The Church of the Ascension
Hayward, Wisconsin, 54843

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Sunday Worship at 9:30am
All are welcome!


Welcome to The Episcopal Church of the Ascension

On behalf of the people of The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hayward, Wisconsin, I welcome you to our parish family.  We are a vibrant community of Christians, dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to those both within our immediate community as well as to those throughout the world.  We are rooted in the deep and rich traditions of the Anglican Church but are committed to allowing those same traditions to breathe and inform our ministry to those living in today’s world.  Our worship is reverent but lively.  Our fellowship is warm and inviting.  We are devoted to extending God’s love both through our words and in very concrete actions.  We understand that our lives are a pilgrimage and that we are called to support and encourage each other as we walk in faith.  I invite you to explore the pages of our website to discover the many areas in which we are living into our lives as followers of Christ.  I encourage you to visit us in person or to contact us by email or telephone.  And I welcome you to join us on the journey.  It is really quite an adventure!

Father Arthur Hancock

December 10, 2017

THE SEASON OF ADVENT: Advent is a season of anticipation and preparation. It is intended that Advent be a season of relative quiet in which we reflect upon the great truth that God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. While we certainly may meditate upon God’s coming to earth in the Holy Child in Bethlehem, it is also a time when we expectantly sense the coming of the Holy Spirit into our current lives and patiently wait for the second coming of Christ. Our culture tends to encourage us to be busy at this time of year as we make our Christmas preparations. The Church, however, encourages us to slow down. The season of Advent began on Sunday, December 3rd, Advent 1, and this is, of course, the first day in the new Church year. In our regularly scheduled services of worship on Sunday morning, we will be using parts of a liturgy from the Wee Worship Book. You will also notice the new color for our candle sconces and our Advent wreath with four candles for each of the four Sundays in Advent has been centrally placed. And in addition this year, our very own Gretchen Herdrich, has crafted Advent banners which will be placed behind the altar. Each Sunday will reveal a new banner, heightening to our anticipation of the advent of our Lord at Christmas. Many thanks, Gretchen for your hard and lovely work. We are also offering a number of opportunities during the season of Advent for you to prepare your hearts and minds for the coming of our Lord at Christmas.

Following our worship on the Third Sunday of Advent (December 17), we will have the annual GREENING OF THE CHURCH. This is the time when we decorate the church for the Christmas season. Wreaths will be hung, trees will be decorated, garland will be strung, etc.. All those who would like to participate in a cookie exchange are encouraged to bake two dozen cookies and bring them with you on the 17th. You may then offer your cookies in exchange for a variety of cookies from others. The cookie exchange will happen during coffee hour

On Wednesday, December 20th at 5:30pm, a service of Lessons and Carols will be offered. Lessons and Carols is an opportunity for us to read (and listen) to the great stories surrounding the birth of Christ and to sing some wonderful Advent and Christmas hymns and carols. This service is an excellent occasion to which to invite your friends who may not be familiar with the Episcopal Church.

On Thursday, December 21st, we will gather for a LONGEST NIGHT service of worship. This service celebrates the light of Christ at the darkest time of the year. It will be an opportunity for us to reflect on some of the losses of the past year and to seek God’s healing for our pain and brokenness. This year’s Longest Night service will be at 5:30pm.

On December 24th, we will be celebrating Advent 4 at our 9:30am worship service and our Solemn Holy Eucharist celebrating the Nativity of our Lord will be at 4:00pm that evening. This will be a sung Mass with incense.

We will celebrate Christmas Day with a said Mass beginning at 9:30am. We will, however, most assuredly be singing Christmas carols to celebrate the birth of our Lord. Please do your best to participate in as many of these opportunities of worship and fellowship as possible. May the Holy Spirit fill us and prepare us for the coming of our Lord!

WHAT EXACTLY IS ADVENT ALL ABOUT?: Advent is the church season immediately before Christmas. In the Western Church, the first Sunday of Advent is always the Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s Day (November 30). Thus, in the West, there are always four Sundays in the season of Advent. The first Sunday in Advent is traditionally the day on which the church year begins. The first clear references to the season of Advent come from the latter half of the 6th century. Advent was formerly kept as Lent but with less strictness. In our church, however, Advent has adopted a different identity. Instead of being a season intended primarily for repentance, it is now understood to be a season of preparation – for Christmas certainly, but also for the Second Coming of Christ as Judge at the Last Day. The liturgical color of Advent is sarum blue and our worship has certain elements which reflect the particular identity of the season.

