History of Ascension

Ascension began as the vision of the vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church, now the Cathedral of the Diocese of East Tennessee, to plant a mission church in rural West Knoxville. West Knoxville Fellowship was formed and its members began evening meetings in members homes. Through the gifts of land by the Van Deventer family and a hugely successful member canvass of our founding families, the Church of the Ascension was granted full parish status in 1957 with a congregation numbering around 225.

The church prospered and grew as people moved west from Downtown Knoxville. In 1986 a major addition to the nave was completed increasing its seating capacity to 650 people. The Rev. David M. Potts was called to be the first rector in 1957. Over the ensuing years, we were served by 5 other rectors, 17 assisting clergy and our church has grown to well over 1000 members.

The hallmark of Ascension, both past and present, is strong member leadership, a highly engaged congregation, a high level of giving, and a talented, dedicated staff. Throughout its history, Ascension has thrived and pressed forward in its mission: to enable ourselves and others to experience God in Christ, to seek and serve Him in others, to grow towards Christ and to proclaim Him to the world.

Celebrating 50 Years

For a PDF of the 50 year anniversary “Celebrating 50 Years” book, click here.

Abridged History of Ascension

For a PDF of the Abridged History of Ascension, click here.

To Proclaim Him to the World PDFs

Introduction and Chapter One – In the Beginning 1948-1957

Chapter Two – The Early Years 1957-1963

Chapter Three – Finding Our Identity 1963-1973

Chapter Four – Spreading the Vision 1973-1982

Chapter Five – Reaching for the Dream 1982-1990