A Brief History



The history of our congregation is a tribute to its founders’ dreams and to its clergy and parishioners who made this dream come true.  Ascension Lutheran Church is not only a place to hear about our true Salvation but the scene of important events in our lives – baptisms, confirmations, graduations, weddings and funerals.

 A representative group met on February 18, 1936 to consider establishing a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in this area.  The first worship service was held on April 26, 1936 at the offices of the Cyrus Crane Willmore organization.  In July 1936, a Sunday School was organized.  On November 20, 1936 it was definitely decided to proceed with the formal organization of a congregation – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension.  The first pastor, Rev. Erich V. Oelschlaeger, was installed on June 20, 1937 and served until June 1948.  Groundbreaking Service for the church was held on June 2, 1940, Cornerstone Laying was conducted on September 8, 1940, the last worship service was December 22, 1940 at the Willmore office and our new church building was dedicated January 19, 1941.

 In 1949, Rev. Martin Haendschke was installed as our pastor and served until June 1964.  In the early 1950’s, it became necessary to hold three services each Sunday plus a Saturday evening service.  In November 1964, Rev. Edwin Dubberke was called to Ascension and served until June 1996.  On December 12, 1971, our congregation dedicated its new organ, a cause for great rejoicing for all members of Ascension.  1977 was a great year for growth in membership and leadership.  Seminary Vicar Herbert Muench was installed October 9, 1977 as our Assistant Pastor and served until September 1985. In 1980, Ascension congregation developed a program of expansion and replacement for more growth and better Christian service.  The completed “Church Addition” climaxed with a festive day of Dedication and Rededication on March 14, 1982.  In 1982, the Missouri District offered to Ascension three bronze bells from the dissolved congregation of St. Marcus in North St. Louis.  The Rev. Timothy Knapp accepted our call to become Associate Pastor, was installed on September 14, 1986 and served until January 1989. Rev. Edwin Dubberke retired on June 9, 1996  after serving 32 years as Ascensions senior pastor. The Rev. Dr. Charles W. Spomer, was installed July 14, 1996 led Ascension in our Mission Revitalization Initiative.  On July 28, 2013 Pastor Spomer retired from Ascension after serving 17 years.  In September 2013 Rev. Matthew J. Clark accepted the call as senior pastor at Ascension and was installed on October 6, 2013.  

 Christian education was enhanced in the fall of 1941 with the opening of a Christian Day School.  By 1946, Ascension offered a full elementary program which has evolved onto our present day Word of Life Lutheran School.  Ascension is grateful for its Christian education heritage and gives praise to God for the opportunity to serve children and families.  

 The mission of Ascension Lutheran Church is to bring Christ, care and love to our community and our vision is for Ascension to be the primary gospel outreach agent to the lost in our community.

 Loved by Christ, Sharing Christ’s Love