Serving neighbors near and far

Ascension and Holy Trinity celebrates its 50th year by taking God’s love into the world

In 1965, the members of two Episcopal churches founded in the nineteenth century along Burns Avenue joined hands to forge a new congregation merging the names of both: Ascension and Holy Trinity. Pooling their resources, they erected a startlingly modern church at the corner of Burns and Worthington Avenues, smack, in the midst of Wyoming’s lacy Victorian houses.

The Rev. Eric Miller, rector of Ascension and Holy Trinity, Wyoming, reads a story to young members of the church.

The Rev. Eric Miller, rector of Ascension and Holy Trinity, Wyoming, reads a story to young members of the church.

Now, as the parish celebrates its 50th anniversary, that once-strange building has become a haven for a wealth of activities that draws in the wider community, from preschool to the twice-weekly guided meditation classes organized by cancer survivors Maurice Bason and Terry Kessler.

With its Mill Creek Valley ministry stretching back over 140 years, love and care for the community goes deep into the DNA of this parish. Over 30 members have been honored as Wyoming Citizens of the Year, starting with Mary Corley in 1986 up through Nancy McCue and Sheryl Felner in 2012.

But A&HT’s definition of “neighbor” reaches worldwide. Over the past 50 years this small-town Ohio parish has welcomed newcomers from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Some have come with high-powered jobs at Procter & Gamble or General Electric, others as refugees from violence in Uganda and Haiti.

Encouraged and cheered by the Rev. Eric Miller, in his fifth year as rector, the parish now defines its vision to become a vital and growing faith community with overflowing worship services and Christian growth opportunities: a church with compassion-centered ministries through which all find a place and take God’s love into the world. The parish’s mission, its reason for being, is Ascension & Holy Trinity lives to put God’s love into action!

“Now is an amazing time to be part of such a vibrant and intentional faith community,” says Miller. “We have a clear purpose, a picture of what we want to see in the years to come, and our vestry is developing a strategic plan as the vehicle to get us where we want to go.”

“This (strategic plan) gives different talents a scope,” says parishioner Jon Boss. Today, A&HT is a beehive humming with projects from tutoring Latino children to helping to stage a Baroque opera. Parishioners volunteer at Valley Interfaith Food and Clothing (VIFCC), help host homeless families in Glendale through Interfaith Hospitality Network, offer Saturday classes to train dogs to make therapeutic visits to the ill through Canines for Christ, and much more.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the parish is teaming up with VIFCC to offer a series of interactive workshops on understanding the culture of poverty and how the middle class can become more effective in aiding their neighbors to overcome it. The public is welcome, and the parish will be issuing invitations to outreach leaders and volunteers in Wyoming’s Christian, Jewish and Unitarian congregations.

A&HT’s 50th anniversary celebration starts Sunday, Sept. 20 with a jubilant service at 10 a.m. and continues with a gala adult dinner on Saturday, Oct. 10. Check the parish website, for dates and details of an entire year of special events culminating with Ascension Day and Trinity Sunday in 2016.