Adult Formation Sunday, Nov. 19th at 9am

Meeting in the Parish Hall with Special Guest, Ben Walen, Minnesota Council of Churches-Director of Refugee Services.

It takes a community to resettle each new refugee arriving in Minnesota. Refugees have already endured the trauma of war, the difficulty of flight, and the uncertainty of waiting in a refugee camp. We want to make sure that their experience of resettling in MN is full of welcome and hope. MCC Refugee Services has expertise in providing high quality services and navigating complex systems, but we depend on volunteers, churches, and community members to really make MN feel like home to our newest neighbors. You can help!


Sharing God’s Love

Regularly, I have the delightful experience, as a priest at Ascension, of seeing newcomers’ faces light up. They say a variety of things.

“People actually smiled and welcomed me!”
“I’ve never heard the Bible interpreted that way that makes sense!”
“Our kids were the ones who said we should come back!”
“It’s been years since I felt welcome to receive Holy Communion.”
“I couldn’t believe a little church could make such beautiful music.”
“You can feel God is really in this place.”

Newcomers discover we are real people trying to walk in Christ’s way. We’re not pretentious or rule-bound or glitzy the way some churches are. We have a vibrant hope for what a human being can be in this world and a humble acceptance of our need for God. We know God is a Mystery that we’ll never understand, but also that God is a Creator who wants to be known and who loves us dearly.

The truth is, they don’t stop experiencing these qualities of our community when they stop being newcomers. We are graced to be the community we are.

I hope you will make a pledge this coming Sunday to keep our way of following Christ alive in the St. Croix Valley.

In Christ,

Special Thanksgiving Worship

On Wednesday, November 22, at 7:00 p.m. we will join with our neighbor Trinity Lutheran for a joint worship service to celebrate Thanksgiving. The service will be held at Ascension and anyone who would like to is welcome to join the choir. Just show up at 6:15 p.m. at Ascension for a brief rehearsal immediately preceding the service. This is a great opportunity to share common prayer with our Lutheran neighbors and a great way for college students on holiday to reconnect with their home parish.

Today is Give to the Max Day

Every year, Minnesotans come together to support their favorite non-profit organizations on Give to the Max Day and today is that day.

Your donation to Our Community Kitchen will help provide more than just a nutritious meal. You’ll help build community connections around the breakfast table and help us provide information on healthy eating.

Also, your gift may also help OCK receive an additional donation of $1,000. How? Every gift made on will be entered into an hourly drawing for a $1,000 GiveMN Golden Ticket to be awarded to a nonprofit organization. Your gift of $10 or more could instantly turn into an extra $1,000! Please do what you can.

Our goal is to raise $7,500 by year-end. Your generosity makes a difference far beyond the 24-hour giving event. Donate today!

Donate Today!

Thank you for helping to provide food, community, and nutritional education for those in need at Our Community Kitchen.

Our Community Kitchen is a 501(c)3. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Betty Erickson Steps Down at Boutwell’s Landing

For a number of years we have been blessed by Betty Erickson’s faithfulness to worship at  Boutwell’s Landing Chapel . She has also served  in the Altar Guild at the chapel as well as musician at our worship services. Now, it’s time for her to be present in other ways. To replace Betty, we’re looking for two people: someone to play the piano or other instrument, and for someone to set up the chapel area for Holy Eucharist, clean up afterward, and make sure we have bread and wine available. If you are willing to serve in either ministry, please contact Marilyn+ or Buff+.  And be sure to thank Betty for her service, both at Boutwell’s and in our church community for many years.

New Ascension Opportunities at Boutwell’s Landing

Beginning this month, Ascension is increasing its presence at Boutwell’s Landing from two times per month to weekly.  Every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., our clergy or lay leaders will gather with parishioners in the Boutwell’s chapel to pray, read scripture, or study a faith topic.  All are welcome to join us.  Boutwell’s Landing is located at 5600 Norwich Pkwy, Oak Park Heights.  The Chapel is located on the indoor mall.

Deacon Brenda will lead lectio divina.  Marilyn+ will celebrate Eucharist.  Intern Carole Seline will lead morning prayer and reflections on mystics.  Buff+ will lead centering prayer and discussions on faith topics.  Please join us!

John Francis Foundation Thank You

Jon Francis at the Minnesota State Cross Country Meet

Dear Friends:

Thank you for your generous gifts to the Jon Francis Foundation during Ascension’s September Mission Month.  Your gifts will be placed in the Jon Francis Foundation Trust.

