Associate Rector Position

Episcopal Church of the Ascension seeks a full-time Associate Rector to join our welcoming and diverse community, open and progressive in faith and outreach ministries while grounded in the Anglican tradition. We are a parish within the Diocese of Dallas, under alternative oversight in order to offer the sacraments to all persons and teach accordingly.  Our diversity of gender, age, sexual orientation, economic status, national origin and other criteria means we are not of one mind on every issue, yet we are clear that God’s love calls us to welcome the stranger and spiritual inquirers from every background and our call as Christians is to be the body of Christ in the world. 

Ascension is in a pivotal season as we transform under an Invite Welcome Connect philosophy and await the opening of our 3500 square foot Youth and Outreach Center, scheduled for Advent 2019. Our worship and internal relationships unite us in Christ and our Ascension Outbound ministries connect us with our community. Our day school deepens our connection to our neighbors. 

A substantial number of Ascension’s members demonstrate a solid commitment, serving as leaders in our ministries and calling us to consider new ventures. The staff works closely with one another and the parish to fulfill our common vision. Our Rector, The Rev. Paul Klitzke was called in 2015 and plans to lead the parish for years to come. Together, we expect to cultivate new ministry and help all who come to connect with meaningful discipleship practices. 

Position Summary 

An ideal candidate will come ready to join with other staff members and lay leaders to lead and provide guidance to our transforming and serving community. Our ideal applicant will have initiative-taking and interdependent work skills. He/she will have the gifts of a collaborative spirit, emotional resilience, an empathetic demeanor and will be prayerful and reflective in decision making. Thoughtful and articulate preaching, speaking to spiritual hunger and life concerns is an essential gift for this candidate to possess.

Responsibilities 

Our next Associate Rector can expect to be included in all aspects of parish life. Initial responsibilities will include: 

  • Working collaboratively with clergy, staff and lay leaders to further the mission of the church.

  • Participating fully in the church’s priestly and pastoral ministry by leading worship, celebrating the sacraments, presiding over weddings and funerals, preaching, teaching and leading small groups. 

  • Exercising particular gifts and fulfilling key leadership responsibilities in a range of potential areas of ministry, depending on the gifts of the successful candidate. Ministry areas of interest will include at least two of the following: 

1) Pastoral Care: Coordinating the pastoral care of the congregation, overseeing pastoral ministries, including Lay Visitors, Eucharistic Visitors, Stephen ministers, prayer ministry, and ministries to those aged 65+ 

2) Evangelism: Continue to develop methods to fully integrate Invite Welcome Connect ethos into the everyday life of Ascension, working with staff, vestry and lay leadership.

3) Day School, Children, Youth and Family Ministries: Overseeing the children, youth, family and intergenerational ministry that exist, creating more opportunities for engagement and spiritual growth, engagement and connection for parishioners, organizing and executing programs and speakers. 

4) Adult Education and Formation: Overseeing and working with the Formation Committee to lay out a vision for Adult Formation that promotes spiritual growth, engagement and connection for parishioners, organizing and executing programs, retreats and speakers. 

5) Mission and Ascension Outbound: Engaging the congregation in the work of Ascension Outbound, evaluating ministries, and considering and engaging new outreach opportunities for all ages, especially families and working adults. 

A Successful Candidate will share these values with us: 

    • Welcoming to all, demonstrating openness with an inclusive approach.

    • Authenticity, great preaching and a sense of humor.

    • A commitment to service inside and outside of the church connecting well with the congregation and a desire to understand parishioners needs to care for them.

    • Strength with group process and communication skills.

    • A desire to continue to grow theologically and pastorally.

    • An open mind and heart.

We look forward to hearing about the particular passions of each candidate. The position is full time with compensation commensurate with experience. Total compensation package in accordance with Episcopal Diocese of Dallas guidelines including pension, paid leave, professional development leave and eligible health benefits. 

