Church of the Ascension has stood on the corner of Ellsworth and Neville in the Oakland section of the City of Pittsburgh since 1889. Its blackened stone is a testament to Pittsburgh’s ‘steel city’ history and its members have sought to serve this city as faithful witnesses to the redeeming love of God in Jesus Christ for many decades.
Church of the Ascension is a member of the Anglican Church, the third largest Christian denomination in the world. We are also a member of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Our history as Anglicans goes back a long way with bishops in historic succession to the very earliest days of Christianity. Much of our history was forged through the Reformation in Europe and especially in England. It was in the 16th century that the Church of England broke away from Rome. While it had much to do with King Henry VIII and his wives, there was far more in the air at the time. Specifically, the great continental reformers of the day, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, together with English bishops, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley and others, were greatly concerned about the state of the church. They desired to see the church reformed with a renewed focus on the centrality and authority of the Bible, and that a central doctrine of faith, namely that we are saved by grace alone through faith, be taught and upheld. Both the English and Continental Reformation came on the heels of the Bible is first translated into English by John Wycliffe in the 1380’s and the mass production of the Bible in the 1450’s with Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.
There are several essential elements of Anglicanism which visitors will also experience in our corporate life:
- Anglicans are firmly planted in a rich soil of historic roots and a fellowship of other Christians that stretches across the globe. We have a Historic Episcopate, namely a succession of Bishops. The role of bishops is to provide pastoral and spiritual oversight and to ensure faithfulness to the scriptures. Our bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is The Rt. Rev. James Hobby and our Archbishop within the ACNA is the Most Rev. Dr. Folly Beach.
- The Bible is our guiding authority and contains all things necessary for salvation as the rule and ultimate standard of faith. Solid biblical teaching and preaching are central at Ascension. At each worship service, we hear readings from the Old Testament, Psalms, Epistles and Gospels that follow a rotation found in the ACNA lectionary.
- We stand alongside other Christians by holding to the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as the backbone of the Christian faith. We are grateful for our Anglican heritage, but also understand that we are part of a much larger family of faith that encompasses everyone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to save us from our sins. At our services of worship, we recite the Nicene Creeds after the sermon.
- Our worship is also Sacramental. There are two sacraments that were ordained by Jesus, namely baptism, and the Eucharist. At Ascension, we uphold both Word and Sacrament, so those who come on Sundays will hear the Word of God proclaimed in a sermon and will join with others in the celebration of Holy Communion.