The Healing of the Blind Man Spanish first half 12th century (possibly 1129–34)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Friends in Christ,
As Jesus calls us into deeper relationship with him this Lent, our text for this week does the same. We hear a comical story of Jesus healing a blind man (read it in John 9), and how no one quite gets it.
Everyone is blind to what Jesus is up to.
We can be that way, too.
In preparation for this weekend, I invite you to ask yourself the questions: “Where am I being short-sighted? Where do I need Jesus to help me see more clearly?”
I’m looking forward to pondering that question more deeply together in this weekend’s worship.
Holden Evening Prayer Services
This Lenten season, Holden Evening Prayer services will be held Wednesday evenings at 7 PM (March 22 and 29). Sharing this beloved service, with its responsive musical litany, is a perfect chance to reflect and appreciate Jesus’ life and love for us. Invite friends. HERE is a sample from the past. Following the services, there will be fellowship time with cookies.
Coming up in Adult Ed:
Leaving A Legacy For Those You Love
Our Ascension Lutheran Church Foundation guest speaker will be Lisa Marie Higginbotham, the regional representative of the ELCA Foundation. Lisa will lead us in two classes at 10:10 AM, Founders Hall:
Sunday March 19: An introduction to stewardship using a small book by Charles Lane, entitled Reflections on Faith and Finances.
Sunday March 26: An overview of the ELCA Foundation services available to us as individuals.
A copy of Reflections on Faith and Finances is available as a gift of our ALC Foundation for you to read prior to Lisa’s presentation on March 19. Please contact the church office, or Paul Evenson (; 925-324-4476) to receive your copy in preparation for Lisa’s presentation.
Another Lenten Resource
Pastor Chamie’s blog — on her new Pastorchamie.com website — offers stories to share and thoughtful reflections as the season unfolds.
Check it out HERE.
In Need Of Prayer
A Memorable Lent, Looking Forward to Easter
Easter is April 9, and plans are in the works for special services and activities (see Help Wanted note on this page). It’s a great time to invite friends and relatives to join us in experiencing the joy of Easter at Ascension.
This Lenten season has been filled with meaningful events — Holden Evening Prayer services, Lenten classes, a Full Moon Hike, a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day service, Project Response, Youth Broom Hockey and Bonfire, and more. And there’s more to come, as we continue to share our One Ascension Lenten Calendar activities.
There are so many thoughtful activities ahead on our shared Lenten calendar. In case you missed it, HERE is Pastor Tim’s letter about our awesome calendar.
Be sure to pick up your print copy at worship services or in the office.
And mark your calendars for Holy Week services as well:
April 1: Evening Service Observing Palm Sunday with Country Spirit, 6 PM
April 2: Palm Sunday Traditional Service 9 AM, Contemporary 11 AM
April 6: Maundy Thursday Chapel, 9 AM, Maundy Thursday Evening Service 7 PM
April 7: Good Friday Chapel, 11:15 AM, Good Friday Evening Service, 7 PM
Give an Easter Lily for Remembrance
Majestic Easter lilies beautify our sanctuary each year—and you are invited to donate one or more in honor or remembrance of someone special to you. You can purchase an Easter lily by filling out the flower envelope in the pew rack and enclosing $9 for each lily ordered. Or by emailing and sending $9 by check or online giving page under Other.
The Library Committee is getting ready for Lent. Once again, we will need cookies each week for the fellowship time in Founders Hall after the Wednesday Service. The remaining dates this year are March 22 and March 29.
If you want to provide cookies for any of these dates, call Dolores Ledbetter at (805) 716-3045 or (805) 750-7646.
Ascension School Outdoor Classroom/Garden Work Day
Saturday, March 25, 9:00 to 11:00 AM
Come help us spruce up the outdoor learning areas around the bungalow (where the Nature Lab and Makerspace are located) as well as our garden boxes. You might also be watering and fertilizing our tomato plants for our annual sale. We appreciate the help!
Get Up to Speed on Chat GPT/AI
You’ve no doubt heard this talked about and seen it written about: Chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence are everywhere. Will this be the biggest bombshell in our technological culture since the advent of the smartphone or the internet? Many think it will be.
