The first sign of the heavenly calling is an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work. To have a true call to the ministry, there must be an irresistible, overwhelming craving and raging thirst for telling others what God has done to our own souls. - Charles Spurgeon
Ascension has had a long history of preparing people for ordained ministry. Over the years, several priests and deacons have discerned their calling here. I believe this speaks volumes about our community’s deep faith. Recognizing, acknowledging, and using our talents and gifts in the church and the world is understood as "discernment." Discerning God's call for our lives is a lifelong journey that is integral to living out our baptismal faith. Discernment is collaborative work, and lay leaders and clergy must work together in this process. Often, the rector will appoint a discernment committee for those considering the priesthood or diaconate. This group engages in deep conversation and discovery to help name the gifts of the Discerner. If these conversations are successful, the committee members’ understanding of their own particular gifts and services also deepens. In September 2019, a group of lay leaders and I worked with Ascension members Annelies Moeser, Laura Warner Gilmer, and Randy Nelson to discern their call to ministry. It was a fruitful year-long process. At its conclusion, both Annelies and Laura recognized their call to the priesthood, and Randy Nelson to the diaconate. Earlier this summer, I shared the news of Annelies' ordination at the Diocese of Texas in Austin. Bishop Kai Ryan, formerly the rector here, officiated for this joy-filled day. I was delighted that several of you were able to attend with me. I'm proud of Ascension for affirming these faithful servants, praying for them, and supporting them both financially and spiritually. All three have attended the Iona School of Ministry for further theological training. Annelies completed her studies at Iona this past May, and Randy and Laura will start their fall semesters this September. Since January 2022, Rev. Mark Odieny has been doing his fieldwork at Ascension. He is a seminarian at Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth and is working on his Master of Divinity. You've likely seen him participating in worship most Sundays. As Mark continues his studies this fall, he has to raise funds to cover his tuition. His total need is $3,000, and I believe we can help meet this goal. If you are able to contribute, you can do so by clicking the button below. Please select “Rector’s Discretionary Fund” from the dropdown menu and type “Mark Odieny” in the Notes section. We will write one larger check to him later this month. Thank you for all you do to support discernment and education for ministry. I’m grateful for each and every one of you.