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Sunday 9 and 10:30 AM

This Week At Ascension

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

June 16, 2024

Calling of the Apostles

Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,

It’s that yellow stuff we see as we are driving up and down the 101, right around Agoura Hills. It’s that 6-foot high blanket of shrubbery that at various points in the year covers the entire hillside of Wildwood Park. You don’t know how it gets there so quickly. It is so pervasive and yet you never saw it coming.

It’s mustard. Miles and miles of mustard everywhere.

And because of where we live, Jesus’ parable about it might just give us a little more insight than others. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like “a mustard seed that grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs.”

So, what is Jesus getting at? Does he know that mustard is not the most exciting of images? Does he know that, as Kaylee Searway said when we were talking about this parable in our church office staff meeting, “Nobody deliberately plants mustard seeds”?

I think Jesus does know and it’s playing with our brains a bit when he tells this parable.

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

Blessings,

24 Weeks of Prayer Begins

June 16, 2024: the launch of our 24 in 24 prayer initiative! The coming weeks will include prayer gatherings in our sanctuary; the first will be July 10 at 7 PM. There will be periods set aside for prayer in our chapel on Wednesdays at noon and Sunday mornings at 8 and 10, and Saturday afternoon prayer walks (4:45-5:15). 

By now, you have probably received your 24 in 24 packets with the first two months of prayer guides and bookmarks in the mail. In case you missed it, here is the letter explaining what this initiative is all about.

You will find more bookmarks in the prayer chapel. And you can always go to this web page for the calendar and other 24 in 24 information  as we pray our way through the next 24 weeks.

As noted this week on Facebook, perhaps our most intriguing invitation for these 24 weeks of prayer is the invitation for all of us to pray Ephesians 3:14-21 each day!

Our 24 in 24 logo highlights three key phrases in this prayer, reflecting the Holy Trinity:

Strengthened through the Spirit

Know the love of Christ 

Filled with the fullness of God.

Wow! Imagine these prayers being fulfilled in our lives!

Read/pray this prayer each day from your Bible or from the bookmark we are giving you. 

Compare this prayer to Paul’s first powerful prayer in chapter one. 

Read this prayer in its context, all six chapters of Ephesians. It only takes about twenty minutes. Do this every so often during these 24 weeks. 

Imagine what God will do in our lives, in our church and school, as we all pray this prayer each day…. for our faith, our lives, and our ministries in the community and around the world! 

(It will be “more than we can ask or imagine.”)

VBS Registration is still open for a limited time.

No walk-in registrations.

Do You See a Need?

Be the Blessing!

Each of us sees unmet needs. Many needs are among the hungry, the unhoused and the otherwise disadvantaged. Other needs address the misuse of God’s Creation or the abuse of his creatures. Still other needs can be met by improving or updating facilities – a splash of paint here; a garden hoe there.

That’s why each of us is called to Be the Blessing.

So far, Ascension has invested almost $10,000 for projects and new ministries through our Be the Blessing endeavor, which kicked off earlier this year. Those funds have gone to members who requested financial support for ministries like:

  • Welcome kits for refugees.
  • Special lunch bags for clients of Harbor House. (Thank you, 3-year-olds at Ascension’s Early Childhood Center!)
  • A new relationship with a fair trade coffee consortium in Tanzania.
  • A conservation project for pandas in Asia. (Thank you, fourth graders at Ascension’s day school!)
  • Increasing the number of quilts Ascension members make for distribution around the world.
  • Restarting our nursery program during Sunday worship times.

Financial resources were provided by Ascension for those projects and many more because members saw a need and wanted to make a difference.

Where would you like to make a difference?

Check out the Be the Blessing page on Ascension’s website, develop a ministry idea, get others involved, and apply for a grant. It’s that easy. The Be the Blessing Team is especially interested in supporting ministries that are not currently on Ascension’s radar – as long as they’re ministries that Ascension members are or will participate in. Check out the guidelines on the website.

What kind of a difference would you like to make in the world? Perhaps Ascension can help you start a ministry.

Thank you for Being the Blessing!

Mission Trips to Kenya and El Salvador

Our Global Ministries Team is happy to support two of our Ascension members, Colleen McCulley Hutchings on her trip to Kenya, and Bruce Thomas on his trip to El Salvador.

The GMT has a dedicated fund of money for short term mission trips that is supported each year by the Ozzie and Louise Peterson Endowment Fund with Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing in Minnesota.

Colleen’s vocation is a dental hygienist and she will be traveling soon with a church in Fullerton. She and the group will be visiting the very poor villages of Mathare and Nyeri to do dentistry, hygiene, and oral healthcare. “I am very excited to be able to use my skills to help the people in these communities…. This has been a lifelong dream of mine! During my time there, my daily prayers will be one of thankfulness, as I know without your donation this trip would not be possible and for that I am extremely grateful. Looking forward to sharing my experience when I get back. Thank you again.”

