"Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40
This parish was born in outreach as a mission church of St. John's parish, Montgomery's oldest Episcopal Church. The first offering taken at Ascension was given to a church in Union Springs, Alabama, which had been devastated by a tornado. From these roots, the church's outreach program was developed. Our members particularly value our Outreach ministries and support a generous budget in this area. We also delight in our giving of volunteer hours and special donations for various projects. Although the recent membership reduction has had a negative impact on our current Outreach budget, we expect it to increase proportionally with membership in the years ahead.
The Outreach Committee determines the allocation of its funds to the support of God's work in our community, the diocese, and the world. Ascension's outreach budget also allocates funds to the Diocese of Alabama, to support a seminarian at Sewanee, and to the Rector's Discretionary Fund.
Turning specifically to Ascension's outreach efforts, some of the local projects supported include the Lord's Pantry, an ecumenical program which helps provide nutritionally well-balanced meals to the hungry in Montgomery; the Foster Children's Program, providing Christmas gifts for approximately 75 needy children; scholarship money for Holy Cross Episcopal School; Medical Outreach Ministries, health care for those without insurance; Young Life; Second Chance Foundation, an alternative school program; Sav-A-Life; chaplains at local jails; hospice; and contributions to the Church of the Good Shepherd for the rector's salary. Our own Vineyard Bookstore also enhances our outreach ministry through profits generated by the sale of a large selection of reading material and gifts aimed at developing and supporting our life in Christ.
Reaching outside our immediate community, Ascension also supports campus ministries, Red Cross disaster efforts, and camp scholarships for children with disabilities.
On the international level, for approximately 20 years, Ascension has supported a South American missionary priest, the Reverend Eduardo Monzon, as well as providing aid to a technical school in Honduras and to a medical mission trip to Honduras. Outreach has also funded support for a missionary family in Afghanistan. The parish has undertaken mission trips to North Dakota (Native American ministry), the Dominican Republic, and most recently, Honduras. This last trip-during the summer of 2007-included 16 participants from Montgomery and was extremely rewarding, both to those who traveled as well as to the prayer and financial supporters back home.
We participate in Montgomery's newly formed Interfaith Hospitality Network, a program that provides homeless families with shelter, food, and other support on a rotating basis with churches of other denominations.