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

September 17, 2023

Grace and peace to you my family in Christ,

Invite. Grow. Serve.  This is our church motto, which is based on our mission statement:  Called to create opportunities for all people to become devoted followers of Christ.

For the next 3 weeks as we explore the topic of “Be the Blessing” we are going to look at each of these important components.  This week we will talk about the topic of “Invite.”

Did you know that a 3rd of people who have stopped coming to church in these last few years are simply waiting for their friends to invite them back?  Also, many people stopped coming to church because they didn’t feel welcome.  We must change this.  It’s our mission.  So, let’s talk about how we can do that this weekend.




P.S. If you are coming on Sunday, please plan to stay afterwards for our special fellowship time. 

September 10: God’s Work. Our Hands.

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Being the Blessing, Part 1:

A mountain of grocery bags filled with food for our pantry was brought in and collected at the feet of our sanctuary woodcarving of Jesus.

Many thanks to Community Concerns leader Chris Daleiden and her team of volunteers for preparing, collecting, lugging up and down stairs, sorting and storing this bounty and bringing help for the hungry.


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Being the Blessing, Part 2:

Volunteers arrayed along the assembly line in Founders Hall put together 300 personal care kits for Lutheran World Relief! Thanks to Louise Evenson, who led this service project, to our Global Ministries Team and all our workers.

The Monday morning women’s Bible study group will assemble 200 more kits in October and then we will ship them to the LWR headquarters in Baltimore to be distributed around the world to places where people are in need.

Last year alone, more than 462,000 quilts and kits reached children, women and men in 19 countries, including Ukraine, Haiti and Tanzania. Thank you also to everyone who donated money to buy the supplies for each kit (about $7) and then money to ship them (about $3 each).

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Being the Blessing, Part 3:

Bringing Church to those who couldn’t make it to campus.

Pastor Steve, Pastor Ron and Barbara, and our Eucharistic Ministers visited dozens of friends who were unable join in worship in our sanctuary, bringing communion and comfort — also bringing worship to the elderly through our Christian Life Hours at: Royal Oaks Inn, Atria Grand Oaks, Sage Mountain, University Village, Oak View, and Sunrise of Westlake. Here are Pastor Steve and some friends.

Getting the Blessing

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The September 10 worship service was abundant with blessings — including blessing of the teachers and blessing of the backpacks/lunchboxes.

With AL School Principal Rich Gregory and AL Early Childhood Center Director Jenni McCoy on hand to lead and their teachers in front of the church, our students certainly should feel fortified with blessings for the new school year!

We are deeply grateful to our worship leaders, singers and musicians, who brought tears to our eyes and stirred our hearts with beautiful music. And we thank Pastor Julie, Pastor Steve and Pastor Tim, for all their hard work and amazing inspiration.

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Party Time!

Our celebration finished up with fun for all — flying children on the rock wall/monkey jump, kids playing games, people enjoying food and all that delightful free Mr. Softee Ice Cream — agreeing that the band Fiddle Leaf were just excellent, truly enjoyable even out in the heat. What a great way to start year 76 for ALC and year 61 for ALS.

Rally Day Photos Thanks To: Breanne Bill, Nichole Cook, Chris Daleidon, Shelley Engle, Louise Evenson, Pastor Steve Herder, Pastor Julie McCain.


Finger-Foods Needed :

Introducing Coffee Fellowship Reimagined

Beginning September 17

“Meet & Eat Coffee Fellowship” continues our Sunday worship as we gather together for fellowship and a bite of brunch-style finger foods.

Home chefs and food lovers alike are asked to sign up HERE.

Food ideas range from finger sandwiches to skewers of fruit, cheese, etc., Costco pizza bites to bagel halves with cream cheese. Be whimsical! Have fun! And of course, doughnuts will still be available from the youth group.

Your food item for about two dozen people should be delivered to the west Fellowship Patio before the 9 AM Service. 

Questions and receipt reimbursements? Contact Janet Gardner at or Dolores Ledbetter at (805) 716-3045. Thank you!

New Liturgy in 9 AM Worship this Week

You’ll want to join us this week to experience a new, beautiful Kyrie, on which the choir has been working hard.

Then keep your ears open for a new Hymn of Praise, which we’ll add in a few weeks.