Bruce will be joining our Southwest California Synod’s annual trip to our sister Lutheran congregations in El Salvador. Our synod has been doing this ministry for 25 years! Our Synod is a “Companion Synod” with the Lutheran church in El Salvador. We walk alongside the Salvadorans as they support children to go to school, install solar panels, help build churches, conduct medical campaigns, and participate in a peace march for human rights. Thank you for your prayers for the group’s trip the first week of August and we look forward to hearing Bruce’s reports when he returns!

 

Sunflowers, lights and box (1)
ROL POSTER, 150

Ray of Life hits 150!

In case you missed it, you can still help send solar light kits to Ukraine. Just click here.

This month’s quilt tying session will be one week early — on the THIRD Tuesday of the month:

Tuesday, June 18th between 9 AM – noon
Founders Hall

Join us for any or all of the time.

All are welcome!

 

Kicker:

Headline

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News Briefs

Congregational Meeting June 23

Our Congregational Meeting will take place June 23 at noon. Be sure to save the date — learn valuable information, have your vote counted, be a part of the inner workings of this church, and enjoy some meaningful fellowship time, too. The proposed budget and agenda items will be given to the congregation in advance of the meeting.

Summer Music

Do you have a musical talent that you would be willing to share with the congregation? Either instrumental, vocal or dance, or some combination of those. We are in need of special music during our summer services. Please email

Hot Meals Ministry— Sign Up to Bring Food Now

The Ascension Hot Meals Ministry, led by Tania and Barry Disselhorst, provides meals on the third Tuesday of each month – June 18 is next week. It is simple to join in helping to feed the homeless and families in need in Thousand Oaks. SIGN UP HERE.

New Member Class June 30

Would you like to take another step in your spiritual journey with God and our church? If so, we would like to invite you to be a part of our next New Member class, Sunday, June 30, from 12-2:30 PM in the church Library. Lunch will be provided. The class focuses on the basics of the Christian faith and on the ministry of Ascension. There will be an opportunity to ask any questions that you might have and to get to know others. To RSVP or with questions, please call the church office at (805) 495-0406 or email Jenelle at .

INCOMING!

You know it’s the end of the school year when principal Rich Gregory is up there raining water balloons! As part of Ascension Lutheran School’s Annual Legacy Gala & Auction, families pledged $$ to put Mr. Gregory in the Bell Tower. He spent part of that time tossing water balloons! See it all on our school Instagram

And see Mr. Gregory leading songs, sharing faith and fun at Vacation Bible School!

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.

June’s book is Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo.

Books should be available by Libby, local library, Amazon or thriftbooks.

Applications Open for Certificate in Climate Justice and Faith

The Center for Climate Justice and Faith at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is accepting applications to their Certificate in Climate Justice and Faith program. This program is designed for lay leaders and clergy members from around the world who want to be effective advocates for climate justice. Students will grow their faith, practice skills, gain knowledge, and build community to allow them to address the climate crisis in ways that also address racial, gender, and economic injustices. 

This two-semester program will begin August 2024 and end May 2025. A 100% online curriculum allows students from around the world to build relationships through bi-monthly small group meetings on Zoom. Since launching in 2021, students from 29 countries and five continents have participated. The full cost of the program is $600. Scholarships of up to $550 are available if needed, please do not let finances prevent you from applying. 

Applications are due June 17, 2024 and can be found HERE.

More information about the Certificate can be found HERE. 

Writers’ Retreat

Led by Pastor Chamie

Thursday, July 25, 7:00 PM start time
(come anytime after 5:30 PM to settle in and grab a cup of soup) to Saturday, July 27, ending at 11:30 AM

Location: Mariposa Retreat House, South Pasadena, CA

Cost: $275 double room (you may specify a roommate if a friend is joining you) or $350 for a single room

This will be a wonderful time to write as a means to draw closer to God and to get to know ourselves better.

Pastor Chamie will guide people through writing activities that come from the book that everyone will receive on the retreat: Journaling as a Spiritual Practice: Encountering God Through Attentive Writing by Helen Cepero.

Pastor Chamie received her undergraduate degree in English Writing. She finds that writing has helped her connect to God as well as process what is going on in her soul. On retreat, participants will get to enjoy both the blessing of community as well as lots of quiet, private time to write at the beautiful Mariposa Retreat House.

Register HERE.

Pastor Chamie

 

In Case You Missed It…

In Need of Prayer

Click here for this week’s Prayer List

Pericopes

This Week

Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15
2 Corinthians 5:6-10,14-17
Mark 4:26-34

Next Week

Job 38:1-11
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

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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