Leadership Council

General Leadership Council Member Role

Members of the Leadership Council are elected at a Congregational Meeting from a list of nominees either prepared by the Nominating Committee or nominated by any individual congregation member. Main requirements of LC members are spelled out in the Ascension Bylaws as follows:

“Proposed nominees shall humbly endeavor to exemplify the six marks of discipleship by:

Praying daily

Worshiping regularly

Reading the Bible

Serving the Community

Relating to others for Christian growth

Participating actively in stewardship of time, talents, and money.

Leadership Council Responsibility Includes:

  • Adopting a vision for Ascension’s mission and implementing it by developing ministries, such as:
    • Serving and Sending Ministries
    • Welcoming and Gathering Ministries
    • Youth and Family Ministries
    • Preparing and Strengthening
  • Develop, coordinate and prioritize ministries, policies or resolutions needed to fulfill the mission.
  • Individual LC members should serve as liaisons between Pastors, Officers and ministry teams to plan and complete the work of the congregation.
  • Carry out all administrative needs for setting calendars, advising on worship, financial and personnel issues, and coordinating with Endowment Fund.

After the LC is elected, one of its first responsibilities is to elect the officers of the congregation: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

Leadership Council Members

My name is Tina Chang, born in Parkridge, Illinois and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have been a long time member of Ascension with my parents and my in-laws who are all members. I am married to Houa Xiong and have 5 kids. I have over 15 years experience in Healthcare-Community Health Centers with my current role as Director of Revenue Cycle.

I am new to the Leadership Council and look forward to better understand my role, responsibilities and expectations with this team.

I was born in the Dominican Republic. I have six children in total, three of whom are from my previous marriage. I have been married to my wife, Marle, for twenty-one years.

I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1997 and became an Ascencion member in 1998. The first time that I came to Ascension, I was invited by a friend, and since day one, I knew that it was the perfect fit for my family and me. I was motivated to become a member of Ascension because of its welcoming and friendly environment in addition to its diversity. I am grateful for the gifts that Ascencion brings, for the Spirit’s work in our church, and for the gift of new life that God gives to us.

I have been a member of Ascension since January 1995. I have been part of the Leadership Council for a few years now and will continue for the next 2 years. I teach Sunday School for the Hmong Ministry part of Ascension. I also joined the Communication Team in 2021.

Alain Simo Ortiz, a Mexican from Veracruz who has lived in Milwaukee since 2000, shares how he began working beside his brother, José Andrés Guerrero, and was invited to attend the church by his friend Milo Soto, who curiously did not attend church that day. Since there was no pastor to lead the worship service that day, he heard José Andrés and Valencia lead the service, a celebration in which Alain was the only attendee.

Alain appreciates how he is free to exercise his faith in Christ at Ascension, where he married Segrid, the union from which their sons Alain Jr. and Herve were born.

This is the first time Alain is in a position of service in the Church, and he hopes he is able to do it well for the glory of God.

When I moved to Milwaukee to begin my career as a teacher in MPS in 1982, I looked around for a church. I visited, liked it, and started participating in a Bible Study with Pastor Barrows (later Bishop, now retired) and other disciples from Ascension. I also became aware of worship in Spanish and started attending those services. I figured it would help me with my job as a teacher at Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School. I became an official member of Ascension LC in 1988. I began helping with Sunday School and later playing the organ (without the pedals!) in the chapel for the Spanish worship service. Victor and I were married in 1989 by Pastor Ortiz. Our son Emmanuel was baptized and confirmed at Ascension. Over the years, I have served in various roles at Ascension including Sunday School teacher, musician, Latino liaison for worship, Camp Hope Christian Day Camp director and Visitor for Homebound Disciples. Most recently, I have served as interpreter for Leadership Council meetings and now will serve as one of the representatives from the Latino Ministry in the Leadership Council. I enjoy being part of Ascension. It is such a blessing to witness how disciples of all ages love and serve God, each other, and the surrounding community.

