Back to Holy Cross
Holy Cross Anglican Church members who may not have visited in a while and answered Canon Peter Scott’s call to return for the institution’s 41st anniversary and Back to Holy Cross Day on Sunday past, were met with a church that had been given a facelift, with necessary upgrades the facility needed, completed in time for the service.
The myriad of repairs and additions, according to church officials, stabilized the building to continue serving church members for many years in the future.
Building improvements included renovating the choir loft to fit a new organ; replacing decades-old windows with hurricane impact windows; replacing old chandeliers with new LED lighting; the building being exterminated for termites; and the walkways and the roof as well as numerous structural cracks being repaired.
Holy Cross’ newest priest, Scott, who took over in September 2018, oversaw the installation of the new organ which replaced a decades-old instrument that had had its time. The initiative to replace the organ was began by Canon Norman Lightbourne, who led the first fundraiser for the organ purchase. Scott brought in the remaining funds needed to purchase the organ as well as what was needed to complete the renovation project.
The facelift represented a milestone in the life of the church. Back in 1966, Dean Foster Pestaina was given the mission of starting a new church community in eastern New Providence which started right on Father Pestaina’s porch at his Robinson Road home. Two years later, the church acquired its current property in Highbury Park through a grant, and services were held in the building that now serves as the church’s parish hall. When Canon Neil Roach became priest of Holy Cross in 1971, he came with a new vision for the church building.
That vision came to fruition seven years later when on June 26, 1978, the new church was dedicated. Father Roach, along with the vestry, envisioned a design that was hailed for its uniqueness. From an aerial view, the shape of the cross is apparent and hence, the current home of Holy Cross was born. For a portion of Father Roach’s tenure, Father Scott served as the youth pastor, and so he was not a new face to Holy Cross members when he returned last year. He served from 1992 to 1997 and today, many of the young people he guided are now adults with children of their own, still attending the church they grew up in.
Scott, who says he is building on the good works of his predecessors, considers investing in the building as necessary. “If the house of God looks shabby, how can you invite people to come in? It’s like our personal homes; if we want people to visit, we make sure house is in good shape. We clean and tidy up.”
Their next focus, he said, will be on building up the ministry.
“Now that we have taken care of the building, we can take care of people. Charity begins at home and ends abroad,” he said.
As those who once called the church home but may have moved on or away are being called back home, Scott is also inviting new guests to come in and experience the love of the Holy Cross family. Church groups include the Anglican Church men and women; an extensive youth ministry (led by youth priest Travis Fernander) which allows a young person to deliver the sermon each youth Sunday; a choir ministry; altar guild; junior and senior praise teams; liturgical dance group; and children’s cherub choir.
And in its outreach ministry, Holy Cross donated a six-burner industrial stove to A&A home for the aged in Pinewood Gardens, and is currently helping an elderly lady in Nassau Village with home repairs. In pastoral care, Scott says the church will be taking care of its own, including members who face illness, are grieving, or who may be having family or other issues.