Worship:

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 18, 2024

Calling of the Apostles

Baptism of Christ by Fra Angelico, 1395-1455, The Yorck Project

Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,

Welcome to the season of Lent. 

We began last night by putting ashes on our forehead and remembering that “we are dust and to dust we shall return.”  And now we begin our journey to the cross.  I know, it sounds dismal, maybe even depressing. 

But this is such a wonderfully rich time for our faith. Confession and forgiveness for example. Who wants to admit we mess up?  It can be embarrassing, humiliating, even shameful.  But not in the light of God’s grace.

Instead, it is liberating, joyful, and empowering.  That’s where this journey called Lent leads.  New life. 

This weekend we will be reflecting on Jesus’ words “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near” and focusing on a wonderful tool called “confession and forgiveness” that we need to avail ourselves of in this season.  I look forward to seeing you!    

Blessings,

  

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!

The Call Committee had their first meeting this week and are looking forward to engaging in the process to identify our next Associate Pastor!  (CLICK HERE to see the committee members.)

Next week, we will have more updates.

In the meantime, please continue your prayer support. Pray that the Holy Spirit be on our congregation, our leaders, and this process!

Meet Our Be the Blessing Team

Be the Blessing is live! Thank you to all who braved a very rainy weekend during our worship services on February 3 and 4 to help launch this innovative new endeavor at Ascension.

Be the Blessing is a congregation- and school-wide program aimed at activating all of us into ministry, especially new ministries. We’ve set aside substantial funds to start up new ministries and expand current ones, tapping into needs in our local community and around the world.

The idea behind the program is to make it quick and easy for members to start new ministries – even if they involve one-time activities.

What ministry do YOU want to start up or expand?

Accessing the funds is super easy:

  1. Determine what service project or ministry you want to start and enlist others at Ascension to be part of it.
  2. Fill out the simple Grant Application Form to obtain funding.
  3. Go out and do it.
  4. Fill out the Feedback Form  to tell us how it went and send us some photos or video of what you did. (Note: You will need to sign in to your Google account to access this form.)

You can find all these elements on our Be the Blessing Web Pages and more info HERE.

Don’t forget to check out the Spiritual Gifts Assessment  to see what type of ministry you’re best gifted for.

Behind the scenes, the Be the Blessing Team is reviewing and approving requests that will activate each of us into ministry.

Let’s meet the BtheB team members . . . 

Dave Harkins has been an Ascension member for almost 30 years. He is currently Ascension’s Treasurer and served four years on the School Board as Treasurer.  He has been active with the Gifts of Hope annual campaign for the last 12 years and has worked with the Matthew 25:35 Outreach team. Dave has also been involved in volunteer activities in the community outside Ascension, including the Conejo Senior Volunteer Advisory Committee and as a tax preparer at the Conejo Senior Center. 

Tim Hillman is a lifelong member of Ascension, having been baptized and confirmed here. He has also helped teach our confirmation classes. Tim studied criminology, religion and ecology at California Lutheran University and is currently a Park Ranger with Conejo Open Spaces. He’s passionate about activating people into service through Be the Blessing.

Ed Klodt and his family have been Ascension members for more than 35 years. He has served in a multitude of ministries and committees. Ed is currently Immediate Past President of Ascension’s Church Council and heads up the Be the Blessing Team.

Stephanie Pagano on the team provides a vital link to our Early Childhood Center and School. She is in her third year teaching at Ascension Lutheran School, and she currently teaches our fourth graders. Stephanie has integrated many service projects into her classroom curriculum, ranging from ministering to the disadvantaged in our community and even coordinating having children singing Christmas carols for low-mobility seniors.

Kathleen Rudrud is another longtime Ascension member, having held key roles at Ascension for more than 45 years. She has served on Church Council, Ascension’s School Board, the Global Ministries Team, small group leadership and many other ministries. Service – and activating others to service – has been a key goal in her work at Ascension.

 

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.

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.

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. 18 Session 4: Rev. Ron Cox, “What Are the Objectives of Democracy in the United States?”  Probably the most famous Luther question is “was ist das”? What does this mean – to you? It is the same question Jesus asks the lawyer in Luke 10:26 “How do you read the Law?” What does this mean – to you? This week we will look at the objectives of democracy in the US by asking two questions. What does democracy mean – to you? What does separation of church and state mean – to you?

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.

Memorial Service

Bill Munn

Saturday, February 17, 1:30 PM

Reception to follow

Coming This Sunday!

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.

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New School Site Has Ascension Swag

Check out our new school website HERE! 

This lively new site is as easy to use as it is great to look at. This is the work of Ashley McCoy, owner and operator of Start Here Marketing in College Station, Texas. In addition to doing brilliant work, she also happens to be the daughter of our Early Childhood Center Director, Jenni McCoy.

Do not miss out on the school’s swag shop. You, too, can order clothing and other goodies proudly emblazoned Ascension. 

Let’s go!

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.  

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.  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)

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. 21, Feb. 28, March 6, March 13, March 20. Call Travis Dolores Ledbetter if you can donate cookies for one of the dates: (805) 716-3045 or (805) 750-7646.

Thank you!

Offerings & Attendance

“You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders.  And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself.  If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders.  It’s the quid pro quo of life.  We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.” Vernon Jordan

ADLA CELEBRATION

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.

The March on Washington, August 28, 1963

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

The non-violent March on Washington, August 28, 1963, gathered 250,000 people on the National Mall rallying to end segregation and to advocate for fair wages and economic justice, voting rights, education, and civil rights protections.  The march ended on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, overlooking the Washington Monument.  

In this week of celebrating former presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, here is the famous speech, including subtitles, of Martin Luther King, Jr.  from that day.  

I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King Jr. HD (subtitled) (youtube.com)

In addition to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I HAVE A DREAM speech, musicians performing included Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Joan Baez, and Mahalia Jackson.

The outcome on the March on Washington led to the federal civil rights bill that was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Joan Baez performs “We Shall Overcome” at the March on Washington. (youtube.com)

RUSTIN, a 2023 drama/documentary about the planning of the March on Washington is available on Netflix.  

FRIENDS SHARE BOOKS, ART, SNACKS

 
Good books need an awesome and inspiring bookmark. Young readers need a special book to hold little treasures. And there’s always time for Arts & Crafts & Snacks.

Tuesday night, Kim, Mia and Carol made lots of new friends at the Friends of Fieldworkers Laundry Love event in Oxnard. We thank the Friends of Fieldworkers for inviting us to join them. Thank you Ascension’s Early Childhood Center for the idea to collect and share gently used books with young children whose families work in the fields in Ventura County.

Friends of Fieldworkers was a Gifts of Hope focus last year.

Thank you to all who added books to the collection. Thank you Shannon, Jenni, and Kim for your gifts of art and tasty snacks. We shared lots of books, stickers and smiles with more than 20 children who came to our tables while other family members were busy doing the laundry.

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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.

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.

In Case You Missed It…

In Need of Prayer

Click here for this week’s Prayer List

Pericopes

This Week:

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

 

Next Week

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

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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