In June, 2008, Ascension adopted a revised Constitution & Bylaws instituting a fully-integrated Leadership Council. Equal representation from all three language groups insures total integration of this Ascension governing body, and it supports three-way communication throughout the congregation. It also fosters cultural exchange and a better understanding of the others in our family of believers.
The Council’s responsibility is to support the pastors and staff, and help the pastors evaluate the fulfillment of their calling or employment. Members of the Council serve as liaisons to the various Ministry Areas which perform the functions of the congregation. The liaisons report back to the Council to enhance communications between Ministry Teams. The Council also has the responsibility of electing the officers of the congregation from within its ranks.
Leadership Council history
The 2008 structural reorganization of Ascension came about after several years of intentional planning. During most of the Twentieth Century, and at the start of this century, the largely English-speaking Church Council (later called the Parish Planning Council) had governed Ascension. In 1977, Pastor Arthur Wyse brought a Spanish-speaking outreach to Ascension. He was later succeeded by Pastors Eliezer Ortiz and thenWalter Baires. In 1983 the outreach expanded to include Hmong members. This produced a son of the congregation, Youa Kao Vang, who was ordained in 1993. The congregation had a Pastoral Team of Pastors Baires and Vang and Jonathan Jacobs. Despite having Hmong- and Spanish-speaking pastors, those language groups felt some disenfranchisement within their church home because of the governing structure. Then, in November 2006, the pastoral staff brought a radical proposal to the congregation. They requested that they be granted 3 year renewable “Term Calls” instead of their current open-ended calls. All three agreed not to consider other calls for the three years, and they made a covenant with each other, with the following specific goals:
- Grow the average aggregate worship attendance to 400 per Sunday
- Institute and grow the new integrated worship service, to be led by all 3 pastors
- Implement integrating our leadership structure
The present Leadership Council is the result of Goal 3. The “One Family/One Spirit” service, also called “The Gathering”, resulted from Goal 2. It, too, supports integration and better understanding and cooperation.