When Jon was a fifth year senior in college, he gave up his athletic scholarship so his coach could recruit younger runners.  Linda and I were a little annoyed at the additional financial burden placed on us.

However, I had to admire Jon’s selfless spirit and dedication to his team’s success.  That was Jon.  His generous heart inspires us today.  We are motivated to create a legacy gift, in Jon’s name, to pass on his generosity and to support future student-athletes.

In 2018, the Jon Francis Foundation will strive to create an endowment that will live beyond the life of his parents and teammates. The endowment will honor Jon’s memory, reward hard work, and support the aspirations and future success of young scholar-athletes in our community – like these students:

“Thank you so much for awarding me the Jon Francis Foundation Scholarship. I was touched and inspired by Jon’s story and amazed by what a wonderful person your son was…”  Hannah Anderson, 2017

“Thank you very much for the Scholarship. I am honored to be receiving such a prestigious award in Jon’s name.”   Sam Hanson, 2016

“Although I never had the honor of meeting Jon, his legend lives on through the Cross Country and Track Teams. I hope to live by Jon’s philosophy and have the same impact that he did on others.”   John Huntley, 2015

“As with Jon, I believe that success and joy in my life will be found not in what I personally accomplish, but by the weight and impact that my action will have on others.”  Tayler Aarness – 2014.

Thank you for your presence and help on our journey.

David Francis
Executive Director

Upcoming Holy Day Worship Services

Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols: A Feast of Music.
Sunday, December 10, 5:00 p.m. at Ascension.
Prelude at 5:00 p.m. Liturgy begins 5:30 p.m.

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Holy Eucharist.
Sunday, December 24, 9:00 a.m., at Ascension.

4pm Christmas Eve Eucharist
Sunday, December 24, 4:00 p.m. at Ascension.
Children’s sermon and Christmas carols.

9pm Christmas Eve Eucharist
Sunday, December 24, 9:00 p.m.
Carol sing at 9:00 p.m. Liturgy begins at 9:30 p.m.
Adult choirs. Youth choristers welcome to join.

Solar Energy at Ascension

On Sunday, November 12, 40 community members gathered at Ascension to learn about solar energy from a panel of residents who have installed arrays on their homes and businesses.  The forum was sponsored by Conservation Minnesota ( and Sustainable Stillwater (  Nance Purcell reported on the 24 KW array that Ascension is in the process of installing on the Parish Hall roof.  This solar project of the church is made possible by a Made in Minnesota grant shepherded by Vestry member Andy Jenks.

Alternative Gift Market at First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater

Pine needle baskets made by Mayan Weavers

Shop and Share: a market with fairly-traded gifts and food, eco-friendly gift bags, and donations to non-profit organizations. Shop Saturday, November 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sunday, November 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Homemade treats both days and a soup lunch on Saturday. For more information go to

Thanksgiving Lunch at Trinity

Thanksgiving Lunch served at Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, Thursday, November 23 at noon.  A traditional dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie will be served. Reservations are required. Make your Thanksgiving Lunch reservations online at:




  1. Check the Sign Up box next to the Dine-In (150)
  2. Click on the Submit and Sign Up box at the bottom of the page
  3. Enter: Required Name and phone. Optional: Email (this will generate a reminder).
  4. Enter a quantity for the number of guests under this name.
  5. Enter (your organization name) in the My Comment section, so we know the connection.
  6. Click the Sign Up Now button

This process will give us an accurate and up to date list to track our reservations.

For further information contact Tom Thiets at Or call 651-788-5112.

Help Feed 2000 with Stillwater Friends of the Valley

A partnership with Meals from the Heart, Trinity Lutheran Church, Valley Out Reach, Bethlehem Church of St. Paul, Good Neighbor, Central Lutheran Church, River of Life, First Lutheran, and East Emmanuel Church to help make Thanksgiving dinner possible for 1,800-2,000 people this fall.

Ways you can help:

  • Donate product or $25 for a Turkey (Tom Thiets, Eric and Patti Olson ).
  • Donate Cash (Tom Thiets, Eric and Patti Olson).
  • Donate product on Thursday, November 16 to Meals from the Heart 6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m  (Tom Thiets).
  • Sort and organize raw product for distribution on Thursday, November 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 5150 Quincy Street, Mounds View 55112 (Eric and Patti Olson).
  • Deliver uncooked ingredients on Friday, November 17 from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. (Eric/Patti Olson).
  • Deliver cooked product in mass on Saturday, November 18, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  (Eric/Patti Olson).
  • Cook for 850 meals on Saturday, November 18 in St. Paul. Times vary (Eric/Patti Olson).
  • Cook for 200 meals on Saturday,  November 18 in Stillwater at Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 Fourth Street N. (Tom Thiets).
    • Details coming. Email back if interested and we will follow up.
  • Donate pies on November 22  to Trinity Lutheran Church. 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Tom Thiets).
  • Serve Thanksgiving meals on Thursday, November 23 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Times vary (Tom Thiets).
    • Details coming. Email back if interested and we will follow up.

