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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

April 28, 2024

Calling of the Apostles

The Vine Dresser and the Fig Tree by James Tissot

Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,

 
I am the Vine, you are the branches.

If you were with us last week, I talked about the “I Am” sayings in the Gospel of John. They are all about Jesus teaching his followers who He is and what He is here to do in the world and in us.

Last week it was “I Am the Good Shepherd” and I noted how important the difference is between a Good Shepherd and a hired hand truly is.

This week it is his 8th and final “I Am” statement: I am the Vine, you are the branches. I am excited to tell you about a trip that Chamie and I took a few weeks ago that changed my whole perspective on this!

See you in worship this weekend!

Blessings,

 

  

Be the Blessing:

The Magic of the Circles

How do we respond when God blesses us? With amazement, sometimes. With joy, always. With gratitude, for sure.

Another faithful response is to share those blessings with others. God has blessed each of us with time, talents and financial resources. In fact, in many cases he has provided more of those gifts than we actually need. So we’re called to share the surplus.

But where do we start? How can each of us best serve others?

That’s the magic of the circles.

Our greatest success and fulfillment lie where these three circles intersect. That’s where our ministry heart is.

First, we all bring a diversity of skills and resources to the table so that different things can get done. Some of us are visionaries. Others are good at coordinating things. Still others have gifts of hospitality and caring for others. What are YOU good at?

Second, each of us sees needs in the world – in our church, our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools, the world – especially among disadvantaged populations. We all see people’s needs firsthand. The hungry, the unhoused, the broken, the addicted, the forgotten. What Work Do YOU Think Needs Doing?

And thirdly, there are specific acts of service that can bring you unimaginable satisfaction and delight. It’s the kind of ministry that lifts you out of bed on a Saturday morning excited to get started. What brings YOU joy?

To help you get started, Ascension has created a Spiritual Gifts Inventory (CLICK HERE). It’s a super simple way to help you assess where your heart for service is. Click on the link and you’ll be launched into the initial assessment. Once you complete that assessment you’ll be linked to current ministries at Ascension that would welcome you with open arms.

Be the Blessing isn’t just to amplify our existing ministries, though. Ascension is providing grant money to start brand new ministries if your heart leads you to do something completely different. Information and a short form for that is on the Be the Blessing website page, as well.

Your project doesn’t have to be big. Most of the Be the Blessing grants approved so far have been for small, simple projects that are making a big difference in people’s lives. Sometimes it takes only a little bit of effort and funding to make a big difference in our church, our community, our world.

Come join us in ministry. Show us where your heart is.

Adult Ed April 28

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Distribution of ROL kits and Water in Preobrazhenka
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Will you help bring LIGHT and HOPE to people in Ukraine?

 

Come to Adult Education in the Library on Sunday, April 28 at 10:30 AM to learn about RAY OF LIFE solar light kits and our efforts at Ascension to bring LIGHT to Ukrainians.

The class with be led by Andy Binsley.

CLICK HERE for a video about the Ray of Life kits.

Join us in person or via zoom to learn more about two Lutheran organizations who do advocacy work as part of their mission: Justice and Peace for All. Learn what you can do to lift your voices in advocacy!

GUESTS VIA ZOOM:

Pastor Eric Shafer, Lutheran Pastor in Residence for Global Refuge (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service)

Regina Banks, Executive Director, ELCA Lutheran Office of Public Policy, California

“As you follow in the footsteps of God, it doesn’t only benefit the person in need. It fills your soul.” Patricia, volunteer for Bread for the World.

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A Night to Remember – Legacy Gala 2024

 

Congratulations to everyone involved in last weekend’s Legacy Gala and Auction — starting with Principal/Emcee Rich Gregory and Event Coordinator Sara Wallace. You pulled off a memorably fun and successful celebration of 60 years of Ascension Lutheran School!

Our church, Early Childhood Center, School, and Foundation all were very well represented among the 250 guests who filled the Grand Ballroom at the Westlake Four Seasons. As the photos clearly show, a great time was had by all.

And more good news: as our principal reports, the event brought in “a grand total of over $215,000 raised for our lovely school! Throwing a party at the Four Seasons obviously isn’t cheap, but even after all the costs are deducted we still far exceeded our fundraising expectations for the night.”

Cheers also for Leigh Day, Nichole Cook, Jamie Dickey, Eddie Moore, and Erin Storey for their stellar work as part of the Gala committee.

And for Tom and Jenn Korbee, for the song they wrote for our school and performed. Outstanding! The crowd loved it.

Two generations of Ascension alumni, Sherith Squires and Brock Squires, did an awesome job describing life-long blessings of an Ascension education, and also, the huge positive impact made by our beloved late teacher, Dr. Susanne Maliski.

Thanks to unsung heroes (like Mike Marvin) who helped make the gala a reality, to each generous donor, to the many sponsors, and to those who bid on the silent auction from their homes. More thanks to Brittani, Jenni, Pastor Tim, Pastor Steve, Stefano Borzone, and ALL the staff at the church, ECC, and Foundation who came together to truly make this a One Ascension event.

What a wonderful way to celebrate God’s faithfulness in 60 years of our school, and supporting our school into the future.

Ascension Lutheran School has provided academic excellence, deep character development and Christ-centered teachings for over 9,000 families. Our WASC accredited and Nature Explore certified TK-5 and Middle School Academy challenge students to be bold compassionate leaders who inspire and serve others in their community.

Fellowship, Friendship and a Faith Lift:

Ladies, Come Join Us for Bible Study!

