During the reroofing of the Church of the Ascension’s 1870s nave, the congregation will worship on Sundays at First Presbyterian Church — 183 W. Main St. — at 2 p.m. from July 13 to Aug. 3. The church’s Tuesday Bible Study also will continue to meet on Tuesdays at its new location, First Presbyterian, at 10:30 a.m. However, Church of the Ascension’s Wednesday service will not be conducted during this time period.
“The first phase is reroofing of the historic nave,” said Pamala Foye, communications secretary for the Church of the Ascension. “They don’t want to touch any of the integrity of the historic structure of the nave, so they are going to get rid of the roof that had been put on over the years and reroof with [materials] that [look] historically accurate. So that’s what they’re starting with. Second is going to be the demolition of the existing parish hall and Sunday school classes. Those will be built new. ... [The structure] will move forward toward the road and it will move out toward the Ascension house, which is the old house next door that houses our offices now. [The construction will] tie it in to look more like the existing historic structure. ... The demolition and the rebuilding, it was just very necessary. The parish hall and the Sunday school room classes are not historic [and] they were just very outdated.
“... The biggest impact right now is that we cannot get in the nave to have services. So First Presbyterian Church across the street has graciously allowed us to come meet in their church at 2 o’clock, when they’re done with [their sanctuary] for the next four Sundays. It is our hope to have the roof redone and we can get back in at least [to] the historic nave.”
With the reroofing project started on July 7, the overall construction and renovation work is expected to be complete by mid-November. To celebrate this milestone, the Church of the Ascension will hold a ground breaking Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on its campus, 205 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville. Afterward, the congregation will proceed to First Presbyterian Church for the 2 p.m. worship service.
“When I asked Ted Smith over at First [Presbyterian] ... ‘How [will we] ever be able to pay [you] back?’ he said, ‘just pay it forward — that’s what Heritage did for us when we were doing our construction.’ [First Presbyterian] moved the preschool over to Heritage Baptist,” said Church of the Ascension’s rector, the Rev. Mary K. Erickson. “... There’s no way we could pay them for this wonderful availability and accessibility for our continued worship. So to think in terms of, ‘Well, who can we help out in the future?’ is just a beautiful way to receive a gift in gratitude and to begin to think about how we too can pay it forward.”
Operating for about 20 years, the Church of the Ascension’s food pantry still is retaining its hours of service — Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. — at Sam Jones Memorial UMC’s Youth House on the corner of Church and Erwin streets. On average, the food pantry assists 100 households a week and distributes about 4,000 pounds of food a month.
“Obviously with the demolition of the building, we did not have a home for the food pantry, but Sam Jones [Memorial] United Methodist has offered a space for us to use for the next six to eight months while the construction’s underway,” said Tiffany Tindall, food pantry coordinator for the Church of the Ascension. “It was very generous of them to offer the space. It’s nice to work together in a community that’s very ecumenical.
“... [We will be able to serve the same number of people], because Sam Jones has offered the use of their building to us for free. We were looking into renting a portable building prior to that but that was going to take money out of the budget. So we were very fortunate to be able to use that facility and save the money to put toward food.”
She continued, “We’re very fortunate to have the Age to Age Campaign work out and for us to be able to build the new building, because as a parish we desperately need a new facility. So that’s great, but ... we had to plan it in such a way that we could continue to operate our ministry. The food pantry is one of our larger ministries that we operate. It’s really important still to continue the service while we’re under construction.”
For more information about the Church of the Ascension, visit www.ascensioncartersville.org or call 770-382-2626.