Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,
We are in the season of long gospel stories. Two weeks ago, it was about the Samaritan woman at the well. Last week it was the story of the blind man. And this week, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave.
It is a bit ironic that such a long reading contains (what most people think is) the shortest verse in the Bible – John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” It’s not the shortest verse though.
There is another one that I will tell you about this weekend. I will also talk about why Jesus wept and why, as the result of Jesus’ tears, we have reason to rejoice. I look forward to seeing you this weekend!
Good Friday Cantata
On Good Friday this year, we have a special addition to our evening service at 7 o’clock. Our Chancel Choir, joined by vocal soloists and instrumentalists under the direction of Wyant Morton, will perform “The Seven Last Words,” written by Michael John Trotta.
The Seven Last Words are a set of texts that have their origins in the Bible and are often referenced in liturgical services during Holy Week. Musical settings capturing the emotion and depth of the final words spoken by Jesus on the cross exist as far back as the 16th century. Trotta composed his piece in 2016. As one reviewer wrote, while “The Seven Last Words” is rooted in liturgical tradition, it also has a contemporary sound. In fact, “It wouldn’t be a stretch to observe that several extended passages are reminiscent of what might be heard in a contemporary film score.”
Please join us April 7, and be sure to invite family and friends, as we come together to experience this worship service and its music, and remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for each of us.
Prayer Opportunities in the Everyday Moments of Life
Last Sunday, Pastor Julie had a prayer handout she made, inspired by Every Moment Holy. People have been asking for copies.
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!
An Artificial Invitation
Dear School and Church Family,
We are excited to announce that the ChatGPT Seminar is coming up on March 30th at 6 PM in Pederson Hall. Our School Board President, Scott Bean, will be speaking at the event. This seminar is open to all school and church family and friends.
During this seminar, we will be discussing various aspects of this advanced technology and what families with kids need to know. ChatGPT is a large language model that has been trained by OpenAI, based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. It is capable of generating human-like text, and has been used for various applications such as chatbots, text completion, language translation, and more.
We understand that technology can be overwhelming at times, and that’s why we want to provide an opportunity for everyone to learn more about this technology and how it can be used to benefit us. During the seminar, we will be discussing various topics such as the benefits and limitations of ChatGPT, how it can be used in education, and how families with kids can use it to enhance their learning experience.
We invite you to come and learn more about this exciting technology and how it can be used to benefit you and your family. We look forward to seeing you there!
Yes, the announcement above was written by ChatGPT, following this command:
Write a newsletter item based on this information: ChatGPT Seminar, March 30 at 6 PM in Pederson Hall. Our School Board President Scott Bean will speak. Open to School and Church family and friends. What families with kids need to know and other aspects of this technology will be discussed.
Any other “thoughts” came from ChatGPT.
Also, in case you missed this earlier, 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.
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.
Coming Up in Adult Ed:
Something New & Something Moo
Everyone is invited to Founders Hall Sunday, April 2 at 10:10 AM for a special Adult Ed class hosted by Ascension’s Fair Trade Ministry. Dr. Terry Homan, DVM and founder of Red Barn Family Farms in Appleton, WI, will be joining us via Zoom to share his personal story of faith and Fair Trade — how his Christian faith and his training in veterinary medicine and animal husbandry came together to become Red Barn Family Farms. We’ll talk about the word “dominion” in the context of our faith, our values and food. Homework, you ask? Well, yes, but you know the text already:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth… And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26, 28).
A test, you ask? Well, sort of … a taste test, that is! Samples of Red Barn Family Farms Fair Trade Cheddar Cheese – Heritage & Weiss – will be available along with Brewer’s Pita Chips and Flatbread Crackers. Sunday, April 2 @ 10:10 AM-Founders Hall.
See you in Class!
This past December, Pastor Chamie completed a year-long program through the Horticultural Therapy Institute at Colorado State University to earn her certificate in horticultural therapy. She loved reading about healing plants and how science shows what we already know to be true about God’s good creation… time digging in soil and holding seeds and clipping flowers and tending plants is good for our health. It lowers our stress levels and helps our anxious hearts find some rest. Join Pastor Chamie four Wednesdays in a row this spring: April 19, April 26, May 3, and May 10— at 6:30-7:45 PM. Sign up HERE.
Final Holden Evening Prayer Service
One last Holden Evening Prayer service remains for this Lenten season: Wednesday evening, March 29, at 7 PM. 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. Following the service, there will be fellowship time with cookies.
HERE is a sample service from the past.
Coming up in Adult Ed:
Leaving A Legacy For Those You Love, Part 2
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 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
Last Call For Cookies!
The Library Committee will need cookies for the remaining fellowship time in Founders Hall after the Wednesday Service, March 29.
If you want to provide cookies, call Dolores Ledbetter at (805) 716-3045 or (805) 750-7646.
A Memorable Lent, Looking Forward to Easter
Easter is April 9, and plans are in the works for special services and activities. It’s a great time to invite friends and relatives to join us in experiencing the joy of Easter at Ascension.
There are many thoughtful activities still 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/Easter 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
April 8: 6 PM Saturday Easter Service
7 AM Outdoor Sunrise Service,
9 AM Traditional Festival Service,
11 AM Contemporary Easter service
Holy Communion will be served at each service.
10:30 Easter Egg Hunt
Easter Breakfast by Ascension Youth served from 8-11 Am, $10 Adults, $5 children
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.
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.
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.
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
Psalm 130 (5)