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Caring Congregation Pastoral Model

Prayer, Support, Visitation, Death and Loss.  We understand that at each stage in our life journeys, there are challenges, moments of need, sometimes of great desolation.  It was our Lord himself who invited us all to come close to him, allow his love for us to give us rest and renew our spirit.  Church of the Ascension understands we play a critical part in providing spaces for people to draw close to our Good Shepherd when need is great. We have organized our pastoral care ministry around four distinct clusters to be as responsive as possible to all the ages and stages of life represented in our community.

Prayer

God’s grace flows through us and we are constantly reminded that God’s will for us is health and wholeness. Remembering who – and whose—we are, all our pastoral ministry is rooted in prayer and there are so many ways to pray! The following are the ministry teams most directly involved in prayer for those in our community who are in need of support and care: 

Healing Eucharist: On the last Wednesday of each month, during the 5:30 pm service in the chapel, we offer a healing Eucharist.  Along with Eucharist, at the end of the service participants and receive anointing and special prayers from the celebrant. This is a quiet, reflective service and you are invited to attend either for a need of your own or on behalf of someone in need of the health and wholeness that comes from God.

Lay Eucharistic Visitors:  At the end of the principal service on the 1stand 3rdSunday of the month, several members of the parish, duly licensed by the diocese, receive kits and go out to visit and take communion to the members of Ascension who are unable to attend services.  For further information, please contact Laura Brendle at lalabr57@gmail.com.

Daughters of the King:  Ascension has a chapter of this national organization of women who are members of the Episcopal Church.  Members of the DOK pray daily  on behalf of those in need in our community.  For further information, please contact Debbie Steindorff at debsteindorff@gmail.com

Parish Prayer List  The staff of Church of the Ascension maintains an active prayer list that is updated as necessary and includes the names of people who have asked for prayers, regardless of whether or not they are members of the parish. This list is used by the Daughters of the King, for use during our daily morning prayer service and by the clergy and staff of our parish.  If you would like your name added to the list, please contact  ag@coascension.org

 Squares and PrayersOnce a month, members of this ministry gather to sew quilts for members of the parish who are facing critical and/or long-term health challenges.  Each quilt is prepared careful and prayerfully. The congregation helps complete the final step in each quilt’s preparation. We lay the quilt out in the Nave for 2 weeks and ask that after communion on both Sundays, people stop and tie a prayer knot on the quilt.  Please contact a member of the clergy if you or someone you know is in need of a quilt. If you would like to consider joining this ministry, please contact Rebecca Drennen at rgd310@knology.net.

 Support

We are committed to walk with each other, celebrate the joyful life events we  and when necessary, help each other carry the burdens of daily living.  We have a number of ministry offerings to provide support to members of our community facing specific challenges.

Tender Loving Care (TLC):  Several times a year, members of the community gather in the kitchen and prepare healthy and delicious meals to freeze.  When a family faces a crisis or time of need, we are glad to drop off a couple of meals to make life a little easier and remind the family or person that we walk with them in this time of need.  For more information, please contact Lacy Gibson at lacydgibson@gmail.com

Bread of Life Ministries:  People in their 20’s to 40’s have are building meaningful lives for themselves and often face a variety of stressors and challenges.  This new, ‘grassroots’ ministry is emerging as one of the strong programs of Ascension. Along with offering faith formation opportunities on Sunday, the group is intent on gathering people together for worship, socializing, and support including reaching out to families with new babies and celebrating other major life events. For more information, please contact Glenn Sylvest at glennsylvest@gmail.com

Ascensionaires:  As members of Ascension enter the retirement years and begin to face into the new life that is found in aging, this ministry offers opportunities for socializing together, participating in special events and trying to prevent the isolation and loneliness that  too often accompanies aging.  For more information, please contact Rosa Lindahl at  rlindahl@coascension.org.

Transportation: Whether the need is temporary or more long-term, we provide assistance, when parishioners need rides to and from church on Sundays and for special events.  For more information, please contact Don Vaughn at donaldvaughn724@charter.net

Episcopal Church Women (ECW):  The ministry of the  ECW at Ascension is vibrant and active.  After the tumultuous time of 2005, the ECW stepped forward to provide significant pastoral care support including home visits with shut-ins, hosting the visitation that typically precedes or follows the funeral of a parish member, visiting new mothers, etc. For more information, please contact Daisy Bear at fbb_1@charter.net.

Brotherhood of St. Andrew: The Brotherhood of St Andrew is a men’s ministry program of the Anglican Church that seeks to do the work of the Kingdom. At Ascension, this group has been involved in a broad range of projects including helping to provide basic home repair support to members of our congregation.  For further information, please contact Brett Hall at standrewbrotherhood@outlook.com.

Visitation of the Sick

Care Teams: this is a team-based program for visitation and support of the sick. This approach recognizes that often, a person with significant or chronic health issues will have a variety of needs. Presently, we have two teams with 8 members, who are supporting 3-5 friends (n.b.: this is the term we use to refer to a parishioner under the care of one of our teams) who are in need of extra help, especially practical help. Our goal is to ensure Ascension is as supportive as possible when parishioners face significant health challenges, and to work together to ensure that we take care of our care ministers. For more information, please contact Camille Carr at camillekaycarr@gmail.com.

Support At Death or Time of Great Loss

When the church is notified that a parishioner or member of his or her family has died, the clergy will as quickly as possible respond and begin to make plans for the Rite of Burial. At the same time, the following ministries are notified and some or all with be involved with the family during this time of loss.

Altar Guild:  After consulting and planning with the family, the clergy will provide a detailed communication to members of the altar guild about the family’s wishes regarding flowers, etc., for the service.  The following describes whateach ministry will do—the clergy person working with the family of the person who has died will be the liaison for all these groups.

Funeral Guild: If the family requests that a visitation be held at the church before or after a funeral, the clergy will also work with this guild, which is part of the ECW, to plan and prepare for the family to receive visitors either in the library or Ascension Hall.

Joseph Ministry:Starting in September of 2018, Ascension will be equipped to provide additional support to a grieving family.  At the family’s request, the Joseph Ministry will assign a person to assist with the logistics surrounding a death and funeral.  Examples of the support a Joseph Minister provides include: being available to stay in the family’s home for several hours during the day helping receive and make records of food, flowers or other gifts the family may receive, helping to coordinate with caterer for any receptions of gatherings, and overall, helping to attend to details that can be overwhelming in a moment of significant grief.  For more information about this ministry, please contact, Laura Brendle at lalabr57@gmail.com.