Mission Envelope

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May Mission Intention: Ethiopia

On Sunday, May 1, at 9:00 a.m., Margaret and Bob Boettcher will be speaking about the May Mission-of-the-Month for Ethiopia – their family lived in Ethiopia for a year.  Margaret and Bob will recount recent travels in Ethiopia. They’ll talk about work for deaf people their grandchildren are doing.

The Boettcher’s daughter, Sarah Miller, her husband, Vachel, and their three grandchildren currently live in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Vachel is on a one-year leave from his university teaching position. He’s establishing a doctorate program in education at Bahir Dar University.

The KAL Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015. The Center promotes and developments the welfare of disabled people in Ethiopia. Currently, its special focus is deafness. The school for the deaf opened in August 2015. Margaret and Bob’s grandchildren – Galen, 14, Sidra, 12, Caspian, 9 – work with children in the program once or twice a week.  The new school is located in a city of 40,000 people. The school is the first organization to educate and help blind or deaf children.

 

April Mission Intention: Books for Africa

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March Mission Intention: Valley Outreach Food Shelf

The Valley Outreach Food Shelf has been feeding families since 1983. It offers a choice model where clients shop for their specific needs, honoring individual, family, and cultural preferences. Additionally, the service provides weekend Snack Packs to students eligible for free and reduced lunch during the school week, helping to alleviate hunger over the weekend, and Mobile Choice, a home delivery service for those unable to visit our site.

The Valley Outreach Food Shelf is designed to supplement the nutritional needs of individuals and families experiencing an emergency financial situation or transition in their lives. About 40% of the individuals served each month are children, 20% are elderly, and 10% have a physical or mental disability. Valley Outreach relies on the community for donations to run its programs. 100 % of your donations go directly to supporting our St. Croix Valley families.

February Mission Intention: Our Community Kitchen

Our Community Kitchen’s Top Five

Our Community Kitchen (OCK) is five years old this year! Because we are celebrating this august anniversary, we thought we’d share with you the top five reasons to be in partnership with OCK.

Reason #5. We wouldn’t exist without five years of partnership with Ascension Episcopal Church. OCK was a brainchild of Rev. Buff Grace and a few others. Five years later, we are still growing strong. Your partnership matters to us. Your encouragement and financial support mean a great deal to us. Thank you for you partnership.

Reason #4. Food and Spirit are bound to each other. Whatever you believe, whenever we gather around the table, communion happens. We bake bread together and we break bread together.

Reason #3. What’s on the table is never as important as who’s around the table. What we do best is gather people around the table. The people gathered is what matters.

Reason #2. Dining together is an expression of love and joy. We all need to eat. When we eat together, we share stories of heartaches and joys, laughter and tears. The community becomes the communion.

And the #1 Reason. We want to say will all our hearts that KALE RULES! K.A.L.E. stands for Kindness, Action, Love, Energy and, of course, Excellent food! So we want everyone to get their KALE on!

Thank you again for your KALE, your kindness, action, love, and energy which have supported us for five years. We invite you to keep the KALE going with your payers and mission support. And please join us for breakfast on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 10 a.m. in the Parish Hall.

 

January Mission Intention: St. Croix Valley Chaplaincy Association

Our community is unique in having a chaplaincy program serving all people.

Lakeview Hospital is the Chaplaincy Association’s largest client, but over and above the service to our hospital, the Chaplaincy Association serves many of the general public, such as those in grief support groups, people affected by regional catastrophes such as natural disasters, and those in assisted-living centers who do have a chaplain.

The Association provides chaplains in the hospital and some area assisted living facilities for people who do not have a church home or pastor to visit them. Chaplains have special training to work with spiritual perspectives of all varieties including those with no religious background.

The Association also provides a Pastoral Care Academy, open to all on the first Wednesday of the month, covering topics like “Suicide Response,” “Supporting Those with Cancer,” “Dealing with Domestic Abuse,” and more.

In these and other ways, the St. Croix Valley Chaplaincy Association serves many people in our community at some of the most difficult times in their lives. Please give generously in January to this worthy cause.

