About Christ Church of the Ascension

Welcome to Christ Church of the Ascension, an Episcopal parish where our life together is built around Knowing, Loving, and Serving Christ. Our hope is that you feel the warmth and presence of the Holy Spirit here. 
Knowing Christ begins in baptism. If you are interested in committing your life to Christ in baptism or confirmation, or just curious about the faith, please contact our priest or other staff members to arrange a meeting. We want you to know God in Christ as we do.
We know Christ in the Bible in his Spirit’s presence with us in prayer, and in the fellowship of community. We offer Bible study and classes for children, youth, and adults. Please see our announcements and website for times and availability.  We have a number of groups that meet for prayer, recovery, and just to be together. Often times the voice of Christ speaks in another person’s voice over coffee.
Loving Christ is the center of our worship.  We tend to be a traditional worshipping community. We use the Book of Common Prayer as our guide in both communal worship and private prayer. We believe it is so good that we invite you to take one with you if you don’t have one of your own. We would be happy to show you how to use it. 
Our communal worship is liturgical, that is a traditional form of gathering, praising, hearing God’s story and word for us today, praying, and blessing, breaking, and sharing communion together. It is written to be an act of praise of God that includes all of us active in a dialogue of speaking and listening.  Please join us in standing, kneeling, speaking, and listening as you are able. If this type of worship is new to you, simply do as you feel comfortable and watch those around you.  All you need is usually in the bulletin and the Blue Hymnal in the pews.
Finally, we serve Christ in each person we meet. We offer opportunities to serve as a congregation to those in our parish and in the world, and we offer ways to serve each other within the community as well. More information can be found on the tables at the entrance or on our website.
Church should be simple. Our members study, worship, serve, and give in various ways. Some are here all week and others only on Sundays. Some serve in visible ways here like ushers and assistants at worship, and some in ministries across town or around the world. All of us give generously because we are grateful for all that we have been given. 
We are here because Christ first knew and loved and served us, showing us the great love of the Father and filling us with his Holy Spirit to continue that revelation of love in the world. We are glad that you are with us and welcome you in the name of Christ.
The Rev. Daniel P. Richards, Rector

Service Times:

Sundays through May 27:
8 AM, 10:15 AM, and 6 PM

Summer Sunday Service Times:
June 3 through September 2
9 AM and 6 PM

10 AM Holy Eucharist

5 PM Evening Prayer


4015 East Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253



Rector: The Reverend Daniel P. Richards

Senior Warden: Janene Smith

Junior Warden: Andrew Waite



Chancellor: John Travis

Members: Cathy Arnold, Cody Bro, Cathie Galloway, Wendy Marshall, Pedro Miranda, Chaz Moody, Rebecca Scarpino, Nancy Shumaker, Peter Spang, Gloria Swaine, Will Reimers, and Thom Rindahl.

Merriam Webster defines the word "vestry" as "an elective body in an Episcopal parish composed of the rector and a group of elected parishioners administering the temporal affairs of the parish". CCA Vestry members are elected in the Annual Meeting in January. Usually members are elected to a term of three years. Also in the annual meeting, the Junior Warden is elected for a term of one year by the parish. The Senior Warden is appointed by the rector. The Vestry votes for the secretary and treasurer during the first meeting of the year. 

Top Three Goals & Priorities of Christ Church of the Ascension

  1. Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life and ministries of our parish.
  2. Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our parish.
  3. Further develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances in our community and beyond.

Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month to discuss the budget, large expenditures, outreach opportunities, and up-coming events in the life of the church. These meetings are open for any member to attend.

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

To teach, baptize and nurture new believers

To respond to human need by loving service

To seek to transform unjust structures of society

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

We recognize with gratitude that the Five Marks of Mission, developed by the Anglican Consultative Council between 1984 and 1990, have won wide acceptance among Anglicans, and have given parishes and dioceses around the world a practical and memorable "checklist" for mission activities.

Christ Church of the Ascension is located in Paradise Valley, a community in Phoenix AZ.

