About the Congregation
We are a Reconciling in Christ congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
We welcome all people regardless of age, race, soci-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family background, faith background. All are welcome to join us in worship and service here.
Christ Ascension is celebrating over 150 years of faith and service in northwest Philadelphia. The congregation reflects a 1993 merger between Christ Church in Chestnut Hill and Ascension Lutheran in Mt. Airy. Christ Church was the older of the congregations; Ascension was founded when the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia moved to Germantown Avenue in 1889. The histories of Ascension, Christ, and now Christ Ascension were each honored as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2011. We look forward to many good years of faith and mission to come.
Completed in 1871, the historic sanctuary was designed by architect C. M. Burns in the English Gothic style. Its simple layout draws attention to the two central elements of Christian worship, Word (pulpit) and Sacrament (table). The three stained glass windows near the altar are known as the “faith, hope, and love” windows. The window over the Germantown Avenue entrance symbolizes the Holy Trinity, so that people come and go under the sign of our great and loving God. The decorative slate roof was completed in 1983, following the original design.
Ministries at Christ Ascension have long emphasized growing in faith, serving neighbors, and enjoying Christian community. We remain committed to these wonderful gifts. We are a Reconciling in Christ congregation, which means that we welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning believers and their families.
Christ Ascension's sanctuary was built between 1869 and 1871. The parsonage was built in 1886. The parish hall (Kimes Hall) was built in 1907. The church is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.
The congregation invites the community to host gatherings and concerts here. The sanctuary has wonderful acoustics for concerts and recitals. The parish hall and sanctuary each accomodate nearly 100 people comfortably. Please contact the church office for more details.
To read a recent article about the congregation in the Chestnut Hill Local, click here.
Faith Formation for All Ages
From the Sunday after Labor Day until the Sunday before Memorial Day, Christ Ascension offers a variety of classes, events, and programs for faith formation for all ages. We often partner with the Lutheran Seminary and their faculty for programs and classes.
We believe Faith Formation is important throughout our lives as Christians and work to support one another in our baptismal vows to grow in God's love and care for the world and to be ever-growing in our discipleship.
"God's Work. Our Hands"
The Evangelical Outreach Committee
The Evangelical Outreach Committee at Christ Ascension empowers the congregation to take the good news out into the world through local, regional, and international service programs, events, trips, and porjects.
What Can You Do?
- Prepare and/or serve meals to homeless families sheltered by the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) or Face-to-Face Soup Kitchen.
- Donate items to stock local food pantries or provide much needed supplies to local ministries or Lutheran World Relief.
- Visit people who are in hospitals, hospice, or homebound.
- Serve as part of a team on a national or international mission trip.
- Help welcome visitors who come to Christ AScension to participate in worship, fellowship, and education.
- Learn and grow by participating in reflective learning exercises and workshops.
What Will You Do?
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network
PIHN assists families to aty intact and supports thema s they move toward permanent hounsing. Perpare and/or serve dinner or stock their pantry for breakfast and lunch items during Christ Ascension's week-long commitment.
Face-to-Face Soup Kitchen
In addition to the dining room, where meals are served Friday through Monday, Face-to-Face provides a nurse-managed health center, a legal center, a social services center, and children's summer camps and after-school programs. They also provide a place where people can take a hot shower and receive a new set of clothes. Face-to-Face has been based in Germantown for over 20 years.
Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets
Help organize a Thanksgiving dinner basket to help needy families celebrate the holiday! Approximately 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving, congregation members coordinate efforts to donate a turkey and baking pan, stuffing, and things like bread rolls, green beans, sweet potatoes, and candles. One or more members for the group then delivers the gift to a pre-assigned family in Philadelphia.
Work for change in public policy by partnering with efforts sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ALCE) Advocacy Office. The ELCA beleived that governments can help advance eacemaking, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for epople living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease. They focus on domestic, international, as weel as environment and energy policies.
The Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) provides information about issues, invites feedback to government representatives, and sponsors a 'Lutheran Day at the Capital" annually. The LUtheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is currently elping Syrian refugees.
Explore the possibility of serving overseas! members from Christ Ascension have gone on mission trips to several countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal, El Salvador, and Guyana. The companion synod for Southeastern Pennsylvania is the Northeastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, so that is a possible future location! Thrivent Worldwide Trips also helps sponsor and organize mission trips to a variety of countries.
Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we gather donations to benefit local, antional and international service providers. In 2015, Chriast Ascnesion contributed food to Lutheran Food Pantries, donated mens' socks and travel-sized toiletries to help serve those experiencing homelessness through Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries, and organized personal care kits for Lutheran World Relief.
Lutheran Settlement House
Establish in 1902, the Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) provides social, educational, employment, and counseling service to adults, youth, families, and seniors. Every January, Christ Ascension will be participating in a service project opportunity at their location: 1340 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.
Help welcome first time visitors and get to know potential new members!
Keystone Hospice provides services that respond to the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of patients and their families. They welcome volunteers for a variety of activities including:
- Visitis with patients in hospice, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, or in their homes.
- Bereavement Support (phone calls, home visits, mailings)
- Creative Arts (music, storytelling, photography, scrapboks)
- Landscape Maintenance (weeding, pruning, planting on hospice grounds)
- Decorating the hospice house for holidays
- Assistance at fudnraising events, transportation, or childcare for families visiting Keysteone
-Professional services (pastoral, massage)
Music Ministry at Christ Ascension
As a gift of God, music is one of the primary ways that the gospel is shared among us. The main musical ensemble every week is the congregation itself! Our dedicated choir helps to lead the liturgy and sing other musical offerings. Calling upon the rich elements within the 2006 hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship, we use a variety of worship settings as well as hymns from many global traditions to foster lively and faithful worship.
The congregational recently installed a beautiful (gently used) pipe organ to assist congregational singing and to praise God through music. In a wonderful coincidence, this instrument has “come home” to Chestnut Hill, where it was originally built in 1976 by Joseph Chapline. Instruments like piano, percussion, guitars, strings, and hand bells also enrich our music ministry.
The congregation supports local music by hosting or facilitating concerts and recitals in the sanctuary. Please contact the church office for more infomation about hosting an event at Christ Ascension.
Jay C. Mitchell
Jay C. Mitchell is from a little bit of everywhere in the Northeast. A 2009 graduate from Temple University (B.A., Religion) and a 2014 graduate of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (M.Div.), Jay has called the Philadelphia area home for the past ten years. A life-long lover of cities, Pastor Jay concentrated his studies in Metropolitan/Urban Ministries. Pastor Jay is excited to be a part of the vibrant community in Chestnut Hill. A "liturgi-geek" Jay's passions are connecting worship and life being sure that the gatherings of God's people inform and are informed by daily life. Pastor Jay is passionate about extending the amazing news of God at work in the world with all people and extending the radical welcome of God.
Pastor Jay loves to read, garden, cook and bake, and take advantage of the many museums, theaters, and restaurants that the wonderful city of Philadelphia has to offer.
Ms. Hyson is a native of Salamanca, New York, and a graduate of Genesee Community College. Prior to working at Christ Ascension, Ms. Hyson worked in the medical billing field. She enjoys reading, sewing, music and dining out with family and friends. Ms. Hyson lives in Conshohocken with her family.
Childcare Acting Director
Shawn M. Hubbard
Ms. Hubbard has worked at CLCCC since 1996 and has over 20 years experience in Early Childhood Education. She has worked as a classroom assistant, as well as a classroom teacher, and has served as the Assistant Director of CLCCC for the past 17 years. She is a funny, warm person that is a favorite of all the children. Ms. Hubbard resides in Germantown and has a son.