Bagpipes and Bonfires!!!!!

Mark your calendars! Bagpipes & Bonfires will be Saturday, September 23. Our biennial community event will feature Inside Straight Blues Band on the main stage. There will be games, food and beverages for sale, and the ever-popular kilt contest!

And watch for our juggling priest! He will kick off the event by lighting the bonfire at 5:30 while The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band plays.

You don’t have to wait until September to get involved. You can buy raffle tickets, a car magnet, or a yard sign now. This year’s raffle will provide a chance to win one of six great experiences.

Bagpipes & Bonfires Raffle Prizes:

  1. Two round-trip tickets to Ireland.
  2. Weekend getaway to the Apostle Islands via private charter plane for two with a $500 voucher for food and lodging.
  3. A six-night stay in a private three bedroom townhouse in Orlando, Florida and a $500 voucher for food and fun.
  4. Night on the town – shopping and dinner for two in Stillwater.
  5. Behind the scenes private tour of Ascension Church and dinner.
  6. River Rendevous – a romantic gondola ride on the St. Croix.

Tickets are $10 each. You can buy in the Parish Hall on Sundays or contact Jen Truman, to have them sent to you. We can also get tickets to you to sell to your friends and family.

Backpack Blessing on Sunday, August 27

Do you have someone in your home headed back to school? Bring them and their backpack, and we will bless them as they prepare for a new school year. College and adult learners and teachers are invited as well, with or without backpacks.

– The Rev. Marilyn Baldwin

Wednesday Night Formation Teachers Needed

Still looking for third and fifth grade teachers.

Both are small classes with great kids. Looking for an adult teacher. Would need you for the first three Wednesday’s of the month, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Email Mindy if you are interested

Welcome Back the Grace’s Service and Potluck

On Sunday, September 10, we’ll celebrate the return of the Grace family, and all those who have traveled this summer, with one service at 9 a.m. Following the service we’ll have a Welcome Home to Ascension Potluck.
Please join us to welcome back Buff, Amy, Peter, Ella, summer travelers, and all Ascension friends.

We will be serving pulled-pork sandwiches with Lift Bridge Root Beer. We ask members to bring their favorite salad or desert for potluck. If you’ve got a vegetable garden, please bring veggies for the meal or to share with others.
We are looking for help with prep, serving and clean up. Men are encouraged to show their domestic side! Please contact Frank or Sue Langer @ 651-439-5766.

Ascension Vestry Condemns Bombing of Islamic Center

At the August 8 Vestry meeting, a resolution was brought forth to acknowledge and condemn the bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. The Vestry unanimously supported the resolution that states:

The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Stillwater, condemns the bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, and offers its support and prayers. We express our sadness and deep concern. We encourage our congregation to offer words, prayers, and/or acts of support, as they choose.

– Ascension Vestry

New Bookkeeper Hired

After 10 years serving Ascension, Nance Anders is transitioning off work requiring on-site support. Nance began at Ascension in 2007 providing office and bookkeeping support. In 2011, the work became exclusively bookkeeping and contracting services with the church. This spring Nance shared with Buff her intentions to move on, but offered to continue to provide service until a replacement was found.

We welcome Vicki Selmecki who will now provide Ascension with bookkeeping services. Vicki worked for IBM Corporation in Finance and Administration Management for 34 years and retired in December 2015. She started a financial and business consulting company with her brother working with small businesses on development, finance, and accounting. Vicki will train with Nance in September and begin assuming sole responsibility in October.
Our thanks and appreciation to Nance for all she has given to Ascension. We will miss the talent and spirit she gave to our parish.

Welcome, Vicki!

– Monica Davis

Head Start Blanket Drive

The Head Start blanket drive starts Sunday, August 20, and ends Sunday, September 3. School starts Wednesday, September 6. Fleece and instructions will be available for pick up August 20 in the Parish Hall. Please put your name and phone number on the sign up sheet. Return completed blankets to the Parish Hall September 3. Thank you from the Head Start children! Questions? contact Lorna Rupp 651-228-7129,

August 12: Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry Cancelled

The Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry Community Offering will be cancelled for the month of August. Healing Touch can be requested on an individual basis with arrangement for house or hospital visits. Please contact Anne Gerber with questions at (651) 353-8707. The next scheduled community offering will be held Saturday, September 9.

Where has the Youth Minister been?

Just sending you my love so far this summer. Hope you’re enjoying yourself as much as I am! Traveling to Oklahoma City for Episcopal Youth Event and to Duluth with great youth all around! Then to come home for a rest. I have read more than 15 books, none with any Christian Formation in them! I have been walking and re-teaching myself how to take care of my body, mind, and spirit.

At the end of July, I started planning for what Ascension’s Formation program might look like this year. Here is a snapshot of what I have been working on, along with on-line registration:


  • Extended Worship Tool Boxes for different ages.
  • Welcome gift bags to new children who come to Ascension.
  • At home Milestone kits for all ages.
  • Children’s Chapel prayer box.
  • Second and Third grade Holy Communion Class with families, Sundays in January.

Youth: much smaller classes with one teacher and new Episcopal Curriculum.

