At the Church of the Ascension, we love to worship God, have a good time, and support our community. From children to youth, young adults to seniors, there are many ways to get involved for a deeper relationship with God and our people. Come and see!
Daughters of the King
Daughters of the King is a spiritual sisterhood dedicated to a life of prayer, service, and evangelism. The main service is that of prayer for each other. They provide intercessory prayer for those who ask in a confidential manner.
One of the community projects of Daughters of the King is the monthly provision of meal bags for the Fieldhouse, a local shelter for the homeless. Gifts at Christmas are also given and have included toiletries, socks, gloves.
DOK members make comfort crosses for giving to individuals and groups. Each cross is hand shaped by a DOK sister and is given as gifts to newcomers and to those in need, for thanksgiving or any other season.
Breadbasket is a longstanding ministry for providing food to those in need in Hattiesburg. This ministry began in February 1981 when Westminster Presbyterian Church initiated the project with six other churches joining Westminster in the effort to fulfill the goal of being a witness of Christ to those people that are helped and fed by this interfaith group of volunteers in Hattiesburg. One of our parishioners has been involved since the first meeting of this group. Core to this ministry is the collection of food and money to keep the pantry stocked and to deliver food boxes one day per week to those who call the program for food assistance. Church of the Ascension has been involved since the inception of this service and continues to be active in fulfilling the original goal. An ecumenical Thanksgiving Service for the community is held annually, with the member churches rotating as the host church.
Simon Ministry/Lazarus Ministry
Simon Ministry is a food ministry where parishioners prepare and provide a meal or two during times of illness, following surgery or the birth of a child, or other times of need. Lazarus Ministry is similar; however, it is focused on the preparation and provision of meals/food following a death, either in home or for a visitation/funeral reception.
The Flower Guild prepares flower arrangements for all church services as well as any special receptions held in our parish hall or church sanctuary. Anyone who is interested in working with the guild, whether a novice or an old pro at arranging flowers, is encouraged to help enhance the beauty of our facilities for the Glory of God. It is the mission to take the beauty of flowers to enhance worship services and receptions in praise of God’s glorious gifts and love.
Ministry of the Pots (Gumbo!)
The Church of the Ascension is quite famous throughout Hattiesburg and the State of Mississippi for our gumbo. This secret recipe has been held tightly by gumbo-cookers at the church, and it comes out only twice a year: In time for Thanksgiving, and again before “The Big Game” in late winter. Ascensionites gather together on a Friday night to tell jokes, have a beer, and reminisce of gumbo-cookings from bygone years. Oh, there is some gumbo-stirring, too, that can’t stop until the large paddles stand up by themselves. Then, the next day, there is much fun to be had as parishioners gather to sample “a bite or two” of gumbo while hundreds of people come by the church to buy their quarts. Money raised benefits our outreach ministries.
The Altar Guild is responsible for setting the Altar with the elements offered by the people of the church for Eucharist, respectful care of the communion items after our celebration of thanksgiving, and care of the altar linens. The Altar Guild also changes the various color altar hangings to reflect the various seasons of the church year and major feast days as designated by the liturgical calendar and special services such as weddings and funerals. The Altar Guild is also responsible for ordering new and replacement linens, hangings, and vestments. As part of the Altar Guild’s duties, special “house cleaning days” are scheduled prior to Easter and Christmas.
The members of Ascension are ready to welcome families with young children into the flock! A Sunday school is available for children from birth to 5th grade. The babies are in the nursery section and those walking and talking join in the activities and lessons. The children can enjoy breakfast with their family. The children will learn the love our God has for them while enjoying activities and lessons. The campus also features a fantastic playground, ready to welcome young smiles! Communion is given the children, with parents’ permission. Observing the joy of the children as they have run to the altar, kneel and hold those small hands out for communion is an example that we as adults need to emulate.
Biscuits and Bibles
Whether after the early service, before the later service or a snack for Sunday school, one will be sure to find lively conversation and a hearty breakfast of sausage and biscuits, yogurt, doughnuts, juice, and an unlimited supply of coffee every Sunday in the Parish Hall. All guests and members are welcome to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of breakfast time together.
A prominent feature on the Arlington Loop side of the church is the labyrinth. The labyrinth is an ancient pattern found in many cultures around the world. Labyrinth designs found on pottery, tablets, and tiles date as far back as 4000 years. Many patterns are based on spirals from nature. In Native American culture it is called the Medicine Wheel and Man in the Maze. The Celts described it as the “Never Ending Circle.” It is also called the Kabala in mystical Judaism. One feature they all share is that they have one path which winds in a circuitous way to the center. Labyrinths are not mazes, although in the English language the words labyrinth and maze are frequently confused. Labyrinths have the exact opposite purpose: they are designed to help us find our way. Labyrinths are unicursal: you walk the same path going in and coming out. There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Use the labyrinth in any way that meets what you need.
Every Tuesday night there is an AA meeting from 6:30 – 7:30 in the Grace House located on the Parish campus at 3600 West Arlington Loop.
Halloween Harvest Hoedown
Halloween Hoe Down provides a safe trick or trick site with games, fun and treats for the community’s trick or treating goblins, princesses, dinosaurs, superheroes and others! COA is often joined by neighbors from University Baptist Church as well as the University Heights Neighborhood Association and students from USM Canterbury in providing this event.
Every Monday night there is an Al-Anon meeting from 6:00 – 7:00 in the Grace House located on the Parish campus at 3600 West Arlington Loop.
Life, Faith, and Freedom
Every Thursday night there is a Life, Faith, and Freedom Group meeting from 7:30 – 8:30 in the Grace House located on the Parish campus at 3600 West Arlington Loop.
Episcopal Recovery Program
The goal of the Episcopal Recovery Program of Mississippi is to educate and provide resources for The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi in dealing with addiction by providing direction and resources that will allow clergy and communicants alike to have accessible avenues to recovery for those within the diocese.
Addiction. It is a word with shadowy connotations. A problem of “other” people – not nice Episcopalians. Yet the common dependencies mentioned above ore addictions. These ore serious problems that affect many people in all walks of life. Addiction causes great suffering, but its causes and solutions are often misunderstood. Even today, many believe that unhealthy behaviors can and should be controlled and changed by individual will and courage – bolstered perhaps by prayer – but ultimately dependent on self-reliance. That has not been our experience. As people who are successfully recovering from alcoholism and other addictions, we have found that our new health comes directly from our surrender to God’s love and core – and that our repeated efforts to “control” our compilations were nothing more than misguided attempts to play God ourselves. The experience of many professions – both medical and clerical- confirms the effectiveness of this approach.
Debt Retirement Campaign
When plans were being developed for the building of Grace House, a capital campaign entitled “A Time to Build” was initiated. This campaign had pledges and collections of $500,000 for costs of the building and ended in December 2018. On January 1, 2019, a debt retirement campaign entitled “Fulfilling the Vision” was initiated and $300,000 was pledged over the next three years to reduce the remaining debt on the Grace House. The building of the Grace House reflects this congregation’s generous hearts and the hope for the future to have adequate space for children’s and adult’s Christian education.