Featured Mission: Holy Cross + Dorr, Michigan


“Oh Lord, save thy people ….”

In July 2005, thirty three people made a life-changing pilgrimage from Wittenberg (birthplace of Lutheranism) to Antioch. We spent our first year at St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids, Michigan under the tutelage of Fr. Daniel Daly, aided by Fr. John Winfrey from St. George. Our priest, Fr. Gregory Hogg, was ordained to the holy priesthood in March, 2006 at St. James/Williamston (see picture at left) and a few months later we began services as Holy Cross Mission in Dorr, Michigan.

By the blessing of God and the prayers of his people, we purchased our first building in the summer of 2007. Several months’ hard work, guided by the wise counsel of Bishop MARK, has given us a home of our own in which to worship God, love each other, and serve our community. We want to be an active and living witness for Orthodoxy in a region of West Michigan that is presently not served by an Orthodox church: to bring the fullness of the faith to people who need to know the life-changing power of the cross of Christ.

Holy Cross is served by Fr. Gregory Hogg, who works as an Affiliate Professor in the Philosophy department of Grand Valley State University. In addition, Fr. Steven Van Bronkhorst is attached to our mission as a priest. Fr. Steven works with the Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority. Both Frs. Gregory and Steven are active in campus ministry, having founded chapters of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship on the campuses of Grand Valley State, Hope College in Holland, and Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

…and bless thine inheritance…

In addition to our faithful priests, God has provided a beautiful Temple for us to worship in! On the outside it’s a “pole barn,” but we enter into heaven itself when we walk inside. Our present church building holds about 80 people and we are so thankful for it; however we are praying and working toward owning land in our region so that, by God’s grace, we can build a Temple to hold 300 people, to offer West Michigan’s first Orthodox cemetery, and a school, and perhaps even a Retreat Center/Coffee Shop Bookstore where tired and burned out people can visit to renew and refresh their spirits. Holy Cross has a planning team in place and we are working with all of the members to seek God’s will for our mission. You can learn more about us by visitng our web site, www.holycross-aoc.org.

Holy Cross is active in mission! In addition to the OCF chapters we have helped to found, we have also helped some of our members to serve at an orphanage in Ukraine, and we are active in the OCMC’s “Support a Mission Priest” program. Two of our members are enrolled in the St. Stephen program: one of them organizes service projects for our members, and the other helps with catechetical instruction for our young people (the “STICKS” program, or “St. Theophan’s Instructional Club for Kids”).

...and by the power of Thy Cross protect all those who follow Thee…

What is our future? Only this: that moved by the divine energies, we will speak with both our words and our actions that in Christ we are truly made whole and complete. We see Orthodoxy becoming home not only to us, but to thousands in West Michigan, and to millions in America. For such a time as this has God raised up His church in America, that we might have the privilege, to bring the ancient and powerful message of Christ—the word of the Holy Cross—to modern people.