50 Years! Who would have expected this?

calendar_todayThu 30th April - 1:46pm
person_outlineRebecca Roberts

This month marks the 50th Anniversary of The Church of the Ascension. In all of the different events and situations The Ascension has gone through over the last five decades none of us would have ever imagined us going through a time like this!

As a relatively young 50 year old, The Ascension has never seen a war or a great depression in this country.  Coronavirus, without a doubt, has got to be the most significant event in the life of The Ascension.  Even a few months ago, when we were finalising the plans for our 50thcelebrations, and celebrating the news of the National Lottery Heritage Funding, the thought of not being able to celebrate with a social gathering was not a thought at all.

So, here we find ourselves, in the month of our 50thanniversary, safely in our own homes to save lives and protect the NHS.  But, we are still the church!  The bricks and mortar (or in our case concrete and steel!) may have signified the start of The Church of the Ascension in Woolston, however even though the building is closed The Ascension is still open for business, just in a very different way.  We are being church, being “God in the Community” in the way we look after and care for each other and those who live locally.  We are being church by gathering together online to worship, and by sharing the service on CD with those who are not online.  We are being church by continuing to pray and read Scripture in our own homes.  The building is closed, but we are still the church.

As the church, we will therefore still be celebrating our 50th Anniversary, albeit in a very different way.  In our magazine this month Nickie has written a special article to mark our anniversary, and she has also been working hard in recent weeks to share memories of the building of the church on Facebook.

In the coming weeks, as it becomes clearer how social distancing may be slightly relaxed Nickie and I will be finalising details of our VIRTUAL PARTY.  It is likely the celebrations will predominantly be online, as we do not expect the government to relax guidance significantly.  However, we want to involve the local community as much as possible.  Indeed, it has been encouraging to see how much the local community has interacted with The Ascension on Facebook in recent weeks, and our 50th Anniversary is a great way of building on this interaction.

As part of the online celebrations we will also be inviting people to give a birthday gift to The Ascension.  The National Lottery Heritage Funding was only 88% of the project cost.  A significant amount was also coming from The Gorton Fund, but we also have almost £9,000 to raise through events and donations. Many of these events will now not take place until later in the year, or early next year, and some may not take place at all given the shortened timeframe we will be working on once social distancing guidance is relaxed.  Times are difficult for people financially, but if The Ascension has meant something to you over the last 50 years please, and you have the means to, please prayerfully consider giving a birthday gift to our church.

However, in these challenging days, the main thing is that we continue to be the church.  We continue to love and care for each other and for our local community.  We will get through this challenge, and my prayer is that The Ascension will be an even great presence of “God in the Community” as a result.