The Church of the Holy Cross was founded in 1891 by Father Paul Watson, rector of the mother church, Saint John’s Episcopal Church on Albany Avenue. Father Paul wanted to establish an Episcopal Church in Kingston in the Anglo-Catholic model: Catholic worship with a special mission to the poor. In fact, Saint John’s encouraged Father Paul’s desire to found a church in the “poor” section of the city.
Ground was broken for the church building in June of 1891. The cornerstone was laid in 1892 and the church building was consecrated. The structure expanded in 1905 and the parish hall was added in 1915. Significant renovations to the interior of the church were made in the 1920’s. These included: the addition of a small chapel (currently: Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe); a Rood or Crucifix above the nave; two side altars – one dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and one to the Sacred Heart; and a magnificent high altar with a triptych depicting the Exaltation of the Holy Cross including statues of key figures from the Oxford and other Catholic Movements in the Anglican Church.
Father Stanley Dean, our rector from 1939 to 1955, started the first “soup kitchen” in Kingston. There was always a pot of stew or soup on the stove in his rectory to feed the hungry, some of whom had hopped off the freight trains running near Broadway. This tradition continued for many years, and was known as St. Simon’s Sit Down, staffed with volunteers from both our church and the wider community. It served lunch on weekends to between 50 and 150 adults and children.
In 2006, Santa Cruz Church was founded by Father Frank Wallner to minister in Spanish to the Latino community in Kingston. In 2013, the entire Holy Cross + Santa Cruz parish voted unanimously to become one church that worships in two languages while sharing as many responsibilities and activities as possible.
Most recently (2017), Holy Cross + Santa Cruz became a founding member of the Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, and continues to play a vital role in the organization.
In 2019, beloved parishioner Beatrice Moore left part of her estate to Holy Cross + Santa Cruz. Additional needed renovations to the church were able to be completed thanks to her generosity.
We have known peaks and valleys over these many years in terms of membership and finances. In all times and seasons the core of the congregation remains firmly committed to worship, fellowship and mission. We have a history of resilience. We face all difficulties and challenges with a confident hope grounded in the mystery of Christ Jesus at work in our lives.