Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009

Graduate Recognition Sunday was held at Holy Cross on Sunday June 28. This event is an annual tradition at Holy Cross which serves to honor those in the congregation who have either been promoted in elementary school or graduated from high school or college. This year's honorees include:

Kindergarten and Elementary School Promotions

Alexis Durann Crichlow--Environmental Charter SchoolElementary School, Atlanta GA
Makayla Walker-Brown--Johnston Elementary School

High School Graduates

Jemma Mautez Morris-- Wilkinsburg High School
Honors: National Honor Society
Attending: Lincoln University on full scholarship
Major: Political Science and Elementary Education

Garrett Sandidge--Pittsburgh CAPA High School
Honors: Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America, National Honors Society
Attending: Duquesne University
Major: Pharmacy

Kourtney Auntwanette Thompson--Rochester High School
Honors: RAEA Scholarship
Attending: Clarion University

College Graduates

Montia Robinson Dinkins--Shadyside School of Nursing
Degree: Master's in Nursing

Tyler LaRue Grinage--West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Degree: B.A. Major: Liberal Arts
Future Plans: Law School

Autumn Wilds
--Hampton University
Degree: B.S. Major: Public Relations and Finance
Graduated with Honors
Currently employed with PNC Bank.

Congratulations to all those Holy Cross members promoted or graduated this year.

Upcoming Events at Holy Cross.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
The Annual Parish Picnic on the Church Grounds. following the 10:30am service.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Archbishop-elect of the Province of Congo to visit Holy Cross.

The Archbishop-elect of the Province of the Congo, the Rt. Rev. Henri Isingoma Kahwa, will be visiting Holy Cross on Tuesday June 30 at 6pm. He will be celebrating the Eucharist and be welcomed at a reception.

Here's more info about the event.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Impressions of the Lenten Lessons and Carols service and what's coming up at Holy Cross.

Holy Cross played host to its annual Lenten Lessons and Carols Service yesterday afternoon, and from this choirboy's point of view, There are very few services that I have sung that were as close to flawless as this one from an artistic point of view.

The service consisted of an assortment of readings performed by members of the congregation, from the Bible and from modern authors that mostly took the form of poems and prose. These readings were interspersed with a wide variety of musical selections rendered by the Combined Choirs of St. Stephen's, Wilkinsburg; Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; and Holy Cross, Homewood. Along with members of these three church's choirs were a group of choristers and musicians known as the Friends of Holy Cross Choir, a number of finely talented and extremely generous musicians and singers who have helped out Holy Cross's Choir on many occasions by lending their gifts to us. The selections took the form of congregational hymns, instrumental and vocal solos, and choral anthems. The Passion Gospels from Matthew, Mark, and John were recited by the clergy of all three churches

The service was designed to take the congregation through the Passion of Jesus Christ from His betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane; through His trial and punishment; the agony of His Crucfixion and finally, the hope of his Resurrection.

Major props to Holy Cross organist/choirmaster Phil Cynar who decided which reading went with which piece of music because there was a an unbroken line of continuity that went through the entire service. Each reading went perfectly with each piece of music.They were all powerful and made the congregation think deeply about what Christ had experienced those three days.

Dr. James Wilson of Holy Cross on saxophone and bassoon, Dr. Frances Dannenberg of Redeemer on flute and Friend of Holy Cross Choir, and Friend of Holy Cross, Bob Kestner of St. Michael's Lutheran, on trumpet filled the Holy Cross sanctuary with beautiful and soulful playing of their instruments during their respective solos as well as provided strong support for the choir and their soloists. The choir was in top form with 25 choristers bringing a big, full sound that enveloped the whole of the sanctuary. The harmonies were spot on and lush. The wealth of talent in all three of these churches was very much in evidence.

The soloists delivered big time. Adrienne Booker's solo on H.T. Burleigh's "Were You There?" was awesome, she has such a clean, bright and angelic voice. The best comparison I can make is like when one taps a fork against a beautiful crystal champagne glass. The pure bright tone devoid of any off-notes. Writing about it does not do it justice. It had to be heard to truly understand it. I love to hear this young woman sing. Ruth Still and Carol Parrish of Holy Cross added their unique voices to a duet of John Reynold's " O, My God, I Cry in the Daytime." These two have been singing duets for Holy Cross for years and their ability to mesh together their two voices shows that comfort and familiarty that develops when singing together for such a long time. Harriet Thomas, a prayer warrior of great faith at Holy Cross chimed in to make the choir's rendition of Dadee Reilly's "Weep, Sweet Mary" especially smoky and haunting. I was especially struck by Dr. Dannenberg's flute solo on Berthier's "My Soul is Sad" I felt the sadness and anguish pour out of every note. And there was a certain tenor who did a pretty good job on "I Wonder As I Wander."

Many thanks are due to the rectors of the three churches that participated in this service. The Rev. Nano Chalfant Walker of St. Stephen's, The Rev. Cynthia Bronson Sweigert of Redeemer as well as out own Moni McIntyre of Holy Cross. Also the three choirmasters and organists that made sure that the music went where it was supposed to go and sounded great when it got there: William Ogburn of Redeemer; William Gisen of St. Stephen's and Phil Cynar of Holy Cross.

And finally to all the choir members and instrumentalists of all three churches, the lay persons who read the passages, and everyone else involved in putting this service on, I'm sure that the Lord has found our work pleasing to His eyes and ears. The Spirit was clearly in the church that night. I know I felt it. If there was one small issue that made itself apparent about that night, it was that there wasn't more of a congregation to experience this service. The sanctuary was only about a little more than a quarter full. But where two or three are gathered... If you missed this one, shame on you for a month of Sundays.

