August 9, 2022

From the Rector…

In the book of Exodus, Moses commissions the first capital campaign. He invites all the Israelites to offer gold, silver, bronze, richly colored yarns, fine linen, tanned rams’ skins, leather, and wood amongst other things in order to build the tabernacle for the Lord that will go on to be carried by the Hebrew people until the time of King Solomon when the Temple is built. Moses and the Israelites are in that place where dream and vision meets opportunity. It had been a chaotic time leaving Egypt and now that they are wandering the wilderness in preparation for their entry into the Promised Land, they realize that the next phase of their journey requires the tending of their spiritual life and nourishment. 

We, too, are a bit like Moses and the Israelites as we transition from the chaotic time of pandemic into the purposes of promise that God offers and inspires in us. In the last two years, even as “PIVOT!” became our mantra, we were also beginning to look to our mission and ministry and how it might be reshaped and renewed in the years following pandemic. Your vestry called forth several people to begin the work of discernment with me and Drew. Those folks include Frank Johnston (Senior Warden), Ellen Brooks (Junior Warden), Glenn Sylvest (past Senior Warden), Daniel Hughes, Taylor Dawson, Mary Lee Yelverton, Don Vaughan, Peter Waldo, Barrett Austin, and Virginia Humphrey.

For almost a year, this group has discerned, prayed, met, and talked with many of you about what is important to CoA and how we might invest in our buildings and grounds to best support our mission and ministry. Some of the pieces that seem to be important to our ministry here at Ascension include our day school, our music program (specifically the choir), and our outreach. Currently we have narrowed the scope of our discernment to increasing the footprint of the day school to include more classrooms, a new office, and a sensory and calm down room that will help our school to grow in its mission to develop the youngest amongst us.  Expanding the footprint of the school, offers us an opportunity to move the choir to a larger space and invest in their needs as they continue to grow. We identified a need to revitalize Joshua House and discover a way for that space to support our mission model in connecting us to our neighbors and serving as a place of transformation in the lives of those we touch through our outreach. We purchased the property at 1414 Hull St., in part due to the timing of the pandemic, but also because it supported our vision of ministry for our neighborhood. Now, we want to invite you to help us discover where we go from here.  

Next week, in the Tuesday Enews, there will be a link to a survey tool that will help us to better understand where our heart is as a congregation. I encourage you to fill out the survey and offer any comments or feedback that you think might help us in identifying capital improvements that would directly impact Ascension’s vision of mission and ministry. Your vestry and clergy are committed to investing in our church as we partner with God and each other to do God’s work in the world. That partnership begins with our discernment together as a church. When you fill out your survey, I encourage you to pray about the vision of our church, inviting the Holy Spirit to be a part of our discernment and work together. In the weeks to follow, we will offer the results to you through the Enews and a series of gatherings in September designed to encourage your continued input and invite you to be a part of this vision as well.  

The pandemic may have forced us all to slow down in the midst of The Great Pause, but it also gave us time to dream. As we return to whatever this new normal is, I am excited about the opportunities God is offering us to grow his kingdom right here on our own little corner of Clanton Ave. Unlike the Israelites, I don’t think we are going to wander in wilderness for the next forty years, instead I think that we will get to live as resurrected people finding the renewed joy and hope in the mission and ministry we have been given at the Church of the Ascension.  

Light and Life,