Latino Liaison role

The Leadership Council consists of four disciples from each of the three language ministries that worship at Ascension: English, Hmong and Spanish. I will be one of the four representatives from the Spanish-speaking community. When going through the bylaws of Ascension, these following statements describe what I believe to be my major responsibilities:

  • Develop and modify policies or Continuing Resolutions describing the ministries, the ministry teams and other congregation organizations or committees as necessary to fulfill this congregation’s mission.
  • Prioritize the ministry directions and coordinate the ministry of this congregation as well as along with that of the larger Church.
  • Serve as the point of liaison between the Pastors, the Officers and the various ministry teams or committees in planning the total work of this congregation.

Ascension Lutheran Church has always meant a lot to me. My favorite church, the only church I’ve ever been a member of. I thank my Mom and Dad for joining this church, getting married here, having all of their 6 children baptized, confirmed, sing in choirs and a couple of them married at Ascension.

As we grew our congregation to 3 language groups, it became even more exciting. We were blessed with wonderful Pastors in our English, Latino and Hmong congregations. It felt like a new beginning for Ascension!

In May of 2012, I received a phone call from Pr. Jon Jacobs. He asked if we could meet for lunch. After some wonderful conversation, he asked if I would take on the Leadership Council President position. At the time, I had an extremely busy work schedule, including travel etc., and I was a bit concerned about my availability. I took a few days to think about this. What came to my mind? Ascension, a wonderful church! How exciting to have 3 language groups working together on the Leadership Council. How exciting to gather together in worship. I wanted to be a part of this!

I was aware that every person, organization, company and churches could face challenges. There was something about Ascension Disciples. They could overcome negativity and adversity to create success. I decided I could do this!

I am a lifelong member of Ascension. My father, as a child, was a member of Dr. Gustav Stearns’ Carol Boys, and when adult he was President of the congregation in 1963. As President, he became a permanent Church Council member. (In World War II they had trouble finding enough Council members, so Ascension adopted a measure that all past Presidents became automatic members.) I joined the Junior Choir in 1959 and have been a member of the Young Peoples’ or Senior Choirs ever since. I served on the Camp Board, an Evangelism Committee and as President or Secretary of the Senior Choir. I am also a member of the Bell Choir. In 1977-78 I was President of Ascension, and then a permanent Church Council member until 2008, when the Constitution & Bylaws were changed so Leadership Council membership included equal numbers of all language groups. I was elected to it, and the Council elected me Secretary. Other than a year in which another member became Secretary, I have served in that position since 2008. In 2021 I also joined the new Communications Team.

The Constitution lists one function of the Secretary, if the congregation should wish to terminate its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in which case it adopts a resolution to terminate the relationship, and the Secretary submits it to the synodical bishop and mails a copy to voting members of this congregation. Other than this one major, yet unlikely, responsibility, the duties of the Executive Secretary are listed in the Ascension Bylaws. Mainly, the Secretary must be present at all Congregational and Leadership Council Meetings to record the minutes for permanent record. The Secretary is responsible for all correspondence authorized by this congregation and committees, under the supervision of the President. The Secretary performs all duties normally pertaining to a secretarial job and such additional duties as the congregation may delegate. The Secretary also prepares the Nominating Committee slate for Leadership Council approval when necessary.

Hi all! My name is Charlie Kudy, and I am the recently elected treasurer! I am a 5th generation member here at Ascension and consider it a great honor to serve our congregation. 

As treasurer, I serve on the Endowment Board and the Building Team. I also assist in coordination of leases and leasing of our spaces to help make our building a community facing location on Milwaukee’s Southside!

Claudia Rubio Ribera, who was born in Mexico City, is the mother of three daughters – Karina, Eira, and Karla. Claudia came to our church 8 years ago at the invitation of a friend and was delighted with our congregation. It was during the time of the Pastorela*, and she liked the bustle of such a Hispanic celebration.

Claudia is happy to be part of the membership of the church and about her position on the Leadership Council.

* the reenactment of the archangel Gabriel appearing to the shepherds to announce the birth of the baby Jesus

I am part of the Leadership Council and have been with Ascension for over 13 years after marrying my husband. We have four young children who look forward to Sunday school every weekend. I enjoy being a part of Ascension and its diverse culture.