Church History

From “Early Days of Lakewood” – Daughters of the American Revolution, p.95

While others were forming churches in Rockport, the Episcopalians were doing their part. A mission was started, assisted by members of Trinity Chapel in Cleveland, and in 1875, a small building was erected. The first rector was the Reverend Backus. About forty years later the present beautiful building was erected on the same spacious grounds.

From “History of Cuyahoga County and Cleveland” by W.R. Coates – Volume I, pg. 180

One other church seems to belong to the early history of Rockport, and that is the Church of the Ascension, Episcopal. This, a chapel of Trinity Parish, Cleveland, was opened in 1875 and dedicated in 1879 by Bishop Bedell.

It ws opened with Rev. J.W. Brown of Trinity as its first rector and Charles P. Ranney of Cleveland as its first lay reader, and started with an attendence of fifty persons.

From “History of Cuyahoga County” by C. Johnson, pg. 507-508

This edifice which bears the above name, is a chapel of Trinity parish of Cleveland. It was opened for worship in 1875, and was consecrated on Ascension Day, 1879, by Bishop Bedell. Rev. J.W. Brown, D.D., of Trinity, is the rector, and Mr. Charles P. Ranney, of Cleveland, is the lay reader in charge. The communicants number sixteen, and the attendants about fifty.

Continued in right column.

This church is the newest and one of the handsomest in the city. A notable feature in its construction is the unusual number of memorials that have been plaved in the new edifice. This is the official list, furnished by Rev. Mr. Gordon, the rector:

  • Organ, given by Woman’s Guild of the Church of Ascension.
    Endowment of altar guild, given by Harry McCullough in memory of Kathryn Miller McCullough.
  • Altar and reredos, given by Mrs. William A. Thompson in memory of Rev. William Ashton Thompson, late rector of the church.
  • Pulpit, given by Mrs. F.W. Stecher and Robert Stecher in memory of Frederick W. Stecher.
  • Altar rail, given by Dr. and Mrs. A.N. Dawson in memory of Rev. Arthur Mann Backus and Rev. William C. Dawson.
  • Marble tile floor, given by Mrs. John W. Gordon in memory of John W. Gordon.
  • Altar cross, given by Mrs. S.A. Miller in memory of Abram Miller, Frderick Miller and Clara M. Hall.
  • Altar vases, given by the Altar Guild in memory of Rev. William Ashton Thompson.
  • Altar desk, given by Misses Hanna in memory of Constance McCook Hanna.
  • Lectern Bible, given by Mrs. F.W. Pleasance in memory of Margaret Motherive.
  • Two silver alms basins, given by the Girl’s Friendly Society of the Church of the Ascension.
  • Two silver alms basins, given by Mrs. R.H. Whitlock in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Cable.
  • Chapel altar and reredos chapel vases, chapel service banner and roll of honor, given by Mrs. John G. Gordon.
  • Stands, representing the twelve apostles, and hymnals and prayer books for the pews, given by the Sunday School.
  • Linens for the church and chapel altars, given by Mrs. William Thimpson, Mrs. Grace MacKay and Miss Clara Kittehofsky.

“The Church of the Ascension is the church with the longest history in Lakewood, continuous since 1875. “

-Lakewood Historical Society

From the “Lakewood Press” — March 7, 1918, Pg. 14

The church of the Ascension was one of the first churches in Lakewood on Detroit Avenue, it being organized when the population was small and scattered.

The first church was built on the present site in 1876 under Dr. Brown, rector of Trinity Chapel, now the cathedral and was for years a mission of Trinity. The first rector was Rev. Backus; then Mr. Henry Ranney, a lay reader, held services until Rev. Lewis Burton came to minister to the church in 1881. after several years he was followed by Mr. W.R. Tareal in deacon’s orders, now Bishop of Eris, and with the American troops in France. Then followed Rev. T.C. Rucker, Rev. Francis Hall, Rev. E. Kraft, Rev. William Shepherd, Rev. G.F. Williams, who was rector about twelve years; on his resignation, Rev. W.A. Thompspn was called and was with the parish until his death, a period of three years.

After a short interim, the present rector, Rev. Wallace M. Gordon, was called, and took up the work in December, 1914. In 1915, a campaign for a new church was undertaken and funds were raised. the church, a beautiful structure, is now almost completed and it is hoped the congregation will soon be using it.

The congregations have increased as well as the Sunday school and the various organizations, and with thorough harmony in the parish, the future is most hopefull.

Dedication Ceremonies
From the “Lakewood Press” – Sept. 12, 1918 Page 6

The church of the Ascension on Detroit Avenue, opposite Grace avenue, of which Rev. W.M. Gordon is pastor, will be dedicated with appropriate and most interesting ceremonies Sunday, September 15. Right Rev. Bishop William A. Leonard of Cleveland will officiate.

The Bishop will advance to the door of the new church edifice, and striking upon i t with his pastoral staff, he will demand admittance. The vestry of the church, headed by senior and junior wardens, will thereupon open the doors, in response to the bishop’s knock. The bishop, followed by the rector of the parish, with the wardens, vestry and choir, will proceed up the center aisle. The bishop and the congregation will alternate in reading the impressive words of the psalms 120 and 121. Arriving at the chancel steps, the vestry will await the bishop’s instructions.

This ceremony will be followed by the services of the benediction, after which holy communion will be celebrated. Bishop Leonard will preach the sermon.

From “History of the City of Lakewood” by F.C. Lowing

The third in point of time to claim the attention of Lakewood citizens was the Church of Ascension (Episcopal). This church had its inception in the early days of the sparsely settled section now known as Lakewood and an organization was effected and a structure built for church services soon after people settled along what is now known as Detroit Avenue.

At First a small building was erected on the present lot at 13218 Detroit, but it was well up on the front of the lot and was later moved to the rear in the hope that some day a handsome edifice might adorn the street elevation.

The first church structure was erected in 1876, and the corner stone bears that inscription. Dr. Brown, rector of Trinity Chapel–which organization fostered this new mission–was present and participated in the laying of the corner stone.

The first rector was Rev. Backus, who is since deceased. After he left the work Mr. Henry Ranney, a lay reader, held services until Rev. Lewis Burton came to minister in 1881. He continued with the church for several years: was followed in the ministration by Mr W.R. Israel, in deacons’ orders; then by Rev. T.C. Rucker, Rev. Francis Mason Hall, Rev. Earnest Kraft, Rev. William Sheperd, Rev. George Frederick Williams and Rev. W.A. Thompson, who dies in the work a few months ago.

The church was originally a mission from Trinity, and Mrs. Mary Scranton Bradford gave it her especial support. She donated the present church site, encouraged the congregation to raise $1500 and then gave what was lacking to complete the original church edifice.

Ascension Lakewood History

The Church of the Ascension is the church with the longest history in Lakewood, continuous since 1875. The ministry began as a mission of the Trinity Chapel in Cleveland, now the Trinity Cathedral Episcopal Church. In 1876 they built this chapel at 13218 Detroit Ave. The Church of the Ascension is part of the Episcopal Church and member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. As this vibrant church family observes Lent and prepares for Easter, we’ll share their 147 year journey in photos.

From our neighbors at the Lakewood Historical Society: a look back in time at Ascension of old, first published to their Facebook page. Thank you Historical Society!