Entering a new church for the first time is not always, if ever, easy. The experience, though we hope it is otherwise, can be intimidating. Aware of that, and as the Rector of Ascension Memorial Church, I welcome and appreciate your interest in Ascension and hope you find here a safe and holy space in which to feel warmly welcomed, known by name, and very much at home.
Though your truest impression of Ascension Church will come from all you see and hear for yourself while visiting Ascension, allow me to share a few words which may help capture the character of Ascension Memorial Church.
Concerning our understanding of the Christian life, we affirm that being a Christian is not primarily about believing the right things or being good. Rather, the Christian life is about entering into relationship with God which transforms us more and more into compassionate beings – into the likeness of Christ. We are more concerned that the Christian life is grounded in relationship – with God and Neighbor – than whether everybody agrees together upon the beliefs we hold. This understanding reflects the very spirit of the Anglican tradition. Queen Elizabeth I saw the wisdom of creating a form of worship that would allow people of diverse, religious beliefs and opinions to be a people of common prayer.
It is also worth noting that the people of Ascension are guided by some basic, commonly held, theological understandings. We are not scriptural literalists. We take the Bible seriously, not literally. We reverently regard the Bible as a window through which we may see the face of God and by which we may better understand ourselves. We are a community deeply centered through worship and prayer in the reality of God’s grace. We affirm that we are deeply and boldly loved not because of who we are or what we do, but because we inescapably belong to God. We enjoy humbly walking with God and appreciate how our lives grow in meaning and purpose by acting compassionately and justly for all.
There are many ways for a person to plug into the community of Ascension Church, smaller communities within the larger community, a variety of programs in which to find yourself in the company of those who share a common interest or desire to help. In whatever way you choose to be part of Ascension church, we welcome you to a place in which you can become more freely and fully the one you are already in the eyes of God.
The Rev. Bradford D. Clark
Rector, Ascension Memorial Church