Contact To apply, send your cover letter, resume, links to recordings of two sermons (or transcripts), three references and updated OTM profile to The Rev. Paul Klitzke

This info is also available as a pdf here.

Communication

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Effective communication in a parish is inherently challenging. It is an area that has been prioritized for improvement. Some matters can and should be communicated as quickly and widely as possible, such as upcoming opportunities for worship, formation and outbound ministries. Some items are more sensitive, such as how widely we share our parish directory, our lists of birthdays and anniversaries and personnel decisions.

Communicating pastorally sensitive information to the whole parish is particularly hard. As a priest I have wrestled with how much I can share with you and when; both in the interest of honoring confidentiality and for general pastoral sensitivity. While communication is not a one direction endeavor, I have the advantage of addressing you collectively each week. That said, the feedback I receive from you is essential in my ability to effectively lead the parish.

The last few weeks have been difficult for me personally. I realize that Mother Marci's departure felt sudden to many of you, but communication of the decision falls into that category of weighing individual confidentiality against my pastoral obligation to address the needs of the parish. The decision was not made in haste. Marci certainly made important contributions to our parish. There were also some challenges that we both tried to work through to come to a different outcome. After prayerful consideration I ultimately made the difficult decision to restructure leadership.

The process is underway to call another Associate Rector as soon as practical, which is necessary for fulfilling our staffing needs. The position description is being prepared, and I look forward to sharing it with you when it is finalized to share with others that may be interested in the position. I am blessed to have Fr. Ernie's help in the interim until we call our new Associate Rector.

I am grateful for those at Ascension that have met with me in the past, but particularly in the last few weeks. As I continue to refine my own communication with the parish, your care and compassion for me as a leader has helped me to receive important feedback. Let me reinforce to each of you that I welcome you and am available to you, perhaps especially if you have concerns about our parish.

Blessings,
Paul

Where Do We Go From Here?

“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

It took me a long time to begin to understand the scripture that speaks of sins punishing from generation to generation. Perhaps the most direct example comes in Exodus 34:6-7: "The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.'”

There is good news in that the good things pass to the thousandth generation, whereas sins simply carry to the third and fourth generation. Moreso, do not miss the subtle distinction here, it is the sin that punishes. Again, we may misread this and hear that God punishes us. It is the sin that punishes. We are punished by our sins, rather than for our sins.

The collective sin of racism weighs heavily upon our nation. Giving voice to racial reconciliation is part of the solution. The Episcopal Church has committed itself to this work. The Diocese of Dallas held a "Racial Reconciliation Day" for the clergy this week as a part of that commitment. You may recall we offered a formation series on "Racial Healing" here at Ascension, as well. It remains available through our YouTube channel here.

Meanwhile, the Barna Group and The Reimagine Group published a report titled, "Where Do We Go From Here?" This title captures our collective desire to take some meaningful action with the information we have received. The report includes insights of the reconciliation already begun. It also includes questions that may guide where we go from here. Prayer and repentance are an important beginning. I hope you will join me as we consider how else we might respond.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

World Communion Sunday

“Ideas are refined and multiplied in the commerce of minds. In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.” - Gaston Bachelard

This first Sunday of every October is World Communion Sunday. This observation began in 1933 by the initiative of a Presbyterian minister named Hugh Thomson Kerr. The hope was to promote Christian unity as we reflect on our shared experiences of the Eucharist. Where theology about communion may vary, we all follow Jesus' instruction to gather and receive this nourishment.

The Eucharist is both very intimate and personal and at the same time universal. I hope that World Communion Sunday might encourage you to reflect on your own piety, as well as to use it as an opportunity to ask others about their experience of the sacrament. For me, the moments around receiving communion have always been deeply prayerful. I believe my mother helped model and instruct me to observe these moments of communion with God, moments of great intention.