Knowledge is power, and the more we learn about what to expect, the better prepared we will be. Fortunately, our wonderful school is on top of this, and has an event coming up to which all One Ascension family and friends are invited: Thursday, March 30 at 6 PM in Pederson Hall (aka the gym), our School Board President, Scott Bean, will present information on Chat GPT.
Here is some information about Scott from Ascension Lutheran School Principal Rich Gregory:
Scott Bean is Executive Director of Enterprise Engineering and Analytics at Amgen, reporting to the CIO. The EEA team provides analytics, software engineering, and data management services to support Amgen’s mission to unlock the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses. EEA partners with internal business and information systems teams to build novel business insight solutions using common enterprise platforms such as visualization, search, natural language processing, big data, data quality, data integration, Enterprise Data Lake, and Dev/Ops. A graduate of California Lutheran University, Scott has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and IT executive. He has been at Amgen since 2002 building teams and delivering systems in enterprise business intelligence, analytics and data discovery services, and knowledge management. In his free time, Scott is a woodworker, traveler, and gadget guy.
He has done extensive research on open AI, including Chat GPT and the likely effects it will have on our culture.
For those who want to get up to speed on the impact AI is expected to have on our society, including our children’s education, this is a must attend event.
Sunrise Service Help Needed
Easter is coming, and we are so excited to celebrate this year by helping at the Sunrise service and also with making and serving breakfast! If you’re interested in helping, we would love all the help we can get, and of course we’d love for you to spread the word about the service and the breakfast too!
For the Sunrise service, we would love help with music (singing or playing instruments), serving communion, and greeting. For breakfast, we need lots of helpers for the day-before prep as well as cooking, serving, and cleanup on Easter morning.
Currently on the menu are pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit, orange juice, coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. We’re planning to charge $10 for adults and $5 for a child’s plate. All funds raised will go towards the youth expenses for our July summer trip to Luther Glen.
Breakfast will be served from 8:00-11:00 in Pederson Hall, so you can either come after the garden Sunrise Service or come before the 9:00 and 11:00 services that are held in the sanctuary.
We’re looking forward to a beautiful day of celebrating our risen Jesus and serving our wonderful congregation members and friends.
Welcome Camryn Force
We are delighted to announce that Camryn Force has joined our team as Ascension’s new Staff Accountant.
Camryn, who graduated from Cal Lutheran with a degree in math, has been serving on our church council.
Wishing you all the best in your new position, Camryn!
Dianne Beck’s New Novel is a Winner
Ascension’s own Dianne Beck has written her second young adult novel, and, not surprisingly, it is being well received.
Finding True North, a prequel to her award-winning Sticks and Stones, has a captivating story, engaging characters and meaningful messages.
Readers’ hearts will go out to North (who hates this name her parents saddled her with), as she tries her best to deal with challenges including a father who is a hoarder and a beloved sister who sometimes causes her extreme embarrassment. And then there’s school, with two true friends — but also a popular crowd that includes bullies and mean girls. North has this dream of becoming a singer and a chance…
Oops. No spoilers. Finding True North is a good read for any age. You can find it here.
Or here, at Dianne’s website, where you can also join her launch team (deadline Friday).
High School Youth Group Fun, Faith, and Fellowship
High Schoolers had a great time playing broom hockey at the Simi Iceoplex this past Saturday night. They joined with youth, leaders, and pastors from Holy Trinity Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, Mount Cross in Camarillo, and Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oxnard. It was so much fun to meet new faces and see how well everyone connected and shared in all the crazy fun!
All high schoolers are ALWAYS welcome in the group, which meets regularly on Sundays in the Dugout from 5:00-7:00
We also have plans for traveling to Luther Glen July 23-28.This is such a great trip, open to all 8th grade confirmands in addition to the current high schoolers. Registration is due now, so please get in touch if you want to sign up!
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY SPECIAL:
Thank you to Nancy Lee for the Irish music and treats that made this Saint Patrick’s Day-themed worship service magical. And thanks as well to the rest of the musicians and singers who shared their talents with us!