For more info visit >>

 

December Mission Intention: HeadStart Christmas Wishes Clothing Drive

HeadStart Christmas Wishes Clothing Drive: November 29-December 13

Each year, Ascension parishioners donate clothes or gift cards for the 20 students, ages 3-6 years, in Ascension’s Head Start Program and their siblings. The children receive their gifts during the last week before Christmas break, December 15-18. They are always excited and grateful to receive brand new clothes for Christmas!

It’s easy to participate:

  1. Pick one or more envelopes from the Christmas Wishes tree in the parish hall.
  2. Sign your name and contact on the Sign-up List.
  3. Inside the envelope, you will find a list with information, such as the child’s age, sex, clothing size, identifying letters/numbers and a list of the clothes the child would like. You are not expected to buy all the clothes on the child’s list. Leave the tags on the clothes in case the items need to be exchanged. Please do NOT include hats or mittens. The children receive both as part of a separate gift event.
  4. Spend between $20 and $30 per child. It’s important not to spend more than that per child. The children open their gifts as a group, so it’s best if the gifts are of similar value.
  5. Purchasing a gift card instead of clothing items is a great alternative. Cards from Target, Penney’s, or other low-cost easily accessible stores are best.
  6. Do NOT wrap the gift.
  7. Place clothing gifts in a plastic bag with the child’s list attached to the outside of the bag and place the bag under the Head Start tree.
  8. Put gift cards in the envelope you picked from the Christmas Wishes tree and place the envelope in the offering plate passed during service.

And wait, there’s more …

You will also find a box on the table to collect clothes to be distributed as needed during the year for children who come to class without appropriate clothes. The most useful clothes for in-class distribution are sweat pants, sweat shirts, underwear and socks for boys or girls, sizes 3T, 4T, and 5T.  No need to sign up.

 

November Mission Intention: Last Sunday Supper

Last Sunday Supper, is a long-standing mission here at Ascension. It provides a free meal to whoever comes through our door in the late afternoon of each month’s final Sunday. Socialization and re-connecting with fellow guests is an important part of the hot dinner offering.

Two other local churches, First Presbyterian and Trinity Lutheran, share meal preparation with us on a rotating basis. Their assistance and loyalty have certainly enhanced this program over the years.

We serve our guests at 5:00 p.m. Depending on the number of diners, we usually are finished cleaning up by 7:00 p.m.

The funds collected during November will pay for the food Ascension prepares during our four-a-year Sundays of meal preparation. Ascension will provide the December 27 meal. During 2016, we will host in March, June, September, and December.

If you would like to help with this ministry, email Linda Amrein

August Mission Intention: Jon Francis Foundation

It’s been nine years now since Jon Francis went missing in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. The search for Jon was abandoned by Idaho authorities after only two days. The Francis family was left feeling betrayed, helpless, and hopeless. This is why we created the Jon Francis Foundation (JFF). We address this unmet public need and public health crisis through the generous help from others.

Jon was raised at Ascension. His faith was rooted here because of our exceptional youth ministry. JFF honors Jon’s memory and youth ministry that have brought some good from his loss.

JFF empowers others who suffer from grief, despair, and distress after the disappearance of a missing adult in the wilderness.

  • We provide knowledge to families, individuals, and communities struggling with unresolved loss. (Unresolved loss means not knowing what happened and being unable to find your loved one.)
  • Since 2007, JFF has offered crisis and grief support to more than 40 families coping with a missing adult in 13 states and Canada.

We advocate to raise awareness and support and to extend legal protection for missing adults.

  • In 2009, JFF pressed for passage of new public safety legislation requiring Minnesota law enforcement to report and investigate the disappearance of missing adults.
    Minnesota became only the 10th state in the U.S. to mandate law enforcement action on behalf of missing adults.

We are able to carry on Jon’s ministry and legacy of service and make a positive difference in the world because of the caring and generosity of our friends at Ascension. Thank you!

The Jon Francis Foundation is dedicated to saving lives through wilderness safety education, empowering families who have suffered the loss of an adult loved one in the wilderness, and advocating for legal protection for missing adults.