I have tried to carry this practice forward as I offer these sacraments to others. If you have shared prayer concerns with me, I raise those prayers in my mind as I speak the universal words, "The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven." I wonder what your practices include, how will you share them with others as we celebrate World Communion Sunday? Sharing our practices and asking others about theirs will enrich our collective understanding of an act that already unites Christians around the world.

Blessings -
Paul

Update on Construction

“We can have no progress without change...” - John Wooden

Thank you to all who participated in the tour of the Youth and Outreach Center last Sunday! It was fantastic to share the space with all of you and to see the collective excitement grow. The prayers and hopes you wrote on stickies and placed throughout the building are inspiring and some have already been posted to social media. The building continues to see progress this week with insulation underway since Sunday.

Work continues across the campus with the replacement of the flat roof above the narthex and parish hall. There was some asbestos abatement as we removed the damaged choir room flooring. The replacement flooring there and elsewhere is being scheduled as soon as possible. The tree limbs along Greenville have also been removed. Some projects require more planning or quotes than others. The work in the nave has slowed as we work to obtain more quotes on sound and lighting work.

It is exciting to see the progress each week and updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Please continue to hold our projects, our leaders and our staff in prayer as we complete these projects.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Serving the Needs of Others

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.- Hebrews 13:16

There are numerous scriptures that encourage our efforts to serve others. The church is not alone in this effort of service, but no other organization is able to equip and motivate as much service as the church. Each church and member thereof may approach this differently, but the call to serve the needs of others is clear and far reaching.

Ascension has many talented and dedicated volunteers. Even where there is staff support, our ministries rely heavily upon the efforts of our members. Each month the Elaine Kadane Food Pantry and Harvest of Hope Community Garden ministries provide significant food support to our community with minimal staff support and an abundance of volunteer commitment. Our worship service, while less of a ministry to others, similarly is heavily dependent on volunteers.

There are many ways to get involved at Ascension. If you read through the rest of this @Ascension email you can see several ministries relying on you to volunteer: Prayer Partners, Fresh Food Day, Greeters and Ushers, and Stults Pen Pals. Also, perhaps you feel called to offer your time and talent on one of the committees that helps to lead these endeavors? The call to serve may urge each of us in different ways, but I hope we all feel it. If you are looking for a way to get more involved at Ascension, please let me know.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Encouragement to Read

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. - Dr. Seuss

Reading is an important part of life. Some comes quickly and is hardly noticed, signs, labels etc. Some may feel more like a chore, email (not this one of course!) or other work. Reading for pleasure, beyond what is required, or by happenstance can be missed if we are not intentional to include it in our lives. I have not always been a reader and still struggle to commit the time many days. Perhaps a bit of encouragement will help create the space for more reading.

Reading scripture guides us toward a deeper relationship with God. Through scripture we can observe generations of people interacting with God. Over time, these stories help us to recognize God's wisdom and grace in new ways. While I favor holding a Bible in my hands, I have several favorites, I find myself reading scripture from my phone a lot too. Recently I have rediscovered the "You Version" Bible app. It offers hundreds of translations, various reading plans, as well as other means of encouragement. You can use this app across several devices, making it easier to keep up with reading the Bible daily.

Reading other books about scripture and about faith is also helpful as we seek to follow Christ. Ascension is blessed with a lending library, it is in the office across from the conference room. There are many great titles that can be borrowed freely. Some of these came from past book studies, so several members will have read them; others may be less known. If you are interested in seeing what is available, you can ask the clergy or vestry about access on a Sunday, or stop by during the week while the office is open. May our collective reading guide us ever more toward Christ.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Our Formation Year Begins Sept. 8th

Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. “ - Proverbs 25:15

Education in the church has gone by many names. For many years we knew it simply as "Sunday School." Others speak of "discipleship," many churches now use the word "formation." Part of the reason for this shift in language is practical as some of our formation happens throughout the week and not just on Sunday mornings. More than that, the word formation is also more accurate in that what is being offered is more than knowledge.

