June 8, 2021
We recently received updated Covid-19 guidelines from our Bishop. The following are our new guidelines for in-person worship at Ascension:
1) At this time, worshipers who are vaccinated may choose whether or not to wear a mask to worship. Because some of our members are immuno-compromised, we ask the unvaccinated folks continue to wear a mask while attending worship.
2) Ushers will continue to check temperatures and keep a list of all folks who attend worship, in case there is a need for contact tracing. This is also required of any groups that use our facilities.
3) We will continue to observe social distancing in worship.
4) Singing may resume.
5) At this time, Communion will continue to be bread only.
6) If people wish to receive Communion, but are uncomfortable returning to the church for in-person worship, clergy are available to bring Communion to them or to meet them outside of Sunday morning worship at the church.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate a world with Covid-19.
- Father Peter
March 28, 2021
We are delighted to announce that the church re-opened for in-person services on Palm Sunday, 2021.
For the foreseeable future, Sunday worship will include both in-person and online worship. If you are comfortable attending live worship at the church, it is held at 9:30 a.m. Once we have a larger number of people attending worship (and enough usher volunteers to take temperatures), we will return to our normal two services: 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
If you are not yet comfortable attending worship at the church, we invite you to attend live worship through our Facebook page. One of the clergy will lead Morning Prayer on Facebook each Sunday.
We are working on getting the technology to broadcast our services live from the sanctuary. We are intentionally taking our time to select the right options at the best price possible. We will update you once we have more information about this.
As we return to physically attending services inside the church, no advance registration is needed. But please remember that the pandemic is slowed, not gone, and everyone has not been vaccinated. Masks, signing in at the door, and social distancing are still required. Please check in personally with an usher when you arrive before taking a seat in the marked areas. Ask about the current availability of Nursery services and Godly Play classes for youth.
Beginning in MAY, we are allowing the in-person congregation to say prayers and responses aloud, as long as people are socially distanced and wearing masks. Congregational singing is still not allowed. Work is being done at the diocesan level to reincorporate this; we hope to hear more soon.
NOVEMBER 19, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Franklin County has entered a 'red' danger zone. Access to the church building is once again strictly limited to those with specific permission; all services and meetings, including small groups, are discontinued for now. We expect this situation to continue through December; the Advent and Christmas sesrvices we had hoped to hold in-person are now back to online only.
We continue to pray for the victims, their families and loved ones, and each other. Ascension's tower bell rings daily at 10:00 a.m. in memory of COVID victims.
Regular office hours remain suspended until further notice; clergy and staff continue to work (mostly) from home. If you have questions, concerns, ideas or suggestions to share, or if you have needs that your church family might help to meet, you may call the church office at 502-223-0557, or contact Father Peter directly (email email@example.com, or call 502-661-2742. You may also email Deacon Rebecca Saager (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Deacon Sue Kurtz (email@example.com).
Dear Ascension Family,
During this time of pandemic, you all are especially in my thoughts & prayers. You are very dear to Nicole and me, and we are delighted to worship with you and to be on this journey beside you!
The past six months have presented us with unique challenges and also new opportunities. COVID-19 has prevented us from meeting in person for worship, a real challenge for many of us. The act of gathering together for worship - greeting our church family members, praying and singing side-by-side, and receiving the Eucharist at the altar - are deep pieces of our spiritual life and practice. Not being together in person presents challenges.
We have responded by holding worship online: shifting services, Bible studies, book groups, outreach ministries, etc. to the internet. This is a new and valuable opportunity. I have been reviewing our attendance numbers for last year (2019) and this year (2020):
2019 was a typical year for us in a lot of ways, including how many people we welcomed and served through worship. By this point (early September) last year, we had held services seven days a week and served approximately 5,000 people: a great thing!
So far in 2020, we have held services seven days a week and have served nearly 20,000 people: a truly amazing and blessed opportunity. People who we would never have served in person - people who live in Frankfort as well as in other cities, states, and countries, and people of other (or no) faith communities - participate in our online worship. We are living in the midst of what Jesus talked about in John 4:35-38:
...I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already...gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
We did not pick these circumstances, but we are listening to the Spirit and joyfully following where the Spirit leads us. It is an amazingly powerful time to be at Ascension: in these turbulent and challenging times, we serve as a quiet, loving haven where people of differing beliefs, opinions, creeds, and colors can kneel together and find peace.
That being said, the Vestry and I continue to work on reopening plans for our parish. We had hoped to reopen our building this Sunday (September 6), but continuing high rates of infection clearly make this a dangerous idea. We remain closed at this time.
Sunday, October 4, is St. Francis Sunday. This is the Sunday where we traditionally bring our pets to church and bless them on the front lawn. My hope is that we can have an outdoor, in-person service (or series of services, if infection rates are still high) on the front lawn on this Sunday. We have a very talented, dedicated, and experienced group of leaders working on reopening our parish safely, and we will continue to keep you updated on this process via this eWeekly newsletter.
Again, please know that you and your families are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that this is a difficult time for all of us: please feel free to reach out to me or to our other wonderful Ascension clergy if you need to talk, ask questions, etc.
Please also keep Ascension in your daily prayers: we are truly blessed by God at this time to be serving so many people. Please pray that this will continue and please pray that we, your parish clergy, vestry, and other leaders, will be attentive to the Spirit's direction and follow where God calls.
With Love and Joy,