Pastor’s Piece: A Different Season
This year’s journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday held special meaning for me. It was what ancient Greeks called kairos time, time that is especially ripe with possibility.
On Ash Wednesday, I was especially mindful of new voices and faces among the confirmation students who helped lead worship. We held only three of our five scheduled midweek Lenten soup suppers/services because of stormy weather, but the soups, breads and desserts were rich and varied, the conversation was lively, and we were good sports about singing a new evening prayer setting.
More people came forward for foot washing on Maundy Thursday this year, as we focused our thoughts on care-giving. At Good Friday, the inflections of our lay reader helped expose aspects of the passion story I’d not noticed before. The poise of our acolyte, as he went about the simple, repetitive actions of lighting and extinguishing the Tenebrae candles, conveyed as much about Good Friday as did our soloist’s soaring “Pie Jesu.” While singing a hymn on Easter Sunday in such a full-throated house, I experienced a feeling I can only describe as “rapturous.”
The perception that some seasons are especially ripe with possibility has to do with what’s going on inside of us as well as what’s going on outside of us. This is part of the reason the experience of Lent may affect us more or less profoundly from year to year.
My own sense that this year’s journey has been a kairos time surely has to do with what’s going on inside of me as well as the leading/reading/eating/singing/foot washing things going on outside of me. The responsibilities of my pastoral work, the knowns and unknowns of my illness (prostate cancer, stage 4), the evolving, intensifying side effects of hormone therapy, the need to exercise and rest well have all contributed to my sense that a change is in order.
There is grief in this because I am a pastor, and there is much in pastoral work that is gratifying and joyous. There is also grief because the trajectory of becoming better acquainted with you and more deeply established as your pastor is will be abbreviated. But since the fall of 2017, I have sought to balance work and illness and “carry on” and have found it’s too much.
Still, I have the sense this is an opportune time, a kairos time. The change that is in order promises to bring me good possibilities of both rest and activity of a kind that may extend and enrich my life. It also promises to bring good possibilities to the people of Ascension.
Times of change always entail loss and often entail grief. Let us remember they are also ripe with possibility.
Pastor Wes Aardahl
Sunday School to be celebrated
The end of Sunday School Celebration is planned for Sunday, May 19, with special activities and treats. Children are encouraged to come in play clothes!
Moms to be treated to muffins
To celebrate Mother’s Day, the youth group will provide muffins for the congregation after the service on Sunday, May 12. Youth volunteers will be needed to bake muffins on Saturday, May 11. Please watch your email for details about the time and location.
Sky Ranch forms being taken
Encouraging our young people to attend a Lutheran summer camp experience can have a long-lasting effect. It has been reported that 75 percent of those in their 20s and 30s can relate their current church involvement to attending a church camp, and 75 percent of youth directors and 50 percent of seminarians can attribute their leadership call to outdoor ministry experiences.
Ascension encourages its own youth to attend Sky Ranch in Colorado, 55 miles west of Fort Collins, by defraying costs ranging from $110 to $200 depending upon the length of the camping program. The programs, which are divided by school grades third through eighth will run this summer from June 23 through August 9.
For information or to register, contact RC Reiman, NicholeMorris or Chris Muggenburg.
Volunteers for COMEA needed for May 19
Volunteers from the congregation are needed for the COMEA meal preparation on Sunday, May 19. Six to eight
cooks/servers are needed to prepare and serve the dinner. Food preparation starts at 2 p.m. and continues until 5:20 when the dinner is placed in vehicles for transport to COMEA. Serving takes place from 6–7 p.m., then back to the church to finish cleanup and unload utensils. A sign-up sheet is available in the narthex. For information, contact RC Reiman.
WELCA to study ‘two-way blessings’
The Women of the ELCA (WELCA) will study a devotional titled “Generation to generation: two-way blessings” by Christa Von Zychlin. The group will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, in the upper fellowship hall. For information, contact Shirley Toppenberg at 634-4946.
Saturday PowerPoint volunteer needed
A computer-savvy person is needed to assemble the Saturday evening worship PowerPoint slideshow. Pastor West said there is a possibility some modest compensation could be arranged, if needed. Contact Pastor Wes if you are interested or have questions.
VBS registration forms available May 12
It is time for Vacation Bible School participants and volunteers to shine.
Registration forms will be available on Sunday, May 12. Although preregistration is not required, the maximum number is capped, and, if necessary, a waiting list will be taken. Preschool children (diaper free) through those having completed fifth grade are invited to attend from 8:30 a.m. to noon June 17–21.
Counselors from Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp will be the instructors using this year’s theme of “Shine”: Isaiah 9:2-The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” Coordinators are looking for adult volunteers for the preschool. Youth who are interested in partnering with Sky Ranch counselors as volunteers should contact Kris Rude or Nichole Morris.
Sign-up sheets for meals for the counselors and snack item donations will be out May 5.
A dinner and program for families and members of the congregation will be held on Thursday evening, June 20.
The choir will sing May 5 (Confirmation); May 19; and May 26. The organist/pianist schedule for May is as follows: May 5 and 12, Gaela; May 19 and 26, Jane.
Sunday, May 5
The students to be confirmed are as follows:
McCormick Junior High
Parents: Margy & Cole Anderson
McCormick Junior High
Parents: Minda & Rob Blevins
Carey Junior High
Parent: Jennifer Brown
Carey Junior High
Parents: Teisha & Paul Hohn
McCormick Junior High
Parents: Nichole & Matt Morris