The Parish Church of The Ascension of the Lord, Lavender Hill (more commonly referred to as The Ascension, Lavender Hill) is a Church of England Parish Church, within the Anglo-Catholic tradition, situated on Lavender Hill in Battersea, South West London.
The Ascension lies within the boundaries of the Diocese of Southwark but has passed the Resolution on the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, and is affiliated to the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda. Accordingly we look to the Bishop of Fulham for episcopal oversight and sacramental care. We support the aims and objectives of Forward in Faith.
Conceived primarily by Fr John Bourdieu Wilkinson SSC and built with the help of many financiers of the same Anglo-Catholic persuasion, work began on The Ascension in the 1870's to a design by the gothic revivalist architect James Brooks.
Throughout our history the church building has continued to evolve and adapt. The loss of life suffered by parishioners in the First World War was honoured with a permanent memorial on the exterior of the West Wall. The Second World War effort resulted in a loss of most of the iron railings that adorned the boundary walls, taken by the government for the manufacture of munitions. A new roof was completed in the 1980's made necessary as a result of a fire on Good Friday of 1979. In the 2010's disabled access was improved with ramps and a ground level disabled toilet and a brand new heating system was installed making worship in the winter months as pleasant as worship in the summer.
The church today is well known for its welcoming atmosphere. There are opportunities for Children of all ages with our Sunday club for the younger children and our youth club for the older children. For the adults Sunday Mass is always followed by a cup of tea or coffee, which is a great opportunity to mix with our bubbly congregation. Of course we haven't forgotten the children; there is juice and biscuits for them too!
Mass at the Ascension is just as you would expect for an Anglo-Catholic church. There are three sacred ministers, servers wearing black cassocks and white cottas, incense, bells, acolytes, traditional hymns and the full works! Take a look at some of our pictures to give you a sense of what we are all about.
In keeping with our Catholic tradition at the Ascension there is an emphasis on the seven sacraments including that of confessions. The Blessed Sacrament is perpetually reserved and available for private adoration, devotions to Our Lady such as the Rosary are common practice, relics are available for veneration and we walk the Stations of the Cross throughout Lent.
"On Good Friday, 1979, this well-loved church was the scene of a raging fire, which threatened to destroy it. For, shortly before 7.00pm on Friday 13th April, fierce flames spread quickly from the belfry along the high roof. The blazing church lit up the night sky and passengers could see the flames from the London to Brighton Line, which runs at the foot of the Hill. The people of The Ascension were not, however, to be defeated by this event."
Image: The Ascension Church as viewed from Lavender Hill circa 1890