A SLICE OF LIFE IN THE CLC
SNAPSHOTS OF CONGREGATIONS FROM AROUND THE CHURCH OF THE LUTHERAN CONFESSION
A hymn of glory let us sing;
New songs thro’out the world shall ring: Alleluia!
Christ, by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God. Alleluia!
As the words of the hymn, so also our name, Ascension Lutheran Church, directs our focus to our living and ruling Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ascension Lutheran Church in Batavia, Illinois, is located on five acres with many beautiful trees, about forty-five miles west of Chicago. We are close enough to visit the big city, and far enough away to be free from the big-city traffic, noise, and crowds. We have deer and other wildlife on our property, and farms and open countryside nearby. We are blessed to have a pretty church in a pretty setting. But our true beauty is found in our Savior and His gracious presence among us in His Word and Sacraments.
Our congregation was formed in the early 1960’s by two separate groups of Christians yearning for the truth of the Gospel. The one group was initially served by Pastor Paul G. Koch of La Crosse, Indiana. The other group was originally led by two laymen, Emil Ruch and Maurice Tretbar. After Pastor John Lau left the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) and moved with his family to Chicago for secular employment, he served Pastor Koch’s group first and then later served the other group also. When he accepted the call to Immanuel Lutheran College, the two groups merged into one and chose the name Immanuel Lutheran Church. They were served by CLC pastors from the Milwaukee area until the arrival in 1968 of our first full-time pastor: seminary graduate David Schierenbeck.
Immanuel applied for and was accepted into membership in the Church of the Lutheran Confession in 1968. By 1970 the congregation became an official mission of the CLC. An A-frame house with an attached garage was purchased in Addison, Illinois. The garage was remodeled into a chapel.
By 2002 the Lord led us to our current location, which at the time was just a bare parcel of land. God moves hearts and strengthens hands. With members of our congregation and many members of other CLC congregations doing much of the work, by the spring of 2005 our church and parsonage were built. We held the first service in our new church on Easter Sunday.
Because there already was an Immanuel Lutheran Church in Batavia, we needed to change our name. We chose the name Ascension Lutheran Church because it was on the very day that we celebrated our Lord’s ascension that we decided to purchase this property.
In 2010 our congregation became self-supporting.
Most of our members live at a distance from our church, some quite a distance, but the road to God’s house is never long. Our total membership is forty-seven, with an average Sunday attendance of nineteen. We are not a big congregation, but our God is almighty. His Gospel that we are privileged to proclaim is the power of God for salvation. In addition to our regular worship services, Sunday school, and Bible studies, we have monthly Bible studies in a member’s home in Chicago. Our congregation has expanded its outreach in the Batavia community, serving two adult care centers with weekly Bible studies and semi-monthly worship services. Attendance there is routinely high. It is a joy to share God’s Word with these dear people who are so hungry for it!
Ascension is uniquely blessed to be the gathering place each summer for the Mission Helper groups departing from and returning to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Many of the mission helpers leave their cars in our parking lot, and we transport them to and from O’Hare. It is exciting to meet the mission helpers, and to play even this tiny role in helping them to spread the Gospel in foreign fields.
If you visit our Chicagoland area, we would be blessed to have you come and worship and fellowship with us.
O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord, – Alleluia!
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One. – Alleluia!
Terrel Kesterson is pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in Batavia, Illinois.