History of Holy Cross Episcopal Church

Holy Cross began as a mission of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, whose parishioners purchased land for the new church. After two years of planning and prayer by a nine member steering committee, appointed by St. Christopher’s Rector, the Rev. Van Davis, Holy Cross held its first worship service on May 9, 1976, at Scenic Heights Elementary school under the leadership of its new Vicar, the Rev. Michael Hesse.

Worship continued at Scenic Heights until Sunday, March 25, 1979, when the congregation moved to its newly constructed multipurpose building on North Ninth Avenue. Worship services, dinners, meetings, rummage sales, and community service projects were all held in the same building. Much of the construction of the interior was crafted by the parishioners including the platforms, altar and rail, baptismal font and lectern, the central stained glass window, and the “Stations of the Cross” paintings on the north wall.

Holy Cross attained parish status in 1982. Fr. Hesse was called to be its first rector and served until 1992. The Rev. Betts Slingluff served as Assistant to the Rector from August 1984 until his sudden and unexpected death in February 1986. A new assistant, the Rev. William Geiger, accepted the call in September 1987 and served until the fall of 1992.

The church grew rapidly during those early years and provided leadership in introducing new programs into the diocese, including Cursillo, Kairos, and a mission relationship with the Diocese of Guatemala, beginning with construction, by Holy Cross members, of a small chapel (Santa Cruz) in a jungle village in northeast Guatemala.

In December 1992, the Rev. Michael Schulenberg was called to be the second Rector of Holy Cross and served until his retirement in December 2002. The Rev. William Stoudenmire served as a deacon-in-training from 1993 until 1994.

In September 2003, the Rev. Ray Waldon was called to be the third Rector of Holy Cross. Father Waldon served until July 2007, resigning due to health issues.

The Rev. Jeffrey Jencks accepted the call to be Holy Cross’ fourth Rector in July 2008. He was previously Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cumberland, Rhode Island.  Fr. Jencks served until his retirement in December of 2013.

Our Priest-in-Charge during the interim time, The Rev. Dr. Glenn Rohrer.

The Reverend Robert (Rob) Patrick Dixon, 5th Rector of Holy Cross Episcopal Church accepted the call and began his service on August 8, 2016.

Headshot DixonRob was born and raised outside of Fairhope, Alabama. He and his wife, Amanda, have three children, share a love for their pets, and enjoy time each summer in the mountains of Colorado. After receiving his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Auburn University, Rob worked in sales for Nalco Chemical Company for eight years. He ended his career at Nalco to become the youth minister at Christ Church in Pensacola and to discern his call to the priesthood. Rob served at St. David’s in Austin while in seminary, and, after graduation, he became the rector of St. Stephen’s in Brewton, Alabama. Currently, he serves as the Associate Rector for Pastoral Care and Outreach at St. Martin’s in Houston, Texas.

Additional construction projects have resulted in more space for Christian Education, parish gatherings, and community programs. Interior renovation of the original building has provided more functional and attractive space for worship, choir, lounge, and library.

Plans including adding a fourth and final wing to the educational complex and enclosing the center area, thereby creating a multiple use parish hall, gymnasium, and community center will complete the master plan adopted by the church in the late 1970’s.