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After 1907
1901 Snapshot
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In 1990 Arthur Brewer left Ascension (he spent two years at St. Barnabus, after which he retired.) Gary Hauch came from St. Thomas the Apostle on Alta Vista Drive where he had been the assistant curate. An American, Gary was born in Germany, immigrated to the United States as a child and naturalized as an American citizen. He came to Canada in 1977 to study at Regent College (an international graduate school of Christian studies) in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1979 he and his wife Linda moved to Ottawa where Linda began her doctoral studies in Medieval literature. It was at this time that Gary and Linda were drawn to the Anglican Church. Two years later they moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where Gary studied for his doctoral degree. When the Hauchs returned to Ottawa with their two sons in 1985, Gary took the position at St. Thomas while Linda continued her studies and taught at Ottawa University. Gary came to Ascension in August and was inducted as priest on November 30, St. Andrew's Day.

When he came to Ascension, Gary Hauch said he hoped "to help build a community of people who would make a difference in the world," who would, as serious Christians, "work to break down the prejudice against people of different races, colours, and cultures, would understand themselves to be environmental stewards, and would explore the social implications of the gospels."

Ascension has been actively involved with refugees and new Canadians since 1991. In the early '90s this included sending funds to a refugee camp in Tanzania where an Ascension associate was working, and supporting communities from El Salvador and Guatemala. More recently Gary encouraged the parish to sponsor refugees "from countries at war or where repressive regimes threaten lives". Since then, Ascension has sponsored refugee families from Burundi and, in conjunction with Trinity and All Saints, Sandy Hill, refugee families from Sudan.

In the spring of 1993, Wes Maultsaid, Judy Cray, and six people from two other churches in the diocese (St. George's and All Saints, Westboro) went to Guatemala for two weeks. Judy said, "We went there to learn about the Mayan people, their culture and what it was like living under an oppressive regime". Each person paid his/her own way but had support with prayer and some financial assistance from their home churches. On their return, those who had made the trip reported to their home churches and, as well, spoke to interested people elsewhere.

Later, that same year, Ascension sponsored parishioner Colin Rowatt to travel in Mexico and Guatemala on "Project Accompaniment". From September until the following April, Colin was among those who accompanied a group of Guatemalan refugees home from the refugee camp in Mexico where they had been living for some years under the protection of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

In 1999, Tricia Wind and Dwein Hodgson left for Tanzania to work with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee on community projects and justice education, an organization dedicated to improving conditions in parts of the world where there is considerable poverty and injustice or where disaster has struck. "We worked with farmers to increase their incomes and with widows to help them keep their lands and possessions after their husbands died," Tricia reported. Dwein and Tricia returned in October, 2002 to settle back into life in Ottawa in time for Tricia to give birth to their first child.

In October 2003, Bill Baldwin, Ascension parishioner and retired priest, went for two weeks to Palestine and Jerusalem with a contingent from Christian churches as part of a multi-national, inter-denominational Christian Peacemaker's team.

Ascension has long been involved with the Ottawa East neighbourhood of churches but, in our time, Haig McCarrell set up weekly "Coffee and Conversation" evenings to welcome and interact with refugees and new Canadians. Those evenings still happen every Wednesday evening, now at 88 Main Street. (The neighbourhood community-kitchen group that meets twice a month in our church kitchen to share cooking is an offshoot of these evenings.)

Like Robert Jefferson and Arthur Caulfield before him, Gary Hauch wanted this parish to be a family. Together with Haig McCarrell, Dwein Hodgson, Mishka Lysack and others, he explored having house groups at Ascension. House groups would be made up of a small number of people with particular aims and interests.

The house group idea wasn't new but it hadn't been tried at Ascension so, at first, it was a short-term project, The Epiphany Project, so named because the first house-group meetings were to take place in the week following the 1996 Epiphany Night celebration at the church. The celebration that year included a performance of Julian, a one-woman play about Julian of Norwich, performed in the church sanctuary by Kathleen McLaughlin, an Ottawa Roman Catholic nun. It was followed by a potluck supper in the hall.

