Thursday, March 13, 2014


“Devote all your energy to preaching the Word of God and the truth of Christ, especially today, when unbelief and atheism are audaciously attacking the Church of Christ” - St. Tikhon (1865-1925), the martyred Patriarch of Moscow and former Bishop of America.

Do you want your life to count for something, or are you just muddling through?

Are you interested in serious Christian discipleship, or merely fulfilling a perceived obligation?

Who or what are you really serving? 

Are you looking for a committed church, or a church where you can sit anonymously in a pew and then rush out the door?

Are you a talker, or are you a doer of the Word of God?

Do you want to change the world we live in, beginning with yourself, or are you looking for a church that requires little inward or outward commitment on your part?

These are all important questions with temporal and eternal consequences, and they can be summarized in this one: Are you a serious disciple or something less? If you are really serious about the Christian life and looking for a place to grow in knowledge, holiness and service, then Holy Cross parish may be the church for you! 

Holy Cross is an amazing church. Like all churches we have had our ups and downs, our victories and our setbacks and missteps, our joys and our heartbreaks, but in good times and hard times we are consistently faithful to God and to one another, and never take our eyes off Jesus. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17), and we are very involved as light and salt in our community and around the world. Holy Cross is a faithful, friendly and active church made up of serious disciples, and we have a place for you. Are we perfect? By no means. But we are serious and faithful disciples of Christ, and God isn't finished with us yet! We have His promise in Scripture that if we remain faithful He will complete the work begun in us.

Holy Cross parish is an Orthodox Christian church in the Anglican tradition. We hold firmly to the Faith of the Undivided Church, earnestly contending for the Faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) without additions or subtractions. You won’t find anything new here. No new theology... no new morality... no trendy worship. What you will find is a warm, friendly and welcoming congregation committed to the Word of God and to worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

Our spirituality is Benedictine, revolving around the daily Divine Office, with the Holy Eucharist as the center and summit of our spirituality; and we balance prayer and work (Ora et Labora) in our spiritual lives.

We celebrate the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM, preceded by Morning Prayer (Matins) at 9:30 AM, with fellowship and refreshments after the Liturgy, and a potluck luncheon on the last Sunday of the month. Nursery Care for children under the age of four is available during our 10:00 AM Sunday Liturgy. We celebrate the Holy Eucharist at Holy Cross parish three times every week - Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, in addition to Holy Days. We are truly a Eucharistic-centered parish and everyone has an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion frequently.

We also minister in the chapel of Douglas County Hospital, bringing the Gospel and spiritual care to long-term residents that are sadly often all but forgotten by family and completely cut off from any church community.

At Christmas time in 2012, we established a Vested Choir at Holy Cross parish. A Vested Choir is a beautiful and beloved Anglican tradition. This dedicated choir sacrifices an evening of their time every week for practice in addition to assigned music homework, and blesses the parish with their music ministry. We have a salaried Music Director/Cantor who is also a parishioner. Our traditional Liturgy is beautiful and the ancient Gregorian chant lifts our hearts to the Throne of Grace. Our Liturgy is the Orthodox Anglican Use of the Western Rite, called the Liturgy of St. Tikhon.

In February of this year we added more Gregorian chant to the Liturgy and our choir will soon begin singing the Domine, non sum dignus as we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. I met with our Music Director yesterday, and we are looking at adding Gregorian chant to the Divine Office as well. Our Ash Wednesday Service this year was beautiful. It consisted of the Litany, the blessing and imposition of ashes and a sung Eucharist. For the first time we chanted the Litany as a congregation.

We place a strong emphasis on Christian education at Holy Cross. We preach real sermons with an emphasis on the exposition of the Scripture lessons in the Liturgy as understood by the Fathers of the Church. Our adult Christian Education class (Sunday School) is well attended at Holy Cross and we teach the class at the college level. I am currently teaching this class, but Fr. Michael Smith also teaches and we make use of capable lay teachers as well. St. Jerome reminds us that “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” and counsels us to “Often read the Holy Scriptures, indeed, let the Bible never be out of your hands.”

