As a new fall season approaches, we enter the final stretch of our “year of construction” and temporary exile from the sanctuary at the Church of the Ascension. Over the summer months real strides were made in bringing the restoration work to near completion. The newly-configured organ chambers are in readiness for the arrival of the Manton Memorial Organ which will initiate another exciting process – the installation and gradual “voicing” of this magnificent new instrument. The forest of interior scaffolding has been removed, revealing an exquisitely beautiful job of plastering and decorative painting that will give Ascension a fresh and richly warm appearance. Enhanced by new lighting and sound systems, these improvements will render all the hard work of construction in the church a joy to behold and to use for worship once again.
This fall we will also welcome a new Associate Rector to our parish, following Fr. Mark Hummell’s departure to work at the NYU international university campus in Abu Dhabi. Elsewhere in this issue of Life at Ascension there is a brief biography of Mother Shelley McDade, who will arrive in our midst as a transitional Deacon but will shortly be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests at the end of September. As our scattered congregation regroups from various summer wanderings, we will begin a new program year in our usual fashion with the start-up of Sunday School on Welcome Back Sunday, September 19th and, before you know it, the beginning of the Annual Stewardship Campaign.
We are expecting to move back into the sanctuary sometime during Advent this year, although the exact date is not yet fixed. However, our goal is to celebrate Christmas Eve in the fully-restored space, including the use of at least part of the new pipe organ. As we move through a new liturgical cycle, more portions of the Manton Organ will be gradually added, week by week. By Holy Week and Easter everything should be fully operational and we will be able to observe that holiest of seasons in truly splendid style! The date for the Dedication of the Manton Memorial Organ has already been chosen, so mark your calendars for Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm. On that Sunday, we are planning an afternoon service to allow as many of our New York friends as possible to join us for this milestone in Ascension’s history.
Fr. Andrew Foster, Rector