Please make a pledge by the end of December
Pledge cards for 2023 were collected on Christ the King Sunday. Will you consider your financial pledge to Ascension? Cards can be placed in the offering plates or boxes any time in December. Pledges can also be made electronically.
Will you consider a year end gift?
Year-to-date we have received almost $1.3 million in giving toward the general budget. Thanks be to God! To make our budget we need to receive $269,029 by the end of the year. Because we had a deficit budget for 2023, to break even we need a total of $367,379. We appreciate so much the generous giving of so many in our community! Please prayerfully consider giving to fulfill your pledge or as a special gift now at the end of the year. Gifts can now be made on our app.
Church Center Giving App
The GIVE function is now live on Ascension’s app. We will be transitioning away from Easy Tithe to Church Center by January 1st. Take a look! If you choose to give using Church Center, please accept the charges, just as you did with Easy Tithe!
Advent and Christmas at Ascension
The December edition of Ascension’s monthly newsletter, The Ascent, is now available. Read about Advent and Christmas at Ascension as well as a few upcoming events.
Purchase an Advent Devotional
Advent will be upon us in a month. Andrea Millard recommends two good resources: Bette Dickinson’s Making Room in Advent and Tish Harrison Warren’s Advent: The Season of Hope. The first is a devotional in nature featuring visual art and a retreat-like experience, while the second is an exploration of Advent which invites us into a deeper experience of this first season of our liturgical year.
Join the Choir for Advent: Thursdays in Nov/Dec
Come join the choir in celebrating the season of Advent. The choir meets on Thursday evenings from 7pm – 9pm in Room 104. Over the course of four rehearsals (Nov 30, Dec 7, 14, 16), the choir will prepare for the first two Sundays of Advent and the Service of Lessons & Carols. Newcomers to the choir are warmly invited and welcome! Questions? Email Jenn Miller or Gary Harger.
Advent Soul Care: Saturday, Dec 2 at 9:30am
Join us in the Hunt Rooms for a morning of quiet reflection and contemplation. Together we engage in a slower rhythm designed to help us listen and respond to the Lord. We begin and end each gathering in silence, and throughout the morning we offer plenty of space to linger quietly in the presence of the Lord. Please register on Ascension’s app.
Christmas Poinsettia Memorials: Deadline Dec 10
It is a Christmas tradition at Ascension to celebrate those we love and remember those who have died by donating to the memorial poinsettias that adorn our altars from Sunday, Dec 17 (Advent 3) and following. If you would like to remember someone special or name a specific thanksgiving, please email Melita Carter or phone her at 412-736-3540 by Sunday, December 10. The suggested donation is $20.00.
Christmas Pageant Costume Fitting: Dec 3 and 10
It is our custom on Christmas Eve to hold a family service where children dress in costume and reenact Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. All children are invited to participate in this gift of corporate worship. We will have costumes available between the services on December 3 and 10 for parents to select with their children. There will be one rehearsal on Saturday, December 16.
Advent Noon Eucharist: Dec 5, 12 and 19
Join Ascension Clergy and Staff for an Advent Noonday Eucharist on three Tuesdays: Dec 5, 12 and 19. Join us for this special time of prayer and devotion at the beginning of our liturgical year as we both remember and anticipate the coming of Jesus. On those Tuesdays we will not host 10am Morning Prayer.
Children’s Choir: December 6 and 13
Are you 5-12 years old and love to make a joyful noise? Join us for just two rehearsals by ourselves (December 6 and 13 from 4 pm – 5 pm) and one rehearsal with the adult choir (Saturday, Dec 16)! Contact Heidi Mayhew for info.
Newcomer & Membership Class: December 9
Join clergy and staff for Explore Ascension, an opportunity to learn more about Anglicanism and our church in particular. What is unique about Anglican worship? What are its theological distinctives and history? What does membership entail? Sign up on the Church Center app. For more information, please email Jess Bennett.
Plan on Coming! Consider Volunteering! St Nick’s Night Market: December 10 from 5 – 7pm
We are pleased to host the 3rd Annual St. Nick’s Night Market from 5 – 7pm on Sunday, December 10. Plan on joining us – visit artisan booths, eat hot food, enjoy quiet music in the Nave as well as the company of friends! If you can volunteer, please fill out the registration form here.
Beautify the Nave: Saturday, Dec 16 from 9am – Noon
Join us to decorate the church for Christmas. Our friendly Sacristy Team Leaders welcome you to join in the fun. We have various projects to work on from stringing lights on mini-Christmas trees to decorating niches to climbing ladders to hang wreaths! Snacks provided. For more information and/or to let us know you’ll join us, sign-up on the Church Center app or let Melita Carter know you are coming.
Join the Party! Saturday, December 16 from 5 – 8pm
All are invited to join our international friends for a party in the New Catacombs and Nave. Much fun will be had singing carols and tasting food from many countries. We’ll also have a tour of Ascension’s Nave (sanctuary) and enjoy music, the Christmas tree, and hear a bit about the story of Christmas! Sign up here or email Luann.
