10:30am Parish Teaching on Advent

TEACHING ON ADVENT

Saturday, November 10 from 10:30 – Noon

Childcare provided

If you are new to Anglicanism, one of the things that may surprise you is that January 1 is not a huge deal to us. This is because the new year for us begins on Advent 1, which falls this year on December 2. Advent, from the Latin advenire or ‘to come to’, encompasses the four Sundays before Christmas and is  traditionally a season both of preparation, of waiting, and of repentance. The Orthodox Church explicitly refers to Advent as a ‘Lesser Lent’.

As Christians, our calendar is marked by seasons of feasting celebrating the most critical events in the story of redemption, preceded by seasons of fasting and repentance. Advent is a sober season in which we remember the devastation that sin and death have unleashed upon the earth, which necessitated the coming of Christ, and we remember how much sin and injustice remains finally to be cleansed by Christ.

We wait with Israel for the Messiah, and this trains our hearts to wait for his second coming to bring the justice and the righteousness of the kingdom in its fullness. In this respect, the early church fathers actually spoke of two Advents, two periods of waiting: the first coming of Christ in the incarnation, in humility and weakness, and his second coming in glory, where he will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16) to purify the earth, accompanied by the great company of angels.

As Cyril of Jerusalem wrote in the 4th century, ‘We preach not one advent only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a view of His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom…. In his first coming, He endured the Cross, despising shame (Hebrews 12:2); in His second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory. We rest not then upon his first advent only, but look also for his second’.

The Scripture readings for Advent are intentionally chosen to reflect this theme of the two comings of Christ. We will be exploring these Lectionary readings, as well as the meaning of Advent in history and in the present in a teaching by Fr Jonathan Warren on Saturday November 10, from 10:30 – Noon. Childcare and light snacks will be provided. The class will take place in the Hunt Rooms.

 

 

6:30pm Young Adult Dinner and Compline

‘Dinner and Compline’ for Young Adults takes place on the first Thursday of each month in the Ascension Hunt rooms. All welcome to come! This month, we’ll hear from long-time Ascensionite and local business man, Jeff Forster.

12:30pm Confirmation Lunch

9am Songwriters Collaborative

6:30pm International Ministry Food Festival

Ascension International Ministry Food Festival at 6:30pm

We will host an International Ministry Food Festival on Friday, November 2. This will be a fun evening with great food as our international friends bring in dishes from their own countries. Members and friends of Ascension are welcome to join the fun, bring along some food, and get to know internationals who LOVE speaking with Americans. Bring a dish to share, side salad, pie or other dessert. Thanks!

Want more information?

Contact LuAnn at PittsburghEnglish4U@gmail.com.

12:30pm Seniors Lunch Club

Spiritual direction – What is it? What is it not? How does it work? What happens in spiritual direction? Who is it for? How do I know if I need spiritual direction? How can I find and choose a spiritual director?

In November our topic is “Exploring Spiritual Direction” with speakers Barbara Franzen and the Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig. Barbara Franzen is a longtime member of Ascension. She is a retired biology teacher who has volunteered in many ministries: with youth, the pastoral care team, and with internationals. Jack Gabig is Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Trinity School for Ministry. He has served Ascension on staff and as volunteer over the course of the past 24 years. Both Barbara and Jack have a longing to be more and more what God calls each of us to be and both are trained spiritual directors.

In the Rev. Ann Tefft’s words, “Spiritual direction is one of the graces which God gives to us so that we can grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord by hearing and responding to His voice. Let’s consider together how to grow deeper in knowledge, intimacy, and service with the Lord through this wonderful ministry.”

Whether you are a senior or not, you are invited to come out on Thursday, November 8 from 12:30 – 2:30pm for a catered lunch, presentation and discussion on spiritual direction. Parking restrictions will be lifted for people to park on the streets, and the Neville Street lot will be reserved for seniors. There is a $10 charge for lunch, but first-time friends are free! Please RSVP to Ann Tefft at 412-526-1107 or tefft.ann@gmail.com.

Election Day – Polls Open at Ascension

9:30am Basic Christianity Course

BASIC CHRISTIANITY: A PROCESSS FOR THOSE PURSUING ADULT BAPTISM

Baptism in the New Testament

Baptism is a ritual with immense significance in the New Testament. St. Paul says that when we are plunged under the waters of baptism, we die together with Christ, and when we rise from the water we are raised to new life together with him (Romans 6:3-4).

St Peter gives us another image: through the waters of baptism we pass through the death of God’s judgment of sin and are placed into the safety of the ark, just as Noah and his family were (1 Peter 3:20-1). And that ark is the church.

St Paul also tells us in Titus 3:5 that in baptism we are washed with the water of regeneration. Here he draws on Temple imagery to liken baptism to the bath that priests must take in the bronze basin in the inner court of the Temple in order to approach the high altar and the Holy of Holies. In baptism we are given the great dignity and honor of being incorporated into the kingdom of priests. In keeping with this, at baptism we are given the vocation ‘never to be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and fight bravely under his banner against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to continue as his faithful servant to the end of your days’ (Collect after Baptism).