Upcoming events at Holy Cross.

Sunday April 5
Palm Sunday--Liturgy of the Palms and Low Mass 8:00am
Procession and Solemn Mass at 10:30am

Thursday April 9
Maundy Thursday--Washing of the Feet, Transfer of the Holy Eucharist to the Altar of Repose; and the Stripping of the Altar 7:00pm

Friday April 10
Good Friday--The Good Friday observance sponsored by the Homewood-Brushton Community Ministries will be held at Holy Cross at 12:00pm.

Holy Cross's Observance of Good Friday will be held at 7:00pm with the Solemnities of the Day; The Liturgy of the Word, and the Veneration of the Cross.

Church of the Redeemer will be observing the Great Vigil of Easter on April 11, 2009 at 8pm. And all three churches will be observing the Solemn Eucharist of Easter Day at 10:30am on April 12, 2009.

Correction: Dr. Wilson plays the bassoon, not the oboe.

Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 Lenten Lessons and Carols.

Sunday March 29 at 3:00pm, Holy Cross will be host their annual Lenten Lessons and Carols Service. This service is patterned after a similar service at St. John's College, UK. The service will consist of Scripture readings, Carols, Hymns, and Anthems with an emphasis on exploring and preparing for the Passion of Jesus Christ.

The choirs of: Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; St. Stephen's, Wilkinsburg; and Holy Cross, Homewood will come together to provide the music for this solemn, but rewarding service. Also assisting the choirs will be musicians and choirsters from the Friends of Holy Cross' Choir, a group of good, immensely talented folks who have helped out Holy Cross in the past by lending their talents to our choir. I sat through the last choir rehearsal, and can say that the body of music to be presented will encompass a wide variety of musical styles and the blending of the three choirs plus friends will be a treat as well as a great way to prepare for Holy Week. Don't forget...Sunday March 29, 2009 at 3:00pm at Holy Cross.

A PDF flyer of the event is available here.

A .doc file of the event is available here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2009 Lenten Preaching Series

Tonight is the first night of the 8th Annual East End Parishes Lenten Preaching Series.

Wha??  I've never heard of this before, what is it?  

Patience, Bunky. Lemme 'splain this to you.  

Eight years ago the five parishes in the East End of Pittsburgh:  Calvary, East Liberty; Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; St.Stephen's, Wilkinsburg; St. Andrew's, Highland Park; and Holy Cross, Homewood came up with this great idea to allow the members of these parishes to come together in a spirit of fellowship during this Lenten season.  Each parish would take a turn hosting congregants from the other four parishes each Tuesday during Lent, first providing a simple Lenten supper and then having Holy Eucharist with hymns and sermon afterward.   The idea was an immediate success and has been going on ever since.  At first, each of the rectors of the various parishes would preach on a Lenten subject at a service hosted by one of the other churches, but last year, the lineup was changed to bring in other speakers from churches and ministries outside of the East End 5.  

Here's this years 2009 Lenten Preaching Series schedule:

March 3  Calvary. Preacher: Rev. Nancy Chalfant Walker, Rector, St. Stephen's Wilkinsburg

March 10  St. Andrew's  Preacher:  The Rev Chris Opat, Curate, St.Paul's Mt. Lebanon

March 17  Redeemer  Preacher:  The Rev. Barbara Seras, Coordinator, Province III, The Episcopal Church

March 24  St. Stephen's  Preacher: Mrs Ardelle Hopson, Member of Calvary Church, and Diocesan Council

March 31  Holy Cross  Preacher:  The Rt. Rev. Robert Johnson, Assisting Bishop of Pittsburgh

Supper for all venues begins at 6pm with the service starting at 7pm.  This is an event that is always very well attended and it's a great opportunity to worship in some great churches and meet new people as well.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Absalom Jones Day 2009

Yes, Yes, I know, It's been a month of Sundays since this blog has been updated.  Forces beyond my control have conspired to keep me from fulfilling the obligation of updating, but hopefully, the posts will be coming fast and furious as spring approaches.  
Holy Cross hosted the Annual Diocesan observance of Absalom Jones Day.  This was the first time that Holy Cross hosted the event. Previous celebrations were held at Trinity Cathedral, but with the reorganizing of the diocese and such, clearer heads prevailed and it was decided that the service should be held at the only predominantly African-American parish. 

Here's a report from Andrew Muhl of St. Andrew's, Highland Park posted on the Diocesan website

Eliza Littleton, parishioner of St Andrew's graciously shared her photos of the event with Holy Cross and they can be seen at our web album on Picasa via the Google, Holy Cross thanks Eliza for sharing these photos with the Holy Cross community and with the wider church. 

Here's also a YouTube link of the proceedings.

Here are a few of the pictures of the event to whet your appetite, so to speak.

The Combined Choirs of Redeemer, Squirrel Hill;  St. Andrews, Highland Park; St. Stephen's Wilkinsburg; and Holy Cross, Homewood rendered the music for the service and did a great job if I may say so.

Resident Holy Cross sax man Dr. James Wilson shares his gifts with the congregation prior to the service.

Acolytes from Holy Cross and St. Andrew's come together in a spirit of unity and diversity.

Dr. Ronald Peters, of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary delivered the message.  A Presbyterian professor delivered a Baptist message in an Episcopal church.  Somewhere somebody's head just exploded. 
The Rt. Rev. Robert Johnson, Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh was the celebrant at the service, and apparently he liked Holy Cross so much that he's coming back to officiate at our turn of the East End Parishes' Lenten Preaching Series.  Who says Holy Cross doesn't have pull?

All in all, a great day for Holy Cross and the Diocese of Pittsburgh.