Church

Simply Church

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 this 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, 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. Bible readings and responses are included in the bulletin or Prayer Book.

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 we welcome you in the name of Christ.

 

History of Christ Church of the Ascension

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 Vicar 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.

Today we are 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.