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 once blackened stone (now cleaned!) served as 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.
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. 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 being first translated in 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 an 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.
- The Bible is our guiding authority and contains all things necessary for salvation and is the rule and ultimate standard of faith. Solid biblical teaching and preaching is 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.
- Our worship is also Sacramental. There are two sacraments that were ordained by Jesus, namely Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist. At Ascension, we uphold both Word and Sacrament, so those who come on Sundays will hear the Word of God, read from the Bible and preached in a sermon, and will join with others in the celebration of Holy Communion.