Holy Ascension’s Building Project

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Our Parish

Laying of the cornerstone in 1916

From its 1916 start as a Russian immigrant parish, drawn from the many families who came to work in Albion’s foundries, Holy Ascension has ebbed and flowed over the past century, growing today to a vibrant community with well over 100 worshippers each Sunday.

Over the past two decades, the parish has undertaken multiple projects to improve our church’s beauty—particularly through extensive iconography additions—and provide the necessary structural repairs and maintenance needed for the wear and tear on a building with multiple weekly services, along with an abundance of baptisms, weddings, and social activities.

Current building, 2022

The Problem

But, we are reaching the limits of what this building can provide.

For some time, our Sunday morning crowd has outgrown available parking and the space in our basement fellowship hall, driving some people—including, unfortunately, some newcomers—away.  Larger services, such as Pascha (Easter) and weddings are proving very challenging.

 

The limits of the current property as well as building codes and city regulations make it impossible for us to make the building handicap accessible, which has already driven some potential parishioners from our church.

This building is also aging, and though we continue to maintain it as best as we can, major issues remain.

A New Property

In 2020, a 10-acre wooded property became available just two miles from our current lot for a good price, so we purchased it. It already has a building on it that is the ideal size to serve as a future church hall, with space for a classroom, bookstore, and office. Its main hall can comfortably fit 250 people.

Renovating this building and the property has been and continues to be a project of the whole parish. We are also currently renting it as an event space, the Ascension Event Center, to start to bring in revenue for our future plans.

Already, the hall has become the home for parish occasions like our Paschal feast, wedding receptions, and other gatherings.

We have also received approval from the township for a cemetery on this new property, so we can bury our loved ones traditionally, without all the requirements of municipality-owned cemeteries. We envision trails, pathways, and gardens across the property as we continue to develop it.

Building a Temple

The main goal of our new property, however, is the construction of a new temple, which will both glorify God through its beauty and meet the practical needs of our growing parish.

For several years, the parish has been engaged in research and discussion about our goals for a new temple. Planned features include:

  • A timeless design, yet suited to our place and land in south-central Michigan,
  • Enough worship space to accommodate 200 comfortably, but also flexible enough to allow for more people for larger events (Pascha, weddings, etc.),
  • Fully handicap accessible,
  • A traditional freestanding bell “tower” with authentic Orthodox church bells,
  • All-season walkway connecting the temple to the existing hall,
  • A courtyard garden surrounding the temple,
  • An Orthodox cemetery for natural burials (no vaults, etc).

Rendering of proposed temple

Site plan for new property

Our Architect

The parish has hired Andrew Gould as our architect. He has a reputation as one of the premier Orthodox architects in America, and he is particularly committed to adapting the architecture of traditional Orthodox countries (Russia, Greece, etc.) in an American style.

“The architecture needs to be honest, and solid and sincere. We don’t want to have a stage set, we don’t want to have a building that superficially looks like an Orthodox church….Orthodoxy’s about building something absolutely solid, and permanent and honest that conveys the real ethos of the eternal Kingdom of God.”
-Andrew Gould

You can view a sampling of his Orthodox church designs at his website: https://newworldbyzantine.com/sacred.  The renderings above are what we currently have in mind for our new temple, but we are still working on the architectural plans with Andrew.  Once they are finished, they will be posted here.

Our Goal

Building an Orthodox Church is a weighty endeavor, one that we outlast all of us. Although the practical need our community has for it is quite real, our main focus is to build something timeless and beautiful that transcends itself and points us and all of its future worshippers to the triune God.

Our Need

We are grateful for the generosity of friends within and outside our parish, who helped us purchase the acreage, renovate the hall, and pay off our mortgage within a year while maintaining the operating needs of an active parish.

Now we are undertaking the funding of the church building itself, at an estimated cost of $1.5 million .

We welcome you to join us as we work to build a temple to the glory of God in this place we have been given, for this generation and many more to come.

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All donations are tax-deductible.

We would love to hear from you if you have questions about our project.  If you would like to call or email Fr Joshua for more information, see the CONTACT page.