By Brandon HENSLEY
Maybe it was fitting that the last service in Tujunga for Church of the Ascension was Easter Sunday. In three days, it will experience a new beginning of sorts, as it will hold its first service at St. Luke’s of the Mountains in La Crescenta.
Like St. Luke’s, Ascension is an Episcopal church, and a Spanish speaking one at that. It is now combining with St. Luke’s in an effort to be more resourceful and an attempt to build the congregation.
“Given their size, they don’t require two full sets of buildings, two campuses,” said St. Luke’s Vicar Bryan Jones. “You can put more resources into ministries and missions if we don’t have to support two buildings.”
“The idea is to have a new congregation with multiple members,” said Ascension Priest Jorge Vallares.
It has been a rocky history for the church in Tujunga. It had served the community for decades before closing in the early 1990s. It reopened in 1999 before holding its last service on Easter Sunday.
Vallares is from Mexico City and has been at Church of the Ascension since 2008. He makes his way down to Tujunga every week from his home in Palmdale. He said he’s enjoying his time in Southern California.
“It’s a new experience. It’s a wonderful thing,” he said.
His church will bring over about 80 members. Jones will do an English service at 10 a.m. and Vallares will do one in Spanish at noon. Jones noted that Ascension’s services in Tujunga were usually at noon so there was no rescheduling necessary for the move.
“I am happy to do this with Bryan. My members are excited to be in touch with new members,” Vallares said. He said Ascension’s members come from not only Tujunga, but also Montrose and the San Fernando Valley.
“We’ve known each other and we’ve been working closely on this the last few months,” Jones said.
Does Jones think most of Ascension’s members will stay with the church now?
“We’re hoping they will. We’ve already had some joint meetings of leaders,” he said, while adding both churches recently had a meal and worship service together.
“It’s exciting because we’ll have resources for ministry here because we’ll be a bilingual, multicultural parish, much more than either was before, so we’re quite happy with it,” Jones said.