As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in many other countries in the world.

The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity. Our liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer retains ancient structure and traditions and is celebrated in many languages. Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church.

October 1963
First organization meeting with Bishop Harte.

December 24, 1963
Christmas Eve -- First worship service at Cudia City (40th Street north of Camelback Road) -- Vicar, Canon George McNeill Ray. First choir director, Millie Wesley.

Early 1965
Moved to Phoenix Country Day School on Stanford Drive -- services in auditorium.

Fall, 1965
Moved to First Federal Savings and Loan building at 20th Street and Camelback Rd. -- services in the basement.

October, 1965
Diocesan Convention grants change in status from Mission to Parish. First Rector is Canon George McNeill Ray. Church site purchased from Peggy Goldwater Trust (8 1/4 acres on Lincoln Dr) for $42,000 which was one-half than-current value of $84,000.

CHRISTMAS EVE, 1963, saw the first worship service of Christ Church of the Ascension, then the newest mission of the Diocese of Arizona. A small group of approximately fifty people asked The Reverend Canon George McNeill Ray to be the Vicar of the Mission. The first location was an old abandoned movie and television studio at 5100 N. 40th Street. An overflow crowd attended the first service – 273 people – and 103 people attended on Christmas Day. Bishop Harte complimented the Mission by presiding at both services.

Early in 1965 the Bishop’s Committee decided that another location should be found. At the end of 1965, the mission was granted parish status and Canon Ray became CCA’s first Rector. In addition, the church acquired the 8 ¼ acres on which the church is now located, half of which was a gift from the Margaret (“Peggy”) Johnson Goldwater Trust.

The search for the new Rector resulted in a call to The Reverend Dan J. Gerrard and in March, 1966, Father Gerrard (affectionately called “Padre”) became the Church’s second Rector, a position he would occupy for 22 years.

Padre and the Building Committee secured the services of the well-known architect, Bennie Gonzales, to design the entire campus for the future Church. Following this plan, the first building erected on the Church’s “own ground” was dedicated on November 19, 1967. The building, consisting of a Parish Hall/temporary worship area, offices and classrooms, was named “Craig Hall” in honor of Canon Craig. On Sunday, February 23, 1975, the main Church building was dedicated and consecrated.

Further fund drives in the 1980’s were used to renovate classrooms and improve the space between Craig Hall and the Church by creating a courtyard. The Memorial Garden Project began in 1980. The Garden was privately funded and continues operating today on outside resources, but is answerable to the Vestry. The Memorial Garden Trustee Committee members are elected by the Parish.

Father Gerrard retired the end of June 1988. The Reverend Dr. Harvey G. (“Jerry”) Cook, Ph.D., was called as the third Rector in November 1989. In addition to his ministry with the Episcopal Church, he was also an active military chaplain reservist, holding the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy. Father Cook oversaw construction of more CCA improvements, and the new parish hall, named Rectors Hall to honor all the Rectors of the Church (past, present and future) was dedicated on April 6, 1997.

Father Cook retired in June 1998. The Reverend Kenneth J. G. Semon became the Church’s fourth Rector on February 1, 1999. Father Semon oversaw the final development of the Church’s campus with the construction of The Canon Dan Gerrard Christian Education Center, Ascension Chapel for children’s worship, a bookstore, a library, and a major renovation of the interior of the Church.

Christ Church School opened in the new facilities in September, 2003. The school began as a preschool and has grown to include a thriving elementary school. The school serves students 16 months old through 4th Grade.

Father Semon resigned in August 2007 and Bishop Smith appointed The Reverend Phillip A. Jackson as Priest-In-Charge. Father Phil assumed his duties on October 1, 2007. In less than a year, the Vestry asked Father Phil to become permanent Rector. He agreed and served as the fifth Rector until December 2014 when he became rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, New York.