Fundamental Changing of Loyalties

To be baptized is thus not simply a rite of passage or a symbolic act of belonging to the church. It involves a fundamental change in our loyalties. It is a fundamental surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is slavery to Christ rather than slavery to sin. It is a submission to and an invocation of his Lordship in every area of our lives. It is a refusal to hold any part of ourselves back from him. It is the concession that he is the rightful ruler and owner of all things, and that he is worthy of this love and submission because he ‘loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20).

Preparation: Counting the Cost

This change of loyalties is symbolized and really given in baptism, and historically the process of changing one’s allegiance from sin to Christ involved lengthy preparation, as candidates for baptism counted the cost of following Christ (Luke 14:28).

At Ascension, the process of preparation for adult baptism involves learning basic Christian teaching summarized in the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments. It also involves a process of relinquishing our lives to him by learning to pray, and to follow him as his disciples in the realms of sex, money, and power, three areas that are consistently highlighted throughout Scripture as presenting painful obstacles to our allegiance to Christ.

Nuts and Bolts of Baptismal Preparation

There will be a total of 12 classes, all held on Sunday mornings from 9:30 – 10:30am. They will be taught by Robin Capcara, an experienced Christian teacher in our congregation, in three 4-week modules. We will be using J.I. Packer’s Growing in Christ, as well as the Anglican Catechism, To Be a Christian. The modules will be held at the following times:

Module 1: November 4, 11, 18; December 2

Module 2: January 13, 20, 27; February 3

Module 3: March 3, 10, 17 24

Each candidate will be paired with a baptismal sponsor as well. Candidates will meet with their sponsors at least 4 times between November and April to talk and pray together. Candidates who decide through this process that they want to dedicate themselves to Christ will meet with one of Ascension’s priest in April and then will be baptized at the 6am Easter Vigil on Sunday, April 21, 2019.

Are you already baptized but are now finding your way back to Christ?

Although this process is primarily oriented toward those pursuing adult baptism, it is also open to those who were baptized in the past but who have only recently rekindled their relationship with Christ and are seeking to reaffirm their baptismal vows. Please contact Fr Jonathan Warren at jonathan.warren@ascensionpittsburgh.org if you are interested in getting more information or signing up.

 

 

12:30pm “11 and Lunch” with the Rev. Dr. Ann Paton

The Rev. Dr. Ann Paton to Retire as Liturgical Assistant

Dear Church Family,

I write to share the news that our beloved matriarch, Ann Paton, has decided it is time for her to step down from serving as a Liturgical Assistant at Church of the Ascension – a position she has held these past twenty years.

While we will miss having her in the pulpit or celebrating the Eucharist, so long as her health and strength permits, Mother Ann will continue to be in her usual pew to worship with us on Sundays. It is hard to believe that Ann turns ninety in December!

Please come and join us for a luncheon on Sunday, December 9 after the 11:00 am service. Ann will speak briefly about the Nunc Dimittis and we will have a chance to celebrate with her and offer some words of thanks for her extraordinary ministry in our midst.

Ann is known and loved by so many in the Pittsburgh and South Western, PA community. Ann is an alumna of Geneva College where she returned to teach for 44 years. Still today Ann is Professor Emerita of English and earlier this semester she gave a guest lecture to a rapt class of students.  Ann earned her Ph.D. in medieval English Literature at the University of Colorado.

We all know that Ann is precious to us. What you might not know is that she was ordained here in Pittsburgh in 1991, and has been a priest of this diocese for more than twenty-six years. Ann served on the bishop’s staff as Deployment Officer, on the Commission on Ministry, and as the Director of formation for bi-vocational priests. Most recently Ann served on the Editorial Board for the new ACNA catechism.

Ann has been a treasured Spiritual Director for many and a much sought-after retreat leader. Ann loves music, theatre, books and missions. Ann is also a passionate advocate for full equality for women in the church.

To so many here at Ascension she is known and loved simply as “Mother Ann.”

Do come and celebrate with us on December 9, as we honor Ann and give thanks to God for her life and ministry – thus far.

Thank you, Mother Ann for your extraordinary ministry among us. We love you.

Yours in Christ,

Jonathan N. Millard (Rector)

8:30am Advent Women’s Breakfast

Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 1. Our Advent Women’s Breakfast will feature Sarah Laribee, former Ascension Youth Pastor who is back in the United States from 4 years of teaching in Iraq. We’ll meet from 8:30am – 10:30am for great food and a talk with table discussion to follow. The cost is $10/$5 students (scholarships available). You can register here. If you would like, more information, please email marilyn.chislaghi@ascensionpittsburgh.org. Here is a bit more about the topic in Sarah’s own words:

We are all waiting for a variety of things: Friday afternoon to come. That potential employer to call back. The healing of a dear friend. Just…one…date… Waiting for your kids to sleep through the night …and waiting for them to call you once in a while. And as the Church enters the season of Advent, we are especially reminded that our lives here and now are also focused on a not yet as we wait for the return of our King. Join Sarah Laribee as we focus together on the discipleship of joyful waiting. Together we will explore ways that Jesus uses our times of waiting to greater show his glory and his love for us.


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