More than Stones: Let’s Cross the Finish Line Together!

How to Pledge or Give to More than Stones

Those who want to make a first time pledge or an additional pledge are invited to fill out our online pledge form. Those who want to make contributions can send in a check to Church of the Ascension (4729 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213) with “More than Stones” on the memo OR can use the Easy Tithe link. Select the drop down menu that specifies the donation is for More than Stones. Additional information on our More than Stones initiative, including all video links, can be found under News and Events. Need information on how to pledge or give? Contact Karen Gowdy.


More than Stones Important Update Letter from the Rector: October 26

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

 Thank you to all those who attended our More Than Stones – Celebrate and Complete event over the past weekend. Once again, members and friends of Ascension gave generously – an additional $120,000 was given/pledged. This means that as of today we have reached approximately $8.1 million of the $8.4 million we need. This leaves us with a final $315,700 to raise to cross the finish line.

From the outset we knew that this initiative would take sacrificial giving. Many people have invested in this project and given generously and sacrificially.  Thank you! Indeed, thank you to all who have given and/or pledged to this extraordinary effort.

This letter is to follow up with you as we seek to cross the finish line and complete the last lap of our capital campaign. We are so close. We want now to finish the detailed design work and have construction documents prepared so that we can be ready to start building next year. To that end, I make this appeal:

  • If you have not yet given, will you give now? Ongoing pledges and one-time gifts are both welcome.
  • If you have already given, can you give more? Could you give for another year into 2023 or 2024?
  • If you have given/pledged all that you can, be at peace, and again – Thank you!

Those who want either to make a first time pledge or an additional pledge are invited to fill out our online pledge form.  

Contributions can be made by check or online. Please make checks payable to “Church of the Ascension” (4729 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213) with “More than Stones” on the memo line. Alternatively, use the Easy Tithe link on our website. (Select the drop-down menu that specifies the donation is for More Than Stones.)

If you would like to watch the weekend’s presentation you may view it here. (The presentation begins at time marker 15:30). If you would like to look at the new renderings of the building project, links to each new view are listed below.


We’re almost there … update October 24, 2021

On the weekend of October 23 and 24 two identical events were held to bring the More than Stones initiative to a close. Both evenings were delightful. We were pleased that both Archbishop Duncan and Bishop Minns, along with their spouses, were able to join us. The purpose of the events were threefold: (1) to rejoice in God’s good work through Ascension; (2) to rehearse the purposes of the campaing; (3) to make a final ask to cover the remaining 5% of $435,000 gap, a gap the rector referred to as the final lap of a 20 lap race. The program part of the event begins at minute 15.30. 



Campaign Kickoff Letter from the Rector, September 2021

I am delighted to share this update on our More Than Stones initiative. For those who are new to Ascension, in the summer of 2019 we embarked on an ambitious campaign to raise a large sum of money to fund three very specific goals: Essential Repairs, Refurbishment and Renewal, and Mission and Ministry. (The plans and artistic renderings of the proposals are on display in the glass hallway and copies of our More Than Stones brochure are available there also.)

The Essential Repairs are now almost complete. The cleaned and repointed exterior stone masonry sparkles in the sunshine. The new pews and refinished floor in the Nave enhance our beautiful worship space. The stained-glass windows are currently being repaired. Other essential repairs are nearing completion.

The Refurbishment and Renewal portion of this initiative is focused significantly on the plans to expand our Parish Hall, add new restrooms, improve the connection and flow of our buildings, and create a welcoming outdoor patio area with a new and obvious church entrance. The architects are continuing to work on the detailed design, and we look forward to sharing more soon.

The Ministry and Mission component was a piece that was added in response to the 20+ Listening Groups we held in the fall of 2019. This portion of the monies we are raising is to be used for additional staffing, outreach, ministry, and mission. This Ministry and Mission focus is highlighted in the tag line of our campaign: Welcoming our Neighbors, Reaching the Nations. Towards this goal, we have continued to welcome people throughout the pandemic (receiving some 58 adults into membership with their 28 children). Funds have also been directed to the expansion of our international ministry.

On Target – Just 10% to Go!

The goals of More Than Stones remain two-fold:                           

First, to visit every household and invite people to participate by giving towards this initiative. We made tremendous progress until things came to a halt with the pandemic. We are now beginning the process of completing this goal to the best of our abilities.                                                                                                       

Second, to raise $8.2 million. We are working closely with our architects to stay on track and are committed to keeping as close to this financial target as possible and avoid going into debt. Currently it looks as though we will be able to do what we set out to do for about $8.4 million.

By God’s grace and through the generosity of so many people we are 90% of the way there! We have received gifts and pledges that range from $5 to $500,000. We need now to raise just 10% of the original target – that is about $820,000. This is a truly remarkable testimony to the sacrificial giving, broad participation, and generosity of so many people. Thanks be to God and to each one who has participated.

Final Push to Cross the Line Together

We are about to launch a three-month effort from September through November to raise this last 10%. God-willing, we hope to sign construction documents early in the New Year. We expect to break ground by September next year with completion of the project by the end of 2023.

Please Join Us

From the very beginning, the desire, hope, and expectation has been to see as many people as possible share in the realization of the vision of Welcoming our Neighbors and Reaching the Nations. The invitation to be a part of this More Than Stones project is to every member and friend of Church of the Ascension.

In this upcoming three-month mini campaign, we will be inviting everyone to take a fresh look at what God is doing in our midst and what we believe he is calling us to do through More Than Stones.

  • If you have not yet pledged, we will be inviting you to do so.
  • If you previously declined to participate, we will be asking you to take another look.
  • If you have already pledged, we will be inviting you to consider whether you might be able to give again to help close the gap. Some may be able to extend their pledge for a further year or two; others may be able to make a one-time additional gift.

Honoring Beloved Members and Friends of Ascension

The Vestry has agreed to use the opportunity of this project as a time to honor and remember specific members and friends of Ascension – some living stones and some who have gone before us. I am looking forward to sharing the honorary naming of four different spaces in the renovations and new building. (I stress, these names are honorary and not related to financial contributions.) I will be announcing the names during September.

Invitation to Pray

Please pray for the successful completion of this project. We are so very close. I also appreciate that $820,000 is a very significant sum to raise. As we have said before, reaching this goal will take generous and sacrificial giving. We want everyone to participate. Over the coming weeks please take time to pray about your response and, if you are married, to discuss this with your spouse.


Honorary Naming of Spaces

As referenced in the letter fron the rector in September, an exciting part of the More than Stones initiative involved the honorary naming of spaces. Four ‘naming videos’ are to follow:

Carlucci Commons


Ken and Ethel Bailey Hall


Minnie Smith Education Wing


Ann Paton Contemplation Garden



Living Stones Testimonials

An exciting part of the More than Stones was weekly testimonials from members of the parish throughout October 2021. The ‘Living Stones Testimonials’ are to follow:

Qiuyan Li


Alyson and Gary Holt


Meeting James


New Members!


Amelia Bailey