In the fall of 1997, a handful of families came together with the mission to bring a new “Greek Orthodox Church of Southern Lake County” to Illinois. With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of blessed memory, Father James Gordon became our founding Proistamenos, and on January 11, 1998, the Ascension Parish celebrated its first Divine Liturgy in an auditorium at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire with thirty famlies in attendance.
The following year, Ascension purchased a five-acre property in Lincolnshire, with a six-bedroom ranch house andgrounds to expand. Following the land blessing, construction began on a temporary church addition, and volunteers donated time and talents to refurbish salvaged pews and trim the interior.
We celebrated our first Liturgy at our new home at 1207 Riverwoods Road on our Feast Day in 2001 and the parish received its official charter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on April 24, 2002.
WITH GOD'S PROVIDENCE, A PARISH FAMILY GROWS
Under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Jim Gordon and faithful servants and volunteers, the parish continued to grow. Through the next several decades, ministries developed and flourished that served all age groups from infancy to seniors. Ascension ministries branched out to represent our new community in Metropolis-wide annual events through Philoptochos, and in Junior Olympics and the Oratorical Festival to name a few. Through outdoor liturgies and family picnics, Apokreatiko Glendis, Golf Outings, Youth Brunches, Christmas Bazaar's and so much more, we fostered a close-knit community.
The first Capital Campaign, Architectural and Construction Committees began to map out long-term plans to build our permanent church home. When a two-acre parcel adjacent to our church became available, we purchased it, and shortly retired our debt. The Ascension Parish worked fervently to realize its long awaited dream and break ground to build our permanent Church. On Bright Monday 2015, the Village of Lincolnshire approved our revised construction plans and our renewed Capital Campaign was in full swing, and groundbreaking was imminent. Milestone anniversary galas were held in 2008 and 2013 to celebrate the continued growth of our parish.
On September 1, 2014 we bid Father Jim and Presbytera Nasia an emotional goodbye. We recalled our history together with a celebratory farewell dinner, and welcomed Father Sotirios Malamis and Presvytera Stefanie to the Ascension family. As the new Proistamenos and Spiritual Shepherd of Ascension, Fr. Sotiri fostered vibrant growth in all aspects of our dynamic community from spiritual life to parish life. Fr. Sotiri also presided over the groundbreaking, construction and completion of our new church and community center, a dream held by Ascension stewards for a very long time.
A REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF FAITH
On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Ascension of Our Lord held its historic Site Blessing (Agiasmos) and Groundbreaking service. It was truly a day the Lord made, and for those present at this once in a lifetime event, it was a reminiscent tribute to the past, and a sanctified introduction to the future. His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos presided over the ceremony along with Proistamenos Fr. Sotirios Malamis. Ascension’s founding priest, Fr. James Gordon as well as Fr. Demetrios Treantafeles were also present for the momentous occasion.
Site construction began the very next day and the parish celebrated Divine Services at Daniel Wright Middle School down the street until June of 2019. During that time period, Fr. Sotiri provided leadership and spiritual guidance to a very dedicated group of stewards on our Construction and Capital Campaign committees, which culminated in the debt-free opening of a new Greek Orthodox church and a redesigned fellowship hall with a kitchen, office space, and refurbished meeting spaces for its Sunday church school and growing ministries. Glory to God!
Our dream to build a Greek Orthodox Church in Lincolnshire started more than 20 years ago. From day one, our goal was to build it debt-free and we achieved that goal because of our generous stewards who never lost faith throughout our construction project. Without the burden of carrying a mortgage, Ascension can focus on the growth of its community and all of its ministries.
On June 5, 2019, as the Ascension Parish Family celebrated its historic Thyranoixia, “Opening of the Doors” followed by Great Vespers on the eve preceding the church's Feast Day, Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael blessed our new sanctuary and presided over each of the services. More than 30 clergy and 550 faithful gathered to witness this milestone event and walked with us through the doors of our new home! The Sunday following the Thyranoixia, June 9, 2019, Ascension gathered in fellowship at Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, IL, to celebrate the historic and momentous events at an event it called "Dome Sweet Home."
With God's blessings, our parish has grown significantly since the first Greek immigrants arrived in this area and they consolidated their meager savings to erect a Church for the Glory of God. We continue to strive to bear more effective witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as expressed in the apostolic tradition and worship of the Greek Orthodox church. We invite you to also participate in this witness by joining the worship and fellowship of our parish.