Another Great Response!
Thank you, Chris Clark, for your leadership and thanks to all the volunteers and contributors who made our recent Project Response Food Drive a success. So many blessings, indeed!
(Beverly Ann Clark, Janice, Dianne, Ryan and Christina Ortega, Rotary Club of Westlake Village.)
Big Fair Trade News!
Our friends at Equal Exchange, one of our Fair Trade partners, just shared with us that for calendar 2022, Ascension was 6th in purchases of EE products among the several thousand faith communities nationwide in the EE interfaith group! WOW! (Ascension was 9th in 2021 and 14th in 2020 among the diverse interfaith group.) We are so very blessed to be one of many promoting justice for people and our planet through our support of Fair Trade.
We share a big, really big, Fair Trade “Thank You” to our Ascension Community for your enthusiastic support of Fair Trade at Ascension spanning more than twenty years! Together, we’ve learned much, made new friends within, and outside, our Ascension community, and shared lots of fun and fellowship. Together, we’ve embarked on changes to make our Fair Trade ministry more easily accessible. There’s more in store in the coming weeks… stay tuned.
We’re having a quick opportunity to order Fair Trade products for Easter gatherings with family and friends. Orders can be placed until March 19. We plan to have orders ready for pickup by April 4 at the latest. The March 2023 Order Form is available in the church office, in the blue folder at the Information Desk in the Narthex, on our Fair Trade webpage and by using this link.
We look forward to seeing you in Adult Ed Class on April 2 for “Something New & Something Moo”.
Call for Worship Help
Click HERE to check out what help is needed in worship, and sign yourself up any place you see a need.
Financial Commitment 2023 Deadline Extended
Our members’ financial commitments are a vital step in helping us maintain Ascension and plan for the future, ensuring our ministries are funded. Please, if you have not already, take a moment to prayerfully consider making a commitment to give weekly, monthly, annually or in whatever way you feel led.
We’re looking for a new worship leader for our 11 AM service. Find out more about it HERE
Harbor House Knitting and Crocheting Night
Make hats, mittens, and beanies. Supplies will not be provided. However, if you have extra please feel free to bring it. Snacks, drinks and great fellowship opportunities.
Saturday March 18th from 2-4 PM at Holy Trinity (1 West Avenida de los Arboles in Thousand Oaks, Fireside Room).
Bowls of Hope for Many Mansions
March 26, CLU Kingsmen Park, 11 AM – 2 PM Enjoy meaningful & fun family activities: an informative exhibition on the homelessness issue, affordable housing, and Many Mansions; an opportunity to take action and be part of the solution; crafts, games, and a raffle! By attending Bowls of Hope, you’re investing in your community! All proceeds from this event support our continued work to provide affordable housing and life-enriching services to families that call Many Mansions home.
This year’s annual tomato seed starting has begun! This year marks our 10th Annual Tomato Sale! To celebrate, classic tomato varieties will be available as well as the new addition of other fruits and vegetables including cucumbers, beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, and herbs!
Come buy your plants Friday, March 31-Sunday, April 2!
College Scholarship Applications Now Available
Attention Ascension students and student families: Our Ascension Foundation is making available to you the chance to apply for scholarships. Please click HERE for all the details and forms. The deadline for applications including letters of recommendation is April 21, 2023.
All scholarships will be awarded by May 23 for the academic year starting next fall. The recipients will be informed in writing and will be recognized in a church service on June 11, 2023.
Help for Earthquake Victims
As images continue to fill the media of the devastation in the wake of the recent 7.8 earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria, Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Disaster Response are already on the frontlines to bring assistance and, as always, serve as the hands and feet of God. The needs are growing by the hour. Here are links to provide financial support.
Be A Eucharistic Minister
Eucharistic Ministers take the sacrament from worship to share with our shut-ins. This does not take the place of pastoral visits, but supplements that ministry.
If you are interested, if you are feeling the urging of the Holy Spirit, if you are not sure and are simply curious what this would be like and would like more information, please contact Pastor Ron Cox (; cell 805-807-5257). (Or Pastor Steve — .)
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
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 130 (5)