History of Ascension
The Episcopal Church of the Ascension boasts a history rich in worship, education, outreach, and service. Ascension began as the vision of the vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church, now the Cathedral of the Diocese of East Tennessee, to plant a mission church in rural West Knoxville. West Knoxville Fellowship was formed and its members began evening meetings in parishioners' homes.
Through the gifts of land by the Van Deventer family and a hugely successful every member canvass of our founding families, the Church of the Ascension was granted full parish status in 1957, with a congregation numbering around 225. The church prospered and grew with the westward growth of Knoxville. In 1986 a major addition to the nave was completed which now has the capacity to seat 650. The clergy at Church of the Ascension have each brought unique gifts and talents. The Rev. David M. Potts was called to be the first rector in 1957. Over the ensuing years, we have been served by 5 other rectors and some 17 assisting clergy. We are presently served by a head Rector, two Associate Rectors, a Priest Associate, two vocational Deacons, and a staff of fifteen persons. Membership is now approximately 1100 baptized members, of which approximately 825 are confirmed communicants.
Ascension, past and present, is hallmarked by strong lay leadership, an engaged congregation, a high level of giving, and a talented and dedicated staff. Over 50 ministries prosper here. Throughout its history Ascension has thrived and pressed forward in its mission: to enable ourselves and others to experience God in Christ, to seek and serve Him in others, to grow towards Christ, and to proclaim Him to the world.