For the past couple of years, Holy Cross has been experimenting with periodic “Come With Joy” Sundays. These are inspired by a ministry of Caroline Fairless and Jim Sims called Children at Worship ~ Congregations in Bloom. Caroline, an Episcopal priest, and her husband Jim, a musician and composer, have a mission to make Episcopal worship more attractive to children, teens and young adults. They bring a rich array of music, drama, visual arts and other exciting ideas to Sunday morning Eucharists.
For the past two years, Holy Cross has sent an amount equal to 0.7% of its income to support two aid and development projects in Africa.
The first is WINHEEDCAM, formerly known as KWIHEED, a microcredit development agency operating in Cameroon. It was founded by Concord doctor Munro Proctor, who found in the course of medical mission work that economic development was the foundational need of rural people in Cameroon. With Dr. Proctor’s retirement, his work has been taken over by an organization called endPoverty.org, which is a funding and oversight operation for a dozen or more locally based development projects in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The transfer will enable the continuation and expansion of the wonderful work WINHEEDCAM has done over the years.
The second project we support is Masiphumele Corporation. Masiphumele operates in one of the poor townships outside of Capetown, South Africa. It provides leadership, organizational skills, training, and other support to community leaders engaged in home building, education, and other community activities. Like KWIHEED, Masiphumele has New Hampshire connections. It is the child of a Granite State couple who also have a home in South Africa.
Both the national Episcopal Church and the Diocese of New Hampshire have endorsed the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, which call for devoting 0.7% of budgets at every level of society in developed countries to help the developing nations of the world attain educational, health and social goals by 2015.
Holy Cross is part of the Episcopal Church, which is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Like Roman Catholics, we have sacraments, bishops and priests, the Eucharist on Sunday, and many other traditional elements. On the other hand, we have no centralized authority like the Pope, women share equally in all roles in the church (including bishop and priest), clergy may marry (our vicar has a wife and two grown children), and there is in general great leeway for individual beliefs and interpretations.
Often parents of new babies or young children in the area inquire about baptism. The Episcopal Church baptizes infants and children as well, of course, as adults. Holy Baptism is a sacrament of commitment to the life of Christ. It constitutes membership in the Church, the Household of God, and entitles one to receive Holy Communion and the other sacraments. In the case of children who are too young to make the baptismal commitment on their own, this is done for them by their parents and godparents.
So you’re planning to get married! That’s wonderful. In the Episcopal Church, Holy Matrimony is a sacrament involving a solemn, lifelong commitment. Part of this commitment is the expectation that the couple–or at least one of them–will be an active member of the faith community, at Holy Cross or elsewhere. Marriage in the Episcopal Church also entails a course of preparation. At Holy Cross that means meeting with the Vicar to explore and discuss important areas of the marital relationship–working out differences, handling finances, raising children, sex, roles, expectations. It also involves planning the ceremony and talking about the meaning of its various parts. We want to work out a wedding that speaks to the couple’s values and dreams, while being consistent with the theology of Christian Marriage in the Episcopal Church.
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
The weekday fasts and feasts that we celebrate here at Holy Cross always remind me of what a secularized world we live in, what a distance there is between the way the world sees things and the way we as members of the community of Christ are called to see them.
What do we offer
Our handsome building is not only our church home; it is also an Event and Community Center which we offer for use by others. The Parish Hall downstairs offers meeting and dining space for as many as 150 people. The open space and flexible furniture are ideal for committee and community group meetings, parties, receptions and scout groups.
Adjacent to the Parish Hall is a full modern kitchen. Upstairs, the Gathering Space just inside the front door is a warm room with table and chairs suitable for meetings of a dozen or fewer people. For special occasions the Worship Space can also be used for meetings.
Arranging to use our facilities
To apply to use Holy Cross Event Center facilities, please first view the calendar, or contact the Event Center Coordinator (Laura Starr-Houghton 603-660-1437 or LStarrH@comcast.net), to see if the date and time you want are available. If they are, please fill out the Building Use Application and return to the address listed. We will make arrangements to meet you at the Community Center to show you around and discuss your needs and plans. Please be advised that most weekday afternoons and evenings are booked for the entire school year by scout and other groups.
Costs and other requirements
We are currently updating the schedule of fees for the use of the Community Center, counting on the generosity of users to make donations to help us defray our costs. If yours is a not for profit use, a nominal donation would be appropriate if you can afford it. If it is a private party or a for profit use, a more substantial donation would be expected, depending on the extent of your use, number of people involved, and your budget and finances.
We require that all trash be removed by you after your use and that you clean the space and return it to the state (including furniture set-up) in which you received it. You can also make arrangements to hire our cleaning service, which we recommend if you intend to serve a meal. For private parties where food is being served, we may require you to hire this service, in which case we may ask for a deposit to cover cleaning costs.
We reserve the right to decline to make our facilities available for uses inappropriate with the mission and ministry of Holy Cross or the Episcopal Church, or that might infringe on the rights of our neighbors. We have a policy regarding the serving of alcoholic beverages which must be complied with. Our Community Center is a smoke-free environment.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
I am not usually into yard sales, which I realize means I miss out on one of the great opportunities of local life. But driving along Concord Stage Road one day last summer I saw a yard sale that I had to stop for. The reason was a mounted deer’s head, just the thing to bring home to Anne and hang on our screened porch. It turned out the deer’s head was priced beyond my reach (which may have saved my marriage). But browsing the sale was an experience I’m glad I had.
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
You and I are sick. We may not realize it, though some do—the lucky ones. We medicate ourselves, trying to cure our sickness, but the medications only make us worse. We end up having to take medicines to treat the side effects of our medicines and then more medicines to treat those medicines. We go through therapies and then more therapies. And we only get sicker. There is another way of talking about this sickness, which is to say that we are possessed: possessed with demons.
That evening, at sundown, they brought to Jesus all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast our many demons.
What is our illness? What demons are we possessed with?
The Burial of the Dead is one of the traditional “acts of mercy” required of Christians, and Holy Cross is glad to help families bid farewell to their loved ones, whether or not they have prior connections to the parish or the Episcopal Church. It is our strong preference to have funeral services at the church, not at a funeral home. The church and Parish Hall are available for visitations prior to the service itself. We are also glad to officiate at graveside committal services.