible and a journal/notebook to record your thoughts and prayers each week. 

Questions and RSVPs: Contact Dianne Beck –

In Case You Missed It…

In Need of Prayer

Click here for this week’s Prayer List


This Week:

2 Kings 2:1-12
Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Mark 9:2-9

Next Week

Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15


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
Feb 15 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

March: The Mountains Sing
by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

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 and Steve Herder


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