The Rev. Canon Paula E. Clark, Bishop-Elect of Chicago
The Rev. Canon Paula E. Clark was elected to become the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago in December of 2020 succeeding the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee who retired at the end of 2020. Upon her consecration in April 2021, she will oversee the diocese that includes 31,000 Episcopalians in 122 congregations across Northern Illinois. Mother Clark currently serves as canon to the ordinary and chief of staff in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, She received a Master of Divinity degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia and served at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D. C. and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beltsville, Maryland, before joining the staff of Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde. Her work for the diocese focused on clergy development and multicultural and justice issues. Learn more from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
Rector – The Very Reverend Patrick Raymond
As Rector, my first responsibilities are to welcome you, to help you feel at home, to learn how I can support your faith, and to encourage you as you find a meaningful ministry here. I also have final responsibility for Ascension's worship and music and share in many aspects of parish administration. I coordinate staff and clergy and share with our Wardens and Treasurer in developing the best capacities of our Vestry (the church board). I was ordained in the Diocese of Chicago in 1987 and have served parishes in Chicago, the Chicago suburbs and Madison, Wisconsin. As Dean of the Chicago North Deanery from 2017-2020 I encouraged fellowship and collaboration among a dozen north side congregations. 'Very' was added to 'Reverend' when I became Dean. My three grown kids and wife Brooke soon started calling me 'Very Dad.' Please join me in the blessings of taking part in Ascension, our Anglo-Catholic worship and devotion, sublime sacred music and growing vitality.
Curate - The Rev. George Arceneaux IV
The Rev. George Arceneaux IV was ordained to the priesthood in February 2021. Fr. Arceneaux is from Lafayette, Louisiana and received his Masters of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2015. He served as a hospital chaplain at Rush University Medical Center on the NICU/Mother-Baby/Labor and Delivery units and serves today as a hospice chaplain across the Chicago area. He also ministered at St. Paul and the Redeemer in Hyde Park, primarily with youth, and served as ministerial intern for St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Oak Park from 2018-2020. Fr. Areceneaux now lives with his wife Fiona and two cats, Bon and Mimir, in Edgewater and spends his free time whiling away at crochet, fishing, video games, and 80s movies.
Deacon – The Rev. Charles Farrell
Deacon Charles Farrell was ordained in 2013 and served at Christ Church Cathedral, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, prior to a 2017 move to Chicago. Deacon Farrell has served in numerous hands-on and leadership roles in a wide variety of outreach programs devoted to feeding, clothing, and sheltering people in need. His appointment as Deacon from the Bishop of Chicago is divided between Ascension and Church of the Atonement, Chicago. In his secular work, Deacon Farrell serves as Executive Director of Student Centers at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Deacon - The Rev. Meghan Murphy-Gill
Deacon Meghan Murphy-Gill was ordained a transitional deacon in February 2021. Before coming to Ascension, Deacon Meghan was the seminarian at Church of the Atonement in Edgewater, where she discovered a deep sense of connection to sacred music and Anglo Catholic liturgy. Prior to stepping onto the ordination path, she studied systematic theology and church history at Catholic Theological Union as a Bernardin Scholar. She was an editor for U.S. Catholic magazine for 10 years and served as the managing editor from 2016 to 2018 before stepping down to focus on formation for priesthood and writing. She continues to write about food, faith, and culture, with bylines appearing in the New York Times to Chicago Magazine, and is currently writing a book on the spirituality of bread. While not reading and writing, Deacon Meghan loves to cook, eat, and run (on repeat). She lives in the Edgewater neighborhood with her husband, Andrew, and their son, Albie.
Seminarian - Bonnie Scott
Bonnie Scott is Ascension's resident seminarian for the 2020-2021 year. She is in the second year of her MDiv program at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Bonnie has been an active participant at Ascension since she first arrived in Chicago in the fall of 2019 with her now-husband, Joey Keegin. Before arriving in Chicago and pursuing ministry, Bonnie studied the "Great Books" at St. John's College in Annapolis, MD where she pursued her passion for Ancient Greek philosophy, literature, and poetry. She also previously worked at various non-profit organizations which focused on environmental activism, food justice, and refugee resettlement. Eventually, she hopes to seek ordination in the Episcopal Church, following in her grandmother, the Rev. Donna Scott's, footsteps who has served the Episcopal church as priest since her 1986 ordination in the Diocese of Tennessee.
Assisting Priest – The Rev. Gary E. A. Lawler
Fr. Lawler has been a priest for nearly thirty years and served parishes in New York City, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Morrison, Illinois, and is now retired and living happily in Edgewater, a neighborhood along Chicago’s lakefront. These days, upon request, he gladly helps-out/fills-in where and when he can. He fills his spare time with cultural activities, concerts, 12-step meetings and travel.
