About the Congregation
The good news of Jesus Christ is God’s gift to all people, to be shared unconditionally and without regard to any of the usual categories that divide. Through baptism, God creates a new way for us to relate to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. We experience this new creation through weekly celebration of Holy Communion and through our common dedication to faith and service.
We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
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.
To read a recent article about the congregation in the Chestnut Hill Local, click here.
Christian Education for All Ages
During the school year, Christ Ascension offers Sunday morning classes for all ages, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the parish hall. A play room is available for families with infants and toddlers.
- Students from kindergarten to fifth grade enjoy age-appropriate lessons and activities based on Bible stories.
- Youth group meets weekly as a way for students to get to know their faith and their church on a deeper level. All youth in middle school and high school are invited.
- Adult Forum gathers adults and confirmed youth to discuss topics like religion & society, church history, and Bible study. Our proximity to the Lutheran seminary means that instructors are often experienced religious scholars. The goal is always to connect faith & daily life, and to meet each other where we are in our faith journeys.
"God's Work. Our Hands"
Service Opportunities & Community Involvement
Christ Ascension offers many ways to serve inside and outside the congregation.
- Elder Diner provides affordable meals and friendly conversation for seniors on Mondays at noon.
- The church hosts an annual Strawberry Festival, which features strawberry shortcake, sausages, and an excellent yard sale (1st Saturday in June). The congregation usually has a booth at Chestnut Hill’s street festivals in May and October.
- Regular church work takes place in committee groups that oversee hospitality, worship, finances, property, Christian education, and the child care center. These are great ways to get more involved in the life of the church. New ideas for service and fellowship are always welcome.
- The congregation actively supports Neighborhood Interfaith Movement, the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, and the Lutheran Settlement House.
- Recent special offerings have gone to Lutheran World Relief, Philabundance, and the Lutheran seminary, among others.
- Christ Ascension belongs to the Germantown Avenue Lutheran Parish (GALP). This organization has come together to enhance the ministries, resources, and presence of churches and mission partners along Germantown Avenue. Partners include St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. GALP gathers for service projects, youth ministry, and worship, including a vibrant Easter Vigil service hosted by Christ Ascension.
Buildings & Community Use
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.
Christ Ascension can host weddings for members and non-members. The pastor requests at least three sessions with the couple for planning the service and for pre-marital counseling. The service will be based on the marriage rite in our hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and may include Holy Communion.
- Donation to church (for non-members): $500, including $100 non-refundable deposit
- Pre-marital counseling: $35
- Musician: $250
The sanctuary seats approximately 100 people.
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.
Choir practice is on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and first Monday every month at 7:00 p.m. (September – May).
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.
James I. Boschker has served congregations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Washington DC and Florida. He was installed at Christ Ascension on July 21, 2013. James holds degrees in music education, musicology and performance from Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD), the University of South Dakota and the University of Iowa. He has also attended organ seminars, acadamies and festivals in North American and Europe.
Terry R. Jaecks
My name is Terry Ryan Jaecks and I have worked in the field of early childhood for over 30 years. My experiences include working with children ages six weeks through kindergarten. I have served as an administrator of early childhood programs, taught for several years, and also gave direct support to families whose children were diagnosed with Autism. Two administrative experiences have included managing corporate child care centers, as well as a center located at a Navy facility.
I am a member of NAEYC, and support DVAEYC as an active participant during conferences. I was asked to serve on a panel at the DVAEYC conference, and also asked to present at an Infant Toddler Mental Health symposium in Harrisburg. I currently teach at an area college, and continue to find ways to expand my knowledge about how young children grow and learn, as well as ways to support families!
I have a wonderful family with whom I share my life. On a daily basis, thoughts of my own children and grandchildren remind me how important our commitment to children and their families must be. Children are spectacular; I am happy to share my days with the staff and families of Christ Lutheran Child Care.
Childcare Assistant Director
Shawn M. Hubbard
Ms. Hubbard has worked at CLCCC since 1996 and has over 17 years experience in Early Childhood Education. She has worked both as a classroom assistant as well as a classroom teacher and applies that experience to her position of Assistant Director. She is a funny, warm person that is a favorite of all the children. Ms. Hubbard resides in Germantown and has a son.