NEW LITURGY FOR HOLY COMMUNION: One of the challenges with the Episcopal way of worshipping is keeping things fresh and avoiding falling into a liturgical rut. Toward this end, we will be using a new resource throughout the season of Advent. The Holy Eucharist portion of our Sunday liturgy will be according to a resource called “A Wee Worship Book.” This resource comes from the Iona Community in Glasgow, Scotland. Parts of the liturgy are precisely the same as that to which we are used; other parts will be new and, hopefully, fresh. All parts of the new liturgy will be found in the bulletin each week.

LAYING ON OF HANDS: Beginning on the First Sunday of Advent and running through the Advent season, we are going to be experimenting with a new liturgical practice – the laying on of hands for healing. During the post-communion hymn, any and all are invited to come to the prayer desk at the rear of the church for special prayers of intention and the laying on of hands for healing. Intercessions may be made for oneself or for ones dear to your life. This will afford us the opportunity to bring before God the burdens we are carrying and to acknowledge that in and through Christ, all shall be made well.

FATHER ART OUT OF TOWN ON TUESDAY: Father Art will be out of town this coming Tuesday (December 12). He will, however, be at the church office on Monday and Wednesday of this coming week. Feel free to call for an appointment or drop by to see him.

LYDIA’S TABLE: Lydia’s Table is a different way of doing and being Church. Some would call it dinner church. A small group of our members will be coming together for a special time of food, fellowship and faith. Our goal is to experience the Holy in a way that is strong enough to lean on, deep enough to question, and challenging enough to transform us. Our worship will take place around at the table around a big, delicious meal that we cook together. Communion is made as we share food and ourselves by exploring scripture, singing, and praying together. Just as Jesus told a lot of stories, so will we spend time telling our stories. We tell the story of Christ’s dying and rising, and through it uncover the daily dyings and risings that comprise our lives. Intrigued? Come and join us! Our next Lydia’s Table will be on Tuesday, January 2nd beginning at 5:30pm. A sign up sheet may be found in the narthex of the church.

PILGRIMS AT THE ALTAR: A small group has been meeting throughout 2017 discussing an extraordinary book entitled, An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. This small group, that we are calling Pilgrims at the Altar, will meet once per month during 2017 to not only discuss the book, but to encourage each other to live into the teachings of the book. From the book cover of An Altar in the World: “Taylor reveals meaningful ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see, from simple practices such as walking, working, and prayer.  Through Taylor’s expert guidance and delicate, thought-provoking prose, we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.” Pilgrims at the Altar meets next on Sunday, January 7) at 11:10am in the Peabody House.

WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS: As you may know, our parish has become committed to helping others in our community in very practical and concrete ways. We have given of our time and skills and energy. We have also given financial resources. This year, we have given away about $5000 to over 15 service and outreach ministries in both our local community and beyond. Some of these ministries are: Hospice, the Hayward Community Food Shelf, Harvest Friends Food Shelf, ICAA Food Shelf, the Community Dinner, Episcopal Relief and Development, Mercy Ships, the Haiti Project, LCO Elder Services, the Hayward Community Choir, Operation Christmas and the LCO Boys and Girls Club. While we are still striving to find a local outreach project that is uniquely ours, we are quickly becoming known as the little church that gives… and gives… and gives. Well done, good and faithful servants!

STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN: We have concluded our Stewardship Campaign for 2018, and we thank you for your faithful response to our parish family. The time-honored system of pledging helps the Vestry to intentionally plan for ministry in the coming year. While the campaign has officially concluded, you may always submit your pledge or an offering at any time and in any form. We need all the help we can get! Again, many thanks to all of you who have supported the work of the church this past year, and may God give all of us the courage to give generously for the coming year.

The Episcopal Church of the Ascension
10610 North California Avenue, P.O. Box 637, Hayward, Wisconsin 54843,