During the late 1950's, Wichita began growing and developing the Westlink area. A number of Lutheran families moved into this area. It soon became evident that a church was needed to meet their spiritual needs. After a survey of the area, the Kansas District Mission Board extended a call to Reverend Robert Kerekes to serve as a missionary in west Wichita. A house with a full basement located at 9100 W. Ninth was purchased for use as a parsonage. On September 13, 1959, the first worship service was held in the basement. Finding a larger place to worship was the first priority. The 4-H Building was utilized for Sunday services with over 250 people in attendance. On January 10, 1960, just 6 ½ months after starting, Ascension congregation was officially chartered with 151 communicants, 285 souls, and 110 in Sunday School. It has continued growing ever since. Today, Ascension has more than 1300 communicants and 1700 souls.
No history of a Lutheran church in Wichita is complete without some mention of The Reverend Dr. L.H. Deffner. He served as Pastor of Immanuel Church, Wichita. With his help, a ten-acre tract was purchased at the corner of Tyler and Bekemeyer. Groundbreaking occurred September 18, 1960, with the dedication taking place on Pentecost Sunday, May 21, 1961. This formal dedication of a permanent worship facility marked a major milestone in Ascension’s history.
Breaking Ground at Tyler
Growing at Tyler
During the early 1970's, due to an increase in membership and increased work load on Ascension’s staff, two major goals were adopted: to begin a Vicarage program and to study the need for a new sanctuary. Groundbreaking for the present sanctuary was on October 30, 1977, with construction work beginning in 1978. Dedication was April 29, 1979. The addition of a new sanctuary, chapel, library/parlor, and office complex was designed in a contemporary manner to conform harmoniously with the architecture of the original structure constructed in 1961.
The need for additional educational space became apparent in the early 1990s. Groundbreaking was on June 28, 1992.
Breaking Ground at Maple
Ascension sought to serve west Wichita eadditionally when they established a second campus in 12000 block of West Maple and dedicated their Open Arms Child Development Center (daycare) facility in February 2002. Worship services at this location are held on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.
Throughout its history, Ascension Lutheran Church has been blessed with many dedicated volunteers. Though they are too numerous to recognize individually, their contribution to Ascension’s fruitful past and promising future is equally as important as our gifted called workers. Lay leaders and workers have effectively directed the church’s growth. To all of them we give thanks for Ascension’s bright future.
Information last updated 03.10.15