The house-group idea caught on. Some of the original groups are still meeting, some have fallen by the wayside, and others have started up. The Alpha Groups are still going, the once-a-month Monday Night Epiphany Group still gathers to talk, to sing, to share experiences, the music group still meets. In 1997 Gerry Green started a men's club to meet once a week for breakfast and, afterwards, take care of church maintenance. A Bible study group was formed in 2000 and, in 2004, a mothers' and babies group has begun to meet on Thursday mornings for mutual support, conversation and lunch.
Over the last twelve years, the parish has held one-day retreats in the church and at Gracefield and Temple Pasture in Quebec. As well, The Parish Council has gone on weekend retreats at Temple Pastures and many in the parish have shared weekend retreats at Camp IAWAH, the non-denominational Christian camp on Wolf Lake near Westport.

These retreats have become important to the life of the parish. Not only do they encourage the sense of family that is so important to us, serious decisions have been made on retreat. During a retreat "discernment process" in 1996 members of the parish prayed and discussed what outreach Ascension should focus on. To everyone's surprise, the response, loud and clear, was children. As a result we changed our liturgy to make children more a part of it, and have made every effort to welcome children to our church. There is now a children's story at the beginning of every service. Linda Hauch, with the help of Anneke Jansen van Doorn, headed the effort to enlarge the Sunday school and re-shape the curriculum with the special House-of-the Good-Shepherd program for the nursery-school age. And Ascension is now is a church full of children ranging in age from a few weeks to adolescence.

A new newsletter ("An Occasional Newsletter from the Church of the Ascension") was started in December of 1990.It fell by the wayside but was started up again in 2002 by Annie MacTavish. Gary has invited artists in the parish to make use of the hall for book launches or art exhibits - Alison Gresick launched her first book of short stories, Brick and Mortar at the church in 2000.

In the mid-nineties Gary encouraged the young adults in the parish to organize a series of coffee-house evenings to celebrate causes like social justice, peace and care for the environment (in 2001, Ascension, with All Saints, Westboro And St. John's, Elgin Street, won the first Green Church Award) or simply as get-togethers for the deanery young people. For these evenings the hall was transformed into a colourfully decorated 1960's style coffee house with coffee, tea, or soda pop to drink plus all manner of home-made baked goods. A stage was set up from which people read poetry, performed on musical instruments or sang. (The idea has taken hold once more and the first of a new coffee-house series was held on January 18, 2003.)

These evenings only stopped when the parish energy shifted to raising money for an elevator. The chair lift, which everyone in the congregation had hoped would be so wonderful, had turned out to be unworkable. A wheel-chair-bound person had to get out of his/her chair and navigate a couple of steps in order to get in or out of the lift and, sometimes, the lift would tip. In the end only the kids used it (and it beeped loudly and constantly while they did). Maintenance fees still had to be paid even though the lift wasn't being used and the parish council decided to abandon it.

A family is not a family when some of its members can't get into the house so plans were soon being discussed for an elevator. This project turned out to be monumentally expensive. The first architectural drawings, alone, cost $5,000. A committee, made up of Shirley and Reg Callard, Gerry Green and Alf Perinbam explored all possibilities. Their explorations yielded the information that the elevator would cost more than the parish could possibly afford. The parish council discussed asking for money from the Trillium foundation but that money comes from the provincial lottery and vestry voted not to take it.

That's when the miracle happened. Marian Rollinson, a long-time Ascension parishioner died and left the church over $140,000. At first the parish council thought the bequest would buy us the elevator but when it was discovered that only the interest could be spent, the members of council decided to go ahead and spend parish funds. The church would get its elevator. Work started. The old coal cellar-cum-junk-room (always called "the glory hole") below the stairs leading into the church disappeared, a wall was moved, the side entrance to the church was closed, a new downstairs door with the ramp and the small courtyard appeared in front, the elevator was built and, at last, people who couldn't manage the stairs could get to church. The elevator was up and running by Easter, 1999. For those who could manage the stairs, the old, worn wooden ones gave way to new, more reliable cement ones.

If the parishioners who marched in procession from the old Holy Trinity to lay the cornerstone for their new Church of the Ascension back in September of 1919 could be around today, they would see many other differences in their church. The choir stalls are gone and the sanctuary/worship space has now more room and four communion stations. In the mid nineties, after much discussion and some experimenting with worship space, vestry decided to have the Eucharist celebrated closer to the congregation than the high altar. So a small temporary altar was set up near the chancel steps.

