Sealed by the Spirit

A Campaign to Protect and Renew
The Church of the Ascension

The "angel" representing the Sealed by the Spirit campaign. Watercolor by Mary Gaillard, from a reredos mosaic by D. Maitland ArmstrongIn 1827, the year our parish was founded, the state legislature finally abolished the practice of slavery in New York. In 1841, the same year the present church building was consecrated at Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, the last U.S. president born a British subject, William Henry Harrison, became the first president to die in office. His successor, John Tyler, would be married at Ascension three years later.

As these examples show, the people of the Church the Ascension have been engaged in the work of the Gospel in New York City for a very long time. Yet throughout much of this history, the brownstone walls of the church were slowly deteriorating, with the roof’s design exacerbating the problem. While great art has inspired and fine music has transported many, the brownstone continued to leak and crumble, today threatening the interior, as well.

Despite such hidden physical conditions, Ascension has long carried out a mission to spread God’s Word through art and music. Our church is home to what is considered one of the finest murals of sacred art in America, The Ascension of Our Lord, by John LaFarge. And for nearly a century, Ascension’s music ministry has been recognized in the first rank of church choirs. Most recently, we have been offered a gift which, when built, will be one of this nation’s finest pipe organs. It is very meet and right that such an instrument be housed in one of the leading churches in America renowned for its sacred music.

To perform the bare minimum of urgent repairs and restoration to the most damaged parts of the church building (many of which would most directly affect a new organ), the Vestry’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, with professional consultation, has established a list of projects. The total cost is estimated at $2.1 million, nearly half of which would be paid for by today’s generation of parishioners.

The remainder of the funds needed will come from the generosity of the community, charitable foundations and — most importantly — friends of the parish and supporters of sacred art, music and architecture. Won’t you help us preserve this historic witness on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street in New York’s Greenwich Village by making a contribution today?

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