Assisting Priest – The Rev. Robert Petite, D.Min, BCC, LMFT, ACPE
Fr. Petite was ordained in 1971 in the Diocese of Nova Scotia, Canada, where he served for twenty years as a parish priest and hospital and military chaplain. He arrived in the Diocese of Chicago in 1989 for training in Clinical Pastoral Education. Fr. Petite is a Certified Pastoral Educator (ACPE) and a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Illinois. He retired as Chaplain and Executive Director of Church Home at Montgomery Place in 2014 where he served for twenty-two years. Fr. Petite continues to practice as a CPE Educator/Consultant, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Spiritual Director. He and his spouse, The Rev. Mark Tabbut, live in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago.
Senior Warden – Cheryl Peterson
The two Wardens of the parish, Senior and Junior, are the chief lay officers of the Vestry.
Cheryl Peterson serves as Senior Warden. She was previously a member of the Vestry from 2010 to 2013 and 2014 to 2017. Most recently, she has chaired the Buildings and Grounds committee where she directed projects to replace the slate roof and repair the interior sanctuary arch. She likes to garden and takes delight in caring for the trees and plants in Ascension’s neighborhood garden that provides a peaceful refuge for many people along LaSalle Street. She is a member of the Flower Committee and the Finance Committee and coordinates the nursery program. She would love to see more children and families attending Ascension. One of her particular interests is in the area of pastoral care and in promotion of the Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings devotional gatherings, temporarily altered to comply with Covid-19 precautions. With input from other vestry members and parishioners, she co-hosted a Zoom discussion group in 2020 on racial equity and reconciliation.
During her tenure as warden, Cheryl looks to develop additional lay leadership opportunities within the parish, expand Ascension’s outreach and hospitality to people in the neighborhood, and promote further Christian formation and discipleship.
Junior Warden – Ken Kelling
The Vestry, or parish council is responsible for all budgetary and property issues as well as collaborating with the Rector on strategic planning for parish growth and programming. It is comprised of members of the parish who are elected at the annual meeting to three-year terms. In addition to the two wardens listed above, the 2021 Vestry includes: Kelly Colomberti, Marilyn Evans, Lynette Hector, Jim Lo Bello, George Pineda, David Reeves, Samuel 'Sam' Sommers, Enrique Vilaseco, and Amber Zelazny.
Choirmaster – Benjamin Rivera
Benjamin Rivera, appointed Choirmaster in 2016, has prepared and conducted diverse choruses in repertoire from sacred polyphony and chant, choral/orchestral masterworks, and contemporary pieces to gospel, pop, and folk. He has served as Chorus Director and regular conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 2013 and has appeared multiple times as Guest Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival and elsewhere. He also serves as Artistic Director and conductor of Cantate Chicago and High Holidays Choir Director at Temple Sholom, Chicago. Rivera also sings professionally, as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus for over twenty seasons—including twelve as bass section leader—and in numerous other ensembles and venues.
Organist – David White
Before being appointed in 2016 to succeed legendary Ascension organist David Schrader, David White served as Organist/Choirmaster at several prestigious congregations, including St. Thomas, Medina (WA) and St. James Cathedral, Chicago. He shares parish music leadership with Choirmaster Benjamin Rivera and is primary organist for all liturgies, monthly organ recitals, and special concerts. White has performed internationally as organist and pianist, and is a prolific composer of choral music for the Episcopal Church, among many.
Treasurer – Susan Schlough
The Treasurer is an officer of the parish appointed by the Vestry. The Treasurer monitors the financial health of the church by tracking income and disbursements, reconciling bank statements, and analyzing Investment performance; an analysis is provided monthly to the Vestry. The Treasurer ensures that salaries and bills are paid on time and that parishioner contributions are recorded in a timely manner.
Facilities Manager – George Panice
As Facilities Manager, George Panice manages nearly all aspects of church maintenance, cleaning and repairs. He is skilled in numerous trades and, when unable himself to perform repairs or make needed improvements, George finds, schedules and collaborates with other professional contractors. George is also the guy who clears the sidewalks when it snows and who is called when the security alarm goes off in the middle of the night.
Parish Office – Nathanael Deward Rahm BSG
Br. Nathanael provides general office support to the rector, staff, and congregation, supporting the ministries and mission of Church of the Ascension. Among other things, his work includes bulletin and e-newsletter preparation, phone and email support, management of church space use by parishioners and outside groups, supporting the church and collaborating with volunteers. While being a resource person for both members and non-members, Nathanael is a welcoming and responsive presence in the Ascension’s office.
"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."
Church of the Ascension
1133 N La Salle Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610-2601
Sunday Worship Schedule
9:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer, via Zoom
10:0 a.m. - Mass (In-person and streamed)
(registration is required for all in-person services)
Our free parking lot is located on the northeast corner of La Salle Boulevard and Maple Street.