What happened to Jesus’ disciples? How do we break down barriers that separate us from God and each other and best live out our faith?

If you join us for our next Women’s Monday Morning Bible Study starting in September—and we really, really hope you will—you’ll learn the answers to those questions and a lot more.

We’ll kick off our new Bible study year with our Fall Fellowship Gathering on Sept. 16. Succeeding weeks will find us immersed in a 10-part study on “The Twelve Disciples” by Douglas Connelly.

The study, with some lively commentary, promises to be not only informative, but useful. We will, notes Pastor Steve, “learn about the uniqueness of each of the original 12 disciples, and how their faith and witness (even in death), can empower us to live faithfully and fully for Christ today.”

Then, in January, we will delve into noted theologian John Stott’s study, “Ephesians: Building a Community in Christ.”  Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is often called “the gospel of the church,” but it is much more even than that.

“Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is filled with rich details about Christ and His Church (chapters 1-3), and then profound words on how we are to live this Christian life (chapters 4-6),” Pastor Steve says. “Each chapter will bless you!”

Stott’s 12-part study, which is highlighted by his powerful Biblical insights, will take us to the beginning of May.

Would you like to join us? If so, sign-up sheets (and more information) will be available at tables on the east patio between services every Sunday in May. Cost is $30 for BOTH books, payable at sign-up. If you need a little help, scholarships are available. Please contact Pastor Steve.

Don’t miss the blessing!

Pastor Search Update

Thank you to those who attended the Call Committee’s meeting with the congregation on April 14 where we covered the call process, our ongoing efforts to coordinate with our Southern California Synod and our ongoing request for prayer as this process advances. We are committed to remaining transparent and in communication with the congregation throughout this process and especially as there are more substantive updates to share. As a reminder, the Committee is available to the congregation and can be reached at 

Nine first interviews and some second interviews have taken place with Youth Director candidates — interviews involving Pastor Tim, Principal Rich Gregory, our Youth Director Search Team and representatives from our high school youth group. There is optimism and excitement as the process moves toward the next step of determining which prospects may be invited for in-person interviews here on campus.

Is there a pastoral prospect you would like to have considered? A promising candidate for Youth Director? Please make them aware of these opportunities and descriptions of the positions by sharing THIS LINK.   

This space is dedicated to keeping 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!

Coming Up In Adult ED:

Two-Part Poetry Series

May 5: Iambic Pentameters & All That Jazz

May 12: Poems from the Heartland

Led by Pastor Jack Ledbetter, Professor of English, Emeritus

An actively published writer, Dr. Jack Ledbetter’s poems, stories and articles have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He will share his writing inspiration and poetry with us over two sessions in adult education.

These two sessions will feature: Poems of the Heartland and the people who plowed the dirt and fought the weather, but somehow managed to love the land and each other, thankful for short winters (sometimes), good children, a cow who refuses to go dry and a God from Whom All Blessings Flow.

MAY 5 – CHANCEL CHOIR SINGS HAYDN

On May 5 our Chancel Choir, under the direction of Dr. Wyant Morton, will be singing the Missa brevis (brief mass) by Franz Joseph Haydn. This is the work that’s been previewed over recent weeks at our 9 AM worship service. Be sure to be on hand for this special presentation with our choir, which will be accompanied by strings. CLICK HERE for a preview.

News Briefs

The Chosen Book Two Study

Book Two: The Chosen 40 Days With Jesus is a great devotional for the Easter Season, taking us from this week to Pentecost. If you want to really follow Jesus and “The Chosen” disciples, delve into this devotional with Ruth Rarick during these 40 days. I will meet with people about the movie Seasons 1-4, and the devotion books, briefly on April 28 during fellowship after both Sunday services and probably on May 12th. Call me or text me- 360-204-0529. — Ruth Rarick

Calling All Graduates and Families of Graduates!

We are planning a congratulations tribute to all of Ascension’s sons and daughters who are completing graduation milestones in education this year — and WE DON’T WANT TO LEAVE ANYONE OUT! Families, we need your graduating student’s NAME, SCHOOL and, if applicable, COLLEGE DEGREE. Please email , or drop off your information at the church office.

Kovaleva Duo Concert

Sisters Anna (piano) and Elena Kovaleva (violin) will perform in concert Sunday, April 28, at 3 PM, at United Methodist Church, Westlake Village. With a Ukranian mother and a Russian father, the Kovaleva family escaped Moscow at the outset of the war, leaving behind not only their home, but study at a prestigious music conservatory. They sought refuge in the U.S. and have been fortunate to start their new lives here in California. A freewill offering will be taken to support the family. (1049 S. Westlake Blvd., wwwumcwv.org)

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Fair Trade Opens New Doors:

(From our Fair Trade Ministry) We share a big, Really Big, thank you to Jeff & Cam & Jude for dismantling the old & installing the wonderful new doors on Fair Trade Lane.

We thank Kim and Jim Overton and Ascension’s Foundation for their very generous gifts that made Fair Trade Lane’s new doors and outside awning possible, creating a joyful and welcoming space. 

And a thank you to Ascension’s Confirmation students for helping us fill the shelves of Fair Trade Lane.

All of the talented artists who stopped by Fair Trade Lane to celebrate the pollinators outside brightened up the space even more!

Watch this space for upcoming Fair Trade Lane opportunities!

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In Case You Missed It…

In Need of Prayer

Click here for this week’s Prayer List

Pericopes

This Week

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

Next Week

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

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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