Christmas Day Message
“He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.” Luke 2:5-6
They went to be counted, Joseph and Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea. Registration in one’s familial home was a political device, exercised not because Palestinian Jews mattered much to the Roman government, but because it helped keep them in their place. In the midst of this counting of people who, by and large, did not count for much, the divine love of God came to life in the infant Jesus to make precisely the opposite claim.
In a livestock shed, presumably away from the crowd and the scandalized eyes of judgmental relatives, the young, unwed Mary was delivered of the baby she had carried in her womb from Nazareth in Galilee. We can imagine that she may have been attended to by one or two women who were experienced in childbirth, caring souls who knew that she and her baby counted, if not to Caesar Augustus, at least to them and to Joseph. And like shepherds, magi, disciples, saints, and sinners through the ages, we have come to understand that this child counted to God; indeed, he was the very incarnation of God’s love.
God’s love in the flesh. Of all the ways that divine love is made manifest in creation, God chose to manifest it most fully in the extreme vulnerability of childbirth, not in a palace or the maternity ward of a 20th century hospital, but in a humble barn, two millennia ago. When the government was counting in order to intimidate and control, God by divine action declared, “This is who counts to me. This fragile, infant human, who is no different from the least of you.”
The message of the Incarnation is that you count. Whoever you are, you count. There are no exceptions. You count so much to God that you are entrusted with God’s own love. And that divine love is incarnated – it takes on flesh, our flesh – every time we act on behalf of the other. Because, of course, the other is always Jesus.
With every blessing of the incarnate love of God,
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio
The Choir is collecting clothing for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s clothing drive. This clothing will be made available to the needy free of charge. If you would like to clean out your closet, the “re-choir-ed” clothing box is located next to the office.
The choir will be responsible for delivering your donations. It’s cold weather season, so think warm clothes!
The Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church isn’t a place, it’s a Movement. Check out this short video (2:34) and find out more.
Learn more about the activities and beliefs of the Episcopal Church.
Fr. Black Tells His Story
In the latest edition of Prizm magazine, Fr. Vincent Black shares his journey to the priesthood.
“I went through a very dark period of thinking that there was no hope for me, that there was something terribly wrong with me, and that clearly God couldn’t love me if I were such a sinner,” remembers Black.
God Loves You! No Exceptions!
All are welcome to find a spiritual home at the Church at Ascension. Father Vincent Black has a Message of Welcome for you.
We are community that encourages questions, seeks answers, and strives to use Jesus’s example in our daily lives. We’re family friendly and offer the opportunity to find peace, reflect on our spirituality, and experience God’s never ending love, compassion, and grace.
For those wishing to use their time and talents to make the world a brighter place, Church of the Ascension has many active Community Outreach programs.
Join us to begin or renew a relationship with God.
God Loves You! No Exceptions!
The Church of the Ascension offers two services with different worship styles. The 8am service is shorter because there is no music and there are fewer people. The language is older and more poetic with “thee, thou, takest, etc.” It is quieter and more intimate. There is a simple hospitality offered afterwards of usually coffee and cookies.
The 10:30 service has music, more pageantry, and is about 15 minutes longer. There is Sunday school for children during the first part of the service from September to the end of June. There is also a nursery available for infants and toddlers for the duration of the service. After the service there is usually a more elaborate hospitality time with a range of foods and refreshments.
Keep In Touch!
The Church of the Ascension wants to keep in touch with you. Sign up below to receive text and/or email messages. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Need To Talk?
Father Vincent encourages you to make an appointment with him to discuss anything on your mind or heart. He is available on most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Use the form found here:
Email Rev Black
or call the office at 216.521.8727 to set up an appointment.
What Is The Church's Stance On...
We’ve all heard Fr. Vincent tell us that he isn’t here to give us all the answers to our spiritual questions. Rather, we should rely on him for help as we wrestle with our faith, doubts, decisions, and questions. This is a common response within the Episcopal Church, but why?
We are all involved in helping the Church shape its doctrine. How does this happen? What does it mean that we are part of the Anglican Communion? These questions and more are discussed in a resource document that examines the history of the Episcopal church, our Anglican roots, decision-making within the church, and more.
Watch the video for a brief primer on the document.
Issued by The House of Bishops, the document can be read or downloaded by clicking on the title Re-Membering And Re-Imagining: Essays On The Episcopal Church.
An Interview with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
The Most Reverend Michael Curry became presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church last November. Judy Woodruff of PBS’s Newshour sat down with Bishop Curry to learn how he is leading the church – Click the link below to see the interview.
I have been in the Episcopal Church my whole life. We are a better Episcopal Church because we really are trying to welcome all.
Nursery and Sunday School
The Church of the Ascension is happy to offer a Nursery for babies and toddlers as well as a Children’s Service, for children who aren’t quite ready to join the adult celebration. Our trained nursery leaders are here for your child(ren), so you can reflect, reconnect, and recharge. In our Children’s Service, kids can expect to be entertained with projects, crafts, and stories that illustrate God’s love. The class also helps to prepare the children to join their parents and the greater church family during the main service. Kids start with their families and are escorted to class after the welcome message, returning during the exchange of peace.
Church of the Ascension adheres the guidelines outlined in Safeguarding God’s Children, which includes more than one adult attending to children at all times. Parents are always welcome to join or observe either group at any time.