December, 2015; Page One

FROM YOUR RECTOR

Highlights from 2009 through 2015

We began our journey together with our three year involvement in the Network for Pastoral Leadership and Congregational Development. The Church of the Ascension was one of the first three congregations to join the Network which provided mentoring, supervision and educational webinars for both the clergy and leadership of the congregations.  In addition to our regular worship which includes a wonderful choir and bell choir for special events, our Wednesday evening worship services expanded to include an Anglican Rosary service, a Healing service, Compline and an Evening Prayer Service with the Gateway youth. This continued until this summer.  

We have been actively involved in our outreach with the teens from the Gateway Children's services which began with their attendance at our Easter worship service in 2009. This was followed by a weeklong summer Lemonade Retreat. Then, the ladies of Ascension offered a weekly class on independent living. This wonderful outreach has been supported by the whole parish and was featured in a video segment done by Trinity Wall Street on Appalachian ministries in the Diocese of Lexington. 

In addition to providing monetary assistance to those in need through ERD, Food for the Poor, etc, we also collect non-perishable foods for the M&M Food Pantry where several of our parishioners volunteer. We have regularly supported Reading Camp, St. Agnes House, the Salvation Army, Angel Tree to name a few. We have also expanded our outreach efforts within the community through our work with the other churches through the Montgomery County Ministerial Association, Vacation Bible School with First Christian Church and Presbyterian Church, and the Ecumenical Noon-day Holy Week worship services.

Through the diligence of our Junior Wardens who have included John Peck, Bill Skidmore, Greg Camp and Julia Waller, we have painted the entire exterior of the church, replaced the lights in the parish hall, had the undercroft repainted and re-floored with a storage space created, and repaired the garden wall. We have also had the beautiful mosaic cross, the Episcopal and American flags, and altar hangings and linens dedicated to our church in memory of past members. Our worship has been enhanced by the gifts of our piano and hand bells. We have also tried various fund raisers, such as the Court Day Burgoo and Christmas Bazaar. All of the above ventures have been accomplished through the time, talent and treasures of our parishioners and did not come out of the yearly budget. It is so amazing what can be accomplished when everyone works together for the glory of God. 

Keeping this in mind, Gordon and I are excited, but also sad to say goodbye to everyone at Ascension. As all of you know our children and grandchildren live in Chesterfield Virginia. So, I have accepted a call to St. Anne's Church in Jacksonville, North Carolina, so we can be closer to them. We feel extremely blessed to have been a part of your parish family. I am confident that the leadership of the parish and the Diocese will provide you with a smooth transition period. There is an Episcopal Diocesan process to guide you safely through this interim period. 

My last official day will be Sunday, Advent 2 after which I will be taking 2 weeks vacation. Supply priests will be provided for the remainder of the year with Canon Johnstone celebrating on Christmas Eve. The Bishop and the Canon will be assisting the church in securing an interim priest for the interim/transition period.

As I said during my initial interview, "I will give you my love and heart even though I know someday, I will leave, and it will be painful."  We love you and will miss you all. While I will no longer be your priest and pastor once I leave, hopefully as friends, some of you will visit us. However, I will not be able to discuss with you or listen to conversations regarding church matters. So, I hope that I can count on your support to maintain clear boundaries as each of us move forward in our journey with Christ. Gordon and I will keep you in our prayers. 

In Christ's love,   Cindy+