The Reverend Daniel P. Richards came to Christ Church of the Ascension in December 2015 from Traverse City, Michigan, where he had served as both Rector for Grace Church and Dean of the Grand Traverse Deanery in the Diocese of Western Michigan.  Father Daniel was ordained in Arizona and returns to serve the CCA parish with his wife Amy and their three children.

Today Christ Church of the Ascension offers worship services in the Episcopal tradition, along with a variety of other Christian activities for all ages and backgrounds. Activities include choir, book clubs, Bible studies, dinners, Vacation Bible School, mission and camping trips, musical and theatrical programs, and outreach programs of all kinds. Friends and newcomers are sincerely welcome at the Church every day of the week and every week of the year. Come worship with us!

Christ Church of the Ascension is located in Paradise Valley, a community in Phoenix AZ.

Mission of Christ Church of the Ascension

Know Christ.

Love Christ.

Serve Christ.

A traditional Episcopal Church on the slopes of the Phoenix Mountains tucked into Paradise Valley, Arizona. Founded in 1963 and continuing to worship and make disciples of Christ of all ages. We are committed to being a place where people find a sense of home at both altar and table, where Scripture is read, studied, and honored, where those in need find prayer and assistance, forgiveness and health. We are friends and strangers, made a family in Christ. We are both deeply reverent and quick to laugh.

Our mission is simple: to know Christ in Study and Prayer, to Love Christ in Worship and Care for others, and to Serve Christ both in the church and in the world.

The Reverend Daniel P. Richards, Rector

Fr. Daniel is a passionate preacher and teacher who fell in love with liturgy in college. That love of liturgy led him from a Southern Baptist childhood to ministry in the Episcopal Church. Daniel earned his Masters of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2003 after serving at St. James Episcopal Church in San Francisco as a worship leader and intern and at the Diocese of California as Associate Coordinator of Young Adult Ministries and Church Development. His undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Worship from Grand Canyon University. Fr. Daniel reads voraciously, writes, and enjoys trail running.



The Very Reverend Rebecca L. McClain

The Very Reverend Rebecca L. McClain is a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church and was ordained in 1985. Rebecca has served as priest at the congregational, diocesan and national levels and retired after completing her responsibilities as Interim Dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral in San Diego, California. In retirement, Rebecca has been assisting at Trinity Cathedral and continues to serve as a consultant to congregations and non-profits in transition and engaged in strategic planning. As a founding board member of the Godly Play Foundation, she has written a book Graceful Nurture, a guide to using Godly Play with adults. 

In every role and position, her life and work has been shaped by the conviction that all creation is holy and every human being is beloved of God. Through the lens of Jesus, she strives to see as God sees and seeks to serve as an agent of God's love.

Rebecca has three grown children, and four grandchildren. They are the joy of her life. She shares her home with three Tibetan Spaniels, staying grounded in the daily rhythm of life with dogs.

Rev. Timothy Watt

Tim is a former Higher Education Student Services Administrator, consultant, and lecturer in organizational leadership and human resources. He holds a BA from Boise State University, a Master of Administration from Northern Arizona University, and a Master of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Tim is married to his amazing wife, The Rev. Tanya Watt, who is currently a Transitional Deacon for the Diocese of Arizona, completing her final year of studies at The Virginia Theological Seminary. Together they lavish misplaced parental affection on their dog, Daisy, as well as on Buddy, a cranky old cat.

As a priest, Tim most enjoys providing pastoral care and preaching. He spends an inordinate amount of personal time reading works in theology, liturgics, and Church history, but occasionally goes on a science fiction binge. He also enjoys college football, rooting for the D’backs, fishing, cooking meat, and baking sourdough bread. Tim also produces and co-hosts a fun, but deep-diving, weekly Podcast on the Sunday Lectionary, “The Irreverends,” with his friend and fellow priest, The Rev. Gini Gerbasi. Episodes are available on Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Allison Brown, Parish Administrator

Allison is a native to Phoenix growing up downtown in the house that is now the University Club. She started coming to Christ Church 5 years ago. Her background has been primarily in retail management in California and Arizona. Over the course of her career, she has served on three non-profit Boards, one of which was at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California and a Certificate of Graphic Design. She has two adult children and enjoys photography, gardening, walks with her dog and traveling.

