About our church


The Historic Stone ChurchHistory

The Church of the Ascension dates to November 28, 1843, when a small group of concerned local Episcopalians met for the purpose of organizing a congregation in Westminster, which at the time was a small village with a population of approximately 500. Groundbreaking took place on August 22, 1844, and the Church of the Ascension was consecrated on Ascension Day, 1846. This original building, now affectionately referred to as the Stone Church, exemplifies the Neo-Gothic architectural style advocated by the Ecclesiological Society in the 19th century.

The Stone Church has been modified only slightly in the past 160-plus years, and is recognized as an historic property by the Maryland Historical Trust. Indeed, 19th century Episcopalians such as Carroll County’s own Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner, would probably feel very much at home in the Stone Church even today. (As an aside, although Mr. Key died shortly before the parish was established, he would certainly have known the early founders of the church, and was probably part of the early discussions regarding Ascension. Moreover, Ascension can certainly claim a spiritual heritage with Mr. Key via outreach to the African American community, and one of Ascension’s most historic memorials honors Mr. Key's work with local African American children; a plaque bearing his name and detailing his efforts in this regard is found in the vestibule of the Stone Church.)

By 1944, the parish campus consisted of the Stone Church, a parish house build in 1932, and the Parke House, the church's rectory.  The Holy Cross House was added in 1961, the Great Hall replaced the old parish house in 1975, and the Holy Cross Hall was built in 2000. Our facility is part of the Westminster Historic District, which is listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Twice in our history, Ascension has sponsored a mission parish. The first, St. Mark's Chapel in Uniontown was consecrated in 1862 but disbanded in 1879.  The other, St. George's in Manchester was organized in 1956 and is now a regular parish.

Today, we are a traditional, inclusive parish of the Episcopal Church and worldwide Anglican Communion. We describe our church as a place where you will find traditional liturgy, lectionary-based preaching, and strong Christian education, along with family fellowship. The people of Ascension are a diverse and active group who share a love of the Lord along with a commitment to serving each other and our community.

Join us!

Visitors are, of course, always welcome, and may attend services at the church at any time.  We would love to have you join us! And bring a friend.

To become a member of Ascension, simply call the parish office at 410.848.3251 or 410.876.0736 and someone will be happy to help you establish Ascension as your new church home.  Those persons arriving from another Episcopal parish will be directed on how to transfer their membership.

Life at Ascension