At the end of the liturgy in our Sunday bulletin, a boxed statement reminds us “The worship has ended. The service begins.” This directive is one that reflects a deeply held value of Holy Cross. We believe that we are called to carry out God’s mission of radical love, service, and hospitality not just in our own parish but also in our greater community, our state, and around the world. We are mindful that from those to whom much has been given much is expected, and we strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need.
Holy Cross delivers meals to fellow parishioners during times of illness, loss or great stress.
Holy Cross is fortunate to have an extremely dedicated team of lay individuals trained in Stephen Ministry. Stephen ministers meet with parishioners usually once a week during times of struggle for as long as the parishioner needs the support.
Meals for the Homeless
In a partnership with Safe Haven, a community organization serving the homeless, Holy Cross parishioners come together once a month to prepare 150-200 meals in our kitchen for our homeless neighbors in the community. The meals are delivered to a nearby day shelter to share with those in need. Meal preparation is generally the second Tuesday of the month.
Committee for Helping Others (CHO)
CHO is an ecumenical group serving families and individuals in need throughout our area. Holy Cross collects food and clothing weekly to support the food pantry and clothes closet in nearby Vienna. Parishioners deliver donations regularly. When asked, Holy Cross provides volunteers to staff the center during walk-in hours.
Holy Cross partners with CHO for Thanksgiving and Christmas, providing food baskets for those in need. We provide Christmas gifts for needy families through our Angel Tree. At Easter, our Youth Group shops and creates Easter baskets for the children of families referred to us by CHO.
In the past year, Holy Cross provided Thanksgiving baskets, more than 100 Christmas gifts, and Christmas meal baskets for 11 families, and 21 Easter baskets for children.
Endowment Fund and Salt and Light Grant
Holy Cross is fortunate to have an endowment fund that was established in 1991. Income from the endowment is used to fund the Salt and Light Grant Program. Grant requests are accepted to provide “seed capital” for new or extended outreach and inreach ministries. Two proposals were awarded grants from the fund in 2014. One grant will fund a professionally edited video that will be used to raise awareness across the Diocese for the Tanzania Ministry; a second grant will fund scholarships and needed supplies for the Art & Soul ministry.
Dungannon Mission Trip
Each year Holy Cross sends youth on a mission trip sponsored by Region V of the Diocese of Virginia. Enthusiastically, the youth head to the very poor, rural community of Dungannon, in the southwestern part of the state bordering Kentucky. Job opportunities are few, and the poverty rate is high. The youth spend a week installing plumbing, laying flooring, putting on roofs, and rehabilitating the homes of people in need. Holy Cross volunteers enjoy getting to know homeowners and their families. In years past, our congregation has donated enough funds to cover each teen’s expenses, and we expect this tradition to continue. Our youth appreciate this opportunity and look forward to returning each year.
Tanzania Ministry and Mission Trips
- Buguruni Health Center
Medical missionaries and Holy Cross parishioners Dr. Henry Ziegler and his wife Priscilla spent several years living and working in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where they developed and implemented programs to improve the health and wellbeing of people in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. They led a mission trip to Tanzania in 2012, focusing on the physical structures of the health center and its neighboring Anglican school, as well as ministering to orphans of the AIDS epidemic. They and a few of the other missionaries continue to return to Tanzania on their own. They have raised funds to build a women’s surgical hospital.
- St. Augustine’s English Medium Primary School
In the spring of 2013, Holy Cross was awarded a Mustard Seed grant from the Diocese of Virginia to take donated laptops to St. Augustine’s English Medium Primary School and have the youth of Holy Cross teach basic computer and keyboarding skills to the students. That summer, three Holy Cross teens and three adults parishioners traveled to Dar es Salaam, where they taught more than 500 students and more than half of the staff in about five days. Planning is underway for another youth mission to Tanzania, hopefully in 2015.
- Porridge Program/Chakula for Kids
St. Augustine’s is in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Dar es Salaam. Many families cannot afford both tuition and food, although tuition is modest compared to that at other private schools. The quality of public education is extremely poor, with teacher/student ratios commonly 1:200 per class, so many parents elect to pay tuition, leaving their children with only one meal a day. In response to this need, Holy Cross launched the Porridge Program in early 2014, aiming to feed 150 of the most malnourished children a healthy breakfast daily for a year and to expand the program in coming years, perhaps by partnering with other Episcopal parishes.
Art and Soul Painting
During Art and Soul sessions, participants tap into their inner artists and create paintings to donate to Pathways to Housing, DC, an organization committed to ending homelessness. Pathways distributes the completed artwork to clients as they move into their new, permanent homes. Sessions are held throughout the year.