Please follow the link and see what opportunities are available and what works into your schedule. Everything will start rolling Thursday, November 16 at 6:00 p.m. with raw product drop off at Meals from the Heart, located at 5600 Memorial Ave N, Oak Park Heights. Drop donations here. Please call Tom Thiets at 651-788-5112 to confirm delivery time.  (Eric and Patti events)

All product comes at a cost. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Checks can be addressed to Meals from the Heart with “Thanksgiving Project” in the memo. These can be mailed to either 5600 Memorial Ave. N, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082 or to our home at 415 Mulberry St. W., Stillwater, MN 55082. Or simply handed to us in person. Your donations are 100% tax deductible. Please follow the link above so we can track how close we are to the financial goal of $7,000.

Thanks to our friends in the Stillwater Community for being so generous with your time and donations.

If any questions please reach out to Eric, Patti or Tom Thiets.

Eric Olson eolson@horwitzinc.com612-599-2336

Patti Olson  – 651-226-3557

Tom Thiets tthiets@mealsfromtheheart.org651-788-5112

Adult Formation Sunday, November 12, 9 a.m. Parish Hall

Leah Jaslow, Donor and Engagement Services-American Refugee Committee.

Refugees share with us what they need, and we work together to create programs that make the most sense for that particular community. To these unique solutions, ARC is able to bring more than 35 years of expertise in services, like health care and sanitation, that are critical to refugee communities. We apply our experience to suit each community and to continue pursuing new and better solutions to enduring humanitarian challenges.

Sunday November 19, 9 a.m., Parish Hall
Ben Walen, Minnesota Council of Churches, Director of Refugee Services.

It takes a community to resettle each new refugee who arrives in Minnesota. Refugees have already endured the trauma of war, the difficulty of flight, and the uncertainty of waiting in a refugee camp. We make sure their experience resettling in MN is full of welcome and hope. MCC Refugee Services has expertise in providing high-quality services and navigating complex systems. We depend on volunteers, churches, and community members to really make MN feel like home to our newest neighbors. You can help!

Energy Success Stories Panel: how did they do it?

Sunday, November 12, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Ascension Episcopal Church, Business leaders, homeowners, East Metro city officials, please join us in learning from an informed panel of speakers introduced by Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski. Panelists include Chuck Dougherty, innkeeper of the Water Street Inn and Stillwater homeowner; Jill Behnke, a leader of the Chisago Lakes Area Energy Finance project, others. Following we’ll enjoy table conversations about community energy goals.

To ensure enough space and refreshments, please RSVP to Julie at or (651) 271-6391.

November Mission: Last Sunday Supper

For more than 20 years, Ascension has offered a free dinner for anyone in need on the last Sunday of each month. We share this mission with two other Stillwater churches: First Presbyterian and Trinity Lutheran. At times, a fourth church has joined us to provide the meal. The dinner is always held at Ascension in the Parish Hall.

Each church is responsible to prepare a dinner of its choice, along with the set-up/clean up, four times a year. We serve at 5:00 p.m. No reservations needed; we feed whoever comes through our doors. In recent months, our guests have numbered about 25 including adults and children. Our numbers were larger when the Presbyterian’s Blue Bus picked up riders from several apartments. Unfortunately, the bus finally had to retire.

Ascension has a team for planning, preparing, and serving the meal when it is “our” month. We are Ann Denton, Lynn Foster, Vicki Kramer, and Linda Amrein. We always can use more volunteers to assist on Sunday afternoons, usually from 3:30 – 7:00 p.m., for set-up and clean up.

Last Sunday Supper is a gift to our community. We try to show Jesus’s love and concern for others. Many of our guests attend each month to socialize and to enjoy a warm meal. At times, we have had musical entertainment from talented parishioners. Thanks to you all! Raffle ticket drawings for food gift cards or unused food are always appreciated.

During November, all monetary donations given in mission envelopes (located in the pews) are used to pay for food when Ascension prepares dinners. Other needed items are purchased or donated, e.g.
take-home containers for leftovers.

Have questions or ideas or wish to volunteer? Contact Linda Amrein at 651-439-7670