There are many opportunities for involvement at Holy Cross parish. We have a parish Prayer Chain that prays for people by name and need; a Birthday Card ministry; are involved in Pro Life work; have active Women’s and Men’s groups; and more. Our Women’s group is called the Sisters of Holy Cross and our Men’s group is the Knights of St. George. 

We are also a church that is supported entirely by the tithes and offerings of parishioners. We do not have bingo or constant fundraisers. We have had a few minor parish fund-raisers such as a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper or a Lenten Fish Fry, but our occasional fund-raisers tend to be held by parish organizations to fund their important work. 

In 2013 we contributed 4,997 pounds, or about two and a half tons, of much needed food to the Open Door Mission, an area homeless shelter. That is more than four times our original goal and an absolutely amazing amount of food! Every pound of this food was given by parishioners. In addition, we have already contributed more than 1,100 pounds of food to the Open Door Mission so far in 2014. The winter of 2013/2014 has been brutal so in order to help those most in need to survive the cold we have begun collecting blankets and gloves from parishioners for the Open Door Mission. The Open Door Mission weighs all donations, and last week we provided the Mission with 46 pounds of blankets. More donations are piling up in our parish hall and will soon be delivered to the Mission.

In 2013 we also delivered a vast amount of donated gourmet bread to the Francis and Siena House Shelters and that ministry continues in 2014. This bread is picked up by a Holy Cross parishioner every Friday and one Saturday of the month from a gourmet sandwich shop and delivered to the Francis and Siena House Shelters. Each delivery is around 150 pounds of bread. We are currently supplying the three largest homeless shelters in Omaha with much needed food. Holy Cross is making a real difference in the lives of real people.

In 2013 we partnered with Samaritan's Purse and participated in Operation Christmas Child. Holy Cross parishioners sent many boxes of Christmas gifts to children in third world countries touching them with the love of Jesus and giving them hope. In addition, we raised money in 2013 to dig clean water wells in Africa, and to help both the Palestinian and Jewish Christian communities in the State of Israel.

In December of 2013 we moved into our new parish hall. The new hall is almost double the size of our old parish hall. While we were overcrowded in the old hall we seem dwarfed in the new hall, but that is a good feeling. It not only gives us more classroom and nursery space, but also gives us room for expansion.

In addition to fellowship and refreshments in our parish hall every Sunday after the Liturgy and a monthly potluck luncheon, we also enjoy other activities that build our parish family. We have occasional “dinner and a movie” nights showing an edifying film in the parish hall; an annual Summer Church Picnic; a Fall Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck at a nearby working farm; and a Christmas party in the wee hours of the morning after our Mid-night Liturgy on the Feast of the Nativity. The Christian life is the good life at Holy Cross parish.

At Holy Cross we put a real emphasis on the fact that the church is not something we go to, but a family to which we belong. The church is the family of God where disciples should really care for one another - and we do. There are no cliques here. Age, socioeconomic class, education, ethnicity or past life does not matter. All are welcome and cared for. We are committed to one another because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all sinners saved by grace and wounded healers. Holy Cross is a place for new beginnings.

Our fellowship and refreshment time after Services have looked more like potluck luncheons over the last month and a half or so with an abundance of delicious food, and my wife Cheri and I find ourselves leaving the church later and later on Sunday afternoons. Why? Because we are a church family and we enjoy being together.  

If you want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and make a difference in people's lives, beginning with your own, then Holy Cross parish is the church for you. Ultimately, what you will get out of the church and the Christian life depends on what you are willing to put into it. Jesus said, if we want to be his disciples we must pick up our cross daily and follow him. Come for a visit and see for yourself. We celebrate the Holy Eucharist every Sunday morning at 10:00 AM, with fellowship and refreshments after the Liturgy. We are a faithful and friendly congregation and we have a place for you. I hope to see you on Sunday!