The Anglican Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. There are approximatley 80 million Anglicans worldwide. Church of the Ascension is a member of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
You can find out more about our history following the links to our diocese and the ACNA above. Our historical roots go back a long way with bishops in historic succession to the very earliest days of Christianity.
In more recent history, much of our heritage goes back to 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 a lot to do with King Henry VIII and his wives, there was a lot more besides informing the establishment of a new church in England. Specifically, the great Reformers of the day, Martin Luther and John Calvin, of Germany and France, 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 the great doctrines of the church, namely that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, be taught and upheld.
The English and Continental Reformation came on the heels of the Bible being 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.
Today there are four essential elements of Anglicanism, as stated by the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in 1888:
• contains all things necessary for salvation (2 Timothy 3:16)
• as the rule and ultimate standard of faith
• Apostles Creed – Baptismal Symbol
• Nicene Creed – The sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
Two Sacraments (those ordained by Jesus)
Anglicans also recognize and use five additional sacramental rites, namely: Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination (of bishops, priests and deacons), Reconciliation and Unction (anointing with oil for healing)
The Historic Episcopate (Bishops)
• The role of bishops is to provide pastoral and spiritual oversight and especially to ensure faithfulness to the Scriptures.