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The Monday Morning Women’s Bible Study got off to a wonderful beginning this week, with a great group of friends primed to delve deep into the book of Acts. MMWBS lifts up in prayer and supports ministries all along the way, even as the group studies. One of the first focuses this year is those struggling after this summer’s devastating wildfires on Maui. Annalisa Figueroa is Athletic Trainer and Teacher at Maui Preparatory Academy, which became a center for evacuees when the fires broke out, and which has been continuing to help the people of Lahaina in many ways. Her mother Lisa talked to the group about this amazing story. FIND OUT MORE. (Photos by Pastor Steve)

Getting to Know Emilee Crites

Welcome, Emilee Crites, to our Ascension team!

Emilee is used to rising to multiple demands that come at her all at once. Not only is office management a key element of her professional resume, she also has the ultimate work-life juggling credential: she’s a mom with two young children.

She and her husband, Brian, have an eight-year-old son, Oliver, who is in third grade, and a three-year-old daughter, Amelia, a.k.a. Millie, who is one of the littles at Ascension Lutheran Early Childhood Center. 

Emilee’s most recent job had her doing office management and marketing for a real estate company — a company recently sold to a larger firm. Changes were starting that weren’t conducive to wanting to stay there. When opportunity knocked for her to come to Ascension, the timing was perfect, she says.

Emilee is a native of the San Fernando Valley who moved to Ventura County with her family when she was about 10 years old. Raised Jewish, she converted to Christianity when she started dating her husband. Here at Ascension she’s excited about “the community work being done, the great people and the healthy environment. If it’s bringing me back into church, that’s great.”

She adds, “I’m happy to be here, looking forward to being as helpful as I can be. 

Emilee and her husband have lived in Ventura County except for a couple of years when Oliver was a baby and they were in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. They were glad to return to these parts. 

Her husband works from home, so he watches their son and daughter a lot of the time. 

She’s an avid reader — “any genre, as long as it’s interesting and engaging.”

Emilee is also a little league mom, as Oliver loves to play baseball.

No wonder she laughs when asked if she has hobbies: “When you have kids…” 

Yes, we get it! There’s a lot going on. 

Somehow, Emilee is one of those people who not only manages, but does so with a smile. We’re glad she is here. 

Confirmation Information Session
For Parents and Students to attend together

Thursday, September 21, 6-7 PM
for 7th and 8th grade families, in the Bethlehem Room by the offices

Confirmation is a two-year program of faith formation, service, and fun. Join us if you’re curious or want to know more information.

Email if you can’t make it but are still interested:
There are also lots of ways to make it work for those who cannot attend this session.


7th Grade Milestone

September 24, 9 AM

Sunday, October 1
6:00 to 6:30pm
In the upper barking lot!
Welcome to all!

On a Different Note:

We had a phishing invader in our church Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. In the process of trying to insure security and follow Facebook guidelines, our communication coordinator instructed anyone with access to log off all devices, create a new password, and then log back on. Nobody realized “all devices” included the equipment in the Ascension control booth. The tech team had no way of knowing anything unusual had happened until the service began.

We do, fortunately, have the recording of the last 30 minutes of the service, a transcript of Pastor Tim’s sermon, and the phone video from Sunday, HERE:

Full Moon Hike

Thursday, September 28, 6:30 PM

Led by Pastor Chamie, Devin Milligan, and Ms. Charlotte

Come watch the sun set and the “Harvest Moon” rise on Thursday, September 28 at the cross at California Lutheran University.

We will meet at the end of Mount Clef Blvd where it dead ends. We will begin the short hike up the cross at 6:30 PM.

The hike is brief, but a little steep near the cross. We will have a time of singing and prayer at the cross.

We will then hike back down around 7:30 PM. Sign up HERE

Pastor Chamie

New Time and New Location for Adult Education Classes

We will kick off our new program of stimulating and informative Adult Education classes October 8.  The classes will be held beginning at 10:30 on Sundays in the Library. The theme for October is: Vocation: Living a Purposeful Life.

October 8

Presenter:  Rev. Paul Gravrock

Topic: Vocation and the Christian Life

 October 15

Presenter:  Colleen Windham-Hughes, PhD, MDiv, Associate Vice President for Mission and Identity, California Lutheran University

Topic:  Discerning Vocation at Cal Lutheran

October 22

Presenter:  Carol Bjelland and Fair Trade Chocolatier, Chef Ben Taylor

Topic:  Service through Fair Trade

 October 29 

Presenter:  Rev. Paul Gravrock

Topic:  Martin Luther’s Understanding of Vocation

‘Come to the Waters’ Mini Retreats With Pastor Chamie

This September, Pastor Chamie is launching a new weekly podcast called “Come to the Waters” that will have a new episode posted each Monday (look for the first one on Sept 18) about a spiritual practice for the week.

