March, 2014 Page 2



Oklahoma: pray, teach, act

Ferrella March, a parishioner at St. Paul's Cathedral in Oklahoma City, works for the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, a membership organization for statewide natural resource managers, and helped organize a series of days of prayer for rain when widespread drought caused water rationing, killed fish because of low reservoirs, affected crops, livestock and quality of life. "At our May event, it thundered during the middle of the service, rained and then we had a beautiful sunset" she recalled. "After that, at least in central Oklahoma, we had rainstorm after rainstorm, pretty severe weather, and at that point, people were saying, 'you have to quit praying for rain now,'" she laughed.  

Bishop Steven Charleston, who along with March founded the Whole Creation Community, a Face book environmental ministry of about 700 people living a rule of life, joked that even "our friends in north Texas wrote to me and said 'thank you, your prayers are working here, too. “While grateful for the rain, neither is convinced it had anything to do with their prayers. And that's okay, according to March. "If it rained, great," she said. "But, if it didn't, it [the event] still promoted awareness. It was a win-win. That's really Episcopalian."  But she added that, prayer is what you do first, always. Next, you act.
"That's the whole concept of Whole Creation Community. First we pray, then we teach and then action will come from our prayers and education. Prayer shouldn't be the last resort; so often you hear people say, 'all I could do was pray.' It should be the first thing you do."  Charleston agreed: "The prayers for rain had a statewide impact; we are partnered with the state through conservation organizations to work annually now, to bring community-building and awareness and to try to spiritually focus people on the environment. And we have a growing inter-religious network. Our plan is, water this year, next year, land, and then air."

The retired dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Charleston teaches Native American religions at St. Paul's School of Theology in Oklahoma City and is founder of Red Moon Publications. Prayer that doesn't work is often the best answer "and we don't always need to jump to the assessment that every prayer must be answered or that we failed, or our God has failed," he said.  "God is not a gumball machine that we put in a quarter and out comes what we want," he added. "The way we judge how prayer is being responded to requires a deep participation on our part of listening carefully."  

See you in church.

Treasurer’s report for Jan.
Income: $7858.97
Expenses: $13,006.57
Check book balance of $4,870.09
minus pass-through and memorial fund =$3,495.02

*Vestry approved Treasurer’s report and minutes.
*New Business: Nomination and election of Sr. Warden- Mary Ratliff, Jr. Warden-Greg Camp and Clerk- Cynthia Wilson.
*Committees: Byram-Finance/Stewardship; Allen-Publicity; Mary and Sallie- Worship and Fellowship; Terry-Hospitality; Jansje- Outreach and Greg-Christian Formation.
*We approved the Parochial Report.
*We discussed having a possible yearly contract for snow and ice removal, as well as overall landscape management around the church.
*Terry and Jansje will coordinate $100 gift basket for silent auction at convention.
*Audit committee is Mary, Marge and Jansje.
*Vestry retreat will be Mar. 9, noon to 5PM at church.
*With the Vestry’s approval, Terry coordinated the removal of the hollow and diseased maple tree in prayer garden. It cost $1500, for which Marge and Jansje have offered to pay.

*Old Business: Still checking on several different companies regarding wireless alarm system.
*We will put up a list of items that church members can bring and donate to church.

Committee Reports:
*Jr. Warden: Brian and Allen are working to replace amp and repair speakers *which Vestry approved.
*Greg related furnace in downstairs offices area needs to be replaced this next year.
*Finance/ Stewardship: Vestry member photos to be taken on Mar. 9.
*Worship: Plans for Lent are underway.  During Lent, the DOK are offering prayer after service.
*Outreach: Gateway teens will be joining us for Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and Ash Wednesday service.
*Christian Formation: Lenten study on Wed. evenings;
Brian will be doing Adult Sunday school regarding women in Bible; and Greg is working with youth on New Testament readings.
*Next meeting: Sunday, March 9 from noon- 5PM in conjunction with Vestry Retreat.

We will be having our traditional Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras pancake supper at the church on March 4 at 6PM.  The Gateway children will be joining us. Come and enjoy!

The imposition of ashes and Eucharist will be held at noon and 7:00PM on Ash Wednesday, March 5.  Please come and make a holy start for Lent.

This year our Lenten study will be based on the book, Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types, using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Beginning on March 5, with the study beginning at 6:30PM.  Please join us.

The Daughters of the King will hold an installation during the Eucharist on March 2.  Jennifer Walker and Julia Waller will be installed as our newest members.  Please pray for these people as they begin their new journey with Christ. The DOK will also be having a quiet day at the church on Sat. April 5, from 10:30AM to 2PM.  The meditations will be The People at the Foot of the Cross.  Lunch will be provided and all are welcome.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. Often the act of asking for prayer is not easy, but ministering to one another is an important part of being in a congregation. During this season of Lent, the DOK will be offering prayer at the front of the church after services on Sundays. Everyone is welcome to join us, with spoken or unspoken prayer requests, in supplication and thanksgiving.

Looking for a way to easily help support Ascension? We are trying a new program that will help you do just that!  Help reduce our church’s budget deficit, increase financial donations to the church, and support the community by:
1. Using your Kroger gift card (which provides funds back to the church),
2. Continuing to purchase donation items for the M&M Food Pantry,
3. Purchasing and donating one of the Triple Blessing items listed in each month’s newsletter.
The items that we are talking about are those used on daily or weekly bases and are currently being purchased by the church. These items are not expensive, such as paper towels, hand soap, paper plates, etc. An item will be listed each month, so when you are purchasing your donations for the Food Pantry, please pick up one and bring it when you come to church. Thank you in advance for supporting the life and ministry of Ascension with your donations!  Blessings, Cynthia Wilson.

Our March item is PAPER TOWELS.