History

 

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In the fall of 1846, three priests visited Greenpoint to begin holding worship services in the neighborhood. The first services were held that October and the parish was incorporated on December 20th, 1846. In the beginning services were held in borrowed spaces like the Sunday school room of the Dutch Reformed church and parlors of its first parishioners.In 1852, the Rev. Edward C. Babcock became Rector and set out on a mission to build the church. The Vestry under his leadership acquired three lots from Captain Bliss on then unopened K Street. The first church was first used on October 23, 1853. Due to a boom in the size of the congregation, that structure was no longer adequate to house the parish. Thanks to the extraordinary donations of Mr. J. W. Valentine and the owner of Continental Iron Works (the shipyard where the U.S.S. Monitor was built and launched) Thomas Fitch Rowland, our present church edifice was built. The building designed by Henry Dudley is of an Early English Gothic style and was used for the first time in September 1866.

 

The Church of the Ascension has been home to some notable clergy. The Rev. Walter Bentley was the National Secretary and Organizer of the Actors Church Alliance and he turned Ascension into a center for the arts. Many plays were staged and performed at Ascension Hall at the turn of the twentieth century. The Rev. Walter E. Hartlove was an artist he also created many of the vestments we use today. The Rev. Christopher L. Webber is an author writing on a myriad of religious topics and set himself apart as a gifted preacher and teacher. Fr Bill Davidson was an extraordinary caretaker and leader of young people; to this day people a number of calls a year come in with people asking of Fr. Davidson’s whereabouts and want to express how much he meant in their young lives. Most recently the church was served by the Rev. Robert Picken who began the important process of revitalizing the church, he now serves as the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rochester NY. In August of 2010 the Reverend John Merz came to Ascension serving both as Priest in Charge and Diocesan Missioner to Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Fr. Merz was given a specific charge to lower church boundaries, reinvigorate its life in the community and allow the community more fully into into Church life In the last 6 years Ascension has seen much change and begun to make its mark as a refreshed and important worship and community hub in Greenpoint. Most recently it sold its long decaying parish hall and will be relocating all prior program functions to a newly constructed space beneath the church. It is an exciting time in the life of this small neighborhood church! We look forward to you enriching our common life with your presence.