Please help save Ascension’s bell tower!

Dear Parishioners and Friends,
photo of crumbling brownstone on the bell tower

I write with news of a challenge and an opportunity.

For several years the Buildings and Grounds committee has been concerned about our tower brownstone. A conditions survey done in 2021 reported that urgent repairs are needed to restore both masonry and copings (blocks) of the tower. In other words, work is needed to ensure the continued safety of our parishioners and our extended community.

The survey divided the work into three phases, roughly from the top of the tower to the bottom. Phase One is the most urgent at a cost of $250,000.

I am delighted to announce that we have received funding for this initial work, including a very generous grant of $200,000 from the Manton Foundation and $47,500 from the Diocese of New York. This work will begin early 2023, and it is a huge relief to know we can proceed.

In addition, the Manton Foundation awarded us a second, challenge grant to help fund the second phase of the work. This phase will cost approximately $400,000 and will make further critical repairs to the tower brownstone.

The challenge grant will match dollar for dollar what we at Ascension can raise, up to an additional $200,000. To qualify for the match, we must have $200,000 in pledges by the end of 2023. To pay our bills, we ask that pledges be paid by April 1, 2024. If you would like to pledge at a higher level but cannot pay the full amount by that date, please contact the wardens or me.

If we are able to do the Phase Two work, we will finish the highest parts of the tower and the phases requiring expensive scaffolding — a huge savings. Most of all, we will address safety concerns for parishioners and visitors to our sanctuary and gardens, securing our spaces for the future work of mission.

Will you join me and rise to the challenge? We need to raise $200,000! I ask every parishioner to give something as you are able, to help secure our building — and our ministry — for the next generation. I am deeply grateful to the Manton Foundation for their wonderful support.

To be clear, we are asking for a pledge separate from, and in addition to, your pledge to our annual budget. We normally would not do this in the midst of our pledge drive, but both the urgency of the need and the generosity of the matching gift make this the right time.

You can make your confidential pledge by emailing me at the parish office or by using the form at right. Payments can be made by check payable to the Church of the Ascension (remember to put “Tower Brownstone” in the memo line) or online (select “Manton Matching Grant” from the drop-down menu).

Feel free to reach out to the wardens or me if you have any questions about the tower project or the matching grant!

Please pray that we will be able to care for our building in order to care for our community. As you pray, ask how you are called to help. And say a prayer of thanksgiving for the many blessings and opportunities God is giving to us at Ascension as we undertake the restoration of our tower.

I believe we can do this!

In gratitude and hope,

The Rev. Elizabeth Maxwell, Rector

Pledge To Repair the Fifth Avenue Tower

I/We pledge the following amount, to be paid in full by April 1, 2024, toward the repair of the brownstone exterior of Ascension’s Fifth Avenue bell tower:
I/We understand that the Manton Foundation has generously offered to match this and other pledges, up to a total of $200,000 pledged, to save Ascension’s Fifth Avenue bell tower.