Dear Ascension Family,
I’m writing you with a grateful heart for a full and good couple months of summer as a church. I’m grateful for those of you who are new among us and have joined us for meals, worship, and conversation. I’m grateful for the new babies born and to be born in the next few weeks (and praying for the mom’s-to-be). I’m grateful for ultimate frisbee, Good Faith, Art Camp, Corn Hole, Kick Ball, and this coming Saturday for the Zoo. I’m grateful for our parish retreat weekend and the conversation on Sexuality. I’m grateful for the chance and discipline of sending off some of our best people to go be blessings in other parts of the world. And with that grateful heart I wanted to share a few things coming up the next few weeks.
First, our family heads out of town for two weeks of vacation early Saturday morning but our worship will be in excellent hands while I’m away. Our service leadership the next two Sundays will be led by our usual array of stellar lay liturgical leaders, along with Morgan Reed and Jonathan Waldroup. Our preacher this Sunday is David Glade, the rector of Christ the King, Alexandria and a long-time friend of Ascension. August 21st (the evening of our parish dinner) we’ll be blessed by Wes Jagoe; Wes is a seminarian at Trinity Seminary in Pennsylvania and a reservist Captain in the Marines. The Millers will be back for our worship on August 28th. If you have pastoral needs while away please contact Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, as I’m gone I’d love to be praying for you if there are particular things you have going on. You can email me those at email@example.com. I’d be grateful for prayers for refreshment and laughter for us as a family, and for God’s wisdom in how to love and lead you in the coming year.
Third, on Sunday night I mentioned an article by a woman named Denise George called “What Forgiveness Isn’t” that honestly addresses what learning to forgive can look like. If you’d like to read that full article you can find it HERE.
Lastly, we (the Parish Council and myself) would also welcome prayers as over the past few weeks we have had our search for morning worship space heat up with a very, very strong potential candidate. There have been multiple visits and conversations with this potential site and we feel very good about continuing to dialogue and pursue this space. For over a year we have been asking God both to provide for and place us in the best place for us to be and it’s been exciting to watch this option open up.
A couple implications for us all in the process that would be helpful to know now:
1- We need you praying for us, not only about the site but about the best process in pursuing the site and involving you all.
2- We are still working to address a few questions, which is hard around everyone’s summer vacations, before sharing the location of the space with everyone. We anticipate doing that later in August once I’m back. Please don’t press the Parish Council for news while we do our due diligence.
3- Please save the morning of September 11th for an anticipated Open House where we would all have a chance to walk through the site, eat, play, ask questions, and pray in the space together.
4- One unique and new implication relates to staffing. When we approved our budget in mid-June we did not know we’d be sending off Ashley Waldroup, or that this space would present itself. Both those new realities have us feeling strongly that we’d like to beef up our Children’s Director position to a half-time position. That desire has us looking at how we are doing with our annual giving year-to-date as we try to steward the parish’s resources.
In terms of the financial health of the parish, July/August are always our lowest giving months with many of us being in and out of town. We had a net overage in July but these few weeks our giving has been low like normal. It would be great and very helpful if you have summer giving still to be offered if you could do so soon, so we are making decisions off real-time data.
It is a joy to be numbered among you. God’s blessings on you the next few weeks and see you later in August,