The Church of the Ascension is close to the open space of Blackheath which has often been the focus of debate, and even rebellion. In 1381, a popular uprising (the Peasants Revolt) assembled on Blackheath before
marching on London. In the parish Wat Tyler Road commemorates the peasants' leader. For centuries, many preachers, from John Ball and John Wesley to the Archbishop of Canterbury, have held open air services on the Heath. Political meetings continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Chartists, striking dockers, suffragettes and climate activists have all met on Blackheath. This exhibition tells some of their stories and their connections to the radical traditions of this church.
John Ball, the rebel priest of the Peasants' Revolt
The Ascension is a focal point for progressive theology in London. Since the 1960s, this church has been associated with radical human rights work. Today, the Church continues in that tradition. We are part of Inclusive Church, the Open Table Network and the Campaign for Marriage Equality.
We are still passionate about inclusion and social justice. Recently we held a series of Climate Conversations and we hosted a speaker from Christian Climate Action.
Christian Climate Action protesting the climate emergency
At the same time as giving a space for radical, inclusive thought, we are truly an open and welcoming church, inviting people in from all mainstream political persuasions and creating a safe space for dialogue and debate as well as action.