Julie Lyons, Director of Family Ministries

Julie has lived in Arizona since 2001. She comes to Christ Church with a multidisciplinary background. Julie earned her B.A. from San Francisco State University and her MHI from Arizona State University. Before coming to Christ Church, Julie worked as the Director of Marketing and Development at Christ Church School. Julie has also enjoyed serving as a children’s leader in Bible Study Fellowship and a substitute teacher at Scottsdale Christian Academy.

Julie is honored and humbled to have the privilege of serving the children and families of Christ Church. Her desire is to continually draw near to God and to do the work He puts in front of her.

Julie and her daughter Abigayle live in Phoenix with their two dogs. Julie loves to spend time with her daughter, cooking, swimming, and reading.

Tom Peterson, Music Director

Tom is an Arizona native and a recent graduate of the Royal College of Music in London. He came to Christ Church in 2010 and has previously served as tenor and Associate Music Director.

He teaches music theory and history at Phoenix College and loves reading and hiking. He and his wife, Teriann, live in Phoenix with their dog, Roxie.

Tracy Moore, Administrative Assistant

Tracy followed the family migration of her brothers to the Valley of the Sun in 1979 from Chicago, Illinois. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Tracy shares her time between Christ Church and David Bull Publishing where she has been the Operations Manager for over 17 years. She enjoys music, books, writing, photography, and walking with her dog. She has one adult son who is a fire fighter/EMT in the USAF currently stationed in Texas. Her son and his wife celebrated the birth their first baby girl, Mia, in November.

Sharon Craig Daetwyler, BSN, RN, Parish Nurse

Sharon has 55+ years experience as a nurse in the Los Angeles and Phoenix areas. She has worked in Critical Care, ICU, Hemodialysis, Case Management, and as an Educator and TV Consultant (The Interns). Sharon graduated from Stephens College, Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in Phoenix, and California State University at Los Angeles and was awarded Clinician of the Year at St. Luke’s Hospital in Phoenix.

Sharon has three daughters and five grandchildren (so far). She loves to garden, read, meet with friends, go to the movies, dine out, and drink Starbucks. She is thrilled to share her knowledge and talents with CCA and enjoys the friendliness of the congregation and staff members, the choir music, and CCA’s beautiful campus.

Ann Hollman, Church Organist

Ann Hollmann has been organist at Christ Church of the Ascension for 10 years, and has been a church musician for 45 years at various parishes. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance. Ann and her husband John live in Mesa with their dog, Jake. Ann and John have been married for 37 years, and have a daughter Sarah, son Paul, daughter-in-law Sharon and grandson Leif.

Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 22, 2018
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist II

Christmas Eve
Monday, December 24, 2018
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. – Carol Sing
5:00 p.m. – Family Eucharist & Blessing of the Creche
7:45 – 8:00 p.m. – Carol Sing
8:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist II (no childcare)
Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist II (no childcare)

Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, March 6
7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m.
Palm Sunday: April 14, 2019
8:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 6:00 p.m.
Holy Week Monday, April 15, 2019
6:00 p.m.
Holy Week Tuesday, April 16, 2019
6:00 p.m.
Holy Week Wednesday, April 17, 2019
6:00 p.m.
Maundy Thursday: April 18, 2019
Soup Dinner 6:00 p.m., service 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday: April 19, 2019
Noon, 7:00 p.m.
Easter Vigil: Saturday, April 20, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Easter Sunday: April 21, 2019
8:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 6:00 p.m.

Service Times

Sunday Service Times:
8 AM, 10:15 AM, and 6 PM

10 AM Holy Eucharist

5 PM Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer for Men:
Mondays 7:30 AM Side Chapel

Women’s Bible Study:
Thursdays 10 AM Teen Center

Directions to Christ Church

Scheduled Events & News