Advent Cookie Share: Bake and Deliver by Dec 24th
For the third year in a row, families with young children will have the opportunity to take Advent cookie kits home, make them as a family, and then happily deliver them as gifts to members over 70 years of age at their homes. We have jars filled with cookie ingredients ready for you to take home and bake and distribute to your church family. If you could bake and deliver by December 24th, that would be great!
Service of Lessons and Carols: Sunday, Dec 17
The Service of Lessons and Carols is a unique way of enjoying the biblical narrative of fall and redemption through a series of scripture readings, reflections, and a variety of music. This year, the Service of Lessons and Carols will take place at both the 9am and 11am services on Sunday, December 17. It will be the same service at both times, featuring familiar carols as well as music from the choir, children’s choir, and music team.
Christmas Eve Family Service at 6pm
All are invited to this warm service that is designed with children in mind. We will celebrate the nativity of Jesus with a children’s pageant and sing the great carols of Christmas, concluding with Silent Night by candlelight. Childcare for children aged 3 and under will be provided. Children aged 4 and older are with us for the service.Please remember to bring your bells to ring in the birth of Jesus!
Christmas Eve Festival Eucharist at 10pm
Our late Christmas Eve service will feature a Festival Procession, incense, candles, and the great music of the season in celebration of the birth of the Christ child. Childcare is not provided. Please remember to bring bells!
Christmas Day Service of Holy Eucharist at 10am
The lessons are different from Christmas Eve so that those who wish to make this their second service of Christmas may join those who prefer quiet to the festival celebrations on Christmas Eve. Childcare is not provided.
Shelter Meals Ministry: Tuesday, December 26
We have several opportunities over the next two months to help cook and serve meals at two homeless shelters. If you are interested, please contact Jonathan Sewell or Brian Janaszek. You can also join the group on Ascension’s app. Preparing the meals usually takes 1.5 – 2 hours, but even an hour of assistance is a huge help.
Sunday, December 31 at 9am and 11am
We will have our regular schedule of Sunday Services on New Years Eve: 9am and 11am. There will be no Kids’ Church program, but craft boxes will be available and there will be plenty of snacks between services. We hope you will ring out the old year and prepare for the new by worshipping with us on Christmas Eve!
Starting in mid-January, Fr Kevin will be teaching Foundations, a 12-week course that meet will Thursday evenings at the church. Through the semester we ask three questions: What do we believe? How do we pray? How should we live? The course is great for new folks who want to get plugged in and old timers who want to go deeper. It also counts as preparation for Confirmation. Registration will open soon and space is limited (priority will go to folks seeking Confirmation). Email Fr. Kevin with questions or for more info.
Want to start a Community Group?
We have nearly 30 Community Groups and almost 60 leaders and we still don’t have enough space for all the folks who want to join a group. We need more leaders! If you’re interested in leading a group or learning about leading looks like, please reach out to Father Kevin. All CG Leaders must be Members, approved by Fr. Kevin, and attend the CG Leader training on the morning of January 20, 2024.
Pre-Marital Counseling at Ascension
Are you you engaged to be married? Or considering getting engaged? If so, we invite you to join us for our pre-marital counseling cohort forming in early 2024. The cohort is led by Rob and Donna Martsolf. If you are considering marriage and would like more information, please reach out to Assistant Rector, Kevin Antlitz.
Interested in International Ministry?
Conversation Cafe is just one of many events for internationals. We have a dedicated post for International Ministry Events which also has a link to upcoming Bible Studies and Church activities that internationals are welcome to attend. You can check it all out here and, if you are interested in any particular event or if you want to volunteer, please email LuAnn.
What in the world?
If you would like to engage in the world of our international ministry, there are a multitude of opportunities. Check out the activities and Bible studies in this dedicated post.
Ascension hosts several prayer groups each week – they’re easy to join. The Zoom calls open at 3:45 pm for fellowship and orientation, begin at 4pm and conclude by 4:15pm. To join a gathering, sign up on the church app or email the group leader.
Time to glean? Donate to the Food Barrel
Currently our food donations are shared with our two refugee co-sponsorship families. Non-perishable gleanings from your food pantry or grocery shopping (pasta, flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil) and Mediterranean specialties will help in their transition toward financial stability. A few favorites are dried fruit, pistachios, almonds, canned corn, tomatoes and mushrooms, dark olive oil, and red and brown lentils. (Ruth 2:1 & Leviticus 19: 9-10 )
Create a profile on Ascension’s ‘Church Center’ app
We are encouraging all who make Ascension home to create a profile on our new app: (1) go to the app store on your phone, (2) download ‘Church Center’ (see the image in the photo above), (3) fill in your zip code or that of the church (15213), (4) and then find Ascension’s logo (upper left hand of this email). The rest will be self-explanatory! If you want to use your computer instead, visit ascensionpittsburgh.churchcenter.com.