  • Wednesday Evening Formation begins September 6, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
    • Godly Play, Pre K to 2.
    • Third grade.
    • Fourth grade; Darcy Rodriquez, teacher.
    • Fifth grade.
    • Sixth, seventh, eighth grades: Manwaring House; Sarah DeWolf and Mindy Boynton, teachers.
  • Sunday Morning Formation begins September 10.
    • Nursery, 0-3 years, Godly Play, Pre K-2, 9:00-10:00 a.m.
    • Children’s Chapel will introduce a new Prayer Box.
    • Character Club, 9:00 a.m. at Manwaring House with Mindy, all ages.
    • Confirmation and Senior high times are not set yet.

– Mindy Boynton

Tai Chi Class Cancellations

No Tai Chi classes on August 16, 23, 30.

August Mission: Reflections on Ecuador #2

Spanish is Ecuador’s official language, while Quechua and Shuar are the two major indigenous languages. Quechua is the language of the Inca, which was the dominant culture in Ecuador when the Spanish arrived. Quecha can still be heard throughout the Siera regions. In fact, some older people hardly know Spanish. Shuar comes from a group of indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Ecuador does not have a large amount of immigration. There are higher concentrations of Afro-Ecuadorians on the coast, which is mainly due to the slave trade conducted by the Spanish. Small Chinese communities have developed in the cities of Guayaquil and Quevedo.

Spanish nobility designated the mestizos as upper class landowners. Indigenous people had to work on farms, and lacked opportunity to improve their stations. This system of labor continued from the 16th century through the 1960s. In the 1960s, agrarian reform broke up the tracts of land still controlled by Ecuador’s gentry. Many indigenous people could once again control the land and become campesinos, the Spanish term for subsistence farmers.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Ecuador experienced a huge demographic shift. Ecuador’s oil exportation increased. Many Ecuadorians who were living on farms moved to the cities in search of more profitable jobs. This led to overcrowding, and cities like Guayaquil developed large slums. In the past decade, Ecuador’s improving economy has brought a renaissance to cities like Guayaquil, to the enormous benefit of both Ecuadorians and visitors alike.

Ecuadorian Families
In rural communities, Ecuadorians rely heavily on neighbors. The term compadres refers to couples who serve as godparents to each others’ children. Even in urban Ecuador, there is a strong emphasis on the nuclear family, due in large part to the pervasiveness of Roman Catholicism.

Yet Ecuador’s nuclear family has some problems. Domestic abuse is a widespread social ill. It’s estimated that 30 percent of Ecuadorian women with partners endure some form of physical abuse.

Traditional Religion
Mountains have strong spiritual significance in traditional Ecuadorian religion. The largest mountains in a region are often called Taita, the Quechua word for father, and the second smallest is Mama. Catholic shrines appear throughout the mountains, erected by the Spanish in spots where the conquistadores had discovered Inca religious sites.

Every native culture in Ecuador relies on healers for spiritual guidance and physiological treatments. These healers can be men or women. They combine native knowledge of medicinal plants with traditional forms of witchcraft. Medicinal plants include coca leaf, quinine, tobacco, and the psychotropic plant ayahuasca. Over the years, healing rituals have come to incorporate Catholic prayers. (

– Mission Committee

Directory Update

Have you moved? Has your phone number changed? Be sure to update your information with the church office or 651-439-2609. Also consider updating your family photo for the directory.

– Ruth Meyer, Office Staff

Community of Hope (COHI) Update

During this sabbatical time, our newly-formed group of lay chaplains in training has been learning together about the work of grace in caring for others. We are blessed with 10 people who heard the call to listen to others as part of their journey. Soon, these people will begin visiting those in our community who cannot come to church regularly. Please continue to pray for these volunteers as they begin their active ministry of Pastoral Care. Please contact Marilyn+ with any questions.

Guest Preacher at this Sunday Service, August 6th

The Rev. Father Yanchy Lacska will be guest preaching at Ascension on Sunday. He will be exploring the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus as told in the gospel of Luke. Rev. Lacska says, “Perhaps this vision or transfiguration had more to do with the disciples than with Jesus. Perhaps it has to do with us and our potential.” The Rev. Lacska is an ordained minister, and a psychotherapist. He also teaches qigong and is a master trainer in Tai Chi.
I hope you will join us in welcoming The Rev. Lacska and hearing his thought-provoking sermon.
-The Rev. Marilyn Baldwin

Mission of the Month: Reflections on Ecuador

As the Grace Family travels in Ecuador this month, our August Mission will be reflections on Ecuador.

The Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador are home to some of the most exotic and beautiful species of animals in the world.  These islands are just one of many natural wonders that make Ecuador such a beautiful country.  At the equator in western South America, Ecuador includes sections of the Amazon rain forest while the Andes Mountains, speckled with ruins of the Inca Empire, tower over the Pacific to the west.

Despite its beautiful landscape, Ecuador has long been marred by political turmoil and poverty.  The country’s history has been filled with corruption and rebellion. With political stability always in question, the economy has never been able to support Ecuador’s nearly fifteen million people. While higher global oil prices have helped to reestablish the economy, 35 percent of Ecuadorians still live in poverty.

The Catholic Church in Ecuador has found its position being challenged in recent years by the increasing number of Evangelical churches.  It has even resulted in violent actions against churches. Yet the impact of the gospel continues to spread.  In 1967, only 120 of the 3 million Quichua were Christians.  Today in some areas, almost 50 percent of the Quichua people have come to know Christ.

(Prayercast 2017)