image63

 

Ascension Lutheran Church was founded as a merger of two historic Chicago area churches – Our Savior Lutheran Church of Norwood Park and St. John Lutheran Church of Niles, however the history of Ascension truly begins with the history of our mother Church, St. John of Niles.


The first services of St. John Lutheran Church were conducted in a home that stood on land now occupied by St. Matthew Lutheran Cemetery and were presided over by the Reverend Francis Hoffman, pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church of Schaumburg in 1848 and 1849.


In 1860, a two-story brick frame building was erected where our present church stands. The frame upper story was used for church purposes, with the brick lower-level serving both as a school and a dwelling for the Pastor and his family.


In the 1920s, a member of the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago set about the task of planning a new congregation.  Some of the founding members included families from St. John in Niles.  They began worshipping in the building occupied by St. Alban's Episcopal Church.  Shortly thereafter, they outgrew that space and built their own church building at Northcott and Nickerson in Norwood Park.


In late 2014, Pastor Eric Carlson of Our Savior Lutheran Church, and Pastor Matthew Gunia of St. John Lutheran Church, who enjoyed a good friendship, began wondering aloud what a merger of their two congregations might look like.  Each pastor began talking with the leadership of his respective church, and the idea of a merger quickly gained enthusiasm and momentum.


With a great deal of teamwork and belief in the mission of God, the churches decided to merge, creating Ascension Lutheran Church.


The congregation celebrated their first service on the First Sunday of Advent November 29, 2015--the first day of a new church year and the first day of a new congregation. 


The preaching of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments continues at Ascension Lutheran Church of Niles to this day.

image64
image65