Our History

Ascension Church 2010


The Church of the Ascension, located in Wisconsin’s North Woods, was begun in July, 1885, by the Rev. A.B. Peabody, missionary to the northern part of the Diocese of Milwaukee.  In 1891, it was admitted to the diocese as a mission, and early parish records show that it had a confirmation class of 10 in July of that year.  By 1909 Archdeacon Henry E. Chase had settled in Springbrook, and he came to Hayward regularly to hold services in the basement of the Carnegie Library.  Prior to the completion of our carpenter Gothic church, many young Episcopalians attended the Congregational Sunday school.  In 1909, a class of 14 was confirmed by Bishop W. W. Webb of Milwaukee in the First Lutheran Church which was loaned to us for this occasion. Thomas S. Whitten, the father of one of the confirmands, was manager of the Hines Lumber Company, and in 1912, he and Father Chase were instrumental in building the new Episcopal church on California Avenue. The story goes that the daughter of Mr. Whitten became engaged and her family was aghast at the prospect of her being married in a Congregational church.  Therefore they designed and constructed a proper Episcopal edifice as her wedding chapel and then donated land and building to the Diocese of Milwaukee.  The Eucharist was first celebrated in the building on Ascension Day, 1912.  In the late 1920’s the ministry of Ascension Church temporarily halted.  The distance involved in maintaining it as a mission in the Diocese of Milwaukee was the principal factor.  When the Diocese of Eau Claire was founded in 1929, the newly elected Bishop Frank Wilson reopened the church and began serving the growing summer population during his customary trout-fishing holidays.  Finally, our first resident priest, Father Richard C. Warder, came  and served our church as well as the churches in Spooner and Springbrook. The Episcopal Church of the Ascension today continues to be the home of a faithful body of Christians who seek to love and serve God and God’s people.


A Brief History

Ascension Church in a Blink

Priests of Ascension Church