About Holy Cross

Holy Cross is Rooted…

Our founding pastor breaking ground with a plow
This photo is Pastor Anderson at the groundbreaking…what seeds were sown?

We have been rooted in this place since our beginning on Reformation Sunday, October 27, 1963. Our roots are deep in this south Austin community, having a long history of advocacy and aid for people experiencing hunger and homelessness. This is the first distribution site for Meals on Wheels in Austin. 

Holy Cross was a mission start of the Lutheran Church in America, and the first pastor was The Rev. Dennis Anderson (pastor 1963-1967). The congregation of Holy Cross has shared ministry with nine pastors since: The Rev. John A. Peterson (1967-1968); The Rev. Samuel E. Gerth (1969-1977); The Rev. Charles Kindsvatter (1977-1990); Co-pastors: The Revs. Kathryn and Alan Wicks (1991-1997); The Rev. James Qualben (intentional interim); The Rev. Magdelene Holm-Roesler (1999-2015), The Rev. Sharolyn Browning (2015-2021), and The Rev. Dorothy Gremillion (2021-present).

The campus was originally a “ranchette,” about 5 acres on the outskirts of Austin, with a 1950s ranch-house and room for crops and a few cattle. The original ranch-house served as the worship space in the early days, and now is “Qualben Hall”, used for Godly Play rooms and neighborhood meeting space. The campus still reflects the rugged ranch heritage, even though the city has grown up around it!

Our present worship space was built in 1964, in a mid-century modern style reflecting early Vatican II liturgical renewal, and with the metaphor of the ark carrying the creatures of the world through the waters of the flood. Children today move their fingers across the limestone-rock altar and font, finding the forms of fossils formed over 265 million years ago…celebrating God’s infinite and eternal love. 

Holy Cross is Reconciling…

Hearts of different colors overlaid, top heart containing a cross

As members of “Reconciling Works” we have had intentional and ongoing conversations seeking how to live into a vision where all are seen, known and loved. Our community crafted this welcome statement in 2009, when we became a Reconciling in Christ congregation: 

We, the members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, as a community, affirm that “…through faith in Christ Jesus…there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) As a Reconciling in Christ congregation, we embrace and welcome all, as we celebrate differences in gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, appearance, economic status, ethnic origin, nationality, race, marital status, political leaning, religious background, and ability, including those who are differently abled. 

We wish to make know our caring and concern for all people, as we joyfully follow God’s call to love one another. In faithfulness to the Gospel, we openly invite all people to experience the Word of God without fear of judgement or discrimination. At Holy Cross Lutheran Church we seek to unite through Christ in faith, love, and spiritual growth.

Holy Cross is Renewing…

childrens' hands in sand

Throughout our history, this congregation has trusted in God’s promises to make all things new…our own lives, the world around us, and our community together. If you are interested in joining the Holy Cross community as a member, visit with Pastor Dorothy. We’d love to work side-by-side with you, as God is building a more vibrant community here in south Austin. 

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With Our Pastor Leading Us…

We are blessed with our transitional Pastor Dorothy Gremillion to lead and share in our ministry for Christ. She brings strong faith, spiritual formation and teaching to Holy Cross as we pursue more outward momentum in mission.

Pastor Dorothy brings a passion for the Body of Christ to be at peace with itself, so that it can more readily extend God’s love and grace to those beyond the church walls.  Her prayer life has been deepened partly by being an Associate of the Holy Cross, an Episcopal Benedictine Monastic Order.  Prayer guides her ministry and life.  Her favorite part of ministry is listening to church members, finding God in them, and creating something to address a discipleship facet where they are.

Pastor Dorothy earned her Master of Divinity in 2000 from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest here in Austin, after contributing in ministry as organist and choirmaster for many years in Lake Charles, LA. She has served as Priest-in-Charge, Rector, and Interim Rector for several churches in Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. 

It is her belief that the Lord is leading and guiding us in every moment and in every situation, even amid the difficulties of our day.  Our challenge lies in deep listening, praying, and communal discerning, while stepping out in faith before knowing the answers.

With Our Wonderful Pianist

A handsome young Ph.D. performance pianist
Dr. Pieter Crathorne

A native of South Africa, Pieter Crathorne began his music education at the University of Stellenbosch where he earned a Bachelors and Masters in Music, Piano Performance. Dr. Crathorne obtained his doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Crathorne presently serves as piano music instructor, and chapel music director at Trinity Episcopal School in Westlake, Texas. Previously, Dr. Crathorne served as adjunct faculty to Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, where he taught music history, music theory, group lessons, musicology, and accompanied the university choir. Since 2013, Dr. Crathorne, or just Pieter as we affectionately refer to him, has served as church pianist for Holy Cross Lutheran Church for nearly ten years (to surpass in March 2023). Pieter has assisted with the Holy Cross adult and children’s choir, as well as providing Holy Cross with special music performance weekly.

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