Get to Know: The Episcopal Church of All Saints and Ascension, Northwoods
The Episcopal Church of All Saints and Ascension in Northwoods is the business of healing. As its name suggests, this congregation is the result of a merger between All Saints Church in St. Louis and Ascension Church in North St. Louis County. It is now the only predominantly Black congregation in the Diocese of Missouri. The official merger took place in 2018, and the work to define this combined parish continues today.
"We hope as we come together from within, that we share that with people in the community," said the Rev. Renee Fenner, Rector at All Saints and Ascension. "Everyone is welcome here. No matter your faith, your culture, your color -- everyone is welcome in this place."
Rev. Renee says it's important for members to remember the history of each parish, but it's also necessary to work together to create something new. Building renovations are helping to do that. The parish used time during the pandemic to completely update their worship space. New flooring, new chairs (no more pews!), and a new sound system are just some of the changes that help members see their church in a whole new light. Bishop Deon Johnson dedicated the new space in 2021 during Rev. Renee's Celebration of New Ministry.
The new worship space is phase one of their planned renovations. The congregation is also considering plans to add an elevator to access the lower level and to add a bathroom on the main level. Additional storage space is also in the plans.
Members of All Saints and Ascension are carefully returning to worship and ministries from the pandemic. Before the lockdown, All Saints and Ascension's food pantry served about 100 families each month. During the pandemic, the congregation built a little food pantry outside their building and keeps it stocked to continue serving their community.
Music is also an important ministry at All Saints and Ascension. The choir fills the new worship space with a joyful spirit each Sunday morning. The Men's Club, Episcopal Church Women, and social justice ministries are also active at the Northwoods parish.
Machelle West has been a member of All Saints and Ascension for about five years. She sings in the choir and serves in diocesan leadership positions. Machelle says she is looking forward to getting to know the surrounding community better. "I found this time of pandemic to be more reflective," Machelle said. "How does God want to use me?"
"There is great potential here. There really is. People really love the Lord," Rev. Renee said. "There are a lot of people who really want this to work, as do I. So right now we’re not so focused on what was, but what can be."
Church name: The Episcopal Church of All Saints and Ascension
Address: 4520 Lucas and Hunt Road
Email: [email protected]
- Sundays at 10 a.m. - Holy Eucharist
- Mornings: Meditations and Morning Prayers on Facebook
- Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday evenings - Compline on Facebook
Clergy: The Rev. Renee Fenner, Rector
Mission statement: To be the light of Christ that builds relationships in our congregation, our community, and with our God.
Vision statement: Finding Christ in relationships.