In addition, there are several “Come to the Waters” half-day mini retreats on the beautiful campus of North Hollywood First United Methodist Church, where she is senior pastor.

Come to one or come to them all. The first “Come to Waters” mini retreat is Saturday, October 14, 8:30 to 11:45 AM. The theme is: “First… Quiet.”

In a world that is so loud and so busy, we will explore practices that might help us to turn down all the external and internal noise so that we can discover a holy stillness and draw strength from that well. Fee is $40; scholarships available. Sign up here.


Anxiety Workshop for Congregational Leaders

Do you know how to help folks work well together?  Want to have some tools? This workshop is for you!

This workshop will be offered twice:

From 9 to noon on October 7 at Holy Trinity, Thousand Oaks

And 9 to noon on October 14 at First Lutheran in Torrance.

Pick one, bring some friends and learn!

This free workshop is brought to you through a partnership between California Lutheran Homes and Living the Resurrection.

Sign up under “Upcoming Events” HERE.

Offerings & Attendance

Finance Committee Update

The Finance Committee met Monday night to discuss the Church’s financial results for the first couple of months of the fiscal year: July and August.  So far the budget we prepared and approved as a congregation in June seems sound.  We will recommend to the congregation to ratify it at our upcoming Annual meeting on September 24.  One area noted and discussed is the initial shortfall in general offering.  As a congregation we agreed to stretch and increase our offerings by 3%.  While we are exceeding our offerings year to date over last year, we are still about 7% shy of our overall budgeted offering. 

How You Can Help:

1.       Review Your Current Giving: If you are already giving electronically, take a moment to review your current giving amount. Consider and pray about if there is room for a 3% increase based on your current financial situation.

2.       Set Up Electronic Giving: If you have not yet started giving electronically, we encourage you to explore this option. Electronic giving is convenient, secure, and ensures a steady flow of support to our organization. Diane can guide you through the process step by step.

3.       Contact Diane: For any questions, concerns, or assistance with electronic giving, please reach out to Diane at or 805-495-0406, ext 241. She will be more than happy to assist you, ensuring your giving aligns with your preferences and capacity.

Fair Trade Happenings

Fair Trade Lane is Open Sunday, 9/17 (10:10-10:55 AM).  The blue double doors to Fair Trade Lane are no longer blue but they will still be open and ready to welcome everyone!  We’re set-up to accept credit card payment in addition to cash and checks. If you’ve been missing Equal Exchange’s Dried Mango, we’re happy to report that it’s back and sporting new packaging too. We look forward to meeting & greeting you on Fair Trade Lane!

October is Fair Trade Month.  We’ve got a great line-up of events and opportunities planned to celebrate Fair Trade Month.  We’ve got chocolate… and tea… and chocolate… and coffee… and—did I say chocolate? Click HERE to discover more about these tasty (chocolatey) events!


This Week:

Romans 15:1-7
Luke 15:1-7

Next Week:

Ephesians 4:11-16
Matthew 28:16-20

In Case You Missed It…

Let’s Help Homeless Women          

Please donate your clean, 

Gently used handbags/purses.

The bags will be packed in November with:

Deodorant, socks, small lotion, hairbrushes, nail clippers, nail polish, lip gloss, chap stick, small hand sanitizers, and feminine hygiene products

Collection:  October 21-29

Drop off daily 8 AM – 5 PM at St. Jude’s vestibule


Saturday, October 21 at our drive-thru food and recycling collection from 9-10 a.m.

Call 805-495-4630 for questions 

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

*Sept 21 “Act One” by Moss Hart*
Oct 19 “The Great Alone” by Kristen Hannah
Nov 16 “A City of Promise” by Beverly Swerling
Dec 15. “Christmas by the Book” by Anne Marie Ryan

In November we will choose books for the next few months. We are open to suggestions. Books should be available by Libby, local library, Amazon or thriftbooks.

* This book could change to “Clark and Division” by Naomi Hirahara. Lots of copies at the Camarillo Library.

Harbor House Event

Harbor House is holding its third annual fundraiser, “Concert 4 The Conejo” on Saturday September 30, 2023 at Emmanuel Church.

Enjoy a relaxed evening with friends and community members to celebrate the work of Harbor House and support the work moving forward.  Heavy appetizers, mocktails, a silent auction and live performances by local bands will be part of the evening! Seating will be indoor and outdoor.

More information about the fundraiser can be found on the Harbor House website, and tickets can be purchased here.

This is a community-based fundraiser that helps Harbor House raise funds to help those who are struggling to live here in the Conejo Valley.

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,  Julie McCain, and Steve Herder

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