Sale of Land for Apartments

Artist’s rendering of building planned for the land behind Ascension

In July 2019, Church of the Ascension entered into an agreement with a developer group to sell the back of the church property for an apartment building — much needed in the Argyle area. The agreement is conditional on approval from the City of London. As of mid-October 2022, these are the next steps planned by the buyer:

  • October 19: City of London urban design panel review of project.
  • Nov. 24, 6-8 p.m.: Informal open house for area residents in Ascension’s Parish Hall, including a short presentation by the planner, plans for the proposed building and site, and plans for the access road from Dundas Street along the east side of the church. Some city staff are expected to attend.
  • Early in the new year: City staff expected to schedule the proposed project and rezoning with City Council’s planning committee.
  • February: Planning committee presents the project to Council with a recommendation.

For details of the project, please go to this City of London site:

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Christmas Craft Bazaar

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Thanksgiving Decoration and Food Donation Drive

Anyone who wishes to donate food to decorate the church for Thanksgiving Sunday the 10th of October can drop off their donations at 10am on Saturday the 9th, or you can bring it on the Sunday. All food will be donated.

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Orange Shirt Day September 30

To commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. For more information, please go here:

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Seniors Music Afternoons

After the long wait through the pandemic, the Seniors Music Afternoons return as of Sept. 29, 2022.

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COVID-19 Update

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Diocese of Huron has removed all COVID restrictions as of June 2022. Each parish can now decide for themselves what restrictions are needed.

At Ascension, we are strongly encouraging everyone to remain masked while in the building, for the the benefit of your health and that of your neighbours. Worship leaders will continue to mask except when performing their function. This is especially important if you have symptoms such as cough or cold. We also strongly encourage everyone to get any vaccine that you are eligible for. Doing these two things will help everyone to stay as healthy as possible. We ask that you not comment on whether or not others choose to mask or not. This change is in place for the summer months; if there is a surge of disease in the fall, restrictions may be reinstated.

Coffee hour will be starting as soon as we have sufficient volunteers to run it. If you would like to help out with coffee hour, please contact Mary Grant.

Groups using the church may make their own decisions regarding what restrictions work for them.

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Community Breakfast pivots to broader Food Security Program

Update: As of July 19, 2022, the Community Breakfast has resumed in-person meals. Breakfasts are held on the third Tuesday of every month. Breakfasts are free. All are welcome.

The Community Breakfast at Church of the Ascension in London had for many years all the hallmarks of an effective ministry. It served almost 100 on average each month. It offered one of the few hot breakfasts among the meal programs in the city. And guests raved about the social atmosphere
And then came COVID-19.

“It was like immediate,” recalled Steve Holmes, one of the organizers – the shock still in his voice more than two years later.

The next breakfast was scheduled for only a few days after the pandemic was declared in March 2020 and the Diocese of Huron set down strict health protocols for meal programs. The breakfast went ahead, but organizers knew the “community” part of the breakfast had been lost to physical distancing and other safety measures.

Karen Robinson, another of the organizers, pointed out the obvious: “We still have to feed people.” And so began months of pivoting and pirouetting that has been so effective, it has completely changed the way the Ascension organizes its meal program. It has expanded to lunches and suppers over more weeks, while still hoping to bring back a truly community breakfast as soon as possible.

It now all comes under a new name: the Ascension Food Security Program.

The changes started in April 2020 when a small group of volunteers – few enough to allow physical distancing in the kitchen – made up 50 bagged lunches to be handed out at the church door. Each contained an egg salad or a cheese sandwich, a piece of fruit, a muffin, a boxed drink and a card that says “Lovingly prepared for you at Church of the Ascension”. But few people showed up at the door to pick them up.

Deb and Janice prepare muffins.

So the volunteers drove the remaining lunches to places where homeless people were known to gather in London, including a tent city that had sprung up at the fairgrounds and the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope shelter. That pattern has continued: a few picked up at the door and the rest delivered.

Soon the deliveries were expanded to My Sisters’ Place, a daytime drop-in shelter for women at risk, and Project Hope, a group of volunteers who go out to the streets and check on London’s homeless population.

Jerry, Karen, Deb, and Linda: Will that be cheese or egg salad?

In June 2020, Steve organized a drive-thru chicken dinner for church members and took the leftovers to the new Youth Opportunities Unlimited shelter near Ascension. Chatting with the head of their kitchen, Steve offered to provide them with bagged lunches, too.

Now the number of lunches was up to 75.

The essential ingredient for egg salad sandwich.

“It just kept getting bigger,” Steve said.

A bakery contract led to the next major leap for the program.

Cobbs Bakery had supplied several community programs with extra bread at the end of the day and East London community activist Nancy McSloy made some available to Ascension. Nancy needed to make a switch due to a health problem and so Ascension was referred to Stelmar Home Health & Mobility, which also operates a home for people living on Ontario Disability Support Program.

Steve finds a meat slicer can double as a bread slicer.

After some conversation with company staff, the Ascension group started supplying dinners to Stelmar residents at cost within the limited means of ODSP. Two weeks a month, they drop off three meals to each resident: a hot meal or casserole to consume that day and two others that can be set aside for other days – a submarine sandwich with homemade soup and a chicken pot pie or sometimes shepherd’s pie. The offerings are altered to avoid monotony.

The Ascension group currently operates with seven volunteers, but that number will need to more than double when the breakfast resumes.

The operation is so evolved, it can meet specific needs. For example, the people Project Hope reaches are better served with peanut butter and jam sandwiches rather than egg salad or cheese. On meal preparation days, Ascension’s parish hall looks a bit like a warehouse, sorted into tables for each agency served.

The financing of the program has evolved too.


Donations from Ascension members and the income from Stelmar help make the program self-sufficient.

Ascension’s incumbent, the Rev. Canon June Hough, lately pointed out to the volunteers there are some parishioners who could also use some food support but are too proud to ask for a free meal. Now the group is thinking of selling dinners at a low cost, but enough to generate a small excess that can be poured back into the ministry as it restarts the Community Breakfast.

When it’s all added up, Ascension’s program is now serving 225 to 230 meals a month – more than double the number who were helped by the breakfast alone.

Given the growth, the group decided in April to stop calling itself the Community Breakfast and take the broader name of the Food Security Program.

“It’s sad we have to do this,” Steve said, “but it’s amazing the difference it can make to get people on the path to a better life.”

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The Executive Team is appointing two members of the congregation to help out with specialized duties at the church.

Philip Templeton is the Manager of IT, overseeing all technology and software used by the church.

Sandra Coulson is the Communications Coach, advising and assisting the church and its groups on their internal and external communications.

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Losses to the Ascension family

We have lost a former and a current member this week: Marianne Bouwmeester and Dora Bell, respectively. See the obituaries below.

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Bishop Todd Townshend on racism and Doctrine of Discovery – June 14, 2020

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