Worship

Gospel procession

Worship at Ascension is central to our parish life and mission. The beauty and formality of our liturgy is consistently mentioned as one of the things that drew parishioners to Ascension. Many of us initially “came for the worship, but stayed for the worshipers.” (If you know Anglican-speak, the liturgy at Ascension can be characterized as “broad church” — “not too High, not too Low,” as one parishioner put it.)

We have two services on Sunday based on the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The 9 am service at the side altar is a “said” Eucharist without music, and attracts a dedicated group of 10 to 20 worshipers on an average Sunday. The 11 am service is a “sung” Eucharist from September through May, with service music, a chanted Eucharistic prayer, and a full professional choir. A 6 pm service, led by a priest and cantor, is a quiet, meditative experience that includes the day’s Gospel lesson, directly or indirectly related readings from other traditions and sources, a brief homily by the priest, 10-15 minutes of silent meditation, and a simple Eucharist with all participants gathered around the altar. On Wednesdays, we have a 6 pm said Eucharist, which draws a handful of regular worshipers and visitors.

On major feast days, we “pull out all the stops” at our 11 am service, with incense, extra choir voices, and a grand procession through the church. On Christmas Eve we celebrate a 5 pm family service and a 10 pm festival Eucharist; on Christmas Day we have an 11 am Eucharist with carols. An Ash Wednesday liturgy is offered at 8 am, noon, and 7 pm Ascension’s Holy Week services are an extremely important part of our parishioners’ worship experience. The exuberant liturgy of Palm Sunday is in contrast to the three weeknight Eucharists that follow. On Maundy Thursday, the clergy participate in foot washing and stripping the altar, followed by an all-night prayer vigil of parishioners in the chapel. In recent years, our three-hour Good Friday service has included the reading of the Passion Gospel, with members of the congregation taking various roles, and the Veneration of the Cross. The Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday night begins in darkness with the lighting of new fire and ends with the joyous first Eucharist of the Resurrection. We may have a baptism or three that night, as well. Two services follow on Easter Sunday, the said Eucharist at 9 am and a glorious Eucharist at 11 am, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that, at Ascension, Easter Sunday is truly the queen of feasts.

While each Sunday has its joys, several other special celebrations throughout the year mark our calendar. For example, the Sunday following Ascension Day — our “name day” 40 days after Easter — is our traditional time for confirmations, because a bishop pays us a visit. On the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (the Sunday closest to October 4), we hold a Blessing of the Animals in our Fifth Avenue garden. Parishioners and neighbors bring their beloved pets and we take especial joy in those parts of God’s creation that so unreservedly love us back.

During this period of high rates of COVID-19 infections in our city and the surrounding region, please bear with us as we make changes to our schedules for worship and visits by the public. Our clergy and vestry are assessing the situation as it develops and making adjustments as needed.

Sunday Eucharist

Weekday Worship

  • 5:30 pm daily Evening Prayer online via Zoom: ascensionnyc.org/eveningprayer, or by phone: 929-205-6099; the meeting ID is 770 597 201.
  • 6 pm Wednesday Eucharist at the Side Altar