We have had a spiritually profitable Lent, blessed Holy Week and joyous Easter celebration at Holy Cross Anglican Church. We had forty-one at church on Palm Sunday, an attendance of thirty-nine on Good Friday, and forty-nine on Easter Sunday. At Holy Cross parish we continue to grow spiritually and in numbers.
When we began meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in the summer of 2007, we had eight in attendance on our first Sunday, including my wife, daughter and myself; but we immediately began to grow. Like all churches, we have had some move away or not persevere, and we have been visited by death, but we have grown steadily. I remember when our regular attendance broke into double digits, and then went from the upper teens to the lower twenties, and finally surpassed twenty-five — making us statistically a medium size congregation.
There are approximately 325,000 non-Roman Catholic churches in the United States, and the median average Sunday attendance is seventy-five. Churches with an average Sunday attendance of twenty-five or less are considered small churches, twenty-six to seventy-five are considered medium churches, and churches with an average Sunday attendance of seventy-six or more are considered large churches. The largest non-Roman Catholic denomination in the United States is the Southern Baptist Convention, with over fifteen million members. Yet, more than 3,500 of their congregations have an average Sunday attendance of twenty-five or less. The United Methodist Church has more than 35,000 congregations, but their median Sunday attendance is only fifty-seven. There are more than 7,500 United Methodist congregations, 21% of their total, that have an average Sunday attendance of twenty-five or less.
Holy Cross Anglican Church has grown to be a medium size congregation. We are united, financially stable, and with our focus on advancing the Great Commission and building up the Body of Christ, we are poised for further growth. In the fall of 2009, we moved from the Holiday Inn Express to our own leased building in the Ralston suburb of Omaha. A year later we added about 50% more space to our facility. On both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday we had to put out folding chairs to accommodate our growing attendance. Outgrowing our building is a good problem to have; and we have organized a Building Committee to find a solution. We may add to our present space, or build or buy our own church building.
Jesus prayed that His disciples would all be one, but Christians are badly divided today. In addition to taking the Gospel to those who do not know Christ, and teaching the fullness of the Faith to those who do, Anglicanism sees its vocation to be a bridge Church to reunite Christians.
Popular Anglican theologian J. I. Packer put it this way, "Ideal Anglicanism...is...mere Christianity, the Apostolic religion of the New Testament without addition, subtraction or distortion... Anglicanism is ecumenical. Always has been...Anglicanism pays attention to all Christian traditions, thus seeking both the fullness of the Catholic faith for itself and the fullest communion with the rest of the Christian world as well... I do think that the Anglican heritage is the richest heritage in Christendom... The ecumenical dimension, seeking the riches of wisdom that God has given everywhere in Christendom is one of the qualities of Anglicanism that I most admire" (Packer, Anglicanism for Tomorrow).
Most of the members of Holy Cross parish were not born into Anglican families, but they are committed Anglicans today. Members of our church-family have come from many different Christians traditions, and none. As Anglicans, we never re-baptize Christians coming from other Christian traditions, but receive them by transfer. Because Anglicanism is both thoroughly Evangelical, and fully and authentically Catholic, we serve as a healing balm to a divided Christendom. Holy Cross Anglican Church is a faithful, friendly, growing and welcoming church, and we have a place for you!