History of The Church of the Holy Cross

Prior to the formation of an organized and separate place of worship, African American Episcopalians 

in Pittsburgh belonged to their local church.  In the late 1800’s, several Blacks, concerned about the social isolation of their children and the segregated religious setting they experienced, began to push for the establishment of a separate mission to serve their needs.  Among those who were instrumental in this effort was Sadie B. Hamilton, a graduate of Wilberforce University and a life-long Episcopalian.  In response to this request in 1875, Bishop John Barrett Kerfoot (1816-1881) of the Diocese of Pittsburgh brought the Reverend W. F. Floyd to Pittsburgh to establish a mission among the “colored people” of this community.  As a result of this effort, St. Cyprian’s Mission was established and met in Trinity Church parish house.  In December 1877, The Reverend W. F. Floyd transferred to Cincinnati.

On January 15, 1878, The Reverend William Wilson was ordained to the Priesthood in Trinity Church by Bishop Kerfoot and placed in charge of St. Cyprian’s Mission, which held services in a building on Wylie Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.  The Reverend Wilson left Pittsburgh in 1897 and St. Cyprian’s Mission was closed by Bishop Cortlandt Whitehead (1882-1922).  The mission was reopened at the Church Army Headquarters under Captain William B. Anderson and Captain G. P. Hance  (d.1954), who later became Brother Hance, founder of St. Barnabas Home.  The mission was moved to a storeroom at the corner of Centre Avenue and Roberts Streets in the Hill District where Captain Anderson and Oliver G. Walter, a layman, conducted the services.  

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Growing Up At The Cross

Charles Wiggins


"At 102 yrs  of age and counting, I drive to Church Every Sunday and I can count the times I have missed church on one hand." 

Verna Crichlow


“As an Islander and lifelong member of Holy Cross the rich tradition and history of the church often reminds me of home."

Alma Speed Fox


"I've been a member of Holy Cross as far as the eyes can see. When you reach beyond the age of 96 yrs of age like I have you realize what an awesome God we serve." 

Jean D. Bolden


"I am proud to say that all of my children and even their children were confirmed at Holy Cross. Each of them are successful in life because of the foundation of a good Christian Education."

Larrissa Shelby


"As an Acolyte, I have learned so much about why its so important to serve God. We now have a powerful liturgical dance ministry and its actually fun now to come to church. Thanks mom for making me get up on Sundays!" 

Obiero Steave-Onyundo


"As a Holy Cross Youth, I really appreciate being able to actually take part in all aspects of the service. “

New Hope Rising Publications

New Hope Rising Fall 2018 Issue (pdf)