Ascension offers a variety of formation activities throughout the year. Retreats and trainings are part of our formation, as well as small group studies throughout the week and a variety of offerings each Sunday for all ages. Perhaps you have been a regular already at 9am on Sundays, but I want to offer a word of encouragement to come this year.

On Sunday, September 8th at 9am we will all gather in the Parish Hall to hear about the various Sunday morning offerings. This is the chance to hear what each group will be doing and studying. If you haven't been a part of Sunday formation in the past, you can choose something that appeals to you. Each of these formation offerings help to build our relationship with God and with one another. Join us.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Construction and Repairs Update

In addition to all of the usual work happening at Ascension, there is construction. Some of this is work planned for through the Capital Campaign, other parts are repairs following the storm in June. We are doing our best to post regular updates, including photos and video through social media. This update will offer a few more details.

The work of our "Let Your Light Shine" Capital Campaign began last summer with the updates throughout the Courtyard classrooms. Work on the upper building began late last year, but really got underway over the summer months. It is remarkable to see the vision of a renewed youth and outreach center being created, we hope to have occupancy of the space in November. At that time the Elaine Kadane Food Pantry will also move into a space designed for this ministry.

Other work completed by the campaign includes the replacement of the playground equipment on the smaller "north" playground. This was included in the original campaign. Initially we were unsure if this project would remain in the scope of work, but generous contributions from parents and a commitment to the campaign by the school meant that it was able to be included as well.

The repairs following the storm in June have been slow. In part, due to delays with the insurance company and in part scheduling the various contractors needed. We received the initial funding from the insurance this week. I am delighted to say that the remediation of mold and mildew in the Nave has begun. This work will improve the condition of our worship space. Following the remediation there will be some cosmetic repairs required as well. We are hopeful that we might schedule the work to improve the lighting and sound in the nave prior to the cosmetic repairs. This could help us reduce the total expense as well as the disruption to our worship space.

There were temporary repairs to the damage of the roof and HVAC earlier this summer. The work to replace the roof begins this week as well. It was also confirmed that the temporary repair to the roof is sufficient for us to proceed with our other internal repairs, such as the flooring and wall repairs. And...for those who are wondering, the limbs along the road will be removed soon as well.

Thank you for your patience in this process. Thank your for your support and contributions. We are working on a more complete update on the financial impact of all of this as well. Both with the capital campaign and storm repairs additional funds are helpful. As to the capital funds we expect to outline what else could be accomplished with further contributions. General gifts are helpful as we address the ongoing storm repair, while the insurance covers the largest items, there are often other expenses along the way. Ascension needs your continued support, in prayer and in contributions.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul

Thank You!

I feel truly blessed to have had your support in my time of leave this summer. It was a time of intentionality with family and deliberate study. It was refreshing to be away for a time and generate new ideas for our mutual ministry at Ascension, too.

While in Seattle I had the opportunity to spend time with the kids and explore a bit. I want to share a little about how I spent my time while the kids danced each day. I read some great books, including but not limited to: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book by Dan Harris, Making Sense of the Bible by Adam Hamilton, The 3 Day Effect by Florence Williams, Walk in Love by Scott Gunn and Melody Wilson Shobe, Conversations with Scripture: The Psalms by Louis Countryman, and Paradox: Creating Christian Community Beyond by Ken Howard.

I completed some online coursework. Specifically the bonus modules from the "Next Level Leadership Course". Topics ranged from leadership principles and managing well to work with the Enneagram. I had completed the main course last year, meeting with the leader Shane Hipps and others.

I also spent time working on projects that are difficult to manage while in the office. Most days I spent some time writing, focusing on ministry experiences and a longer piece about scripture that has been on my mind for some time. While in Seattle I also arranged to meet with several local clergy. This time allowed for sharing ideas and generally learning from one another.

Again, I am grateful for your support for this time. We are all happy to be home! I missed Ascension and our life here in Dallas.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul