In April 1904, Mrs. Thomas Ward started a mission in a tent to meet the need for a neighborhood Sunday School in a neighborhood near downtown Denver. At the time, Denver was a rowdy city booming from the late 19th century mining explosion in Colorado. The little mission that she formed quickly outgrew its original quarters and in 1909, expanded to a vacant plot six blocks away at the corner of 6th Avenue and Gilpin Street where a temporary chapel was built at a cost of $350.00.
From these early days, a century of church members’ loving hard work and dedication has yielded Ascension’s beautiful neo-Gothic buildings of today. In l909, a small brick church was built to seat 100 people. In 1959, a two-story wing was added to meet the demand for classroom and meeting space. In 2009, the sanctuary was remodeled and a beautiful, custom-built A. J. Murphy organ installed.
Our history is not just our buildings but our people and efforts to serve the community. In l953, Ascension sponsored a new mission at Christ Church in Castle Rock, Colorado. Our rector and curate served alternately there for three years until the thriving mission achieved parish status. In 1960, Ascension rector Fr. Edwin Thayer was called to be Bishop of Colorado. In 1976, our parish helped start St. Martin in the Fields in Aurora, Colorado. In 1999, we established Bright Star Early Learning Center, which continues today, responding to a need for high-quality childcare in the neighborhood.
In the 107 years since our humble beginning, Ascension has had only ten rectors. Our recent rectors have been Rev. James Harlan (2002–2011), Rev. James Short (1980–2001), and Rev. Robert Burrows (1972–1979). In the summer of 2012, we welcomed our tenth rector, Father Lucas Grubbs, to Ascension.
For a more detailed history, read One Hundred Years in Service to God; The History of the Church of the Ascension, 1904 to 2004, by downloading the PDF.