Redmond’s Church of the Holy Cross, 11526 162nd Ave. NE, will soon break ground for the first phase of site work — namely, adding more paved parking space — in preparation for renovations next spring. In that phase of the project, the church will put in an underground stormwater vault and will add on to, and tie together the church and preschool buildings with a narthex.
“Community gathering space is very central to what we do,” said Holy Cross rector Father Jim Eichner.
“We are doing this work because we’ve been out of space for about 15 years now. We have a booming preschool and Sunday programs. We are a small congregation, about 200 families, and another 150 families served by the preschool,” he added. “When our church was built in 1982, the entrance pointed toward downtown Redmond. Now our front door will be toward 116th, more visible.”
The timing for a capital campaign to fund the improvements was ideal. That happened three years ago — before the economy tanked, Eichner noted. And at least 85 percent of parishioners’ pledges have still come in, regardless of the changed economy.
With a “pastoral sized congregation,” approximately 200 worshippers each Sunday, one clergy person and a small staff, “we do a few things and we do them really well,” said Eichner. Best Beginnings Preschool, which is housed on the church grounds “is what we do best,” he remarked. “It’s not a tenant organization, it was created by Holy Cross as a developmental program, not a parochial preschool.”
Teen and young adult groups at Holy Cross are also thriving, said Eichner. Those students go on spiritual retreats and do service projects here in the Northwest, in Mexico or abroad.
In a region where many people don’t belong to a church or identify themselves as part of a faith community, Eichner said visitors to Holy Cross will find an atmosphere that is fairly traditional, with organ music, Sunday School and Communion every Sunday. The parish is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
“We are very liturgical, using a prayer book. … I think people like the liturgical way of worshipping. It’s a tradition you can rest in and join in,” Eichner continued.
He said newcomers often include couples where one party grew up Catholic and the other Protestant. Each will find familiar elements, although one major difference is that women can be ordained in the Episcopal faith.
“There is an easy sense of community here. You can go to a coffee hour and know a lot of people,” Eichner further noted.
Other social events at Holy Cross will include the pre-Mother’s Day “Mother of All Chili Cook-Offs” on Saturday, May 8 and a Victory Garden Veggie Swap on Saturday, June 5.
Holy Cross will hold Vacation Bible School, July 6-9.
And the public is welcome to stroll on the church grounds any time during daylight hours, said Eichner. A labyrinth, memorial garden and outdoor Stations of the Cross are available for peaceful reflection or prayer.
For more information about Church of the Holy Cross, visit www.holycrossredmond.org or call (425) 885-5822.