 

June Mission Envelopes:

ECMN Mission Opportunity 2015: Engaging the Spirit in Haiti

The annual per capita income for a Haitian is $1,300 and for a US citizen, $46,400. The Haitian literacy rate is 52.9 %; in the US 99%. Only 10% of Haitian students enrolled in elementary school will attend high school. Health-care resources in Haiti are inadequate. One hospital bed per 100,000 people; in the US one hospital bed per 320 people. In Haiti, 20 health care professionals serve 100,000 people; read more… in the US, 320 health care professionals serve 100,000 people. Average life expectancy in Haiti is 63 years; in the US 80 years.

Donations to the Haitian Mission Opportunity will make a difference in Haitian lives.

Here are some examples of what our donations can provide:

$25 plants a fruit orchard.

$50 funds a micro-loan for business startup.

$100 buys one day’s service by a Haitian doctor.

$250 feeds an entire school for one week.

$500 reforests a micro watershed.

$1000 funds a family farm for a season.

$1500 covers a school’s payroll for one month.

$5000 buys medications for three days of medical care in a clinic.

Please prayerfully consider how you might assist in the Haitian Mission Opportunity. Mission envelopes are available in the church pews.

 

April Mission Envelopes: Books for Africa
The Mission Cause for April is BOOKS FOR AFRICA. Parishioner Tom Warth founded this organization after a visit to Uganda in 1988. Ascension Church and the folks here in Washington County and the St Croix Valley were key to its early growth. Now, some 27 years later, BOOKS FOR AFRICA is the largest shipper of books to the African continent in the world. Some 32 million books have gone to 49 countries.

At both services on Sunday, April 12, Margaret Lunyolo and her daughter Linda will be here to express their appreciation of what Ascension did for them when they first came here from Uganda in the 1990s and to comment on BOOKS FOR AFRICA and its work.
On Saturday, May 2, we invite volunteers to come and sort books in the BOOKS FOR AFRICA warehouse. Save the morning and more details will be forthcoming.

 

February Mission Envelopes: Our Community Kitchen

Our Community Kitchen (founded for the love of community in 2011) continues its mission of preparing and serving an assortment of delicious foods. We offer a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables, bring volunteers together into the kitchen, introduce new dishes and teach both children and adults new ways of preparing food. By doing this, we are creating a community of friends in our kitchen and around our tables, making sure no one in our neighborhood goes hungry.

Breakfast is served from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Our menu changes weekly and includes salads in the summer and soups during the colder months. Every Thursday OCK serves 14-20 children from the Head Start program.

This year we added a cooking-skills and dinner program for families in the Ascend tutoring program. OCK is also adding a lunch program at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Check ourcommunitykitchen.org for dates, times and menu.

Our Community Kitchen’s garden provides fresh chemical-free vegetables and herbs for breakfast guests. Last year, about 15% of food served was grown in our garden. Additional fruit and vegetables were preserved for use in the winter and spring.

When you donate today, you help make it possible Our Community Kitchen to grow in our mission: “To create community by growing, cooking, serving, and eating healthy food together.”

Thank you to everyone who has already donated! We couldn’t do what we do without you.

Our Community Kitchen 215 North Fourth Street Stillwater, MN 55082

Email: ourcommunitykitchenstillwater@gmail.com Phone: 651.439.2609

 

Mission Focus for January 2015

Ascension’s mission focus for January will be the St. Croix Chaplaincy Association.

Our community is unique in having a chaplaincy program serving all people. Lakeview Hospital is the Chaplaincy Association’s largest client, making it possible for a Chaplaincy Association to exist in the Valley.

Over and above the service to our hospital, the Chaplaincy Association serves many of the general public, such as those in grief support groups, people affected by regional catastrophes such as natural disasters, and those in assisted-living centers who do have a chaplain.

The Association provides chaplains in the hospital for people who do not have a church home or pastor to visit them. These chaplains may be first to respond to people who do have a pastor by letting their pastor know of their need. Chaplains have special training to work with spiritual perspectives of all varieties including those with no religious background.

The Association also provides a Pastoral Care Academy, open to all on the first Wednesday of the month, covering topics like “Suicide Response,” “Supporting Those with Cancer,” “Dealing with Domestic Abuse,” and more.

In these and other ways, the St. Croix Valley Chaplaincy Association serves many people in our community at some of the most difficult times in their lives. Please give generously in January to this worthy cause.