The glass windows at the back of the church have gone. There is a more open feeling to the whole church and there are no military flags. The large baptismal font stands, as it always has, in the narthex, but baptisms are now celebrated in the chancel and the font is a small, hand-made font that Bill and Betty Service gave to the church when the old Anglican Church in Sherbrooke Corners (part of the parish of St. Paul's, Westport) was dismantled. (The Sherbrooke Corners' church was Betty Service's childhood church and was where the Service children were baptized.)

No one in Gary Hauch's church has ever thought of calling him Father or even Mr. Hauch (first names for priest and parishioner alike in this 21st century). There is no choir, except at Easter and Christmas. Instead, we have an organist, Beatrix Finta, and the music group, that sings and plays various instruments (including bongo drums). There is no traditional altar guild; volunteers do the work the altar guild once did. And, there is no licensed lay reader. When Arthur Humphries died in 1998, he left the position of lay reader open. Now a group of parishioners share in the reading of the lessons, the psalm, the gospel and the prayers of the people.

We gather often, as a church family, for potluck lunches and suppers and, every year, as well as the traditional pancake supper in the hall on Shrove Tuesday, Ascension has a Seder supper on Maundy Thursday to remind us of our Old- Testament roots and of the Passover supper Jesus shared with his disciples.

In the spring of 1990, the year he came to Ascension, Gary wrote in the newsletter that the parish of Ascension is "a remarkably diverse community that is serious about living its faith in the world... a grateful response to God's gift in Christ." His words surely express what so many of Ascension's priests and congregations have felt over all these years.

May we continue to be so blessed.

LIST OF CLERGY 1877-2002

1877- Thomas D. Phillips
1882 - Edward Beaven
(C.V. Forster Bliss filled in for six months between Phillips and Beaven)
1884 - Samuel McMorine
Arthur Jones
1885 - Attached to St. John's: Canon Henry Pollard, Alfred Mackay
1889 - George Taylor
1890 - Attached to St. Barnabus: Thomas Bailey
1896 - Frederick Squires
1915 - Mark Malbert
1916 - Robert Jefferson

1920 - Robert Jefferson
1927 - Francis Wimberley
1935 - Adrian Bender
1944 - Arthur Caulfield
1950 - Richard Crossley
1961 - Arthur Anderson
1962 - J. Edwin Allsopp
1972- Gerald Shaw
1973 - Bruce Olsen
1982 - Arthur Brewer
1990 - Gary Hauch

Charles Hamilton, 1896-1915
John Charles Roper, 1915-1939
Robert Jefferson, 1939-1954
Ernest Samuel Reed, 1954-
------- Robinson, 1979-
Edwin J. Lackey,
John Baycroft,
Peter Coffin,

1. 1919-1944 Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Laying of the Cornerstone Booklet, Charles F. Winter
2. May 9, 1956 Consecration Service
3. 1877-1956 The Church of the Ascension Church History, W.A. Allen, Jr.
4. 1877-1967 Commemorative Booklet, B. and D.Mockett, and T.E. Gunderson
5. 1877-1977 Centennial booklet, Mockett, Mockett and Gunderason
6. The History of the Ottawa Collegiate Institute , 1848-1903
7. The City Beyond; Bruce Elliot, the City of Nepean, 1991
8. The Private Capital; Sandra Gwyn; Harper & Collins, 1984
9. Undated news clippings in Ascension's files
10. Faith of Our Fathers; Robert Jefferson; The Anglican Book society, 1957
11. May 1986 Mainstreeter, p 7; Going to Church by Rowboat by Dorothy Helferty
12. Anglicanism in the Ottawa Valley, ed. Frank A. Peake, Carelton University Press, 1997
13. The Life and Times of John Charles Roper, Wilfred H. Bradley; Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
14. The diocesan archives at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa

Glenn Lockwood, Jack Francis, Fred Neal at the Diocosan Archives, Gary and Linda Hauch, Beatrice Rockburn, Bob Tyrrell, Lydia Allison, Karla Benoit, Jean Humphries, Priscilla Copeland, Judy Cray, Bill and Betty Service.

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